Here are some quick tips to make sure your room (hotel rooms, bedrooms, living areas, etc) isn’t infested with bedbugs! Most people who end up having their home infested with bedbugs could have prevented it by looking for the signs below. If you know you have bedbugs, then check out our Bed Bug Treatment page for ways in which you can do it yourself.
Staying at a hotel? If so, the first thing you should do is check your hotel for bed bug complaints – this is a completely free service we provide and could possibly help you prevent infesting your own home! Keep in mind that a report about one hotel does not mean the issue wasn’t isolated to one room, or that hotel management hasn’t taken the necessary steps to exterminate the bugs, but it is a great way to get management to promise you’ll sleep bedbug free!
When staying at a hotel, hang clothing in the closet that is farthest from your bed, place luggage on the folding rack usually found at hotels and always place your luggage in a plastic bag (hotel provided dry cleaning bags work great).
When you inspect a room for bedbugs, make sure you wear disposable medical gloves! Bedbugs gorge on the blood of humans, so much so that they can easily pop with very little pressure. When a bedbug pops, it will splatter blood and you may be exposed!
Picture of Bed Bugs, their eggs, shells and feces! This is a high resolution photo of what a bed bug infested mattress looks like including their shells, eggs and feces. You can zoom in on the picture if you need to.
- After you arrive at your hotel, the first thing you should do is to spot check the bed. Peel back the bed sheets and check the mattress, running your fingers along the upper and lower seams. Make sure to check the mattress tag and plastic around the edges (see the picture above); bed bugs often hide there.
- Check for tiny black spots (smaller than the size of poppy seeds) behind the headboard, translucent skins or actual bedbugs. Bed bug spots (fecal matter) are dark brown to black in color and stick to the surface. If it falls off, then it’s not a bed bug spot. You can also take a wet towel and wipe the spot to see if it smears and if so, then it may be fecal matter.
- Check the bedside table or any other furniture or fixtures near the bed. Bedbugs don’t like the light, so they’ll be hiding in areas that are usually dark or have very low light.
- Are there shed skins – as the bed bug develops, it sheds the skin which looks like the bug. Also look for tiny white eggs (like rice) along the edge of the mattress.
- During the early stages of infestation (if you or someone just brought one home), the bug bug(s) usually hide out in the mattress ( and headboard). If this is your home and you’re concerned you might have a few in bed with you, it would be wise to buy a mattress cover; this will seal in the bed bugs and over time, they will die. See our section on Mattress Covers to learn exactly what type of cover you need (standard covers will not work).
- Utilize the luggage stand in the hotel room to keep your bags off of the floor where bedbugs can easily get into your things and end up hitching a ride home with you.
- If you see powder in the drawers or on the headboard, it is likely that the room has already been treated for bugs by an exterminator.
- If you do see a bedbug or signs of one, inform a manager immediately. You may request another room but remember the bedbugs could easily be in other parts of the hotel as well. Personally, I would leave and find another hotel if there is any sign at all of bedbugs.
- Other signs of bedbugs may include itching or a foul smell. The odor has been described a number of ways, most say it resembles spoiled raw beef, musty odor or a sweet odor such as fresh red raspberries.
- Just because the room or hotel is new does not mean it’s free from bedbugs; bedbugs find rooms by riding on the cloths or luggage of others and may have been been hitching a ride on the last occupant.
- When you’re ready to leave double check your luggage as well as individual items within your suitcase. This may seem cumbersome, but preventing a bedbug infestation is a LOT easier than dealing with one!
- If you spot a bedbug within your luggage, wash the item in hot water and blow dry on high heat for 20-30 minutes. Then place the item in a zip lock bag, which should keep any bedbugs out.
Areas bugs bugs like to hide
Bedbugs love gaps in just about everything, so check:
- behind baseboards
- around door and window casings
- around window sills and frames
- behind electrical and telephone switch plates
- between flooring and wall components
- where materials meet to form a gap
- around pipes (water, drain, electrical conduits
- seams, creases, tufts, and folds of the mattress and box spring
- bed frames and head board
- under night stands and drawers
- storage units
- items such as furniture that may have hollow legs
- between upholstered furniture
- between the folds of drapery or curtains
- in your alarm clock
- inside loose wallpaper
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it covers the basics and should help you sleep bedbug free.
If you have any tips or concerns, please share them by leaving a comment below.