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How Do Hotels Prevent Bed Bugs?

Staying in a hotel is something we all look forward to, where we can finally put our feet up and relax. Bed bugs are probably the last thing on our minds when heading to hotels, but it does make you wonder how they are preventing them, and how effective their strategies are.

There have been cases of bed bug infestations in hotels before, where guests would then seek full financial compensation (because let’s face it – it’s simply not acceptable under any circumstances!).

In this article, we’ll look at how hotels are preventing bed bugs, and why they even occur in the first place. We’ll also answer some related questions too, such as how common bed bugs are in hotels, as well as if hotels will refund guests for any bed bug issues during their stay.

Given the risk posed by bed bugs (both to humans, as well as their ability to tarnish a hotel’s reputation), hotels take bed bug infestations very seriously. The majority of hotels have strict methods they follow in keeping these critters at bay. 

Now whilst hotels can’t exactly screen and turn away clients who walk in their doors, the only measures they can take are to minimise any outbreak, rather than completely removing the possibility beforehand.

Using Professionals

The vast majority of hotels reach out to a pest control expert, and usually one that is a specialist when it comes to the removal of bed bugs. These professionals tend to use heat treatment or vacuuming, which is a lower maintenance approach which the hotel can also do by itself.

However, where professionals differ is their use of insecticides, which are heavy duty chemicals that are often very effective in killing off bed bugs. Given that insecticides are a very strong chemical, it’s best for most to leave this option for the professionals only, unless they themselves have experience using these.

DIY Approach

Many hotels may instead opt to do the job themselves, given the higher costs of using a professional team to perform full-on treatments. This is more likely the case with lower-end hotels, or those that are independent, versus those that are part of a more established chain.

Treatments such as vacuuming are easy to do in-house, however they tend to be less effective since cleaners won’t have the same level of expertise as those of a professional bed bug team.

Why Do Bed Bugs Occur?

These small insects travel between infested furniture and bedding, and unfortunately are pretty skilled at relocating and surviving. They can easily attach themselves to clothing, bags, and other objects, and even crawl between rooms.

All it takes is just a few bed bugs to quickly grow into an army, which is why it’s important to take as many preventative measures as possible (which we’ll look at later in this article). 

Most of us that imagine a hotel with bed bugs, will start thinking of a cheap motel that’s not well looked after. This is not always the case though! Bed bugs have been found within every level of hotels, from motels up to some very established hotels too.

Remember that all bed bugs need is transportation from an unknowing guest, and from there they’ll set up camp anywhere. Bed bugs themselves won’t discriminate if a room is already clean or not!

How to Tell if a Room Has Bed Bugs

Now that we’ve looked at why bed bug infestations occur, and what hotels are doing to mitigate the problem, this next section is handy for us guests that stay in hotels.

Given that an outbreak isn’t too difficult, it’s important for us to check a room for any signs of bed bugs before sleeping (not only so you can get a refund or move room, but also so we don’t end up having a terrible night!). 

If you’re concerned a room may be at risk, then the first thing to do is to inspect the mattress. Gently take off the sheet, and have a look for any small red or brown spots.

Given that bed bugs are tiny (around 5mm), it’ll be quite hard to spot them unless you have very good eyes. It’s also worth checking any other furniture in the room such as sofas, as well as any other areas where you may feel they could be hiding.

If you found nothing, then most likely your bed is clean and ready for a comfy night sleep. If you did find some signs, then you’ll want to read on what to do (later in this article). If you have someone else checking-in for you beforehand, then be sure to ask them to have a good look too.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Common Are Bed Bugs in Hotels?

Before looking at hotels in particular, it’s important to note just how common bed bug infestations are in general. According to this detailed survey from Bugs Without Borders in 2018, it was estimated that 97% of all USA-based pest control professionals had been called in at least once (in the last year) to get rid of bed bugs. 

When it specifically came to hotels, the results were surprisingly high. It was found that, of all places where a pest control expert was called in to deal with this issue, the third most common place was indeed a hotel.

This shows just how common of a pest they can be for hotels, and also why many will prefer to use professionals to deal with the issue rather than trying to get rid of bed bugs by themselves.

A good way to avoid any bed bug issues in hotels in the first place, is to see if your particular hotel has had these problems in the past. Bedbug Reports is a very useful site where both customers and professionals have reported past incidents of bed bug outbreaks of hotels across the USA.  

Will Hotels Refund for Bed Bugs?

If you did find any evidence of bed bugs, then be sure to back these up with photos to show hotel reception. The majority of hotels will give a refund if you can prove that there are bed bugs in your room.

Otherwise, they may ask to move to another room in the hotel (if you’re okay with this, then just make sure it’s not close to your original room). However, given that you probably feel put off, then you can still ask for a refund instead regardless and stay somewhere else.

The strong majority of hotels will be completely understanding and empathetic of the issue, so will help you the best they can (such as waiving early departure fees, and also arranging another room if that is what you wish).

If your particular hotel tries to minimize the concern, or doesn’t want to provide a refund, then you can contact your local health inspection department. This site here also offers some other tips on what to do if a hotel doesn’t want to own up to the issue. 

Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?

Bed Bugs live off blood, and once in a human-occupied bed, they’ll begin feeding during the night. These small insects aren’t considered to be dangerous, as they don’t carry any diseases.

However, they are of course irritating, since they’ll bite and leave small marks (similar to those of a mosquito bite). In rare cases, some people may have an allergic reaction to a bed bug bite, which of course can be dangerous depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Final Thoughts

These pests can be a real nuisance, and when staying in a hotel, we all hope that this would never have to become a current reality for us. Most hotels are doing a pretty good job at mitigating them, however every now and then an outbreak does still occur.

In this article, we’ve covered how hotels are preventing bed bugs, and also how common an outbreak of them are in hotels. We’ve also covered why bed bug infestations occur, as well as if a hotel will refund you for bed bug issues during your stay.

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Hayden Wall

Hayden is the founder of Travel Gear Discounts and tries to vacation as much as possible. He loves finding the latest travel accessories that will make getting out easier and planning the perfect weekend getaway.