Hotels and motels are the third most popular place to find bed bugs according to a survey by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). If you find bed bugs in your hotel, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the conditions are unsanitary. In fact, bed bugs don’t discriminate when it comes to where they take up residence. The truth is, bed bugs are attracted to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide—meaning any location or host is an option.

So, how do you prevent bed bugs when traveling? There are a few ways to identify if bed bugs reside in the hotel or motel you’re staying in. Plus, there are a few tips to keep in mind when you arrive back home to ensure no bed bugs came along with you.

How to check your hotel for bed bugs

Bed bugs aren’t just found in the city or third-world countries. In fact, they are found in all 50 states. The NPMA’s Bed Bugs in America survey found that 17 percent of those surveyed found bed bugs in the Northeast, 20 percent in the Midwest, 20 percent in the South and 19 percent in the West. While the occurrence of bed bugs is three times higher in urban areas due to population size, apartment living and increased mobility, bed bugs can be found anywhere. So, even if you are on a weekend getaway in the mountains, it’s important to check your hotel for bed bugs.

  1. When you first arrive in your hotel room, don’t immediately unpack. Find the luggage rack provided by the hotel and place your luggage there while you check the room for bed bugs.
  2. Use your cell phone’s flashlight or any other light source to inspect the blankets and linens of the bed. Specifically focus on the corners of the bed, where bed bugs hide. Look for bugs or dark brown spots. Check all the way down to the mattress.
  3. Check any upholstered furniture for signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs hide in dark places, so be sure to check the seams and folds of furniture.
  4. Check the curtains in the room. Using your flashlight, check all of the folds and creases of the curtains for bugs or dark brown spots.
  5. Finally, shine your light behind the headboard, nightstand and dresser.
  6. Throughout your stay, check your skin. Be mindful of any unexplained bites or welts that seem to appear overnight. Even with a thorough inspection of your hotel room, bed bugs can sometimes still go unnoticed.

If you find bed bugs in your hotel room, pick up your luggage, leave immediately and alert the front desk or concierge staff.

How to make sure you don’t bring bed bugs home

Bed bugs are hitchhikers. This means they’ll latch onto any warm host, regardless of where they’re going or how clean they are. After your trip, you’ll want to take the same care with your belongings as you did when you arrived at your hotel.

  1. When you arrive home, leave your luggage outside or in a garage area so you can inspect it.
  2. With a flashlight, check the folds and creases of your luggage for bed bugs or dark brown spots.
  3. Immediately remove all clothes from your luggage and sort them into the laundry. Even if your clothes haven’t been worn, it’s important to wash them. Hot water will kill any bed bugs and will prevent you from carrying them into your closet or dresser drawers.
  4. Vacuum your suitcase before storing away. Some experts recommend storing your luggage in a non-living space, such as an attic or basement. If you have to store your luggage under your bed, for example, consider placing it in a trash bag or plastic bag first. Bed bugs can live for several months, or even up to a year, without feeding so, while this seems like overkill, it could prevent you from having a bed bug infestation.

Keep your home and vacation bed bug free

While you have no control over whether or not the hotel you’re staying in has bed bugs, you do have control over how you find and prevent them from coming home with you. It’s important to educate yourself and know what bed bugs look like and it’s also important to have a professional you can trust in the event you find bed bugs in your home.

At Dodson Pest Control, our experienced team can get rid of bed bugs and make sure they are completely gone. Our Bed Bug Management program is a proven solution, rather than common do-it-yourself and home remedies. To request a free inspection or ask our experts about bed bugs, contact us today.