Check for Bed Bugs

By Perry Benani

Check for bed bugs both at your home or in hotel rooms

Even though bed bugs are tiny, you can spot them easily if you know how and where to look.

With cockroach-like survival instincts, bed bugs continue to plague cities across the country.

Due to increased international travel and the restricted use of potent insecticides and pesticides, these bugs are making a comeback and infesting homes, schools, restaurants, hotels, and movie theatres more rapidly than ever.

How Bed Bugs Get Into The Home

A popular myth surrounding these bugs is that they are only found in unsanitary or overpopulated places. This is not true as the environment in which these bugs live does not greatly influence their chances of survival. 

As long as the climate is moderate in temperature and the surroundings provide ample opportunity for feeding (on human and animal blood), bed bugs can thrive almost anywhere. The most luxurious hotels and condos have even been reported to have bed bug infestations. 

While bed bugs don’t hop or fly, they are gifted hitchhikers. These bugs can crawl very fast and hide in luggage, cardboard boxes, clothing, used furniture, and other items that one brings back into the house. 

Bed bugs may spread from apartment to apartment if you live in an apartment complex.

How To Check For Bed Bugs In Your Home

If you notice skin bites and suspect bed bugs are present in your home or apartment:

Use a torchlight and inspect the bed frames and the mattresses (along the seams and edges) as bed bugs tend to congregate near their victims’ sleep. 

Look for any physical signs of the bugs, skeletons of dead bed bugs, fecal matter, and molted skins (bugs shed their skin during molting).

Another clue is to check the bedding and bed linens for any signs of dried blood or brown spots that may indicate bed bugs.

In addition, you may also want to check the closets, drawers, lampshades, nightstands, or any upholstered furniture near the bed. If you have carpets in the room, you may also want to look underneath them. 

Bed bugs typically hide in these areas other than the bed.

How To Deal With Bed Bugs If You Find Them in Your Home

If you find bugs in your home, try to locate all infested areas. Contact a bed bug exterminator to determine the best ways to rid your home of the bugs.

In the meantime, the room where bed bugs are found needs to be de-cluttered and vacuumed. All bed linens and pillow covers need to be removed and washed in hot water above temperature 120°F for at least 20 minutes. 

Do the same for clothing and other items like blankets, stuffed animals, decorative pillows, and area rugs.

Apply non-toxic pesticides like Diatomaceous Earth to your apartment or house’s perimeter if possible.

Also, read about how to get rid of bed bugs yourself. If you live in an apartment, contact the management office or your landlord to report the problem, as the apartments near you may need to be inspected as well.

Checking Hotel Rooms For Bed Bugs

Increased travel has allowed bugs to quickly travel from one location to another by crawling into luggage and other items. The likelihood of an infested hotel room is difficult to determine in advance.

Even if a hotel has been recently renovated, bed bugs can still infest rooms within days. However, you can take a few precautions when traveling to decrease your chances of bringing bugs home with you.

Before reserving a room, you can check out Bed Bug Registry to see if any bed bugs have been reported in the hotel you intend to stay. This step alone will help you avoid and reduce the chances of any encounter with bed bugs.

To further reduce the chances of getting bitten by bed bugs while staying in a hotel, it is also recommended that one inspects the room thoroughly upon arrival. 

Always perform a preliminary inspection of the bed, mattress, sheets, and pillows to make sure there is no sign of bed bugs present before bringing your luggage into the room.

I found bed bugs in my hotel room; what should I do?

If you find bed bugs or signs of infestation such as fecal matter or blood stains on the mattress or box spring, report it to the hotel management and request a change of room or make arrangements to stay at another hotel. 

Again, check for bed bugs if you moved to a new room to avoid possible infestation of your belongings.

Read more about avoiding bed bugs while traveling.

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