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Avoid Hotel Bed Bugs in 7 Steps

It’s every traveler’s worst nightmare: bed bugs hiding in the hotel room! Most vacationers don’t want to worry about bed bug infestations in their hotel room. It’s important for travelers to know how to inspect for bed bugs in their hotel room, and know how to avoid bed bug infestations.

Bed bug infestations are so common that exterminators also say that over half their time is committed to servicing bed bugs. These infestations don’t just occur randomly, people actually bring them into their own homes after having contact with them. Recent reports show that you could even get bed bugs from an uber or lyft

Bed bug problems are especially prevalent during the summer months. Warmer temperatures are ideal for bed bugs to mate and live. And most travelers spend the summer in and out of bed bug hot spots like hotels or AirBnbs. 

Bed bugs can appear in any space with enough furniture from nursing homes to public transit. It’s important for travelers to know how to inspect for bed bugs and how to avoid bed bug infestations. 

Travelers can easily avoid bed bug infestations in their home by following these 7 steps to investigate for bed bugs in hotel rooms. 

How To Investigate For Bed Bugs In Your Hotel Room

There are 7 steps travelers need to follow when they enter their hotel rooms. Doing all 7 of these steps will prevent you from getting bed bugs on your belongings, and avoid bringing them into your home. 

Step One: Research Your Hotel

Before you even make your hotel reservation, look through hotel reviews. Look at several different review websites, and read reviews from the last few years. Look for reviews that claim their room had:

  • Strange smells 
  • Weird noises
  • Grease smears and blood stains
  • Signs of an infestation

You can also look on bed bug reporting sites to see if your hotel has had a recent infestation. If you do find that your hotel has had one within the last couple years, contact the hotel and see how the situation was handled. 

Step Two: Put Your Luggage in the Tub

Most travelers want to immediately throw their suitcases and bags on the bed or into the dresser. However, if you want to avoid bed bugs, you need to inspect the room first! 

The least likely place bed bugs will be is in the bathroom tub. Put your belongings there, or on a rack that won’t touch the floor. Keep them there until you’re sure your room is bed bug free. 

Step Three: Grab a Flashlight and a Credit Card

If you don’t have a flashlight, the light app on your phone will do just fine. You’ll also need a credit card to comb through everywhere you’re about to inspect. 

Step Four: Take the Blankets and Inspect the Sheets

When you comb through the bed, start with the corners. This is where bed bugs like to hide. Do this to all the blankets, pillows, and sheets. Look for small, round, reddish-brown bugs. 

You should also look for grease smears and blood stains. These stains can sometimes look like rust stains, so be sure to check the smell of the mattress as well. 

Step Five: Inspect the Mattress

Peel off all the blankets and linens to reveal the mattress. Examine every fold and seam, paying close attention to the corners.

Use your credit card to get into all the folds, and check between the mattress and the box spring. Bed bugs love to hide in warm, dark places. 

Step Six: Check the Other Furniture in the Room

Bed bugs also like to hide in chairs, couches, cots, and behind headboards. Similarly to what you did with the bed, comb through the seams and folds with your credit card while your flashlight to look inspect. 

Step Seven: Look in Other Common Places

Bed bugs also like to hide in a few other places too. Anywhere that could get dark and warm is an ideal place for a bed bug. Be sure to also inspect:

  • Curtains
  • Extra blankets and pillows
  • Nightstands
  • Desks
  • Towels

Know some other signs of bed bug infestations such as weird smells, and thoroughly inspect your hotel room. Bed bugs also leave a chemical-like smell, so if your room seems a little funky, you may want to ask if there was a previous infestation. 

What To Do If You Find Bed Bugs In Your Hotel Room

First, if you do find an infestation in your hotel room, notify the front desk immediately. The hotel should have their own procedures for handling these issues. While you’re waiting for help, take pictures of all your evidence. If you didn’t inspect for bed bugs before sleeping in the room, be sure to also take pictures of any rashes or bites on yourself.  

Most hotels will offer a refund if you ask. If they refuse, kindly remind them that you can expose this incident online or take legal action. Surprisingly, only a few states have basic bed bug laws on a room’s level of cleanliness. These states include:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • West Virginia

Only Kansas, Nevada, and West Virginia have laws requiring hotels to exterminate before allowing another guest in the room. 

Next, immediately take your belongings out of the room. A good travel tip is to bring a large plastic bag for your dirty clothing. Put all your clothing into the bag and get it washed as soon as possible. Vacuum out your suitcase and throw away any disposable items in the bag. Shoes can be cleaned with hot soapy water and a cloth. 

Finally, report the incident to the booking site you used, and write a review about your experience. Remember that bed bug infestations can go unreported if the room hasn’t been used in a while, it may be a shock to the hotel as well. Take note on how proactive the hotel is and how seriously they’re taking the situation. Mention this in your reviews, and talk about how the hotel made up for your experience. 

Hotel Bed Bug Checklist

Next time you go on vacation, take Pest Brigade’s bed bug checklist. This will help remind you of all the places you need to look. It also gives you some common signs of infestations.

If you’re worried about bringing bed bugs back into your home, call one of our Pest Brigade partners at (833) 431-0401 to find an exterminator near you today.