No matter how much you paid for accommodation you expect it to be clean and comfortable. However, more and more travelers are experiencing problems with bed bugs in hotels and I’m not just talking about cheap and cheerful establishments! These reddish brown, oval shaped blood sucking pests have been found in the best 5 star, luxury hotels around the world.
Indeed, in the last decade or so numbers of bed bugs have increased dramatically to the point where today they have reached almost epidemic proportions. Bed bugs are expert hitch hikers and will hide away in luggage, clothing and other belongings allowing them to travel home with unsuspecting hotel guests.
What are the signs of bed bugs in hotels should you look for?
1. Tiny blood smears on the mattress (you would not expect to find these on clean sheets in a hotel!)
2. Minute dark spots on the mattress, along the headboard, baseboards, walls etc.
3. Translucent, brownish colored empty skins – bed bugs cast their skins as they grow.
4. Live bugs – if there is an established infestation you will likely come across these.
Where Should you look for bed bugs in hotels?
Use this handy list to minimize your chances of taking home bed bugs from hotels.
1. DON’T unpack. Keep your luggage closed until you have carried out a thorough check of the room. It is also a good idea to put suitcases etc. in the bathroom at this point because bed bugs are unlikely to be present there.
2. Examine the bed. Remove the sheets and carefully check the mattress. Pay close attention along seams, around buttons, handles and labels also in any creases or folds of the fabric. Ideally your mattress should have an encasement on it which can be laundered by the hotel regularly.
3. If possible pull the mattress away from the headboard to allow you to check it. Inspect closely along the bottom. This is a favorite hiding place for bed bugs in hotels.
4. Check all furniture which is situated close to the bed so inside the drawers and undersides of bedside tables, chairs etc. If you can take a close look along baseboards and the wall beside the bed.
5. Should you come across white powder inside drawers etc. This is a sure sign that there have been bed bugs in this hotel and treatment has been carried out.
6. When you bring suitcases into the room keep them off the floor and the bed. Most hotels provide luggage stands – use them! It may also be wise to purchase luggage liners which can be sealed. These are bed bug proof and should keep pests out of your belongings.
If you find evidence of bed bugs in a hotel room what should you do?
1. Inform the hotel management immediately.
2. Most hotels will act quickly and allocate another room before bringing in pest control experts. The last thing they want is to lose clients!
3. Be aware moving to another room may not solve your problem. Bed bugs in hotels will travel and can often find their way from room to room through tiny gaps in walls, electrical outlets and so on. If possible get a room on the other side of the building.
4. Repeat the same procedure as before.
5. If in doubt check out!!
What should I do when it’s time to go home?
At the hotel –
1. Carefully check suitcases and any other luggage.
2. Don’t forget to check purses, shoes, books, laptops and any other electronic items you have with you.
3. It is a good idea to place all clothing in sealed plastic bags. You can get Dissolvable Laundry Bags which you can place straight into your washing machine, thus preventing any bugs escaping.
At Home –
1. Launder everything possible (including unworn clothes) at as high temperatures as fabrics will allow. Tumble dry again on a high setting.
2. If there is any possibility that you may have brought bed bugs home place all freshly laundered clothing in clean, plastic bags and seal them to prevent any re-contamination.