Hotels: Best Steps to Detect and Avoid a Bed Bug Infestation
Those who travel are not strangers to at least hearing about a bed bug infestation at a hotel or resort. Though most of these places do hire a bed bug exterminator to do a treatment when needed, it does not mean the rooms will always be clear of these parasites.
But how does a bed bug infestation prevail in these environments? There are a few reasons:
- Due to the high turnover of incoming and outgoing guests, the amount of baggage and belongings involved is exactly how a bed bug infestation can develop and spread. Another factor is that guests usually stay shorter term (i.e. a few days). They may have a delayed reaction to the bites and not noticed until later. Often, bites are not immediately thought to be from bed bugs. In this case, the incident would not be reported to the hotel staff, thus allowing the infestation to grow.
- In a perfect world, the cleaning staff should be trained to check daily for any signs of activity. But they’re usually just trying to keep on schedule and quickly prep the room before the next guests arrive. Mattresses are rarely turned over for a visual inspection unless a guest has made a complaint of getting bites or itchiness. And a box spring is even less likely to be lifted and checked. This allows for the bed bugs to continually lay eggs and wedge themselves in the seams of the mattress and box spring crevices at the bottom.
- Carpeting: Hotels tend to have wall to wall carpeting. This allows a warm friendly hiding spot for the bed bugs where the carpet meets the wall, and just underneath. If the bed bug exterminator is just using a spray as the main treatment, then it may not penetrate deep enough within the edges. On the other hand, with wood flooring, a good high-pressure spray will get deeper into the baseboard area and remain on the surface for a longer period.
As a hotel guest, what are the best measures that can be taken to detect and avoid a bed bug infestation?
- Upon arrival, place all of your luggage, bags and belongings in the washroom and bathtub. Bed bugs are only attracted to heat (humans), and will likely be closer to the bed and nightstands. Of course, with more severe bed bug infestations, they will be spread out everywhere. However, hotels generally would receive complaints before allowing it to reach this level.
- Next, remove the linens from the bed and tilt the mattress on its side by first pushing it towards the floor if it is heavy. Then use your flashlight on your mobile phone to visually inspect the bottom of the seams. Do not fear this part of the inspection, as bed bugs (if present) do not jump from their positions. In this step you want to fully examine the mattress and bed skirt.
- What to look for exactly: small clusters of black dots. These are the fecal stains and markings of bed bugs. Keep in mind that if a bed bug exterminator were already there to resolve an infestation, these stains will still be there and are permanent. You may also notice reddish/brown smears indicated blood stains. Also check for any eggs – these look like tiny pieces of white rice. If you see any type of bugs themselves, then you have all the evidence needed.
- If nothing is found on the bottom of the mattress, then tilt the box spring on its side for inspection as well. In most cases, bed bugs tend to favor the box spring due to the many hiding spots it offers.
- Other items to check are the wooden bed frame, headboard (behind), night stands, and bottom of curtain seams. The mattress and box spring usually yield the highest activity in most cases, so these should always be checked first.
- If any of the signs mentioned above are found, then report it to the front desk of the hotel or resort, and request to be moved to another room. Management will rarely argue as they do not want guests to be upset or blame them if a problem arises later. If they are aware of a past infestation, they may admit that the room underwent a bed bug treatment, and all is clear now.
By following the steps outlined above, you will keep yourself and your family safe from a hotel bed bug infestation. If you forget to check, and are noticing new bites after arriving back home, then you may need to call a bed bug exterminator to ensure your home is bed bug free.