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joconnell90 Nov 29th, 2012 06:46 AM

Bed Bugs
Hi everyone,

I've done a fair bit of travelling and, on more than one occasion have experienced bed bugs in both hostels and hotels, upon discussing this with friends back home, many were shocked and disgusted, most thought they were extremely rare and some didn't think they actually existed!

I guess i'm just curious for input from fellow travelers;
have you experienced bed bugs?
Were you embarrassed and did you keep it a secret?
If you spotted bed bugs or evidence of them would it make you change hotels/hostels?


NewbE Nov 29th, 2012 06:49 AM

I have never seen a bedbug, but I would certainly change rooms, and, if necessary, hotels if I found one. I do know how to check for them.

sf7307 Nov 29th, 2012 08:37 AM

Ditto what NewbE said.

cd Nov 29th, 2012 09:40 AM

I always check when entering a hotel room but I'm with the above posters, I have never seen one. If one was seen, I would leave the hotel, not just the room.

nytraveler Nov 29th, 2012 09:40 AM

Travel a lot and have never seen a bed bug. But I do know they exist and can be found even in upscale hotels - not just dumps. I must admit that I check every hotel room before bring my luggage inside. If I found them I would ask to e moved to a room in a different part of a hotel. If I found them there - or the hotel isn't immediately on the job to fix the problem - I'm on to a new hotel.

(A friend and her 3 kids were heavily bitten in an upscale resort in DisenyWorld. But they were given new luggage, had all of their clothes cleaned for free and were changed to another resort.)

The problem is usually not the hotel - since the bed bugs typically come in with other guests - who naturally don;t report that they are carrying them. In a decent hotel the room is fumigated and other rooms are checked - so the bugs don;t spread and other guests are safe.

If the place is a dump they don;t do this - and then the bugs can spread to a lot of other people.

Bon_Vivant Nov 29th, 2012 11:30 AM

Ok. I have just arrived at my mid- to upper-range hotel. I am hot (or cold) and tired, and very pleased to be told that my room is ready.

On entering the room, I find it all looks clean and tidy, just as I had expected it would. What should I now do to check the place for bed bugs?

cd Nov 29th, 2012 11:54 AM

I pull the bottom sheet and mattress pad off enough to look at the tuffed rim around the top of the mattress. If bed bugs were there, there would be little brown spots or maybe even the bugs themselves.

joconnell90 Nov 29th, 2012 01:57 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys, some interesting insights.

I actually asked this question in the US forum because I heard it was a bigger problem in the US (I'm from Europe)... maybe not!

It's interesting to hear that although some of you haven't seen a bed bug, you are aware of how to spot them. Is this something the media reports on a lot in the US?

lcuy Nov 29th, 2012 03:53 PM

My daughter had a terrible bed bug experience on a train seat in Europe. Had hundreds of bites on every part of her body that touched the upholstery. she ended up with a infection and had to go to a doctor in England.

I've had several friends find them in beds in Asia and the US. From my friends who work in hoetels in Waikiki, I know it is a problem there. I think it was Chicago or new your that had infested movie theatres.

NewbE Nov 29th, 2012 07:12 PM

joeconnell90, bedbugs were a huge news story about a year or year and a half ago in the US. I wish I could say that I always check for bedbugs before bringing in my luggage, as that seems prudent, but I tend to forget. Been lucky so far...

JeanH Nov 30th, 2012 04:19 AM

I've never seen one, and, in all honesty, have never checked for them. We stay everywhere from relatively high end properties to very cheap places in Central America.

I also don't bring along wipes and wipe down the room either. Nor, do I remove the bedspreads.

Never had any problems.

doug_stallings Nov 30th, 2012 05:31 AM

The bedbug problem actually started a decade or so ago in Europe and was a particular problem in cheaper London hotels. Then it moved to the U.S. about 5 years ago. Bed bugs are rare and annoying but not really harmful, though I think people get really freaked out about them. I understand that feeling. I'd certainly change rooms or, if necessary, hotels, to avoid them. I think good hotels deal with bedbug infestations immediately, and the big hotels have someone on call who can deal with the problem. Rooms are taken out of service and treated. By the time you read about a problem on the internet, it's usually been long solved.

Believe me when I tell you that most every major hotel in most big cities has deal with at least one bedbug problem, no matter how nice. Expensive hotels deal with the problem discreetly, and people rarely hear about it.

But I have to say it's just not one of my top 20 concerns when I travel. It truly is a sporadic problem, not a huge one.

nytraveler Nov 30th, 2012 09:19 AM

Definitely a sporadic problem - but IMHO worth it to take 2 or 3 minutes to check the bed before bringing your luggage into the room. I do it in every hotel, from the upscale to the very basic tourist hotels we are sometimes forced to use when visiting a client.

cynthia_booker Nov 30th, 2012 09:55 AM

I have noticed that hotel reviews (TripAdvisor and others) often include a review or two from someone claiming such and such hotel has bedbugs. Once I returned home from a wedding weekend and the hotel location had reviews about bedbugs, and for a couple of weeks I was convinced I had brought the problem home with me. It was all in my head. The wedding had been outdoors and it was mosquito season.
But upon arrival, I also do a quick inspection and then put it right out of my mind.

Lookin_Glass Nov 30th, 2012 10:40 AM

I think lcuy's daughter would disagree with Doug the Editor that bed bugs are "annoying but not really harmful."

doug_stallings Nov 30th, 2012 10:43 AM

Bed bug bites only become infected if you scratch them and create an infection. In themselves they are not toxic, just itchy. But people can be allergic and have stronger reactions than others. There's another thread floating around here where a poster claimed to have had a very serious reaction. That's just not the case for the vast majority of people, so I'm willing to stand by my statement.

joconnell90 Nov 30th, 2012 04:23 PM

More interesting thoughts, thanks guys.

I guess they're not a huge problem for most people, it seems to be the thought of bringing bed bugs home with that really worries people. I've heard that dealing with bed bugs in the home is a really draining experience.

alicia11 Feb 27th, 2013 06:34 PM

@Newbe - bed bugs can't be seen by our naked eye, as far as I know most pest control company used canine dogs for detection.

NewbE Feb 27th, 2013 07:00 PM

Nonsense, alicia11. They can indeed be seen by the naked eye because they are about the size of a watermelon seed. When they have fed on you, they are dark brown and can be spotted against pale sheets.

easytraveler Feb 27th, 2013 07:40 PM

I've had two bedbugs encounters in my life: once in Calcutta and once in New York. Sorry, come to think of it, there was a third time - up high in the Himalayas in Nepal when we had to sleep in very primitive conditions. There may have been other occasions, but can't remember off the top of my head now.

I'm afraid to bring bedbugs home, so before each trip, spray my luggage with Permethrin, especially inside (let dry) and along the zippers. All my clothes are in separate plastic bags and stay in the suitcase; I never use the drawers in hotel rooms (which would be an open invitation for bedbugs to get into my clothes). If I have the time, I'll spray the outside of the plastic bags with Permethrin and let the bags dry. On coming home, I put my suitcase in the bathtub and carefully unpack from there. This may seem like overkill, but you just need to have one or two experiences with bedbugs not to want a repeat of the experience.

In hotels, I do what cd does: check the ribbing of the mattress. Even if there are no watermelon-size bedbugs, but if the ribbings has a bunch of really tiny black dots, there are bedbugs, because those black dots are bedbug droppings. If there are "sofa" chairs, their ribbing can be quickly check too.

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