How Likely is it to Get Bed Bugs From a Hotel?

Imagine checking into your hotel room, ready to start the vacation you have been looking forward to for weeks, only to have things derailed by a bed bug infestation. 

Whether you witness active bed bugs, bed bug droppings or shed skin, or simply wake up with bites on your body, discovering an infestation is no pleasant experience. 

Bed bug infestations can occur at any time, but it’s wise to be extra weary of these creatures during peak travel times, like the spring and summer for instance. 

These creatures can linger in hotel rooms, hiding in cracks and crevices, feeding on those that are unlucky enough to sleep there. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make a difference whether it’s a first-class resort or a low-rate motel.

You could encounter bed bugs anywhere. 

According to research by the NPMA at the University of Kentucky, 74% of pest control professionals said they have encountered bed bugs in a given year. 

Though bed bugs are also commonly found in apartments, single-family homes, and other facilities with heavy foot traffic, insect encounters at hotels/motels are not to be ignored. 

What to Do if you Slept at a Hotel with Bed Bugs

The dangers of encountering bed bugs in a hotel room are not just the bites that you might experience. 

There is also a risk of bringing an infestation home with you, potentially exposing you and your family to long-term physical and emotional harm. Bed bugs are natural hitchhikers, so it’s likely that if you encounter an infestation, you could bring bed bugs home with you through your luggage or other belongings. 

Initially, once you learn you have been exposed to bed bugs you must not panic. Not everybody who encounters bed bugs will necessarily bring them home. Nevertheless, it’s better to take extra caution and assume you will carry a stray bed bug or two. 

Luckily, there are a few methods you can try to avoid exposing bed bugs to your home. 

These involve taking the following steps:

  1. Store your luggage on a carrier – Never leave your luggage or dirty clothes on the floor, instead use the luggage racks or leave your suitcase in the bathroom. When you arrive home, leave your luggage in the garage or an outdoor porch rather than bring it directly into the house. 
  2. Wrap your bags – In the fight against bed bugs, plastic is your friend. Secure any belongings that you think may have been exposed to bed bugs before walking into the house. 
  3. Do laundry – Immediately put all clothes that may be infested in the laundry and wash/dry on high heat for at least 30 minutes each. 
  4. Leave remaining items outside of the house – Any other items that you travel with outside of clothes (toiletries, shoes, suitcases, etc.) should be either discarded or carefully treated with insecticide. 

Does One Bed Bug Mean an Infestation?

You might be wondering that if you spot just one bed bug, does it mean there must be an infestation or could it be just one isolated incident?

You should inspect the area to see if you find any other signs of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug fecal matter tends to look like black ink dots. Fresh blood stains on linens can be the sign of a recent feeding, and small white or clear casings could be bed bug eggs. 

If you find even one bed bug in your home or apartment, you should consider contacting a licensed exterminator to inspect your home and make sure the situation has been contained. On the other hand, if you find a bed bug in a hotel room, you should take photographs and video, and then vacate the room to report the situation to the property. 

Since hotels have a revolving door of foot traffic and can fall short of training staff how to properly handle bed bug situations, they can be more prone to bed bug infestations. It is important that whenever you travel that you do a proper inspection of your hotel room. 
Make sure to follow the correct steps and thoroughly check your hotel room for any signs of bed bugs to confirm whether you have an infestation on your hands, or whether this was just one isolated insect.

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