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What to Do If You Find Bed Bugs In Your Hotel Room – Lifehacker

Photo: Akos Nagy (Shutterstock)

Nobody wants bed bugs. You do not want bed bugs. The hotel youre staying in does not want bed bugs, but its entirely possible that it has them. We have tips on how to check your hotel room for bed bugs, but what do you do if you actually find some? You do not want to risk bringing these guys home.

When you first enter your hotel room, do not flop your suitcase or yourself down on the bed. The same goes for the couch, or anything else upholstered. Roll your suitcase into the bathroom, and leave it there for now. You can set your purse down on the countertop or even a table, but to be totally honest, the safest place for all your stuff right now is the bathtub.

Bed bugs could be in any type of hotel, so dont assume that the hotel youre in is so nice or so clean that you dont need to check. The details on where to look, and what to look for, are here. In brief: pull up the bedsheets and mattress covers at the corners, and inspect for stains or gritty black or brown stuff.

Bed bugs live in dark crevices, out of sight, but they come out each night for blood meals (aka, you). They can hide in and around beds, so that includes headboards and picture frames; check around the edges of those, too. And despite the name, they can also live in non-bed furnishings, like couches. So check those places.

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If you find bed bug evidence on the mattress or elsewhere, take a minute to verify your suspicions. There are plenty of websites that will show you all the gory details of what a bed bug infestation looks like, so Ill spare you the visuals here. This FAQ from Reddits bedbug forum provides a good rundown of what youre looking for, and it also includes information on several lookalike species that are not bed bugs.

Because, honestly: a lot of people dont know what bed bugs look like. If you see a bug in your hotel room, its fair to suspect bed bugs, but make sure to verify your observation in case youve just happened upon an ant, a carpet beetle, or a roach. These guys may not be the best roommates, but they are nothing compared to the horror of possibly bringing home a bed bug infestation.

Now, just because you found ants or roaches, that does not mean that youre in the clear. You could have roaches and bedbugs. Just saying.

Alright, so youve found what youre pretty sure is bed bug evidence. The first thing I would do, after (or in the process of) identifying what Ive found, is to take clear photos, just in case these come in handy when making your complaint or asking corporate headquarters for a refund.

Next, your luggage! Is it in the bathtub? If so, its safe for now. If not, put it in the bathtub. Its possible for bed bugs to crawl into your bags and thereby hitch a ride home. If theres any chance that they snuck in while you werent looking (for example, if you dont find the bugs until after youve spent a few nights in the room), treat your suitcase as potentially contaminated until you can thoroughly clean it and everything in it. But thats for later.

Now, you have to figure out where youre spending the night, because ideally it will not be this bed bug-infested hotel room. Contact the front desk and explain the issue. Some states have laws requiring that any room with bed bugs have them exterminated before anybody can use the room again. You can reasonably expect the hotel to try to move you to a different room, or to let you cancel the reservation and go elsewhere.

If they do want to move you to a different room, ask for it to be as far away from the infested room as possible. A room right next door, or directly above or below, may be infested as well. Insist on inspecting the new room before you agree to stay there.

One more thing to do while youve got a hotel employee apologizing at you: Ask for garbage bags. If you did get some bed bugs in your suitcase, you dont want to bring them to your next accommodations. And if you didnt, you might be, understandably, extra paranoid about the possibility. Wrap your bags in plastic for the rest of your trip.

What if you have no other option, or you discovered the bugs after already spending a night in the cursed room? How bad is it to wake up with bed bug bites?

The good news is that bed bugs dont transmit diseases with their bites. They may be able to transmit Chagas disease through their feces, although the normal vector for that disease is bed bugs relative the kissing bug. What that means, for you: Dont scratch your bed bug bites until after youve washed the skin around them.

Okay, now time for the bad news. Bed bug bites are no fun. Most commonly, there will be several bites in clusters or in a row. They look a bit like mosquito bites, and they itch. You wont notice anything while youre being bitten, but you may find yourself itching the next day, or even a few days later.

If youve been bitten by a lot of bed bugs, you may be desensitized to them. Or maybe youre just luckypeoples reactions vary, and some people do not react at all.

If you need to stay in a place that may have bed bugs, get some plastic sheeting and place it on top of the bed, and dont allow it to touch the floor or any surroundings (pull the bed away from the headboard). You can put clean sheets on top of the plastic, but make sure your bedding doesnt touch the floor. Its relatively safe to sleep on a plastic-encased bed like this.

Alright, lets talk about that suitcase. Bed bugs may climb in it because theyre looking for a hiding place, but they may also be following the scent of your dirty laundry. If you cant manage to wrap your whole suitcase in plastic, at the very least bag up your laundry.

While youre still in the infested area, sort your laundry. Anything labeled dry clean only should skip the washer but is usually safe to go in the dryer. Sort the rest of your laundry the usual way, and plan to wash it using the hottest and harshest settings that wont destroy your clothes. If something can be washed in hot water, by golly, you will wash it in hot water. Seal up the laundry before you take it home or to the laundromat; if there are bugs in the bags, you dont want them crawling out.

At home, or at the next place you get the opportunity, empty everything out of your suitcase and vacuum the entire suitcase, inside and out, including all the pockets and nooks and crannies. Do this outdoors if you can, and seal up the debris when you take it out of the vacuum.

The University of Minnesota has a guide to laundering clothes to kill bed bugs. Pro tip: 30 minutes in the dryer, on high heat, will kill the bugs. You can use this treatment on clothes that dont need to be washed or that shouldnt get wet (like the dry-clean-only stuff).

Be careful about those bags, by the way. The guide has instructions on sealing up the empty, used bag so that any bugs inside wont be able to escape from the trash. And youll want to put your clothes immediately into clean bags (dont trust the folding table at the laundromat) and keep them sealed up until youre in a place that you know is bed bug-free.

Heres another small piece of good news: While it may be hard to find bed bugs, its pretty easy to kill them. They dont do well with extremes of temperature, so one way to kill them is to leave your belongings in a hot car or a garbage bag for a few days and let the summer sun bake them to death. (The University of Minnesota says the heat isnt reliable enough; the Texas A&M extension endorses the technique as long as you can get the contents of the bag up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour. I suspect this approach works better in Texas than in Minnesota.)

Freezing is also an option. To kill bed bugs, they must be below freezing temperatures for four days; consider using a thermometer to monitor the process, especially for large items where the surface might be cold but the inside may not be. The University of Minnesota warns that outdoor temperatures arent usually consistent enough to be able to freeze things just by leaving them outside in the winter; an actual freezer will do the job better.

Objects with hard surfaces, like wooden or plastic toys, can be wiped clean. Watch out for cracks and crevices, though; the little buggers like to hide. Its possible to fumigate small objects with kits you can buy, if you cant find another way to kill the bugs.

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What to Do If You Find Bed Bugs In Your Hotel Room - Lifehacker

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Bed bugs in your hotel… what to do after? – Insects in …

(Last Updated On: April 12, 2011)

Bed bug, Cimex lectularis

Imagine that youre traveling and staying in a nice hotel. The next morning you discover bites and confirm that your room has bed bugs. What do you do? This is an increasingly common problem for travelers, as well as a nightmare for the hotel industry.

Recently a question came into our office from a person with just this experience. She had stayed in a hotel with bed bugs. Immediately after returning home she called her local health department and was advised to discard all her personal belonging if she didnt want to bring the bed bugs home. She did this, and is now fighting with hotel management for reimbursement of the cost of her lost personal items.

While you should be legitimately concerned about bringing bed bugs home from a stay in an infested hotel, there are easier, less drastic solutions. After reporting the infestation to the hotel, there are several things you can do to protect yourself if you suspect youve stayed in a bed bug infested room:

Bed bug infestations can be reported online via one of multiple consumer hotel registries. Two sites include and

Bed bugs in your hotel... what to do after? - Insects in ...

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Landlord Responsibility for Bed Bugs | Nolo

What tenants should know about landlords' responsibility for bed bugs in rental properties.

Bed bug problem? It happens to even the best of apartments. Bed bugs can catch a ride in your suitcase or used furniture (beware of second hand mattresses!) or on your clothing. The critters can even travel from another apartment in your building. Positively identifying bed bugs is best left to a professional, but if you want to learn more, there are many resources about bed bugs available (the Environmental Protection Agency has a particularly good bed bug website).

Here's how tenants should deal with a bed bug infestation in their rental. (Hint: A can of Raid is not going to do the job.)

If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your unit or building, contact your landlord or manager right away. Your landlord should hire a qualified exterminator to inspect for and measure the concentration of bed bugs in your rental (and also adjoining units). Before any exterminator enters your unit, your landlord should give you proper notice of entry for the exterminator's inspection, or work with you to come up with a plan for accessing your unit that works for both of you.

Some states have specific laws on the books about landlords'and tenants'duties regarding bed bug infestations. For example, state laws might require tenants to take steps such as:

Ask your landlord what to expect from the bed bug inspection. Typically, a pest management professional will examine the main bed bug site (such as your mattress and bedding), as well as other common bed bug hiding places, such as drawers, closets, and shelves. A professional will also attempt to determine where the bed bugs came from, and learn whether and how the problem has spread. Mapping the infestation might also help determine when a particular rental unit became infested, which the landlord may use to apportion financial responsibility for the exterminationsome states allow landlords to charge the cost of extermination to tenants who willfully or recklessly cause an infestation, or who fail to timely report an infestation.

Exterminators usually recommend that tenants in bed bug-infested units take the following steps:

Keep in mind that if you don't follow the exterminator's advice, and the bed bugs reappear, you'll have to start the whole process all over again. Also, in some states, you could face fines if you don't follow or cooperate with your landlord's bed bug control measures.

As long as the tenant didn't introduce the bed bugs, the landlord is usually responsible for extermination.

Most states require landlords to provide habitable housing, and most courts don't consider bed bug infested units to be habitable. So, as long as the tenant didn't introduce the bed bugs, the landlord is usually responsible for extermination. However, determining who introduced the bed bugs (and who must foot the bill) is often very difficult in multi-unit buildings: Many tenants may be moving in and out, some might have recently traveled abroad and brought home bed bugs, and others might have brought home furniture that contained bed bugs. As a result, landlords (or their insurers) often end up footing the extermination bill and (possibly) tenant relocation costs in properties with several rental units.

If you live in a single-family homeespecially if you've lived there a long timeit's more likely that the landlord will hold you responsible for the infestation and its extermination costs, simply because there's no other tenants to blame.

Note that renters' insurance typically will not pay for eradication of bed bugs or bed bug-related damage. If a qualified partysuch as a professional exterminatordetermines that you caused the infestation, it's likely that you will be paying the costs of extermination out of your own pocket.

Depending on your state's law, if your landlord fails to take care of a major bed bug problem, you might have options such as:

Before you take any of these steps to deal with an unresponsive landlord, though, you should consider consulting with an attorney or local housing resource to see what options local law allows. Some states don't allow tenants to withhold rent or move out without penalty, and others might even put the responsibility on the tenant to exterminate bed bugs. Tenants who improperly take one of these steps to solve their bed bug problem might face serious consequences, such as owing rent on a unit they've moved out of or having their tenancy terminated for wrongfully withholding rent.

Many tenants don't want to live in a property with a history of bed bugseven if the landlord has taken proper extermination measures. Some states require landlords to disclose past or present bed bug infestations, and even more states require landlords to disclose general issues with the property. Tenants who are concerned about a property's bed bug-related past should ask the landlord outright about any prior infestations. Even if the law doesn't require disclosure, landlords should answer such questions truthfully. When a landlord misrepresents the property's history, the tenant might have grounds for a lawsuit or other remediessuch as breaking the lease without penaltylater on if the tenant suffers harm from a bed bug infestation.

Landlord Responsibility for Bed Bugs | Nolo

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Theyre back. Americas least favorite roommates are moving in at rates previously unheard of. The roommates in question are bed bugs one of the nations most hardy and enduring pests, and source of endless trouble for hotel operators, apartment tenants, and homeowners. Texans are reporting bed bugs at greater numbers than ever before, with exterminators struggling to cope with the quantity.

But when, and more importantly, how did the bugs make it to Texas? Reports of bed bugs in cities such as New York have been common for the last six months, with a number of retail outlets forced to close and an even greater number of residential complexes battling the bugs for months at a time. The annoyance even spread to neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut, annoying residents.

At the same time, the bugs have been a common sight on the opposite seaboard. Residents of San Francisco have been forced to share their mattresses with the unwanted guests for months, as the bugs have taken hold of numerous inner-city residential complexes due to poor fumigation. With the best chemicals now outlawed, the problem appears to be getting worse.

Experts claim that the bugs have entered Texas through tourists, many of whom inadvertently slept in a bed infested with the creatures. Infested mattresses can often contain millions of the micro-bug pests, leading to hotel and apartment dwellers maintaining a small population of the nasty creatures in their clothing without even knowing it. The bugs can then leap from one person to another.

How are bed bugs spreading through Texas?

We now know how the pests got into Texas a state that hasnt seen a major outbreak of bed bugs in almost fifty years. But how are they spreading through Texas? The state maintains a climate that the bugs will undoubtedly find appealing, with high humidity and consistently warm temperatures. The height of winter is unlikely to eliminate the pests, as theyre almost completely resistant to cold.

But despite the states climate, theres little to suggest that theyre able to spread through Texan beds and couches abnormally quickly. Pest control experts have claimed that the bugs are unaffected by warmth, humidity, and extreme cold, save for a few ultra-high heat weaknesses. Save for a truly lethal dose of heat, environmental factors rarely convince the bugs to move on.

It makes sense, then, that the bugs are spreading through Texas in the luggage and clothing of those that have slept in an infested bed. Hotel rooms are major sources of the bugs, with even prestigious addresses likely to house the pests. Shared apartments, temporary holiday rentals, and other houses that are left uncleaned are also sources of the bugs, which nestle into bedsheets and mattresses.

Minimize the risk of spreading bed bugs throughout Texas by carefully checking hotel beds before going to sleep. A recent Statesman article highlighted the importance of examining any hotel rooms before staying. The traveler featured in the article recommended stripping the sheets from a bed and examining the crevices of the mattress, particularly those around the beds headboard.

Which major cities are most at risk for bed bug infestation?

Texas has fared relatively well when it comes to bed bug reports. While New York City leads the nation in bed bug complaints and fumigation requests, most of Texass major cities fall fairly far behind in the rankings. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Seattle are all home to more bed bug outbreaks than Dallas-Fort Worth, despite some of the cities in question housing less people.

That said, there are bed bugs in Texas, particularly in the states more dense and populous centers. A report from My Fox Austin has shown the amount of residential buildings in the area that are homes for bed bugs. Other news outlets in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio have reported on the bugs being present in their cities, although numbers tend to be fairly modest and outbreaks rare.

West Texas has been largely unaffected by the pests, owing to its relative geographic isolation and limited number of densely packed residential buildings. The bugs are likely to live in commercial buildings throughout the state, however, making it important for office workers and professionals to examine their clothing, furniture, and any covered material goods regularly to prevent spreading.

Bed bugs have been gone for years. Why are they back?

The most compelling argument for the bugs return is that the chemicals used as pest preventatives are no longer as powerful or effective as they were just one decade ago. Bed bugs were eradicated in the United States following World War II a milestone that passed over sixty years ago. Due to the recent ban of DDT pest preventatives, the bugs are returning in record numbers.

Outbreaks are most obvious in urban centers, particularly cities that are packed densely with houses and other high-density projects. New Yorks Manhattan Island is considered the nations bug capital, with densely packed residential buildings housing billions of the annoying pests. Luckily, Texas has yet to see an outbreak on the same scale, as the states geographic isolation and low density helps.

Insufficient cleaning has also lead to the bugs return. While bed bugs dont feed on grit or uneaten food, they do thrive in environments that are packed with cotton and other material surfaces. While cleaning goes some way to prevent them from taking hold of a home, any area that provides cracks, folded clothing, and other comfortable spots has the potential to become infested with the bugs.

Bed bugs in the Dallas / Fort Worth area

When extermination company Terminix released its worst bedbug cities list, most Texans were both surprised and relieved to learn that none of their major population centers featured. Cities that bring international travelers in droves topped the list, with New York and Philadelphia taking the top two spots. Strangely, however, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was nowhere to be seen in the studys Top 15.

For residents, that was most certainly a good thing. Outbreaks have been rare in Dallas, although a few isolated incidents have occurred over the past five years. While bed bug call outs have increased in the city and metropolitan area, the amount of infestations is very low when compared to cities in the countrys Northeast and major population centers on the West Coast.

The few infestations that occur are typically treated quickly, with Dallass pest control businesses able to respond to calls promptly and provide effective eradication treatments. As the city is home to thousands of other bug strains cockroaches and mosquitos the most popular it offers a large amount of choice when it comes to pest control businesses and extermination companies.

Bed bugs in Houston

If Texas has a bed bug center, its Houston. The business center is home to millions of people from across the nation, many of whom have taken up residence in its relatively dense inner-city housing buildings. While the bugs are, once again, far from the prevalence level seen in New York City and San Francisco, theyre still a problem for city residents and hotel staff within Houston.

A recent blog post from the Houston Press has highlighted the spread of bugs throughout the city and its surrounding areas. The blog post which is closer to an in-depth preventative guide than a simple opinion piece brings attention to the numerous new methods which pest control experts use to combat the bugs. From excess heat to freeze-powered solutions, its all there.

Some have pointed to the citys business travel industry as a reason for the spread of bed bugs, with energy industry employees frequently using Houston as a travel hub for other points in Texas. While the bugs are becoming a nuisance for suburban housing communities (as this article explains), their presence is mostly limited to dense accommodation and other shared residential buildings.

Bed bugs in San Antonio

Reports of bed bug infestations in San Antonio have increased exponentially in the last two years. A single case in 2007 has turned into hundreds during 2010, with homeowners and apartment dwellers increasingly concerned about the bugs. Theyre also increasingly vigilant about removing the pests from their properties exterminators in the city have been called to more cases than ever before.

A recent case involving bed bugs at the Home Gate Inn Hotel resulted in health department action and a swift cleaning session from the hotels management team. The couple that stayed at the room have incurred close to ten thousand dollars worth of expenses trying to fight the bugs, removing and replacing their old furniture and repeatedly cleaning their clothes and travel luggage.

However, while shocking cases are becoming a more regular occurrence, the bugs are still fairly rare in San Antonio. Exterminators have suggested that residents take preventative measures against the bugs rather than trying to right them after being spotted in a residence. Check hotel beds before sleeping, view cracks and crevices, and ensure you do not stay in an infested hotel.

Bed bugs in Austin

Texass political and cultural capital appears to be running into the same bed bug problems seen in other cities. The insects have been sighted in Austin apartment complexes and residential towers, a local news report has claimed. While the bugs are fairly rare in the city itself, theyre likely to move from one host to another on public transport and through shared clothes and furniture.

Reports have been fairly slow in the city, although they are occurring at a higher rate than in other years. Like many other parts of the United States, Austin has experienced a surge in the prevalence of bed bugs and other nighttime annoyances. Heat treatments are becoming more common for city residents, as traditional pest control sprays rarely affect the bugs due to their hardy nature.

As with other cities, local media outlets have provided information that could help residents battling the annoying pests. This guide and writeup contains a few quick tips for limiting the bugs ability to spread throughout your home. While they remain relatively rare in Austin, the citys travel-friendly reputation may cause them to spread further via hotels, hostels, and other tourist accommodation.

Recent reported outbreaks, and their economic impact

Widespread outbreaks have not affected Texass major cities and population centers, nor have they had any major effect on the states economy. While New York City and other metro areas chose to allocate funds and manpower to eliminate the bugs, the small amount of infestations in Texas has made the important of a task force or special health division fairly debatable.

That said, individual cases can and do have an effect on the commercial properties that house the bugs. One motel in Luddock has reported a significant downturn in business following reports of bed bugs in hotel beds and furniture. The hotel has since sprayed its rooms and removed the bugs, though the negative word of mouth and other rumors have left it relatively low on customers.

I think I have bed bugs. What should I do?

Its important to take immediate action if you do have bed bugs. The first, and most important, step is to ensure that you have an infestation. Check creases in your mattress, areas around electric plugs and sockets, and furniture for the bugs. Their small form and dark brown appearance makes them a tough nuisance to spot, although trains of black feces and discarded shells are a common giveaway.

Secondly, call a professional pest control expert in your area. The bugs are highly resistant to sprays and other consumer solutions. They cant be eradicated like a mosquito or other common pests, only with the resources and skills that a professional exterminator can offer. Complete removal can often require that you discard your clothes, remove your mattress, and even fumigate your residence.

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Texas Bed Bug Hotel and Apartment Reports |

Bed Bug Hotel and Apartment Reports. Click on the city below to find our latest bed bug reports in Texas on hotels. To report a new bed bug incident, navigate to our city page below to see further details.

Recommended tips after hotel check-in: 1. Pick up the mattresses in the rooms and look under it. Check around the edges of the box springs. 2. Check under the box spring. 3. Lift up each headboard an lay it on the bed. Carefully inspect the hole where the headboard was lifted out of. Also, inspect all niches and corners of the headboard. 4. If you decide to stay in the hotel, do not put any clothes in dressers. Keep them in your luggage and your dirty clothes in plastic bags.

My Apartment has an infestation with Fleas and bed bugs. I was being bit every night for an entire week. I reported to Management on 06/08/2020 trhat my apartment was unlivable . I had to throw away m...

A friend and I rented this 2-bedroom unit offered on Airbnb starting May 30. The first week we were there, we weren't in the unit during the day or evenings due to work, so only spent time in one of t...

5/30/20 @ 0230, reported bed bugs to hotel staff and management. Moved to a new room. I was told rooms were put out of service for deep cleaning. ...

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