Finding bed bugs anywhere can be scary, and knowing the right actions to take to prevent further infestation to your home and belongings can make a huge difference in treatment outcome. If you’ve noticed bedbug bites, this guide will help you confirm the critters, and tell you what you should do next.
Detecting bed bugs
Aside from bites, there are numerous other telltale signs that a bed bug infestation is happening where you’re staying. There’s no reason to panic, bed bugs don’t carry disease, and are more common than you’d think – no matter how clean you are!
You should regularly check all of your furniture (primarily mattress and sheets) for the following signs:
- Small brown blood stains (fecal spots) from the bugs
- Bloodstains from bites
- Bed bug eggs or nymphs
- Molted exoskeletons in the folds and creases of your furniture
You should also check for live bugs in mattresses and other furniture for an absolute confirmation. Be sure to take pictures of all of these signs, so that your landlord, hotel manager, or exterminator can take appropriate action.
What to do once you’ve confirmed an infestation
After you’ve taken pictures, bring it to the attention of the hotel manager and staff immediately. They will usually be willing to relocate you to another room while they deal with the infested one, and provide you complimentary cleaning for your goods and belongings.
If the hotel staff is unwilling to relocate you or compensate you in some fashion, you should immediately file a complaint, and find another place to stay if possible. The less exposure you have to bed bugs the better, and you will be less likely to carry them home.
You should take care to clean all of your clothing on a high heat to kill the remaining bugs.
In most cities the landlord is required by law to provide you (and possibly your neighbors) with extermination services, free of charge, once you provide them with adequate proof. Please check with your local laws before making a claim with the landlord.
You can also take immediate steps to reduce the impact of the bugs by purchasing at-home treatment products. These are not alternatives to hiring an exterminator – they just work in conjunction with an exterminator to provide you with the best outcome possible.
In Your Home
If you own your home and have bed bugs, you are liable to fix the problem yourself, and we recommend taking as many precautions as possible. Purchasing natural bed bug killing products can yield some initial results while you hire an exterminator.
The exterminator is a necessity, and they will guide you through the process of treating your home. They will likely recommend the following to prepare your home for treatment:
- Launder your belongings and clothing at the highest temperature (minimum 120F or 50C). If your bedding can not be washed, place it in the dryer at a high heat for 10-20 minutes. Be careful when transporting the bedding, as to not spread the bed bugs further.
- If the bedding has holes or tears, consider discarding it safely. Wrap in a plastic bag, seal, and mark with an obvious sign that it is infested.
- Bag and seal your belongings tightly at the request of your exterminator.
- Clear any clutter or garbage from your home to make it easier to navigate.
If you have found the sign of a bed bug infestation, such as eggs, nymphs, adult bed bugs, or exoskeletons, be sure to notify the appropriate person. If you’re in an apartment, this will be your landlord. If in a hotel, the manager. They will likely be able to help you (and most times, will be required to by law)!
Report the bed bugs online to help fellow travelers know the bed bug history of a location. This can help protect people in the future from spreading pests and causing outbreaks.
You can also take steps yourself to prevent an full outbreak in your home. Become familiar with the symptoms of bed bug bites, find home treatment options, and hire an exterminator immediately. The sooner you act, the more likely you are to have a positive outcome!