Staying in a hotel room should be a pleasurable experience, but you need to keep a close eye out for unexpected guests joining your party. If your hotel room has not been maintained to the best standards, there is a possibility it may be infested with bed bugs.
These can cause redness, itching and painful welts which can be extremely uncomfortable. In addition, bed bugs can be easily transferred to your luggage, which means you may also end up with an infestation when you return home. Checking your hotel room thoroughly for these pests is a simple task but one that is most definitely worth your while.
What Are the Signs?
Bed bugs are small creatures the approximate shape and size of an apple pip.
They are flattish in appearance and can vary in colour from pale to very dark brown, sometimes with a red tinge. The bugs themselves can be difficult to spot as they prefer to hide away in dark crevices, but there are other tell-tale signs to look for. After bed bugs have bitten humans, they excrete blood. If you spot little red or brown stains that resemble specks of rust, this can indicate the presence of bed bugs. Black dots that look like ground pepper are another indicator, as are light brown skin casings. Bear in mind that if you do spot one bed bug, there are likely to be many more as they are extremely prolific breeders. You may not spot any signs, but if after you have spent the night in your hotel bed you experience any itching or notice tiny specks of blood on your sheets, it is likely that your room is infested.
Where To Look
Bed bugs, as the name suggests, are primarily found around the bed but can also be located in a variety of other places. These tiny bugs are adept at hiding, so a good torch is essential in order to conduct a thought search.
Start by checking the bed thoroughly, inspecting all bed linen for any signs. Bed bugs love to hide in the seams and ruffles of bedding, so don’t forget to check these too. Lift up the mattress and take a good look at the bed frame. The headboard is a favourite spot for bed bugs, so look carefully behind this and lift it out if possible. Next check the area around the bed, paying special attention to bedside tables, drawers, clocks and telephones.
Check behind any pictures or mirrors on the walls, and examine any furniture such as sofas or chairs thoroughly. Look in the wardrobe and the luggage rack, as previous occupants may have brought bed bugs to the hotel during their stay. Traces of white powder could indicate that the room has previously been treated for bed bugs, so if you spot this, be extra cautious. If you should discover any sign of a bed bug infestation, contact your hotel reception immediately and ask to be transferred to a different room. Bed bugs can travel between rooms via duct work and even very small cracks in the walls, so ensure your replacement room is not adjacent to the affected room, and avoid those above and below as well as the rooms to either side. Don’t forget to check the new room for bed bugs too.
Precautions During Your Stay
Keep your luggage sealed and do not be tempted to unpack any bags or cases until you have confirmed that your hotel room is free of bed bugs. If possible, leave your luggage downstairs or in your vehicle until you are ready to unpack. If this is not an option, stow it in the bathroom, as this is the least likely place to be affected by bed bugs. During your stay, seal any dirty clothes in a plastic bag. Bed bugs are attracted to the scent that we leave behind on our clothes, so keep these stowed carefully away to minimise the risk of bringing any bugs home with you. Keep all clothes and luggage stowed off the ground, protecting these with plastic bags if possible.
After Your Trip
If you are worried that your room may have been infested, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that any bed bugs in your luggage do not transfer themselves to your home. Keep all your dirty laundry sealed in a plastic bag until you are ready to wash it, and use a high-temperate program. Vacuum your luggage, sealing the contents in a plastic bag before disposing of it in an outside bin.
A hotel room infested with bed bugs can not only make for an uncomfortable stay, but also cause serious problems. Follow these simple tips to ensure your hotel room is free of pests and avoid causing a troublesome and potentially costly infestation in your own home.