How to spot bedbugs in your hotel room

Travelers don't want to hear this but the truth is, even some of the world's best and most expensive accommodations have been plagued by dreaded bedbugs on occasion.

But is it ever possible to spot them before you get bitten? When you arrive to your hotel room, experts recommend placing your luggage in the bathroom — this is an unlikely place for bedbugs to hide — while you inspect the bedding and furniture for tell tale signs.

While bedbugs do not transmit diseases, bite responses can range from a small bite mark to a serious allergic reaction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The pests are not considered to be dangerous; however, an allergic response to several bites may require medical attention.

They are most frequently found in mattresses, but can live anywhere within eight feet of where people sleep, which is why their places of residence vary. They can live in cracks in furniture or in any type of textile, including upholstered furniture, curtains, carpets, dressers, and even wallpaper.

The blood-sucking insects can cause anxiety and sleeplessness. But if you take a few easy steps before settling it, you may be able to avoid all that worry the next time you check into a hotel room.

1. Check the pillows


The tiny insects, which are just about 4 millimeters in length, can stay almost invisible to the naked eye in a pillowcase. But pillows are an easy infestation hot spot because they can host a lot of eggs undetected. If that’s the case, your pillow will probably smell of mold. You may want to consider buying a bedbug blocker pillow protector. They are usually zippered and have a bite barrier.

2. Check the luggage racks


Luggage racks, especially those made of wood, may often be overlooked but they are very possible locations where bedbugs can hide. (Bedbugs love wood but hate tiles.)This is one way the bugs can get on a person’s luggage. Don’t use closet shelves or drawers, until carefully inspected, for the same reason. In general, inspect any crack or crevice as closely as you can.

3. Check the fold and seams of the mattress


Lift the mattress and check underneath as well. Ask for a flashlight if you don’t have one on your phone. Look at the folds and seams in the corner of the mattress. It may be a good idea to use a credit card or something else to get under the folds of the mattress, because this is another spot the annoying bugs love to hide.

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4. Check the curtains


Sometimes bedbugs will lay eggs on or in curtains. Bedbugs can travel from fabric to fabric even while you’re washing them. Only extreme heat will kill them. So if the curtains or drapes were mixed with bed sheets, or clothes that were infested with bedbugs and washed with warm or cold water, the bedbugs or their eggs have likely survived.

5. Inspect every part of the bed (duh)


The Cimex lectularius, a parasitic insect that feeds on blood, is commonly called the “bedbug” for a reason. Bedbugs like to be very close to where people sleep so they can enjoy their meals undisturbed. Don’t put any luggage on the bed until you have checked every inch of it for blood stains or small black dots. At first they will look like ground black pepper. Check for the critters themselves, too.

Check out more ways to spot bedbugs in your hotel room.