Gross! What you need to know and do if your hotel room has bedbugs

USA TODAY | David Oliver | October 30, 2019

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites.

Bedbugs are tiny insects approximately the size of an apple seed. Adult bedbugs are oval, reddish-brown and flat. Younger ones can be difficult to see because they’re so small.

And there’s a reason they’re called bedbugs: They like to lurk during the daytime where people sleep and feed on them at night (bed bugs feed on both human and animal blood). The insects can be found in a host of places from mattresses to bedding to cracks in furniture to under carpeting and more.

Bedbugs can be found worldwide, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are not a reflection on the cleanliness of any accommodation (so, yes, even a five-star hotel can have bedbugs). They don’t spread disease nor are they seen as dangerous, but allergic reactions to bites could require a doctor visit.

The bites look like mosquito or flea bites, with a swollen, red spot that could itch or hurt. They could present randomly as well as in a straight line. Some people might not have any adverse reaction to the bites, but others could see swelling.

AP-Bedbug-Insecticide-Risk

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites.
How do I look for bedbugs in my hotel room?
Make this a priority.

The University of Minnesota recommends looking at the edging and seams of mattresses and box springs, as well as a bed’s headboard. You should also check out the furniture near the bed, cracks in night stands as well as behind picture frames, where bedbugs can hide.

“If you think your hotel bed has bedbugs, you can either check your bed yourself, looking for small blood spots or small blood smears on the sheets and strip the bed and check under the mattress seams or ask the manager to organize for the housekeeper to do it for you,” Maureen Spencer, travel blogger, told USA TODAY. “Take photos of any evidence you find and ask for a room change.”

There’s no federal bedbug law, but 21 states do have bedbug-related legislation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, like ensuring hotels are maintaining cleanliness and that hotels must exterminate bedbugs before housing different guests.

What should I do if I find bedbugs in my hotel room?
Step one: Panic! (Just kidding.)

“The very first thing that you should do if you encounter bedbugs in your hotel room, or even if you have a suspicion that there might be bedbugs in your room, is to pack up your stuff and place it as far away from the bedbug-infested places as possible,” Kristiana Kripena, digital and content marketing director for InsectCop tells USA TODAY. You want to avoid the bugs coming with you to your own house, she says.

You should also obviously notify hotel staff, but do your best to stay calm.

“Remember – this is never going to be something that hotel staff wants to hear,” Becca Siegel of travel blog and Instagram @halfhalftravel tells USA TODAY. “Actually, it’s the last thing they want to hear because it’s going to affect everyone staying in the hotel, their staff, their efforts in eradicating bedbugs and also their ratings online. Try to remain calm and empathetic.”

Also remember that what you think is a bedbug might not be one at all.

“I can’t tell you the number of times that a guest just sees a bug near a bed or on a bed and makes an assumption,” Victoria Agredo, a hospitality industry veteran, tells USA TODAY. “An untrained eye checking a room for themselves really isn’t that helpful. They may find something or they may create a panic over nothing.”

If they are indeed bedbugs, make sure you ask to be moved to a different room (and not one next to the one where you stayed).

Jordan Bishop, founder of consumer watchdog and travel website Yore Oyster, recommends sealing your clothes and other belongings in plastic bags and running them through a hot laundry cycle ASAP.

You can also use a garbage bag, and place that in a freezer overnight to get rid of bedbugs. For non-washable items, enlist a pest-management professional.

 

Wipe the remote, and 9 other tips for a clean, safe and relaxing hotel stay

Be wary of drinking glasses, and don’t put your luggage on the bed if you want to avoid bed bugs

IrishTimes

Don’t assume that just because hotel is super posh it won’t have bed bugs. Image: iStock

Irish Times |by Geoffrey Morrison | August 14, 2019

I’ve lost count how many hotels I’ve stayed in. Hundreds, for sure, and on every continent except Antarctica. From beach-side resorts in St Kitts in the Caribbean, to a grand, soaring high-rise in Tokyo, to a castle-adjacent treehouse on the north coast of Scotland, I’ve stayed in some truly lovely places. I’ve also stayed at dilapidated dives in Vegas with rusty taps and rugs so thin you could see the concrete underneath. The memory of the latter still makes me itch.

Over the years I’ve come up with a set of tips and tricks I use in every hotel, from 5-star to wear-your-shoes-in-the-bathroom-star. They range from a little peace of mind and a reduction of annoyance to maintaining a bit of safety and health while travelling. Starting with …

1. The remote is gross
What is touched by everyone but rarely cleaned? A quick swipe with some baby wipes or a damp (not wet) hand towel should help a bit.

2. 20°C is 68°F
Need to set the thermostat in your room? Twenty degrees Celsius is equal to 68°F – a good place to start.

3. Be skeptical of drinking glasses, especially if the hotel lacks a restaurant
Generally, drinking glasses are cleaned after every guest. Generally. If there’s no on-site restaurant, though, how are they cleaned? By hand presumably, but how well? Give them a rinse and a sniff, at least.

4. Don’t put your luggage on the bed
Bed bugs are gross little vampires. Like mosquitoes, but worse. Putting your luggage on the bed can give them a free ride to your next location … like your house. The luggage rack might not be a good option either, since it’s usually close to the bed. Your best bet is to put your luggage in the bathroom and then give the bed, rack, and chair/sofa a close look. Also, don’t assume that just because hotel is super posh it won’t have bed bugs. They might have more means to get rid of the problem, but it can happen anywhere.

5. Bring long cables for your phone
As the number of devices needing to charge increases, the number of outlets available in hotel rooms … stays the same. I’ve stayed in new hotels with zero easily-accessible plugs. Mind blowing. In most airports you can pick up long USB cables so you can plug in and still, hopefully, use your phone from the bed. Travel power strips are handy for plugging multiple devices into that one outlet you found behind the bed.

6. Yes, you can take the little shampoo bottles. No, you can’t take the robe
Some hotels give the remaining soaps to charities like Clean the World. It’s worth checking if they do, as perhaps that’s a better use of the remaining soap than getting lost in your luggage or forgotten in your home medicine cabinet. Many hotels are moving toward large-bottle dispensers, both as a cost- and Earth-saving measure.

7. Lock, latch, and put out the do not disturb sign
Housekeeping comes early. Exactly 100 per cent of the time I’ve wanted to sleep in and forgot to put out the sign, housekeeping wakes me up. In how many languages do you know how to say “come back later, please?” For me, when woken from a deep slumber, a croaky none.

Enabling the safety latch also lets you open the door to see if it really is management knocking while preventing said knocker from unexpectedly opening the door fully. Exceptionally unlikely, sure, but why take the chance?

8. Take a picture of the safe code
Even if you just use your birthday or something memorable in the moment, take a picture of the number you program into the safe.

9. Laundry is expensive
I travel for months at a time. I do laundry about once a week. At an expensive laundromat in Paris I paid €7 for a load of all my clothes. While trapped at a hotel in Fiji during a typhoon I paid $10 for each pair of underwear.

You should definitely pack light enough that you’ll need to do laundry on any trip longer than a week. Some hotels, and nearly all hostels, have inexpensive laundry facilities on-site or nearby. The staff will usually help you find a place. There’s always washing in the sink too, which is free if you have the time.

10. And lastly … Stay in a hostel instead
I’ve spent the majority of nights during my extended travels of the last five years in hostels. Hotels can be great, but they’re invariably expensive. Hostels probably aren’t what you think, and can be a great way to save money and meet new people.

– New York Times

Man sues Casper Marriott, alleging he developed serious infection from bedbug bites

Doctors confirmed that he had MRSA, a form of a staph infection that is dangerous because it is resistant to some antibiotics, as well as other issues related to the alleged bites.

Casper_Star_Tribune

by Seth Klamann | July 8, 2019

A Georgia man has filed a federal lawsuit against the owners of the Courtyard Marriott hotel in east Casper, alleging that he was bitten by bedbugs during a stay there in 2012 and later developed a serious infection to his legs.

Casper_BedBug

In this Wednesday, March 30, 2011 file photo, a bed bug is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington.  

The suit was filed in federal court last month by Frank Pascarelli, who works for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he “is acutely aware of diseases and infections,” according to the lawsuit. He filed the suit against Marriott, various South Dakota-based management companies that are linked to the Casper location, and James Koehler, who works for the management companies that bear his last name.

A Marriott spokeswoman directed comment to Koehler and the South Dakota companies. A message left for Koehler’s assistant was not returned Monday. An email to his company, the Koehler Organization, bounced back as undeliverable, and a third message sent via a form on the business’s website was not returned.

In the lawsuit, Pascarelli alleges that he was staying at the Courtyard Marriott in April 2012 when he woke up to discover “an enormous amount of painful, itchy, burning bites” on his buttocks and right leg. He had taken a shower the night before and had not noticed any such marks, the suit alleges.

Pascarelli eventually sought treatment at an urgent care clinic in Cheyenne, where he was working with a U.S. marshal. According to the lawsuit, he had “approximately 20” “nodules” on his upper legs and buttocks.

He went back to the clinic the next day because the marks were developing into pustules, indicating infection. The bites then grew into lesions, according to the lawsuit, and caused even more pain, while Pascarelli developed a fever.

Back in Atlanta, where the CDC is based, he was admitted to the hospital. Doctors confirmed that he had MRSA, a form of a staph infection that is dangerous because it is resistant to some antibiotics, as well as other issues related to the alleged bites.

The doctor said that the MRSA was “the result of the bed bug attack at (the) hotel during the early morning of April 9, 2012,” the suit alleges.

Pascarelli was a frequent patient of the hospital throughout April and underwent three surgeries to treat the infections. He incurred about $100,000 in debt, the suit alleges. He lost wages from his job at the CDC, the complaint continues, and is at risk of being forced to retire from the Air Force Reserve.

According to the lawsuit, he will need treatment for the MRSA for the rest of his life.

The suit does not list a specific dollar amount that it seeks, though it alleges Pascarelli could lose up to $500,000 in wages as a result of the infections.

“Defendants knew, and/or should have known, that the bed in (Pascarelli’s) hotel room at the (hotel) was infected with bed bugs,” the suit alleges, adding that the hotel and its owners “failed to take reasonable precautions, failed to implement reasonable safety inspections and/or failed to follow their own safety inspections to ensure that the (hotel) was free from insects and pests,” among other allege failures.

In a statement to the Star-Tribune, Pascarelli’s attorney, Jason Ochs, said that “bed buds have been known to be a major health issue in the hospitality industry for over a decade” and that the industry “has a duty to preemptively act in regards to this foreseeable problem in order to protect paying guests.”

BITEMARE: East Texas Mother claims hotel was infested with Bed Bugs

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GRAND SALINE, TX | July 1, 2019 | by Mye Owens

You know the saying, “Goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Well, it’s not just a nursery rhyme. Experts say bed bugs are common during this time of year and can ruin a good nights sleep.

If you’re planning a family getaway for the summer, it’s important to be aware of unwanted guests that may be waiting for you when resting away from home. Just ask Tiffany Thompson.

“The first night he had bites just up here, and I thought it was just mosquito bites,” explains Thompson, as she points out red marks on her son.

Thompson and her 1 year old son Aiden were spending the night at a hotel in Grand Saline, when the unthinkable happened.

“Just the second night, he woke up. Covered, his face, his arms,” continues Thompson.

Trying to find the cause of these bites, she pulled back the sheets, and couldn’t believe what she saw.

“I didn’t know at first, but I checked the bed, I checked around it. There were bed bugs everywhere. I didn’t even think that there would be bed bugs like that.” describes Thompson.

When she took her son to the hospital, she says doctors couldn’t count the number of bites on his body.

Bed Bug bites are more common then not.

Research shows 1 out of 5 Americans have either been bitten by a bed bug, or knows someone who has.

Experts say a good way to check if bed bugs are in your home is to flip over the covers, and check in between the mattress seams, because that’s where the insects love to hide.

“Usually it’s red, itchy, and kind of almost either in a linear pattern where they’re crawling up your skin, or a zigzag pattern where they’re going back and forth,” explains Dr. Matt Young, who often treat bed bug bites.

Doctors say the best way to treat a bite is to not scratch, and be aware if you start having more symptoms.

“If you’re having an allergic reaction, they start getting welts, and start getting itchy and then you may have shortness of breath that’s a 911 emergency,” says Dr. Young.

Because a trip to the hospital like Aiden had, could be just one bite away.

How to prevent Bed Bugs:

*Below are tips provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

  • Check all second hand furniture for any signs of insects before bringing it home
  • Use a protective cover over your mattress and box springs
  • Reducing clutter in your home, reduces the number of places the bugs can hide
  • Vacuum on a regular basis
  • Be vigilant if you are sharing laundry facilities

 

Nashville among worst bed bug infested cities in the U.S.

“Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) | Emily Luxen |June 3, 2019 — On a week where thousands of visitors from around the world will come to Nashville for CMA Fest, the city is ranked as one of the worst in the country for bed bugs.

A new survey by pest control company Terminix finds Nashville is the 18th most bed bug infested city in the country. Music City was ranked 21st last year.

Philadelphia was ranked number one in the report, followed by New York City. Memphis was ranked 17th.

Terminix said the rankings were based on the number of services the company has performed in the city in the past year.

“A lot of the problem we have here in Nashville is driven by the fact we are a transient city,” said Chris Bryant, a Service Manager at Terminix. “Summer tourism is starting to peak this time of year.”

To prevent transporting or being bitten by bed bugs, Bryant recommended people check headboards, mattresses, and sheets in hotels or Airbnbs for any signs of bed bugs.

“What you are going to be looking for looks like small black dots, like someone tapped it with a black ball point pen,” said Bryant.

Bed bugs are visible, and when fully grown are about the size of an apple seed.

Bryant also recommended hanging all clothing rather than putting it in drawers, and to keep your luggage away from the bed. When you return home from a trip, wash all your clothes in hot water.

The bugs can bite and leave behind red itchy marks on your skin. Bed bugs do not transport disease.

“Especially if it’s at night and you are in bed and you are being bitten by bed bugs, it will wake you up and cause you to itch,” said Brian Todd with the Metro Health Department.

Todd said any bed bug sighting in a hotel should be reported to management immediately. Problems can also be reported to the Metro Health Department at (615) 340-5630. It is helpful to provide the name of the hotel and the room number. The Department’s Environmental Health Bureau will look into the cases.

Bryant said Terminix hoped the study would increase awareness that bed bug sightings are on the rise, and to educate people on how to prevent transporting them.

“It just takes one to hitch a ride on you, and when you go back home, you’ve taken it with you.”

Report reveals live cockroaches, ticks, bedbugs as Branson extended-stay motel is shut down

Springfield

June 27, 2019 | by Sara Karnes

A Branson motel was forced to close after officials deigned it an “imminent health hazard” earlier this week, according to the health department.

Residents at Branson Plaza Motel, 1106 W. Missouri 76, had complained several times about the cockroach infestation and bedbug issues but were allegedly told by management not to call the health department, according to a Taney County Health Department inspection report.

Inspectors began investigating some of the unoccupied motel rooms Monday, June 24, said Lisa Marshall, the health department’s public information officer.

By Tuesday, inspectors had access to the occupied rooms. They found that pests weren’t just in one or two of them, Marshall said.

“It was a facility-wide issue,” Marshall said. “With pests carrying diseases, it’s not a safe environment.”

Of the approximately 30 rooms, 19 were occupied by long-term residents, Marshall said.

“In regards to residents, we had to shut down the facility quickly,” she said.

Live cockroaches were found in at least 24 rooms, including the motel’s basement and laundry room, according to the inspection report. Bedbugs were found in about nine rooms, and several dead bedbugs were found on the guest laundry floor.

The health department has received “multiple complaints” of cockroaches, bedbugs, ticks and ants at the Branson Plaza Motel from May 20 to June 24. Both the owner and general manager said they weren’t aware of the issues and the “tenants had not notified anyone of the concerns,” the report stated.

“Only one week of weekly room inspection records were provided for the month of June, and several records were not filled out,” the report stated. “No other records for previous weeks were available.”

Several guests said they told the manager about the cockroaches and bedbugs, and the manager either tried to self treat the room with pesticides or did nothing, the report stated. Residents told inspectors that they have not had a professional treat their room at any point.

“Due to the severity of the cockroach infestation observed throughout the entire building, this is an imminent health hazard for the occupants of the room,” according to the report.

Once the health inspectors found that the complaints were valid, Marshall said the facility has been closed.

“Ultimately, it’s the owner’s obligation that they have a facility that meets code requirements,” Marshall said.

Branson Plaza Motel’s health department permit has been pulled and it has lost its state lodging license, Marshall said.

By losing its state lodging license, Branson Plaza Motel’s business license with the city of Branson is nullified, said Melody Pettit, the city’s communications manager.

The city deployed its relocation team to assist residents in extended-stay motels. Emergency personnel, government agencies and several nonprofits work to help find other places for affected tenants to go, Marshall said.

Salvation Army Social Services Director Becky Gerhart said she has had more than 10 people from the Branson Plaza Motel have come to her office so far for assistance.

“Our project interjection was to replace food and clothing that they needed,” Gerhart said.

Many of the residents’ belongings were spoiled, out-of-date or contaminated by the infestation, Gerhart said.

About six families have also been given lodging assistance through the Salvation Army, Gerhart said.

This is the first time the health department has led the charge because of the health concerns, Pettit said.

As of Thursday, Pettit said she believed about three individuals had slept at Branson Plaza Motel.

“The situation was that because they couldn’t find anywhere to stay, the owner may be cited for the number of people who stayed there,” Pettit said.

Neither Pettit nor Marshall was sure of the exact number of residents who had been staying at the motel.

For Branson Plaza Motel to reopen, it would have to take several steps, according to the inspection report, including:

  • A service contract with a professional pest control company for the monthly preventative maintenance of pests.
  • A written, detailed treatment plan created with their professional pest control technician for how and when all of the rooms will be treated after all rooms have been vacated. Plan must have a list of scheduled treatment dates and a designated person for monitoring pest activity during process. After each treatment, all floors shall be cleaned to remove dead cockroaches.
  • A written integrated pest management plan (IPM) created with their professional pest control technician to ensure the presence of pests is minimized in the future and the facility is taking a proactive approach to ensure any pest concerns are addressed immediately and all adjacent rooms are also inspected for pests.
  • A written plan for who will be responsible for conducting the weekly room inspections, when, who will verify that the inspections are done, and what the corrective action will be if the inspections are not done.
  • Who will be accountable for ensuring all pest plans are followed and weekly room inspections are done.
  • The last 6 months of monthly professional pest control services and the treatment invoices for guest rooms with concerns.

The facility cannot self-treat for cockroaches and is not approved to self-treat for bedbugs by using pesticides or heat, the report stated

“A professional pest control company must be used for all pest services,” the report stated.

Pettit said the city of Branson is willing to work with the motel owner to regain its business license.

“That’s been our main thing — no matter how much money someone makes — everyone deserves a safe and clean place to live,” Pettit said.

A News-Leader reporter attempted to reach the manager or owner of Branson Plaza Motel by phone but was told “we don’t have any comments” before an individual at the facility hung up.

Bride says her guests had bed bugs in their Iowa City hotel rooms

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) — by Josh Scheinblum Jun 27, 2019.  The Johnson County Health Department is investigating after Jennifer Werderitsch filed a report alleging a bed bug infestation at the Hyatt Place hotel in downtown Iowa City.

Photo: MGN Online

Werderitsch tells the I9 investigative team at least nine of her guests reported seeing bed bugs and having bites and that she is upset the hotel is not doing more to address what happened.

“We know for sure that bed bugs and cockroaches were in these rooms,” said Werderitsch.

Anna Naso of Long Island, New York says she was one of those who were bitten by bed bugs. Naso tells I9 she took photos of the bugs and the bites they inflicted on her.

“I have the bites,” said Naso.

Naso wants the Hyatt to replace her luggage but Werderitsch says management has only agreed to refund one of three rooms that she insists were infested.

Hyatt’s response is among the reasons she chose to report the hotel to the County.

We showed Naso’s photos to Environmental Health Manager John Lacina with the Johnson County Public Health Department. Lacina was not able to say for sure if the photos were of bed bugs.

“We’ll check the room out, we will take the room apart, bedding apart, thoroughly investigate it for any potential bed bugs or pests that we may find,” said Lacina.

The Johnson County Public Health Department reports this is the fourth report of bed bugs this year. There were two last year and this year is already on pace to pass the seven reports in 2017.

The county only confirmed bed bugs in three cases since 2017. Lacina says that is because most bed bug reports are addressed before inspectors can get there.

Hyatt Place’s general manager, Ryan Cochran, declined our request for an interview but provided a copy of Orkin’s inspection report that found no bugs. Cochran sent the following written statement:

“It was brought to our attention by a guest believing that they had been bitten by bed bugs at our hotel. Our internal team inspected the rooms and found no evidence of pests in the questioned rooms. To confirm that mater we had the rooms professional inspected by subject matter experts in the field of pests. This is our standard operating procedure as they are the trained experts in this field. These experts cleared the rooms and provided us the written confirmation that is attached. In good will and for the hassle to our guest we did provide compensation to the guest for the inconvenience of moving rooms.”

As Boise grows, bed bug infestations are on the rise in the Treasure Valley

BOISE, Idaho — You may have heard of bed bugs being a problem in big cities like New York, but as Boise grows, it’s taking on those big-city problems as well.

In the past six months, Ada County Paramedics have noticed an increase in bed bug calls.

Because of more people traveling to and from Boise, Dina Hardaway, Infection Control Officer for Ada County Paramedics, said that more bed bugs are coming into our area as well.

“There is so much more international travel now; we’re getting more populated just within our city and within our county,” Hardaway said. “Just with those conditions alone, they are brought into our area.”

Due to the uptick in bed bug cases, Ada County Paramedics have spent the past few months learning new protocols, including tracking data on infestations and learning techniques on how to identify and exterminate them from equipment.

Hardaway says that while the bugs aren’t a public health crisis– because they don’t spread disease– they can still be a nuisance.

To prevent the spread of bed bugs, be sure to check the seams of mattresses and underneath base boards. Make sure to wash second hand clothing and clean up used furniture after buying it. If you’re traveling, wash all of your clothing and vacuum your suitcase.

If you do end up getting beg bugs, there’s no need to call 911– just be sure to call your local exterminator.

For more information on how to get rid of bed bugs, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

Houston ranked No. 12 in ‘most bed bug-infested cities’ list

abc

HOUSTON, Texas — June 4, 2019

Houston has made the list for one of the worst cities to experience bed bugs.

Terminix released the list saying that as the summer heat ramps up, bed begs will become more of an issue.

Philadelphia has the worst bed bug problem in the country, according to Terminix.

The numbers were based on the number of service calls conducted in 2018.

Terminix says bed bugs are not only problems at home, they are a serious pest during summer travel.

The company says don’t just check hotel room mattresses and sheets for the apple seed-sized bugs, also look for cream-colored nymphs and small translucent eggs.

They recommend hanging all clothing, not using the furniture drawers, storing suitcases on a luggage rack and immediately washing clothes in hot water when you get home.

Warning signs of a bed bug infestation

bedset_bedbugs.jpgLongview News-Journal May 11, 2019  kgentsch

When traveling overnight, travelers may have their minds on any number of things. Vacationers may be focused on fun in the sun, while the minds of business travelers may be preoccupied with important meetings. Few travelers may be thinking about bed bugs, even though hotels can be vulnerable to infestations of these unwelcome creatures.

Bed bugs might be considered a pesky nuisance, but such a reputation overlooks their potential to cause serious harm. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, bed bugs can cause allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. The Mayo Clinic notes that anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that causes the immune system to release a flood of chemicals, potentially resulting in shock. During such reactions, blood pressure can drop suddenly and the airways can narrow, compromising a person’s ability to breathe.

Bed bug infestations also can contribute to skin infections resulting from bites. Such infections may include impetigo, ecthyma and an infection of the lymph vessels known as lymphangitis. The presence of lymphangitis may indicate that a skin condition is worsening, potentially causing bacteria to spread into the blood and putting people’s lives in jeopardy.

Bed bugs can infest hotels and other public places, including movie theaters. But they also can occur at home. Learning to recognize when bed bugs are present can help people avoid the uncomfortable and potentially unhealthy consequences of infestations.

Red, itchy bites:  Flat, red welts in zigzag lines or small clusters are indicative of bed bugs on humans. Bites, which may be left in straight rows as well, are often irritating, prompting many people to scratch them, which can lead to infection. Arms and shoulders, which many people tend to leave exposed while they sleep, are common areas for bed bugs to appear.

Discomfort sleeping: Bed bugs can be found in places other than beds, but they’re most often found in bed. Some people first suspect bed bug infestations after some restless nights of sleep.

Odor: Bed bugs might be tiny, but that does not mean they don’t smell. Bed bugs release chemical substances known as pheromones. When released in large amounts, these pheromones can produce an odor reminiscent of a dirty locker room.

Stains on bedding: You might need a magnifying glass and/or flashlight to see the stains left by bed bugs, which tend to be rust-colored, reddish-brown or small and brown. These stains will appear after bugs have fed on humans and are typically seen near the corner or edges of the bed.

Bed bug infestations can be uncomfortable and alarming. Learning to recognize signs of such infestations can help people evict these unwanted visitors from their homes.