Are There Bed Bugs in My Hotel Room?

How can you find out if you're in a "bed bug" hotel?

bed in hotel room
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Are bed bugs making an unwelcome appearance in your hotel room? How can you find out if you're in a "bed bug" hotel? Better yet, how can you avoid staying in a hotel infested with bed bugs?

Bed Bug Reports

One site that collects reports of bed bugs from hotel guests is The Bed Bug Registry. The Registry allows you to look up a particular hotel, even a city, and see where guests have reported encounters with bed bugs in a hotel or apartment building nearby. If your hotel is listed with bed bug sightings, don't panic. Pay attention to the date of the last report of bed bugs. The hotel may have cleared up the problem.

Looking for Bed Bugs

Once you check in, take some time to look for the telltale signs of bed bugs in the hotel room. Adult bed bugs grow to a half an inch long, and you can spot them. They are, however, good at hiding, so you'll have to look closely. Common places for bed bugs to hide in hotel rooms are in the seams of the mattress (pull up the sheets to look closely), in the cracks of the bed's headboard, in the baseboards, and in the folds of upholstered furniture.

Also keep an eye out for droppings the bed bugs might have left behind in the hotel room. They'd appear as small brown spots, possibly tinged with blood. Check the sheets and mattress for these tiny spots.

What to Do if You See a Bed Bug

If you suspect bed bugs in your hotel, try to get some proof so your complaint will be taken seriously. You don't even have to catch one; if you see a bed bug, take a picture with your cell phone to show the hotel manager. Don't expect any bed bugs you see to stay in one place while you call down to the hotel staff; they crawl about as fast as ants and like to hide.

If you have a reasonable suspicion that bed bugs are infesting your hotel room, you should consider leaving as bed bugs travel to other rooms through cracks in the ceiling, floors and walls. Thus, switching to another room is not a safe bet.  Let the hotel manager know right away about the bed bugs; the hotel needs to be able to address the problem immediately. 

Even if you don't see any signs of bed bugs in your hotel, you should be careful not to allow any the opportunity to hitch a ride home with you. Don't put your clothes on the carpet or on upholstered chairs. Likewise, keep your suitcase off the floor and the bed. Use a metal suitcase rack if one is available.

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