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In the Hotel Room – How to Inspect Your Hotel Room for Bed Bugs

What to Look For, Where to Find Them, and What to Do If You Find Bed Bugs

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Look for bed bug skins, carcasses, or fecal spots on the mattress.

When you inspect your hotel room, pull back the sheets and look for bed bug skins, carcasses, or fecal spots on the mattress.

Flickr user cuttlefish

When you arrive at your hotel or resort, leave your luggage in the car or with the bellhop. Should you walk in and find a room teeming with bed bugs, you don't want your belongings sitting in the midst of the infestation. Don't bring your bags into the room until you've done a proper bed bug inspection.

Bed bugs hide during daylight hours, and they're quite small, so finding them takes a little work. It's a good idea to carry a small flashlight when you travel, since bed bugs will likely be hiding in the darkest crevices of the room. An LED keychain makes a great bed bug inspection tool.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Adult bed bugs are oval in shape, and brown or reddish in color. Immature bed bugs tend to be lighter in color. Bed bugs usually live in groups, so where there's one, there's likely to be many. Other signs that bed bugs are present include tiny black spots on linens or furniture (excrement) and piles of light brown skin casings.

Where to Look When Inspecting a Hotel Room for Bed Bugs

Start with the bed (they're called bed bugs for a reason, after all). Check the linens thoroughly for any signs of bed bugs, especially around any seams, piping, or ruffles. Don't forget to inspect the dust ruffle, a common hiding place for bed bugs that is often overlooked. Pull back the sheets, and inspect the mattress, again looking carefully at any seams or piping. If there's a box spring, check for bed bugs there as well. If possible, lift each corner of the mattress and box spring and inspect the bed frame, another popular hiding place for bed bugs.

Continue your inspection by examining any furniture or other items near the bed. The majority of bed bugs live within close proximity to the bed. If you are able, inspect behind the headboard, which is often mounted on the wall in hotel rooms. Also, look behind picture frames and mirrors. Pull out any drawers, using your flashlight to look inside the dresser and nightstand.

What Should I Do If I Find Bed Bugs in the Hotel Room?

Go immediately to the front desk and ask for a different room. Tell the management what bed bug evidence you found, and specify that you want a room with no history of bed bug problems. Don't let them give you a room adjacent to the room where you found bed bugs (including the rooms above or below it), as bed bugs can easily travel through duct work or wall cracks into adjoining rooms. Be sure to repeat your bed bug inspection in the new room, too.

While You're Staying at the Hotel

Just because you didn't find any bed bugs, doesn't mean they aren't there. It's quite possible your room could still have pests, so take a few extra precautions. Never place your luggage or your clothing on the floor or bed. Store your bags on the luggage rack or on top of a dresser, off the floor. Keep any items not in use sealed in baggies.

Next: How to Unpack From Your Trip and Kill Any Stowaway Bed Bugs

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