Bed bugs are back, and everybody knows it. One can hardly watch the news these days without seeing a story about bed bugs, and they have become the number one money-maker for many pest control companies, particularly those which service resort areas. Travelers are warned to watch out for the tiny pests, and hotel owners are afraid to even think about them, but unfortunately the average person doesn’t know what a bed bug looks like, and when it comes to inspecting a room, wouldn’t know where to start.
Here are some tips for inspecting a typical hotel room:
What am I looking for?
Bed bugs are about 1/5-inch long, oval-shaped, flat, and brown in color. After feeding, they become bloated and turn dark red. You’ll also be looking for cast skins, blood spots, and excrement (yuck!).
What will I need?
- A flashlight. This is vital. You’ll need to check cracks and crevices, and behind objects and furniture, and a flashlight is the best way to inspect these hard-to-see areas. Some veteran exterminators call their flashlight their most important tool.
- Gloves. These aren’t strictly necessary, but you will be handling objects that might be covered with blood spots and fecal matter. So…
- A helper, to move furniture. A lone individual can perform an inspection, but sometimes it can be difficult to move some of the larger objects, like mattresses and box springs.
Where do I start?
The most obvious place to start looking is the bed. Bed bugs usually feed on sleepers, and prefer to live close to their food source. Check the blankets, sheets, pillows, mattress, and box springs, top and bottom. Inspect all seams. Look for blood spots, excrement, cast skins, and the bugs themselves.
Next, inspect the furniture next to the bed. If there is a nightstand, pull out the drawers. Shine the flashlight into cracks and crevices. Check the lamp and clock radio, too; even unlikely items like these can provide harborage.
Bed bugs might be on, around, or behind framed pictures or other wall decorations. If possible, remove them.
Inspect the entertainment center and desk, which can also provide harborage.
Carefully inspect the drapes.
Look around the electrical outlets, and any other wall voids or cracks.
Shine the flashlight along the baseboards; bed bugs can sometimes be found behind them.
In short, inspect everywhere.
What do I do if I find signs of an infestation?
Notify the hotel management immediately. Bed bugs are a hotel owner’s worst nightmare; there are few things worse for business than a rumor of an infestation, especially now that more people are becoming aware of the growing problem. We don’t recommend resorting to blackmail or anything like that, but it’s safe to say that the management will be very friendly to you after you reveal the signs of infestation.
If you find an infestation in a private residence, call a reputable pest control company immediately. Most offer free inspections to determine the extent of the problem, and there are a number of different treatment options, as well.