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5 Tips to Avoid Bringing Home Bed Bugs From Your Hotel Stay

Play Detective

You needn't bring an exterminator on your trip to be reasonably sure your room is bed-bug-free. What you need is some knowledge of what they look like, what they leave behind and where they like to hide.

Adult bed bugs are about the size of a small apple seed, brown in color, and look something like a smaller, flatter version of a cockroach. Younger ones are lighter in color. They can leave behind evidence like tiny black dots of feces, wings and rust-colored spots where they're been squished.

They're most active at night and in the dark, but they're not entirely against feeding in the daytime. So, contrary to popular belief, bright light is not a great protective measure.

You'll begin your inspection at the bed, but you won't stop there. Bed bugs do very frequently hide in, under and close to the mattress, but there are other places where they can be found -- basically, in anything upholstered, dark and hidden, or containing folds, cracks or crevices.

Your inspection checklist should include:

  • all things bed: under it, behind it, walls adjacent to it, each layer of linens, mattress (especially seams), box spring, dust ruffle, pillows, etc.
  • in, under and behind night tables
  • any carpeting, rugs, drapes and upholstered furniture
  • behind any wall d├ęcor
  • in any cracks, crevices and corners in woodwork, walls or furniture

If you complete this inspection and find no signs of bed bugs, your room is likely clear. If you do find signs, any at all, tell management and request a different room in a different part of the hotel.

Then, start the process all over.

Once you find a safe place to unwind, by all means, do so -- but don't forget the critters entirely...