Bed bugs are often thought to only inhabit cheap, dirty hotels or hostels, but this could not be farther from the truth! In fact, they prefer cleaner environments and do not discriminate between budget accommodations and luxury properties. In addition to where you stay, infestations can be found on commercial airplanes, trains, and buses as well.
Bed bugs feed on human blood. They usually do this at night while we’re sleeping, which is why they’re most commonly found in and near mattresses. But they can also be on the walls, the headboard, the carpet, or other furniture like a couch or dresser in your hotel or guest room. A few minutes spent checking your room can prevent a lot of pain and annoyance.
Unfortunately, these bugs are tiny – usually 4mm to 5mm at most – so they’re easy to miss. They are about the size and shape of an apple seed. You don’t have to see the actual bug to recognize an infestation, though.
The important thing to remember is the sizes you’re dealing with. The insects and the incriminating evidence they leave behind are all small, so you have to look closely.
Here’s what to do as soon as you get into your hotel room:
- Put your suitcase or backpack in the bathroom. If you can prop it on the tub or counter instead of on the floor, even better. Do the best you can to keep your luggage off the bed and off the floor, especially carpets.
- Look very closely at the sheets for tiny stains, eggs, and skins that have been shed. You should pull back the blankets and look at the entire length of the sheets as well as the blankets themselves.
- Take the sheets off the bed and inspect the mattress. Use a credit card or something similar to check out the crevices and seams where the tiny bugs are likely to hide.
- If possible, flip the mattress to check the other side, and inspect the box spring, bed frame, and headboard.
If you suspect bed bugs, ask for another room or even consider switching hotels. Just because one room is infested doesn’t mean the entire hotel is, but it’s also common for the bugs to move from one room to another.
These bugs are avid hitchhikers and can travel back to Kansas City in your luggage, so it is advisable to take a few precautions.
- Clothing should be washed and run through the dryer on high heat when you return home.
- If you use shared laundry facilities, you should carry your laundry in a plastic bag.
- Remove laundry from the dryer directly into a new plastic bag if you suspect an infestation, and fold your clothes at home.
- Luggage should be sealed into a plastic bag for several months to a year, as bedbugs can survive that long without feeding under some conditions.