Hotel Check-In Checklist: How to Look for Bed Bugs When On Vacation

bed bugs

Vacations are supposed to be great experiences to unwind and relax. However, there are a few things to look out for so you don’t bring unwanted pests back home with you. Infestations can be costly to get rid of—and frustrating to manage or deal with on your own. Here is how to check a hotel room for an infestation of bed bugs before you get too comfortable.

What Is a Bed Bug & What to Look for

Bed bugs are tiny, blood-sucking critters. They feed on human and animal hosts while they sleep. Their bites thankfully don’t transmit disease; however, they can be painful, itchy, and downright uncomfortable. 

The Nest

Bed bugs live in mattresses, furniture, box springs, and soft furnishings. They are notoriously hard to get rid of once they have taken hold and begun infesting a property. There are a few telltale signs that these critters are present:

  • Live bugs. These tiny oval-shaped bugs are flat and have six legs. They are reddish-brown and are approximately 5–6mm in size. 
  • Stains. Bed bugs excrete a dark liquid that stains soft furnishings and beds. 
  • Blood smears. If accidentally squished, these bugs will leave blood smears and tiny blood stains on bedding. 
  • Skins. As they grow, bed bugs will shed their skin. They will leave behind tiny skin shells as they progress to maturity, at which point they no longer grow. Skin-casting is one of the most worrying signs as this indicates a sizable infestation has taken root. 
  • Eggs. These 1mm long eggs are pearly white and often laid in batches of ten eggs. Infestations can lay 300–500 eggs within two months if left untreated. 

Your Bed Bug Inspection Checklist

Inspecting your room before you start your stay is the best way to avoid unwanted house guests when you return home. Bed bugs can travel with other hotel guests and infest individual rooms. 

Here are the most common places for bed bug infestations, and how to check for them. 

  • Luggage racks. Leave your luggage outside of the room on a luggage trolley or in the bathroom during your inspection of the room. Be sure to inspect the luggage rack thoroughly before using it. 
  • Mattress and bed frame. This is the most common place for bed bugs to infest. Pull back the sheets and bedding. Start by inspecting the corners and seams of the mattress; the head of the bed is the most common hiding place. Signs of infection are dark flecks, castings of skin, visible adult bugs, and eggs. Lift the mattress and check underneath. Use a credit card or similar object to lift folded seams and crevices.  
  • Chairs and soft furnishings. Sofas and upholstered furniture can also play host to bed bugs. It is vital to check each one carefully. Inspect the seams, as well as any cracks or crevices they could be hiding in. You should thoroughly inspect curtains and dark hiding places as well. 

It is vital to check every corner of a bed as well as the surfaces of sheets. Bed bugs will leave signs to alert you of their presence. 

Preventing Bed Bug Infestations From Coming Home with You 

If you find bugs, don’t be afraid to ask for a new room in a different part of the hotel or opt for a new hotel completely. If you haven’t seen any bed bugs and would like to be cautious, you can travel with ziplock bags. Bed bugs love dirty clothes and will happily catch a ride in your laundry. 

Packing dirty laundry into a sealable bag can help prevent you from bringing them home. Once you have returned home, tumble dry your clothing for 30 minutes: The heat will kill any bugs that might have hitched a ride. 

Dealing with Unwanted Guests

If you have brought bed bugs home with you or have an infestation, get in touch with Vulcan Termite & Pest Control. We are pest experts, and can help you tackle your critter problems. In fact, we can help manage and prevent infestations from taking root and causing you unwanted stress and discomfort.