How to check your hotel room for bed bugs

“Don’t let the bed bugs bite” might be a light-hearted way to say goodnight, but unfortunately, can become a reality. Bed bugs are back, and they are looking to find the best and newest restaurant in town…you! 

During your travels, it is possible to land yourself with some unwanted, blood-sucking, house guests in your hotel or luggage. With numerous people and pieces of luggage coming and going each day, hotels are often a primary contributor to the spread of bed bugs.

If a hotel room is infected with a family of bed bugs, the possibility of you taking them home with you is extremely high. Don’t worry! We’ve consulted with our bed bug control experts to share with you how you can check your hotel room for bed bugs in 5 easy steps. Because the only thing you should bring home from your vacation is a nice tan.

How to spot bed bugs when inspecting a hotel room

When first entering a hotel room, a bed bug infestation may not be readily apparent.  There are many signs of bed bugs in a hotel room, but before you set your bags down and dive into the bed, what should you be looking for?

bed bug

Bed bug signs

  • Live Bed Bugs – Bed bugs are small, flat and oval-shaped. They have six legs and two antennae and are a reddish-brown color. Adult bed bugs are usually around .10-.20 inches in size.
  • Blood smears – This happens when a bed bug has been accidentally crushed after a meal and looks like small red stains. This comes from the undigested blood meal in its body.
  • Dark/black stains – This comes from the dark liquid bed bugs excrete after a meal.
  • Shed skin – A bed bug sheds its skin in order to grow and move on to the next stage of its life cycle. Once they have fully matured they no longer go through this process. Sightings of shed skin usually point towards indications of a large infestation.
  • Bed bug eggs –  Bed bugs can lay anywhere between 200 and 500 eggs over a two-month period, and are usually laid in batches of 10. Bed bug eggs are less than .03 inches long and are a pearly white color.

Where and how to check for bed bugs

Knowing what to look for is one thing, but narrowing down the bed bug hotspots in a hotel room can make your search less painful. When beginning your initial search, be sure to check these five locations:

1. Mattress and bed frame

Bed bugs often like to live near their food source. That’s why beds and mattresses are always a hotspot for bed bug activity.

How to check a mattress and bed frame for bed bugs:

  • Fully inspect the headboard, checking in between any design patterns. Move the bed away from the wall to check behind and underneath.
  • Check any and all crevices, corners, joints, carvings and any other small cracks and holes in the bed frame.
  • Inspect the bedding. This includes checking the inside and outside of the pillowcases, duvet covers, and the fitted sheet, paying close attention to the seams.

2. Bedside cabinets

Furniture items near a bed such as nightstands and bedside cabinets are also key bed bug hotspots.

How to check bedside cabinets for bed bugs:

  • Look inside drawers, especially along the joints and handles.
  • Inspect behind and underneath the bedside cabinet.
  • Check ornaments, lamps, and picture frames.

3. Wardrobe and skirting boards

Although it is true that bed bugs like to hang out in areas close to their food source, that doesn’t stop them from visiting other places in a room.

How to check wardrobes and skirting boards for bed bugs:

  • Thoroughly inspect wardrobes, drawers and other pieces of furniture. This includes inspecting behind, on top of, and beneath.
  • Check in between joints, handles and any crevices, cracks and dents.
  • Inspect the gaps between the skirting boards and walls.

4. Sofas, chairs and throws

Bed bugs are attracted to the CO2 we produce. You can often find them hidden in areas that see high levels of human interaction such as chairs.

How to check sofas, chairs and throws for bed bugs:

  • Remove the cushions from the seats and check above and below. Look in between joints and crevices.
  • Remove the covers off the cushions and check the seams, corners and zippers for bed bugs.

5. Luggage

Luggage is the main instigator when it comes to bed bug infestations. The best practice is to place your luggage in the en-suite bathroom before you begin your checks to eliminate the risk of it acquiring some unexpected stowaways.

How to check luggage stands for bed bugs:

  • Check where the webbing wraps around the frame.
  • Inspect along the joints on the stand.

The last thing you want to think about when going on vacation is getting bed bugs. Having a good plan when staying at a hotel can help prevent you from having unwelcome guests during your travels and beyond.

Did you stay at a hotel and think you might have a bed bug problem? Contact us to get expert advice, services, and solutions on how to get rid of bed bugs in your home.

John West

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