Even Good Inns Can Get Mattress Bugs. Here is How To Examine For Them.


When we stay in hotels these days, we are used to taking measures to protect against COVID-19 and other possible infections. But there is another threat to the hotel room that is worth fighting off: bed bugs.

“Bed bugs can be present in any hotel, no matter how expensive the room may be. In fact, the other day a pest company mentioned to us that any calls they are currently seeing are included in their higher priced items, ”said Jeff White, chief product officer at pest manufacturer SenSci.

“However, bed bugs are definitely a bigger problem in lower socio-economic environments for a number of reasons,” he added. “Roadside hotels and motels, which anecdotally have more long-term residents at, may have a higher incidence of problems compared to some of your high-end hotels, but frankly, this can vary dramatically from property to property.

If you have ever dealt with a bed bug infestation, you know this is not an experience you would wish your worst enemy to experience. So it pays to be careful when traveling.

“Bed bugs affect people in different ways, but they can cause extreme anxiety, panic and worry in most people,” said Matt Kelley, president of Prodigy Pest Solutions. “This, in turn, can drastically affect a person’s regular sleep cycle. In addition, bed bugs are a very difficult pest to treat. Finding an infestation in a hotel before you take bed bugs home will save you money and anxiety in the long run. “

While you may never fully guarantee a life without bed bugs, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting exposed or taking them home with you. We asked Kelley, White, and other experts to share the best ways to check for hotel bed bugs and other protective measures travelers can take.

Know the signs

“There is no way to 100% prevent bed bugs from introducing into a home because they are incredibly small and cryptic creatures that hide deep in cracks and crevices, which can make them incredibly difficult to spot” said Brittany Campbell, an entomologist with the National Pest Management Association.

“However, it is worth doing a bed bug checkup when traveling and staying in a new location if you know the signs to look out for – live bed bugs, fecal stains, cast skins, and eggs – hopefully to catch them early before they have time Get into your belongings and hitchhike home with you in your luggage, handbag or backpack, ”she added.

Although bed bugs are very small and often hidden during the day, they are generally still large enough to be visible to the naked eye. Kelley found that this is true at all stages of the bed bug life cycle.

“In addition to live bugs, bed bugs leave distinct marks, including feces (looks like someone took a pen or marker and made marks or dots), cast skins (empty bed bug shell), and eggs (they look like.) Tiny white ones Grains of rice in tufts), ”he explained.

Examine the bed;

As the name suggests, bed bugs often lurk in and around beds so this is the first place to check out.

“I usually recommend checking the obvious areas like the edges of the mattress and box spring, as well as any area you can see on the headboard, without moving anything,” White said.

In addition to the visible mattress seams and the box spring bed, you can also examine pillows, sheets and duvets for any tell-tale stains or stains.

Signs of bed bugs are common around the seams of mattresses and pillows.

“This type of inspection will usually identify a higher grade infestation, but may not identify 10 bed bugs or fewer,” added White. “If anyone wants to inspect the room more thoroughly, which involves stripping the beds and moving the mattress and box spring bed, the first thing you should do is get the hotel’s permission.”

Check out the rest of the room

After inspecting the bed and the surrounding area, check out other upholstered furniture.

“When there are couches or chairs, it’s important to look at the bottoms, between the pillows, and along the seams,” noted Kelley.

Do a thorough inspection before unpacking. If you have any suspicions, notify the hotel ASAP and check changing rooms or facilities. The key is to be proactive so that you can spot problems early on.

Change rooms if necessary

“If you spot a bed bug on examination, try your best to carefully capture the insect and take photos and videos of what you find,” advised Kelley. “This documentation will help you and the hotel management to choose the next best step for your stay.”

If you decide to change rooms within the same facility, make sure you don’t move to a room that is next to, or directly above, or below the suspected case.

“Bed bugs can easily hitchhike over utility vehicles, luggage, and even through electrical outlets,” said Campbell. “When an infestation spreads, it typically happens in the rooms closest to the origin.”

Protect your suitcase

Even if your visual inspection shows no signs of bed bugs, there are still steps you can take to make sure you don’t bring any unseen ones home with you. Perhaps the most effective measure is to keep your luggage safe from intruders.

“Consider putting your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or bag while you’re traveling to make sure bed bugs don’t get in there before you leave,” said Campbell.

Some travelers also put their suitcases in the bathtub or any other part of the bathroom away from carpets or upholstery.

Check and clean your belongings at home

Bed bug prevention doesn’t end when you leave the hotel. Whether or not you’ve seen any signs of bed bugs, you can still take precautions when you return home.

“Remember: bed bugs hitchhike. After your trip, inspect your suitcases before you bring them inside, ”Campbell recommended. “Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing it. Consider using a clothes steamer to steam your luggage that will kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have hampered a ride home. “

She also suggested drying any clothing in your luggage on high heat for at least 20 minutes to kill any life stages of bed bugs and eggs that may have ended up in your pockets. And if you suspect an infestation in your home, seek professional help.

“Bed bugs are not a home improvement pest as they are one of the most difficult pests to control,” Campbell said. “Homeowners should immediately dry bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing on the hottest dryer setting and vacuum the infected area. From there, homeowners should seek help from a licensed pest controller who can properly inspect and treat the home. “