How I got even with the 5-Star Hotel that gave me Bed Bugs

brokelyn.png by Erin Scottberg | November 7, 2017

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I kept a folder in my phone called #BiteThings before I knew what it was. All photos by Erin Scottberg

Of all the questionable places I’ve spent the night — dingy apartments in Bushwick, shady hostels in Cambodia, cut-rate motels on cross-country road trips — the last place I expected to pick up bed bugs was from a luxury hotel in the Bay Area. But lo and behold, that’s what happened: I brought home one of New York’s biggest nightmares on a cross-country flight from SFO, not on a cross-borough ride on the G train.

On the mildly bright side, I figured getting bed bugs from a fancy, five-star hotel chain that was known for their excellent customer service was at least the best way to get them. There’s no way I’d be responsible for treating my apartment, which I knew could be super expensive. It was their fault, end of story. Sure, they may not have a legal responsibility — a few states have laws protecting hotel guests from bed bugs, though they usually aren’t very effective — but anything else would be bad business.

Turns out, it wasn’t that simple.

This all happened two years ago during a business trip to San Francisco. I was enjoying happy hour with a friend at Rickhouse, a trendy cocktail bar in the Financial District filled with lots of dark wood and tech-engineer types crowded around whiskey barrel tables, when I noticed a small cluster of itchy pink bumps on my foot. As the bartender handed us our drinks, I joked, “The mosquitoes out here just love me!”

“That’s weird,” my friend replied with a confused look. “I don’t think I’ve been bitten once in the seven years I’ve lived here.”

I was so used to being the one who gets eaten alive while everyone else remains unscathed that I thought nothing of it. Having never lived there, I had no idea that the Bay Area has basically zero mosquitoes.

That night, I tucked myself once again into my fancy, king-sized hotel bed. Two days later I flew back to Brooklyn and crawled into my own bed for a daytime nap.

__________

A victim of ‘Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner’ bites, I wasn’t about to give up.

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Once I saw ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner’ bites, I knew it was bedbugs.

I woke up a few hours later with three big, itchy red bumps on my thigh. The next morning, there were a few more. When the same thing happened a third time, I assumed a mosquito had gotten into my apartment when I was out of town so I Googled “How to catch a mosquito” and started taking advice from internet commenters.

I’m no fool. Of course I’d suspected bed bugs, but I had no evidence — no physical bugs, no reddish-brown marks where I might have squashed one after it bit me, not even any “brown, coffee-grind like residue” I’d been told to look for (it’s their poop). And I’d been searching hard. Plus, I couldn’t come up with a source. I hadn’t had any house guests, hadn’t lugged home sidewalk furniture, hadn’t seen a movie at The Pavilion. The only possibility was that fancy hotel. But surely they’d have that stuff on lock to keep their reputation pristine?

After nearly two weeks of dotting each bite with a marker before bed to keep track of new bites, I woke up to three in a row on the side of my left shin — breakfast, lunch and dinner, as it’s called in bedbug-savvy circles. I was disgusted and freaking out. I tore apart my bed more thoroughly than ever, flipping over the box spring and prying the fabric from the frame with a butter knife while peaking in with a flashlight. Finally, after half an hour of hunting, there they were: two tiny, slightly reddish bed bugs tucked underneath a staple on the bottom side of my box spring.

Redemption. Success. An intense feeling of violation. Terror. Fears of bankruptcy and social ostracization and having to throw out everything I owned and start from scratch. The irony of having travelled to the opposite coast only to come face to face with New York’s public enemy number one was not lost on me. For a hot minute (ok, probably about 15 minutes), I lost it. I sat on my floor in the middle of my basic metal bed frame and cried.

But then, I started handling shit. And I was going to go after that fucking hotel.

___________

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I lived out of bags I kept in my kitchen, which was declared bed bug free.

First, I went to the hardware store for construction grade trash bags, mattress bags (like the kind you use for moving) and duct tape and sealed up pretty much everything in my bedroom — bedding, books, the actual luggage I’d used in SF. Anything that could went straight to the laundromat for a high-temp wash and dry. When the exterminators came later, they complimented my work.

Next, I called the hotel.

The manager listened calmly, then he explained that they couldn’t inspect the room because it was currently occupied.

I was incredulous. “Well, get them out of there! It has bed bugs!” He took down my contact info and said he’d get back to me. They didn’t seem to be taking things seriously.

The next day I got an email thanking me “for reaching out to us regarding any bed bug concerns that you have” and explaining that “after the inspection conducted today we did find minimal bed bug activity in the room.”

Minimal. Ha. The email then went on to explain how bed bugs aren’t a reflection of a hotel’s cleanliness (true) and are just a result of travelers (also true) and I should probably do my laundry and call a professional (obviously), and oh, won’t you please stay with us again?

I wasn’t about to spend thousands of dollars on professional extermination brought on by the hotel’s own negligence, so I asked about their plan to cover my fumigation costs. After a few days of general corporate non-answers, they explained that they had to follow the appropriate process and get their insurance company involved. Sounded good to me — they’d already said, in writing, that my room had bed bugs. Of course they were going to take responsibility for the situation.

_________

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I became BFFs with the crew at the laundromat.

Encouraged by the hotel’s management to “accelerate the process” at my personal cost (“keeping my receipts to be reimbursed”), I hired a pest control company. They decided to “bomb” my closet (where I’d hung unworn clothes from the trip and stored my luggage) and bookshelves (where I’d replaced paperwork and other books) with Nuvan strips and treat other potentially affected areas with Cryonite, a rapidly freezing carbon dioxide snow-like compound that goes by the tagline “The chill that kills”. Both treatments would require the items be out of commision for about a month. The total cost was just shy of $3,000.

Meanwhile, my battle ground had moved from the hotel to their insurance company. I was required to give a recorded statement to a claims specialists describing the ordeal. During our conversation, the specialist asked multiple times whether I’d turned down cleaning services at all during my stay. Luckily, I hadn’t. Turns out this is because checking for bed bugs is part of the cleaning checklist. If I’d told them to stay out of the room, then they wouldn’t have had a chance to inspect (however poorly) for bed bugs. This gave me leverage. (Ever since, I always accept the cleaning service — you can still tell them not to replace your sheets for environmental reasons, but at least allow them to come in and remake the bed.)

On top of all this, I’d learned via the public bedbug registry (it’s a thing!) that other guests had had the same problem around the same time. Given that irrefutable evidence, it’s understandable how livid I was that when the insurance company called a couple weeks later to let me know they determined the hotel not at fault.

A vendetta was born. I became a woman with a single mission: Make. Them. Pay.

___________

My apartment has a few recessed areas like this which are easy to seal off and treat.

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Luckily, my apartment has a few recessed areas like this which are easy to seal off and treat.

I’ve spent most of my career in online publishing in some form or another. I fully understand the power of SEO. And as a hotel — or anyone in the service industry — you reputation is everything. I started searching and found that there were multiple variations of “HOTELNAMEhasbedbugs.com” available. Two minutes later, I was the proud owner of a new URL. It was incredibly cathartic. I started dreaming of how I would detail every story, every photo and every dollar of my ordeal — all due to this hotel — to the world. I had mentally psyched myself up for my inevitable appearance on The Today Show during which my chyron would read “’Crazy Bed Bug Lady’ publically shames hotel into taking responsibility for their mistake”.

I sent word of my plans to the hotel, making it clear that I, too, could be a pest who wouldn’t go away.

After a month of continual phone calls, strongly worded emails and more conversations with their insurance company, I finally received an email from the hotel manager stating that “due to the nature of our business as well as our understanding of your frustration with this situation we would like as a hotel, regardless of fault, [to] reimburse you for the expenses you submitted.” Save your receipts, kids! I signed some papers — hence why I haven’t mentioned the chain’s name — and got my check. Blood had been shed (well, more like feasted on) but the battle had been won.

A few weeks later, I was able to remove the plastic sealing off my bookshelves and closet, and I no longer needed to pick my clothes out of trash bags. I was able to stop going to the laundromat every other day and I felt comfortable, kind of, replacing my duvet and bringing things into my house. Roscoe, the bed bug detecting beagle, did a complete sniff-test and cleared my apartment. I was happier to receive that piece of paper than I was my college degree.

__________

I recently found this guy crawling on my floor and I freaked out. I sent pics to the exterminators I used but it was just a beetle. Phew!

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I found this guy crawling on my floor and I freaked out, sent pics to the exterminators. But it was just a beetle.

But there are still times when I’m not convinced. I find a random, itchy bump on my elbow and tense up. I wake up to a red spot on the back of my shin and I’m flipping over the mattress. Earlier this summer, I was at a wedding in the Catskills where all of the guests stayed in cabins and when I got back to New York, I noticed my back looked like a game of connect the dots. I sent a text to the group asking “What’s everyone’s bug bite situation? I have so many it’s unreal. I’m nervous…” I wasn’t the only one.

A few hours later, we figured out we were dealing with chiggers, not bed bugs. While the others slept soundly that night, I dug out my markers and dotted each bite I could reach before going to bed and woke up early to do my laundry before work. Just in case.

That’s the thing with bed bugs. They’re not going to make you sick, or cause you any actual harm. But they can slowly drive you crazy, cost you more than twice your rent money, and make you fear for every bite, itch and bump you’ll ever have, for the rest of your life.

And while a business can’t possibly return your sense of security, they absolutely can — and should — take responsibility for their errors and make sure you don’t drain your savings (or go into debt) trying to recover from their mistake. If it comes down to it, just take a cue from our blood-sucking friends and keep at it for as long as you need to (and maybe register a domain name or two). Eventually, they’ll do whatever it takes to make you go away.

Bed bugs at The Carlton? Guest says Atascadero hotel stay left him with ‘physical scarring’

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The Tribune | by Matt Fountain | December 3, 2019

Update, 1:45 p.m. Wednesday:

On Wednesday afternoon, Deana Alexander, general manager of The Carlton Hotel, emailed the following statement in response to Tuesday’s article:

“The Carlton Hotel takes pride in being an established premier property on the Central Coast of California, known for its hospitality, cleanliness, comfort, and value. Management takes reports of bed bugs very seriously. When a guest reports that there may be bed bugs, all measures are taken to address the situation immediately. Quarantine, inspection and eradication if necessary are the steps taken with complete concern for the guests and others that will be in that room.

Our housekeeping staff is trained and diligent about looking for the signs of bed bugs. Our mattresses have been encased in ‘bed bug’ zippered protective covering. No expense is spared when there are reports of bed bugs that have ‘traveled’ in with guests as bed bugs move around by finding their way into purses, backpacks, suitcases, briefcases, clothing, and jackets.

A Los Angeles man who stayed at The Carlton Hotel in Atascadero in 2017 says bed bugs in his room left him with physical and emotional “scarring,” according to a lawsuit filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

Moreover, the guest says hotel staff knew that a previous infestation in the room had not been eradicated, but “turned a blind eye” and checked him in anyway.

The lawsuit alleges hotel staff was negligent, fraudulently concealed the problem, and contributed to a public nuisance, naming the business as well as owner David Weyrich and a past manager as defendants.

The plaintiff, Geoffrey Shelden, is seeking damages of at least $25,000 for medical care and to replace personal property that reportedly had to be destroyed.

When reached by phone Monday, The Carlton Hotel’s general manager, Deana Alexander, told The Tribune she was not aware of Shelden’s lawsuit — which was filed in April — but called the allegations untrue.

After being provided the complaint, Alexander, who is not personally listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, did not respond to followup requests for comment.

Ilan Rosen Janfaza, Shelden’s Los Angeles-based attorney, declined to comment Monday beyond what’s listed in the complaint and said he was unable to immediately provide photographs of his client’s bug bites.

HOTEL GUEST ‘BITTEN DOZENS OF TIMES’

In the complaint, filed April 4, Janfaza wrote that bed bugs, “small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep,” have recently been “spreading rapidly” through parts of the United States, including in five-star hotels and resorts.

Contrary to popular belief, the pests’ presence are “not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found,” the lawsuit states, citing the Centers for Disease Control website.

The CDC says that bed bug bites have different effects on people, from no reaction to severe anaphylaxis, or allergic reaction.

Sheldon stayed at The Carlton Hotel on April 7, 2017, and the next day “awoke to itchiness and discomfort on his body, but did not think much of it,” the complaint reads.

He checked out later that day. About 10 days later, Shelden “noticed that the severity of his itching had worsened and that he was in fact bitten dozens of times from head to toe.”

“He also realized that his bite marks were in a trail-type formation,” the lawsuit states.

DID THE CARLTON ‘TURN A BLIND EYE’ TO COMPLAINTS?

A doctor reportedly diagnosed Shelden with bed bug exposure on April 18, 2017.

As a result of his diagnosis and treatment, Shelden incurred costs related to medical treatment, the cost of the room and replacement of luggage and clothing, as well as other expenses, according to the complaint.

“To this day, Mr. Shelden still has physical scarring on his body and emotional scarring as a result of the bed bug bites,” the lawsuit reads.

The complaint further accuses staff at The Carlton of knowing that the room had previously been the site of a bed bug infestation that had not been eradicated when it was rented to Shelden.

The lawsuit alleges that The Carlton Hotel’s staff also “recklessly chose to turn a blind eye” to previous complaints by guests. Ignoring those previous complaints show a “pattern and culture of extreme indifference and reckless disregard for the value of human life and the rights of (the hotel’s) guests.”

“(Shelden) has suffered and continues to suffer physical injuries (including, but not limited to, bed bug bites, itching, and permanent scarring) and emotional injuries (including, but not limited to, severe embarrassment, annoyance, discomfort, pain, apprehension, tension, anxiety, and emotional distress) as a direct result of his stay at (The Carlton Hotel),” the complaint reads.

The case has a hearing scheduled in the Paso Robles Courthouse in April.

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.

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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.

 

Health department investigates bed bug complaints at several Louisville hotels

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — by Valerie Chinn | October 14, 2019 |

Creepy, crawly bed bugs can be found everywhere: in schools, movie theaters, homes and hotels.

The small insects bite, and while they aren’t known to carry disease, Connie Mendel, deputy director of the Louisville Metro Department for Public Health and Wellness, said they can cause itching and create red bumps and welts.

“We’ll strip the beds. We’ll look at linens,” Mendel said. “We’ll look at mattress covers, seams, furniture, bed frames, anything around, and we’ll look for signs of bed bugs.”

Hotels are not required to self-report. Complaints often come from guests.

“If we do find signs of bed bugs, the facility is not allowed to use that room, and we’ll also look at adjacent rooms,” Mendel said.

The health department said its most recent complaints were at the HomeTowne Studios on Taylorsville Road, the Louisville Marriott Downtown and the Budgetel Inn on Bardstown Road last month.

“In our quest to be the cleanest, friendliest and most well maintained choice for our guest, we take every claim very serious,” a spokeswoman with the Marriott said in a statement Monday night. “We isolated each room, call in a third party expert to determine if there is activity and remediate if necessary. No room is turned back into use without being cleared by our certified vendor. “

All have since been resolved. The list for 2019 include hotels all over Louisville.

A Lexington woman sent WDRB News a video showing a cup with a bed bug inside. She said she found it in her room at the Galt House Hotel while she was visiting for the Bourbon & Beyond Festival.

The health department wasn’t called in her case. After she posted about it and it was shared several times with pictures, the Galt House posted about a full refund and apologies and said no bed bugs were found.

Patrick Gregory, the general manager of the Galt House, issued this statement.

The safety and comfort of our guests is always our first priority. Immediately upon receiving our guests’ complaint, they were moved to a new room, and a third party pest control service was called, as is standard operating procedure. No bed bug activity was found. During the second night of their stay, our guest again reported bed bug activity. This room was also inspected, and no evidence of bed bug activity was found. Out of an abundance of caution, both rooms were treated proactively. Our guests were provided additional food and beverage vouchers, and were offered a reimbursement for their stay.”

“The Galt House Hotel has been in touch with the guests over the weekend and the situation has been resolved to their satisfaction,” a Galt House spokeswoman said. “The Facebook post in question has been removed.”

Mendel said you can put your luggage in the bathroom while you check for bed bugs in the sheets and mattresses, even head boards. If you do find them, ask to be moved to another room farther away.

“Unfortunately bed bugs can be found anywhere. It’s not a sign of cleanliness. They are great hitch hikers,” she said. “You may find rust colored spots. That’s the droppings. You may find casings where they are multed, or you may find one where they’ve crushed them in their sleep, and it’s a blood spot.”

See below for the complaints across Louisville in 2019:

 

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

How Do Bed Bugs Travel from Room to Room -Keep Them Out

Curious how do bed bugs travel from room to room? It’s important to take preventive measures, because of how quickly they can spread in your home.

How Do Bed Bugs Travel from Room to RoomHow Do Bed Bugs Travel from Room to Room

(Newswire.net — July 17, 2019) — Bed bugs can be a real nuisance when they invade your home. A bedbug infestation often means you’ll struggle to sleep in peace because they like to feed on blood by sucking through your skin when you’re asleep. Have you ever wondered how do bed bugs travel from room to room? They spread fast and also breed at a high rate. Before taking any pest control measures, it’s important to understand how they migrate, so you can have a better idea of how to eliminate them.

How Do Bed Bugs Travel from Room to Room

Just like you want to know the signs of a rat infestation and how to eliminate them, it’s the same when it comes to bed bugs. Bed bugs can spread rather quickly, so it’s important to be prepared so you can eliminate the bed bugs before they spread too much. Below are various ways bed bugs can travel to your home and spread to multiple rooms.

Through Breeding

Bedbugs mature fast and the females can lay eggs at a rate of four to seven eggs daily. The eggs are laid in dark places and will usually stick on any hard surfaces such as wood. This makes them spread fast, especially if the eggs are laid on furniture and you move to a different place. Female bed bugs can lay a total of 200 eggs, especially in dark, isolated spaces. The eggs will usually hatch within a week or two.

Through the Movement of Infested Items

Bed bugs live in furniture, beds, bedding or clothing. If you move any of these infested items, then it can carry the bugs, and they’ll continue breeding in the new room or place where the furniture was moved to if the conditions are favorable.

Crawling

Bed bugs are very good at crawling. They can crawl very fast when it’s dark. For instance, if you feel some bites while you’re asleep and decide to turn on the lights, the chances are you won’t even find one as they travel fast to their hiding places. If you live in an apartment, bed bugs can spread to every home through cracks. They’re also resilient to many pesticides and should you decide to spray an infested home, they simply move to the next room or home.

Movement of People

Whenever people put on clothes that are infested by bed bugs, they move them to other places where they land. For instance, one can collect bugs from one room to another or from a friend’s house to their home. These pests can also spread through traveling with infested packaging boxes and suitcases when one is moving from one residence to another.

Resilience and Resistance

Bed bugs are extremely adaptive and resilient. They can survive for up to seventy days without feeding and can live for several months if well fed. They’re also very sensitive and search for their prey by sensing heat from the human body and carbon dioxide from the mouth. When feeding, they pierce the human body through the skin and spit some saliva that contains chemicals that make you insensitive until they have finished.

Bottom Line

It goes without saying that bed bugs spread fast and their ability to hide in dark spaces encourages their spread. A single infestation can turn into a full-blown infestation in no time, which is why it’s important to keep them awayfrom your home. Once you have an answer to the question: how do bed bugs travel from room to room, you can take necessary precautions and measures.

Always inspect for bed bugs when traveling, getting used furniture

Tahlequah Daily Press |Oklahoma | July 19, 2019 | by Heather Winn

Bed bugs might be small, but they can cause big problems. After decades of barely registering on the pest control radar in the U.S., the insects have re-emerged as a concern in recent years.

Even though bed bugs aren’t known for carrying diseases, they can still make life difficult by causing discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and even embarrassment. Being watchful can help avoid a problem or at least allow for early detection and professional intervention.

Small, reddish brown and flat, adult bed bugs measure about 3/16-inch long and can be mistaken for cockroaches or ticks. The pests, which are mainly active at night, like to feed on humans. Bed bugs do not fly, but they do bite. Although reactions to being bitten vary from person to person, generally people may experience itchy, red welts or localized swelling within a day or two.

Bed bugs can live in almost any crevice or protected area; however, the pests are commonly found in beds and sleeping areas, and particularly in the seams, tufts and crevices of mattresses, box springs and headboards. They also can make themselves at home in upholstered chairs and sofas, especially if the furniture is used for sleeping, as well as in the cracks, crevices and recesses of nightstands and dressers.

Other favorite hiding places for the bugs include along the edge and just underneath wall-to-wall carpet; cracks in crown molding; behind wall-mounted picture frames, mirrors, switch plates and outlets; and inside clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors.

Cleanliness usually has nothing to do with the potential for a bed bug infestation. Traveling is a common way people come in contact with the pests. They can be imported through luggage, clothing, and even a person’s shoes. Secondhand furniture, including beds and couches, can serve as entry points as well.

There are some steps homeowners and travelers can take to try to prevent an infestation. For instance, travelers are advised to quickly inspect their hotel rooms before settling in. Pull back all of the bedding at the head of the bed, check the underside of the mattress tag and the seams of the mattress and box springs. In addition to mature bed bugs, look for the light brown molted skin of nymphs (immature bed bugs) and dark spots of dried excrement. If you find any evidence of bed bugs, report it immediately to management and request a different room.

To minimize exposure in hotel rooms, pull the luggage stand away from the wall and place bags on it, keep clothing in the suitcase – rather than placing belongings in dresser drawers – and use a flashlight to inspect the closet before hanging clothes. Shoes should be placed in an open area. After returning home, consider unpacking your luggage immediately and in a location other than the bedroom such as the garage, mudroom, or entry way of your home. Wash your clothes promptly and carefully check the luggage for bed bugs.

At home, residents should carefully scrutinize any used and refurbished furniture items, and especially beds and couches, before bringing them inside. Homeowners also should avoid taking any furniture items from dumpsters or curbsides, no matter their apparent condition.

In cases of infestation, effective eradication of the pests often requires trained, experienced professionals. However, because insecticides cannot be used to treat infested and exposed bedding, garments and other items, those things should be bagged and laundered at a minimum temperature of 120 degrees, or placed in a dryer for 20 minutes on medium to high heat. Freezing items at below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for multiple days also may work.

For more information, or to schedule a program locally about financial management, nutrition, health and wellness, parenting education, or Oklahoma Home and Community Education, contact the OSU Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County by phone at 918-456-6163.

Heather Winn is a family and consumer sciences educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County.

Bed Bugs are Still a Step Ahead…

Deep Look | July 9, 2019

At night, these parasites crawl onto your bed, bite you and suck your blood. Then they find a nearby hideout where they leave disgusting telltale signs. But these pests have an Achilles’ heel that stops them cold.

Adult bed bugs are about the size and color of an apple seed. After biting, they hide in a nearby cranny, like the seam of the mattress. At the University of California, Irvine, biologist and engineer Catherine Loudon is working to create synthetic surfaces that could trap bed bugs. She was inspired by the tiny hooked hairs that grow from the leaves of some varieties of beans, such as kidney and green beans. In nature, these hairs, called trichomes, pierce through the feet of the aphids and leafhoppers that like to feed on the plants. Researchers have found that these pointy hairs are just as effective against bed bugs, even though the bloodsucking parasites don’t feed on leaves. Loudon’s goal is to mimic a bean leaf’s mechanism to create an inexpensive, portable bed bug trap. “You could imagine a strip that would act as a barrier that could be placed virtually anywhere: across the portal to a room, behind the headboard, on subway seats, an airplane,” Loudon said. “They have six legs, so that’s six opportunities to get trapped.” — Where do bed bugs come from? Bed bugs don’t fly or jump or come in from the garden. They crawl very quickly and hide in travelers’ luggage. They also move around on secondhand furniture, or from apartment to apartment. — How can I avoid bringing bed bugs home? “It would probably be a prudent thing to do a quick bed check if you’re sleeping in a strange bed,” said Potter. His recommendation goes for hotel rooms, as well as dorms and summer camp bunk beds. He suggests pulling back the sheet at the head of the bed and checking the seams on the top and bottom of the mattress and the box spring. —+ For more tips, read the entire article on KQED Science: https://www.kqed.org/science/1944245/…

DEEP LOOK is a ultra-HD (4K) short video series created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios.

Best way to search a hotel room for bed bugs

By Greg Keraghosian | Yahoo Travel | March 26, 2016

Bedbugs aren’t a big concern when you travel … unless you get them. Then they’re a blood-sucking nightmare, and they won’t just ruin your trip — they can ruin your life for months afterward if they hitch a ride home with you.

Don’t think you’ll find them only in a two-bit motel — there are well-documented cases of tourists having their upscale hotel getaways ruined by massive bedbug bites. And it’s no use traveling to a region that’s bedbug-free: The data says they can be found all over the U.S.

What’s the best way to weed out these tiny critters?  We love this video demonstration from the University of Maine, in which Jim Dill, an expert with a sweet New England accent, shows us how to look for bedbugs upon first checking into a hotel.

We combine his tips along with some other expert advice into a step-by-step guide for avoiding a bedbug-infested holiday:

Put your bags in the tub, away from the luggage rack

This should be the first thing you do after checking in, and it’s often not mentioned. While a luggage rack may be away from the bed and elevated, bedbugs could easily be hiding out within the fabric of the straps. To be extra safe, put your bags in the bathroom tub, which bedbugs are unlikely to climb into.

Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association, also says you could leave your bags at the door when you first check in: “Just don’t unpack anything until you’ve checked for bedbugs,” she told Yahoo Travel.

Start your inspection by checking the headboard

Bedbugs don’t stray far from the bed — as Dill says, their range is about 20 feet away from their host — but they’re sneaky and can play hide-and-seek better than any 5-year-old.

Take a flashlight (if you have a smartphone, it probably has one) and get a good look at the headboard, which is a common hiding spot, and don’t forget to look in the creases.

“Many people overlook the headboard because it can be difficult to remove from the wall to examine it,” Louis N. Sorkin, BCE, a consulting entomologist with Entsult Associates, told Yahoo Travel.

And just to digress for a minute, Sorkin should know bedbugs well — he stores thousands of them at home for study and keeps them alive by letting them feed on him, since he doesn’t react adversely to bites. Chuck Norris has nothing on Louis N. Sorkin.

As for what bed bugs can look like, their size and color can depend on whether they’re an adult or immature, or whether they’ve recently fed. The common rule of thumb is that they’re the size and shape of an appleseed, but Sorkin has posted examples of how that’s not necessarily so. They can be flat or plump in shape, and pale or reddish-brown in color.

Check the piping of the mattress

The crevices of a mattress’s piping make for a great bedbug hideout, so take off the sheets and look closely at the top and bottom parts.

Check the mattress or mattress pad for blood spots or poop

We know, this isn’t the most romantic way to begin a hotel stay, but other than seeing the bugs themselves, this is the best giveaway of whether any bedbugs have been feeding recently. The bloodstains can be red or brown, and the bedbugs’ poop can look like magic marker dots or marks, or raised mounds, Sorkin said. The poop residue will be light-to-dark brown or black.

Check the nearby drawers and nightstand

These make for another nice, dark hiding spot for bedbugs. Don’t just look on the corners of the inside — to be really thorough, take the drawers out from the nightstand and look under them too.

Check all other prime hiding spots

This could include the aforementioned luggage rack, bed frame, picture frames, and anything else within a few feet of the bed.

What if, gasp, you find bedbugs when you check in?

I’ll share a semi-embarrassing story: Last year I stayed at a boutique hotel in British Columbia, and minutes after checking in I saw some apple-seed-size, orange-brown bugs on the window and the windowsill.

So I did what any sane person would do: I freaked out, zipped up the bags I had placed on the floor, and ran down to the front desk. To the hotel’s credit, the guy working there immediately came up to my room to check on the problem. Which, it turns out, was no problem — they were just a species of ladybug I’d never seen (Canadians!). But he examined the mattress and the room just to be sure.

Provided what you found are in fact bedbugs, notify the front desk immediately. It’s probably OK to ask for another room in the hotel, but make sure it’s not next door or right above or below (and check that room thoroughly too).

What if, double gasp, you wake up the next morning with bedbugs?

This is the scarier scenario, because you don’t know where the bugs might be in your stuff, and you must make sure they don’t leave with you. Since the hotel is going to owe you one, insist that it launder your clothes immediately. And washing them isn’t enough: Mannes of the NPMA advises putting all fabric in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes and steaming your luggage.

To be extra safe, before returning home place all your garments in a vacuum-sealed bag and dry them again.

If you’re wondering what bedbug bites look like, Sorkin keeps an extensive (and gross) collection of photos that include the bugs, their eggs, and their bite marks. The bites aren’t dangerous for most people — just unsightly and uncomfortable. Some people have harsh skin reactions that will require a doctor visit.

Bonus question: Could bedbugs hide on your pets?

Both Mannes and Sorkin said this is an unlikely scenario, but Sorkin added that it’s not impossible.

“There are exceptions where infestations have been allowed to proliferate due to many reasons,” he said. “Hotel staff haven’t been given proper education. I’ve seen infestations in homes where people and pet dogs and cats both had been fed upon over many months or longer.”

So just to be safe, give Checkers a good look before you check out.

Bonus question No. 2: How can I research if a hotel has bedbugs?

There are some websites where anonymous guests can report bedbug infestations at certain hotels, such as BedBugs.net and the Bedbug Registry. But there’s no way to be sure if the reports are accurate, and ultimately no hotel is 100 percent safe from bedbugs because of how easily they stow away with guests. Your best bet is to examine the room yourself.

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

Fox51.jpg

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