Bed Bugs in Hotels | Protecting Yourself from Infestation

Written by Thomas Matthews

Many people think that hotel rooms are often clean and tidy. While it may look like that on the first look, hotel rooms are often not that clean. Those who use hotel rooms often know that the hotel staff can’t always clean and prepare the room completely. What about the mattress in the bed? These mattresses are left there, and in most cases, they aren’t being cleaned or washed.

Can bed bugs infest a hotel room? Unfortunately, bed bugs can infest hotel rooms, especially hotels with three or fewer stars. It is a common expectation that hotel rooms come clean and invitingly spotless; however, not all guarantee this because of different economic reasons.

In this article, you will learn how to protect yourself from bed bugs when you are in a hotel.

How Common Are Bed Bugs in Hotels?

How Common Are Bed Bugs in Hotels

The cheaper the hotel is, the higher the chances of bed bug infestation. However, every hotel is susceptible to bed bug infestation and it only depends on the hotel staff if bed bugs are going to be dealt with.

For example, cheap hotels and motels often tend to have bed bugs in their rooms. You’ll be surprised to see how many hotels and motels have bed bugs.

The only reason people don’t feel anything is that bed bug bites aren’t painful. If you sleep one night at the hotel and bed bugs bite you, chances are that you won’t notice it, even after a week, two, or three. But, if you stay at the hotel for a few days or a week, you will most certainly notice bed bug bites.

Before you book a hotel room, read online reviews of the particular hotel and see if it ever had problems with bed bugs or any similar problems. Or if you’ve already booked your room, check if that hotel had any problems. If so, you can cancel the booking and find another one that doesn’t have pets related problems.

Why Is It Important to Always Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel?

If you don’t want to get bitten multiple times by bed bugs, you must check the hotel room for bed bugs. The reason it’s very important is that bed bug bites can be quite annoying if you’re being bitten every day.

How to Check for Bed Bugs in Your Hotel? | Instructions

How to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel Instructions

Before you open your luggage, place it in the bath, as this is the space where the bed bugs are less likely to hide. Then examine the bedsheets, headboard, mattresses, and other furniture using the flash on your phone.

Look for tiny bloodstains, white grain-like bed bug eggshells, bed bugs exoskeletons, and the bed bugs themselves. All these are clear signs of a bed bug infestation in your hotel room. Sometimes, bed bugs can hide under carpets and electrical outlets, so you also need to check there.

Bed bugs could be hidden anywhere and if you find them, it’s not your responsibility to remove them. If you don’t have any other place to stay, you can request a room change, and check that other room for bed bugs as well. If you do not spot any bugs, enjoy your stay. But if you do, get out while you can.

Some hotels have bed bugs only in some rooms, not every room is infested. Either way, we’re going to delve deeper into our topic and see how you can check for bed bugs in a hotel. This is going to be an in-depth guide, so concentrate, and let’s move on.

Where to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel and What to Look for? | Detailed Guide

For you to prepare a defense of any kind, it is wise to understand your opponent and, in this case, knowing simple facts about bed bugs will give you an advantage.

What to Look for When Searching for Bed Bugs?

You should look for the following signs:

Tiny Blood Spots

The presence of tiny bloodstains, usually in a cluster is one of the indicators of the presence of bed bugs. The blood stains are bed bug excrement.

Bed Bug Eggs

Where you find the blood spots, you will usually find tiny white oval-shaped seeds. These are bed bug eggs. An adult bed bug hatches an average of 250 eggs in its lifetime.

Bed Bug Exoskeletons

These are a clear indication of the presence of bed bug nymphs. Growing nymphs shed their outer skin five times before finally becoming adults.

These exoskeletons look like the bed bugs themselves but once you take a closer peek, they are hollow inside. Their color will depend on the time the bed bug has shed its skin. The newly hatched nymphs are a whitish-golden color, very light while the older casings are a nice shade of brown.

Musty Odor

Wherever bed bugs are located there will be a musty odor accompanying them. It is the same odor you get once you crush a live bug. If your hotel room gives off a particular odor, chances are, it is harboring bed bugs.

Bed Bugs

What to Look for When Searching for Bed Bugs

The final indicator of the presence of bed bugs in your room is the bed bugs themselves. Bed bugs look like apple seeds. They are tiny, brown, and oval-shaped.

Bed bugs have six legs that are placed on the side of their flat bodies. Their bodies are divided into three segments, much like most insects. Adult bed bugs are brown or reddish-brown in color. Bed bug nymphs are light brown in color, they have an almost golden shade.

Where in the Hotel Room to Check for Bed Bugs?

Where in the Hotel Room to Check for Bed Bugs

Bed bugs will often hide in:

These places can easily be checked. But before you do that, make sure that you haven’t opened your luggage.

When that is taken care of, you can carefully lift the bed sheets and examine the mattress. If it has holes, use the flash on your phone and aim the light at the inside. Bed bugs often use holes to hide, especially in mattresses.

In extreme cases, you can find bed bugs walking on the mattress, which is a gigantic red flag and a sign that you need to leave the hotel immediately. The other furniture can also be checked the same way.

If you want to check the carpets, you need to carefully lift them from the ground. Start from one side, and then make your way to the other side of the carpet as you roll it. If bed bugs are underneath the carpet, you can see them this way. In most cases, bed bugs hide underneath the carpet, so if there are bed bugs, you’ll see them right away.

Finally, holes and electrical appliances can easily be checked for bed bugs. You can use the flash on your phone or just shake the electrical appliance you want to check. When the bed bugs are disturbed, they tend to run away from the hiding spot, so it shouldn’t be hard to spot them.

What to Do If the Hotel Has Bed Bugs?

What to Do If the Hotel Has Bed Bugs

Finding bed bugs in your hotel room may be infuriating and disgusting but when talking to the hotel staff, try not to sound angry and pissed off. After all, the hotel staff might not be aware of the problem, so it’s not always their fault.

The first thing to do is to contact their manager, if possible, in person. Before bringing in the manager, you need to gather evidence. Show the evidence to the manager by letting him in your room. Any alive or dead bed bugs are useful, including bed bugs’ feces. All of these are signs of bed bugs.

Can You Sue a Hotel for Bed Bugs If You Get Bitten by Them?

You can but it’s not recommended. The reason it’s not recommended is because that is a tedious process that you and the hotel owner need to go through, in the court, as well as outside the court.

If you don’t win on the court, you’ll have to pay a couple of thousands of dollars. After all, almost every hotel owner should be pleasant enough to talk to you about the problem.

Is There a Fair Compensation for Bed Bugs in a Hotel?

Offering you a refund is the least a hotel manager can do. But, if the refund can’t be processed at the same moment, don’t be angry. Once again, the manager isn’t in charge of the hotel but the hotel owner and the corporate head office. That being said, the manager needs to contact the hotel’s head office before giving you a refund.

If the staff offers you another room in the hotel, think twice before accepting it. We don’t recommend accepting another room because bed bugs can get to the other rooms and chances are that there are bed bugs in other rooms, too.

How to Report Bed Bugs at a Hotel?

How to Report Bed Bugs at a Hotel

You should officially report bed bugs at a hotel. This is the only way that will get you fair compensation, especially if you provide the required evidence.

When reported officially, the corporate department of that hotel can arrange for the professionals to clean the rooms. One more benefit of the official report is that future users will have an insight into how good the hotel is, so you’ll save another person from the hassle.

In many cases, reporting the case to the manager and providing evidence is enough. The manager will then contact the corporate office so that they can take necessary measures. The corporate should also talk to you about the compensation and they will check the damage you’ve experienced during your time at the hotel.

In case the manager won’t talk to corporate, it’s your job to tell them about the situation and see if you can get compensation. Nine times out of ten, corporate will refund you based on the evidence, without you having to take it to court.

Aside from that, we suggest leaving online reviews in which you’ll mention that you found bed bugs in the particular hotel. It shouldn’t sound spiteful, angry, and pissed off. Instead, leave a polite review and explain the situation in depth. Many times, the hotels read the online reviews left for them and they solve the problems based on those reviews.

Remember to always be polite when reporting such things. Online reviews can be left anywhere from Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor.

How Do Hotels Prevent Bed Bugs?

pest control

The only way to prevent bed bugs is to regularly check for them and act immediately upon noticing them. This is what the hotel staff also does and there’s no other way of doing it. Since the rooms are checked and cleaned regularly, the chances of bed bug infestations are very low.

This is the case for high-end hotels. High-end hotels also employ professional exterminators that check every room and kill bed bugs if needed, ensuring that those who stay at the hotel receive the highest-quality service.

We don’t know about low-quality hotels and their ways of preventing bed bugs. If it’s done properly, a regular bed bug check should be enough to clear and prevent bed bugs. In reality, things are different and many cheap hotels don’t check for bed bugs at all because the owners and managers simply don’t care.

Bed Bug Hotel Registry: List of Hotels with Bed Bugs

Here are the 10 cities in the USA with the highest incidence of bed bugs:

  1. New York City
  2. Detroit, Michigan
  3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  4. Cincinnati, Ohio
  5. Chicago, Illinois
  6. Denver, Colorado
  7. Columbus, Ohio
  8. Dayton, Ohio
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. Los Angeles, California

The interesting fact is that bed bug incidence rates are three times lower in rural environments than in urban ones.

Can You Get Bed Bugs From Hotel?

If a hotel room has bed bugs, you have a chance of bringing them back to your home. This is because bed bugs can easily catch a ride on you or your bag, clothes, or shoes.

Although bed bugs rarely do this, you can still experience having bed bugs on your clothes, without even knowing it. Bed bugs will not bite you when you move, which is why you aren’t aware of their presence. Your luggage, for example, is a perfect spot for bed bugs to hide, especially if you kept it open during the night.

Even if you move your luggage around, the space inside is so comfortable that bed bugs won’t mind. It is possible to get bed bugs from the hotel, although it happens very rarely. If a hotel has a serious bed bug infestation, the chances of getting bed bugs are bigger, so keep that in mind before booking your room. Also, never forget to check your room for bed bugs.

How to Not Get Bed Bugs from Hotel Rooms? | Easy Instructions

How to Not Get Bed Bugs from Hotel Rooms – Easy Instructions

Avoiding getting bed bugs in hotel rooms is quite simple. Bed bugs usually attach to clothes and shoes, so you’ll need to keep those areas under control. For starters, leave your luggage in the bath and never put it out, except if you’re taking a shower. In that case, leave it next to the bath.

When undressing, never do it in the room but in the bathroom. This way, you reduce the chances of getting bed bugs in your clothes. If you want to reduce the chances, even more, buy a pack of plastic bags and pack your used clothes there.

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Needless to say, your shoes should also be treated the same way. Never mix unused clothes or shoes with used clothes or shoes. If there are bed bugs, they will attach to your unused clothes, and you’ll make a mess out of everything. We suggest that you always carry a pack of plastic bags with you and pack your clothes there.

Additionally, make sure that there are no tears and cracks in the bags and pack the bag of clothes into another empty plastic bag. This way, you add another protective layer that bed bugs can’t pierce.

If you have time, launder your clothes in the hotel room using hot water. If not, do it when you get home right away! Carefully extract the content from the plastic bag and use the highest heat to eliminate bed bugs.

List of Sources

Inspecting Your Hotel Room for Bed Bugs. University of Minnesota.
Miller D, Bed Bug Action Plan for Hotels. Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech.
Bedbugs. Mayo Clinic.
Koehler, P. G., Pereira, R. M., Pfiester M, Hertz J. (2011). Bed bugs and blood-sucking conenose. EDIS.

Thomas Matthews
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