If you want to avoid bed bugs during your next hotel stay, follow these steps at check-in
Knowing a little about bed bugs and their behaviors can go a long way in protecting you from falling victim to their bites. Bed bugs are small insects that will appear different based on the time in their life cycle. Young bed bugs may appear very small and white, yellowish or translucent. The older the bed bug becomes, the larger it will become and it will turn a brownish color. If a bed bug has not recently fed, it will appear round and flat. Bed bugs that have recently fed will appear slightly elongated and oval in shape. Bed bugs are small, can climb walls and hide in very tight places. While bed bugs often infest hotel rooms in large numbers, they cannot fly or jump.
Bed bugs will infest anywhere they can find food. Human blood is what bed bugs feed on. Other mammals are rarely affected by bed bug bites. Keep in mind, humans stay in all kinds of hotel accommodations. Bed bugs do not care what hotel you are in, what city you are in or how nice of a hotel you picked. It does not matter if you are in a fancy resort or a roadside motel for $15 per night, bed bugs can be anywhere human beings are.
Prior to accepting your hotel room
Always remember to search your room before accepting it and staying overnight. Before accepting the room, enter and begin a search. Bring your luggage inside the room and place it in the bathroom or a tile floor surface. Do not place your baggage on the bed, chair or sofa. Do not unpack your clothes into the dresser drawers or hang them in the closet. You have some work to do before you get comfortable and spend the night.
Bed bugs will be most often found in and around the mattress and bed frame. The best way to search the bed is to strip off the blanks and sheets to expose the mattress pad (if any). Inspect all corners of the mattress pad to make sure there are no live bugs crawling around. Be on the lookout for black spotting, or any brownish coloration. The black spots are bed bug feces. The brownish/red spots could also be feces or dried blood from prior bed bugs.
After inspecting the mattress pad, make sure to check out the mattress itself. Pay special attention to the corners of the mattress and the tight seams. Bed bugs are flat enough to walk through mattress seams without being seen. Lift up the seams and carefully look inside for bugs, eggs, black fecal spots or reddish blood spots. If you find any of these, do not accept the room. You can either refuse to accept the room, ask for a different room or request a complete refund and go elsewhere.
Where else can I search for bed bugs?
Although the name suggests it, bed bugs do not only infest beds. In fact, bed bugs will infest anywhere that they can find a human host to feed on. This also means chairs and sofas in hotel rooms. It is often necessary to use a flashlight to properly inspect chairs and sofas. Take a light
and look in the chair seams and under cushions if possible. Darker colored material on the chairs or sofas makes it more difficult to find bed bug evidence. A black colored chair will be almost impossible to find fecal spotting or blood spotting. Look carefully for small eggs, immature bed bugs or bed bug shell casings. When bed bugs feed and grow, they shed their skins.
If a room is visibly infested, adjoining rooms are likely infested as well. Bed bugs can infest a hotel very quickly if there are not procedures in place to detect them early. Think about housekeeping staff that goes from room to room potentially bringing bugs with them.
I did not find bed bugs when I checked in
Bed Bugs are small, but not invisible and they leave evidence of their presence. However, the average guest will not have the training necessary to look everywhere and as thoroughly as hotel staff or pest control experts can. A guest inspecting their room is not 100% guaranteed that bed bugs will be found and avoided. In fact, most hotel guests do not follow our advice and simply accept rooms right away.
If you accepted the room and did not see bed bugs, how do you know if there are bed bugs? Bed bugs will bite in clusters and follow some distinctive patterns. If you have raised itchy marks on your body after spending time in the hotel room, you likely have been attacked by bed bugs. Bed bug bites themselves are painless. The saliva a bed bug injects into your skin causes an allergic reaction which results in the red itchy welts. Some people have minor irritation or no reaction at all, while some have violent reactions requiring hospitalization.
Bed bug bite marks usually appear within hours of receiving the bite. However, sometimes bed bug bites do not appear for several days after being bitten. In that scenario, it is important to look in the bed each day of your hotel stay, both before you lay down and when you wake up. If you wake up and see blood stains on the sheets, or dead bugs, you know that there is an infestation and that you have been bitten. Bed bugs will bite anywhere they can find exposed skin. One way to reduce the chance of bites is to wear clothes with sleeves and long pants with socks to bed. This is of course not ideal, but if you are worried about bed bugs, any precaution will help.
What to do after being bitten by bed bugs
Bed bugs are particularly terrible for hotel guests for many reasons. Most of our clients suffer from significant anxiety and depression after a bed bug attack. Bed bugs attack us when we at our most vulnerable, asleep in bed. The thought of bugs crawling on us and eating us is too much for some people to tolerate. The physical bite marks of bed bugs will often fade long before the emotional distress of the attack.
If you have been bitten by bed bugs at a hotel, it is important to document your experience. Take pictures of the bite marks on your body. If you saw any bugs in the room, take pictures of them. Capture any bugs you can and bring them to the front desk to show management what you have found. Get the names of hotel staff you spoke to and document your conversation. Be careful about recording people without their knowledge or consent, different states have different laws about recording others. Getting the hotel to admit the presence of bed bugs is very important to pursue a claim for your injuries. While most hotels will never admit they knew about bed bugs prior to your stay, it is important to document the cause of your injury as coming from bed bugs.
In addition to reporting hotel management, consider contacting the local health department. Each county will likely have a health department that regulates hotels operations and maintenance practices. Often, contacting the health department will result in a follow up inspection which could independently confirm the presence of bed bugs in the room. This information can be useful during your claim.
Who can I call to help with a bed bug injury claim?
Contacting an experienced bed bug attorney can help you pursue an injury claim for your bed bug injuries. Physical injuries can range from minimal to severe and long lasting. In addition to physical injury, people often dispose of any belongings they were traveling with. Luggage, clothes, shoes and other personal items could become infested and spread bed bugs to your home.
Bed Bug Law is available to discuss your potential claim and provide free case evaluation. Visit www.bedbuglaw.com/do-i-have-a-case to provide detailed case information and upload confidential photos of your injuries and any other evidence relevant to your case. We are here to talk to you.