A hotel room infested with bed bugs can be a vacationing family's worst nightmare. These blood-scuking parasites are nocturnal, quick-moving and difficult to kill.
Bed bugs also have the ability to compress themselves to the size of less than the width of a dime. Did we mention that they reproduce rapidly and can go up to a year without food?
Yikes! Bed bugs are attracted to locations where large numbers of people can be found, so apartments, college dorms, and – you guessed it – hotels are automatic hotspots. They feed on unsuspecting victims at night by searching for any exposed skin they’re able to find. Bed bug bites are similar to mosquito bites in that they are small, red and itchy. An excess amount of these bites can lead to the development of skin rashes, which isn’t a fun way to spend a vacation.
How can you tell if the hotel room you’ve just checked into is already occupied by these pests? There are a number things you can do to prevent coming across – or bringing home – any unwanted guests while you’re traveling.
- Check online reviews. The best way to avoid bed bugs is, obviously, stay away from where you know they’ll be found. Before you even book the hotel, take a thorough look through their online reviews. By thorough, we mean look up the hotel on multiple review sites and read through the comments left by each reviewer. Keep a close eye on reviews left within the last month that tells of an experience that may involve waking up with bite marks, rashes or itching throughout the night. Although a guest may not have seen an actual bed bug, the warning signs will be apparent if they’re around.
- Leave your luggage in the bathroom. When you first enter your hotel room, you’ll want to take a look around for signs of a bed bug infestation. However, before doing this, set your luggage in the bathroom. Bathrooms are the most unlikely room where bed bugs will venture because of the lack of hiding spots. So just to be sure you aren’t taking back any souvenirs before you can rule out an infestation, make sure to drop off your personal items where bed bugs are least likely to congregate.
- Inspect the bed for bugs. Naturally, if bed bugs are anywhere to be found around your hotel room, they’ll most likely (but not in all cases) be in or around the hotel bed. Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to squeeze through the tiniest of cracks and small spaces, so be sure to pull back linens, check under the mattress and behind the headboard.
- Keep an eye out for clues. Since bed bugs are so quick and able to scurry away from danger, you might not always see an actual bug during your inspection. However, there are several telltale bed bugs leave behind that can let you know where they’ve been. Small bloodstains scattered around a mattress are a major hint of an infestation. Since they’re blood-drawing pests, trace amounts of blood are left behind from each bite as they make their way from host to host. Make sure to keep an eye out for bug droppings on the mattress as well. Bed bug droppings are small, pepper-looking dots that will be localized in one or a few areas around the bed. If you see these, you can be sure there are bed bugs in your hotel room.
- Expand your search. As we previously mentioned, most of the time bed bugs will be found on or around the hotel bed. But there are some instances where they will venture out into other areas of the room when their search for food becomes desperate. Start off checking the immediate surroundings of the bed. Be sure to check under and in between things as bed bugs like to take refuge in small, tight spaces. Under the telephone, behind picture frames and in between spaces in furniture are all ideal places that a bed bug is capable of hiding.
If you find any sign of bed bugs in your hotel room, notify the front desk immediately. They’ll accommodate you with a new room and take the necessary steps to fix the problem for future guests.
Are you experiencing a problem with a stubborn bed bug infestation in your home? Call the bug experts at Pearson for a free estimate and get rid of the problem once and for all.