Hotel Bed Bug Search Guide

December 9, 2021

Traveling can be hectic enough as it is, and the last thing anyone wants to worry about during their trip is whether their hotel room has bed bugs. We put together this Hotel Bed Bug Search Guide to put those worries to bed so you can enjoy your trip.

When You Arrive

When you first arrive at your room, do not set your luggage down and unpack. Instead, bring it into the bathroom where bed bugs do not usually hide, and leave it in there until you have completed your inspection. If you need space beyond the bathroom, inspect the luggage rack before using it. Do not place any of your belongings on the bed or other furniture.

What to Look For

During your search, you are looking for bed bugs or the evidence they leave behind. Adult bed bugs have a flat back, are about 3/8 of an inch long and are brownish-red in color. Their oval shape is reminiscent of an apple seed. Nymph bed bugs are nearly invisible to the naked eye, as they have translucent bodies and are smaller than a sesame seed. Even if you don’t see any actual bed bugs, be sure to keep a sharp eye out for tiny dark brown or rust-colored blood spots and exoskeletons that have been shed.

How and Where to Search

Before you start your search, you’ll need to make sure you have a flashlight and a credit card. If a room has bed bugs, the most common area to find the pests is, of course, the bed. Gently pull back the blanket, sheets, and mattress protector from the corner of the bed, using the flashlight to inspect each layer as you go. When you get to the mattress, carefully look over the entire corner, especially around seams and folds, using the credit card to peek under the folds. Be sure to check every corner of the bed.

Continue your inspection with the box spring, as well as the bed frame and headboard. Many hotel and motel headboards are mounted to the wall, so be sure to check the space between the wall and headboard as well.

Once you have finished checking the bed area, move on to any other furniture in the room. Start with the furniture closest to the bed, like nightstands and dressers. Check all of the screw holes and joints as well as any other cracks and crevices.

Next check the soft furniture like desk chairs, living chairs, and couches, particularly around the head and neck areas. Again, pay careful attention around seams and folds, and use the credit card when needed. Next, check the curtains and finally, behind picture frames.

If you find any evidence of bed bug activity, notify the front desk and either leave the hotel or ask for a new room. Keep in mind when asking for a new reservation that any rooms adjacent to an infested one are likely also infested, so you should try to get a room in a different part of the building.

During Your Stay

If you want to be extra careful, there are steps you can take to minimize the chance of any overlooked bed bugs getting into your things. Bed bugs are attracted to the smell of the chemical we leave behind on our clothes, so you should keep all of your dirty laundry in a plastic bag for the duration of your stay. Plastic bags can also be used to protect your luggage, clean clothes, and shoes. Of course, having your suitcase in a trash bag can be a hassle, so if you decide against that method, at least keep your luggage on a luggage rack or hard surface during your stay. Do your best to keep all of your stuff consolidated to one area- the more areas your belongings occupy, the higher the chance that something will acquire bed bugs.

When You Leave

If you are driving home, you may want to put your luggage in plastic bags so there is no chance of transferring bed bugs to your vehicle. When you arrive home, place your luggage in a clean, empty tub until you can inspect and clean it. Bed bugs can’t jump or fly, and they cannot climb smooth surfaces, so any hitchhikers will be trapped in the tub if they decide to leave your luggage. Wash all of your clothes right away and dry them in high heat. Washing alone will not usually kill bed bugs, but a dryer on high heat will. If you cannot wash your clothing right away, keep it in a plastic bag until you can. Use a cloth dampened with hot water to wipe your shoes down or use a handheld vacuum on them. If your luggage is small enough, you can throw it in the dryer on high heat. Otherwise, vacuum your luggage inside and out. Immediately after you have finished vacuuming either your shoes or luggage, dispose of the vacuum’s contents in a plastic bag, seal it tightly, and throw it away. As an extra precaution, you can store your luggage in a plastic bag or bin until you need it again to ensure any possible surviving bed bugs cannot move into your home.

Our technicians are ready to assist you. If despite taking all precautions, you discover bed bugs in your home, don't hesitate to give us a call for effective bed bug pest control solutions.