How to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel Room While Traveling

A lot of people are wondering how you get bed bugs in your home. As with any other parasite, you usually bring them in from the outside, and more often than not – from other places you’ve been staying in. In fact, one of the main ways for getting your own home infested with bed bugs is by carrying some over from a hotel room you’ve been staying in. It’s for this reason why frequent travelers have to deal with a bed bug problem more ofted than anyone else. What’s more, stumbling upon bed bugs in hotel room beds is not just risky because you might bring them home, it’s also an irritating way to ruin your traveling experience.

So, what are the signs of bed bugs in hotel rooms and how should you do a bed bug hotel check? The first thing we’d recommend is checking in sites such as the Bed bug report or the Bed bug registry before booking a hotel room. Doing this won’t guarantee a bedbug-free experience, of course, but it’s a good first step to reducing the risk of finding an unwanted presence in your hotel bed. A lot of hotels and motels despise these websites as they are often bad for business, but one can’t really expect people to want to sleep in beds with bed bugs. One thing that could be said about the places featured on these sites is that they might not have bed bugs anymore or that some of their customers might have experienced a one-off bed bug problem that has been resolved immediately. Still, for the sake of your safe travels, consulting with the Bed bug report or registry is a good idea.

What do you do if you do end up in a bedroom with bed bugs, however? And even more importantly – how should you check whether there are bed bugs or not?

Places you should check first after getting to your hotel room

Finding bed bug bites from hotel rooms is a clear indicator that you’ve been sleeping together with bed bugs but ideally, you’d probably like to find out about it before it actually happens. So, here are the main places the EPA (United States’ Environmental Protection Agency) recommends you should check first after you get into your hotel room:

  • Look for reddish or rusty-looking spots or stains on your bed sheets or mattresses. These are typically caused by people crushing bed bugs while sleeping. Don’t set for checking the sheets only too, as most hotels change those after each customer – instead, pay extra close attention to the mattress. Such red spots are almost guaranteed signs of a recent or ongoing bed bug presence.
  • Dark spots the size of a writing dot. These are bed bug excrements that might have bled on the fabric. Such spots are another sure-fire way to identify a bed bug infestation.
  • Bed bug eggs and eggshells can also be found if you look hard enough. The eggs of bed bugs are quite tiny, about 1mm in diameter, and they are also pale yellow in color. All this doesn’t make matters easy, but it’s still possible to spot bed bug eggs or the eggshells that they shed off when they grow.
  • You might also find the adult bed bugs themselves. When they aren’t busy gnawing on your skin bed bugs are usually hiding away from sight. Here’s where you might want to check out first:
    • Underneath your mattress;
    • Between the mattress and the bed frame;
    • Between the cushions;
    • In the seams of chairs or couches;
    • In the folds of curtains;
    • In the drawer joints of the nightstand or other drawers;
    • Up above, where the ceiling and the walls meet;
    • Behind wall paintings and wall hangings;
    • Behind a loose wallpaper;
    • In electrical sockets and appliances;
    • In the heads of screws.

Simply put, bed bugs are so tiny (adult bed bugs are about 1 millimeter long as well) and so thin that they can fit anywhere they will feel safe. This may sound like trying to find a needle in a haystack but remember that you won’t be looking for a single bed bug in your entire hotel room. Instead, you’ll be looking for an entire hive of them – if you’re careful enough and you know where to look, you can quite easily find them.

What you should do if you notice a bed bug infestation in the hotel room?

The obvious first step to take is to request another room. Of course, if there were bed bugs in one of the hotel’s rooms, chances are there might be bed bugs in their other rooms so make sure that you check again. Once you’ve got a room where you’re at least relatively sure there are no bed bugs, the rest of us would appreciate it if you mention the hotel in sites such as the Bed bug report and the Bed bug registry.

How to make sure that you don’t bring the bed bugs home from the hotel room?

The worst part of stumbling upon bed bugs in a hotel room isn’t the fact that you might get bitten a few times – it’s the fact that some of the little buggers might high-jack a ride to your home. Bed bugs can easily decide to hide in your clothes, in your coat or in your luggage and won’t feel even the least bit troubled to travel for as long as they need to find a new home. To avoid this, it’s imperative that you check your luggage and clothes extra carefully once you get home or if possible – even before that.

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