How to Check Your Hotel Room for Bed Bugs: Essential Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

If you’re heading away on a gorgeous holiday this summer, make sure you check your room and bedroom furniture for bed bugs on arrival.

Whether you’re staying in a hotel or air bnb, checking your room for these creepy crawlies could be the make or break of your trip. Nothing will ruin a getaway like spotting bed bugs halfway through your stay, so it’s worth carrying out a few checks when you arrive at your accommodation.


bed bug


What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. These nocturnal pests are usually reddish-brown, flat, and oval-shaped, making them difficult to spot. Bed bugs typically hide in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and other furniture, emerging at night to feed on their unsuspecting hosts.

These critters are notorious for their ability to spread quickly and infest various environments, including homes, hotels, and even public transport. Bed bugs are resilient and can survive for months without feeding, making them a persistent problem once they infest a space.

Travellers are particularly vulnerable to bed bug infestations, as these pests can easily hitch a ride on luggage and clothing. To avoid bringing bed bugs home from your next trip, it's essential to thoroughly inspect your accommodations upon arrival and follow preventive measures where possible.


hotel bed


What should you do if you find bed bugs in your hotel room or accommodation?

Discovering bed bugs in your hotel room or accommodation can be a stressful experience, but taking the right steps can help minimise the impact on your trip. If you do find bed bugs lurking in your room, immediately contact your host or the front desk, report the problem and request a new room. A good host or hotel will be able to move you straight away.

1. Do not panic

Stay calm and avoid spreading the infestation. Do not unpack your luggage or move your belongings to another room until you've addressed the issue.

2. Document the evidence

Take clear photos or videos of the bed bugs, blood stains, eggs, or droppings as evidence. This will be useful when reporting the problem to hotel management or your host.

3. Contact hotel staff or your host immediately

Inform the front desk or your host about the issue right away. Show them the evidence you’ve collected. A reputable hotel or host should respond promptly and take immediate action to resolve the situation.

4. Request a room change

Ask to be moved to another room that is located far from the infested one. 

5. Inspect the new room

Before settling into the new room, conduct a thorough inspection similar to the one you did initially. Check the bed, mattress seams, headboards, furniture, and other hiding spots for any signs of bed bugs. Read on for more tips on how to check for bed bugs.

6. Protect your belongings

While waiting to move to a new room or if you need to stay in the infested room temporarily, keep your luggage off the floor and away from the bed. Use luggage racks if available. Consider sealing your clothes and belongings in plastic bags to prevent bed bugs from hitching a ride home.

7. Launder your clothes

When you get home, wash all your clothes in hot water and dry them on the highest heat setting to kill any bed bugs that may have come back with you. Vacuum your luggage and inspect it thoroughly before storing it away.

8. Follow up

If you’ve been bitten or are concerned about bringing bed bugs home, consult with a pest control professional for additional advice and inspection.


How to check for bed bugs abroad

1. Blood

As soon as you enter your hotel room pull back the bed covers and search for any specs of blood. Bed bugs tend to hide around the seams of mattresses so be sure to check there too. The blood may be red or it might have turned a rusty colour depending on how long it’s been there for. 

2. Eggs

Bed bug eggs are around 1mm wide, the same size as the head of a pin. Unless you're an expert you may struggle to see them. Use a flashlight and keep an eye out for anything that is small and has a pearly white colour to it. 

3. Musty odour

If your hotel room has a musty scent to it then do a thorough search for bed bugs. When a musty smell is present it’s usually because there is a large infestation. Although this is unlikely, it’s important to be aware of this tell-tale sign.

4. Dark spots on walls

Dark spots can appear on walls, carpet, headboards and other bedroom furniture as a result of bed bug droppings. 

5. Shedded skin

Bed bugs shed their skin and it's usually left near wherever they’re hiding. Moulted skin will often look like the bed bug itself but slightly larger.

6. Check curtains 

These insects can also hide in between curtain folds so it’s worth examining any that are in your room. 

7. Look at carpet edges and corners

Bed bugs also love to hide in the crevices between the carpet and the wall. Turn on your flashlight and check the edges and corners of the carpet. 


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