Bed bug infestations are spreading across the United States like wild fire. Bed bugs thrive in areas that enjoy lots of human traffic and hotels are one of their favorite hangouts. If you intend to travel and spend time in a hotel, you must ensure that you don’t bring bed bugs home. Even a single bed bug in your luggage can kick off a full-scale infestation in your home.

You have to take several precautions to avoid getting bed bugs when sleeping in a hotel. This article offers guidelines on how to avoid contracting bed bugs when you visit a hotel. We provide some informations that can save you from a bedbugs infestation.

How big is the bed bug problem in hotels

Everyone dreads the thought of checking into a hotel with a beg bug infestation. The problem of bed bugs in hotels is becoming more frequent than most people think. Hotels are one of the favorite spot of bedbugs because of the constant traffic of visitors.

Most hotels don’t report bed bug infestations because they often have negative implications for them. You may think that dingy motels are the most likely candidates but, bed bugs do not discriminate based on cleanliness levels. They thrive in five-star hotels just as much as they would in a besmirched roadside motel. The following facts will help paint a clear picture of how big the bed bug problem in hotels is;

What percentage of hotels have bed bugs in the USA?

According to a National Pest Management Association’s report, 68% of hotels in the United States of America have bed bugs. The report further notes that infestations are spread across the 50 states. Some cities record more cases of bed bugs than others. Pest control professionals involved in the research also note that most hoteliers receive bed bug complaints in summer. Increased travels during this time of the year fuel the spread of bud bugs from one hotel to another.

Which hotel chains have the greatest number of bed bug reports?

It is not easy to track bed bug reports in hotels because there are no verified statistics. That said, Bedbug Registry, a crowd sourced-website, offers some reliable information on bed bug reports in different hotel chains. The website tracks complaints by metro areas and allows you to see recent bed bugs reports in different hotels.

So what hotel chains have the most bed bug reports? Here the list of hotel chains with the most location reported on Bedbug registry;

  • Holiday inn (732 locations)
  • Days inn ( 560 locations)
  • Super 8 (550 locations)
  • Best Western ( 519 locations)
  • Hampton inn (505 locations)
  • Comfort inn (503 locations)
  • Marriot (395 locations)
  • Hilton Hotel (338 locations)
  • Motel 6 (314 locations)
  • Quality inn (305 locations)

Please note that all reports are unverified. Hotel chains with many more locations and rooms have a highest chance to get a report.

Which cities are associated with a high risk of getting bed bugs?

There are bed bugs in all states but some cities present a higher risk than others. It is wise to know which cities present a high risk of getting bed bugs when preparing for your travels.

Here are the top 10 cities with bed bug infestations that you should avoid if you can. The rankings are based on beg bug infestation requests received by Orkin and Terminix from each city;

RankRanking of OrkinRanking of Terminix
1ChicagoLos Angeles, Calif.
2BaltimoreCleveland, Ohio
3WashingtonPhiladelphia, Pa.
4DetroitDetroit, Mich.
5Columbus, OHNew York, N.Y.
6Cleveland, OHChicago, Ill.
7IndianapolisDallas, Texas
8CincinnatiIndianapolis, Ind.
9Los AngelesCincinnati, Ohio
10Grand Rapids, MIAtlanta, Ga.
11Charlotte, N.C.Columbus, Ohio
12New YorkHouston, Texas
13AtlantaSan Francisco, Calif.
14PhiladelphiaSt. Louis, Mo.
15Champaign, ILWashington, D.C.
16Dallas-Ft. WorthPittsburgh, PA
17Raleigh, N.C.Memphis, TN
18Charleston, W.V.Tampa, Fla.
19PittsburghLouisville, Ky.
20DenverPhoenix, Ariz.
21Flint, MIDayton, Ohio
22San FranciscoDenver, Colo.
23Greenville, S.C.Oklahoma City, Okla.
24Norfolk, VANashville, Tenn.
25St. Louis, MOBoston, Mass.
26Richmond, VALexington, Ky.
27Toledo, OHOrlando, Fla.
28Dayton, OHLittle Rock, Ark.
29Buffalo, N.Y.Baltimore, Md.
30OmahaCharleston, W.Va.
31NashvillePaducah, Ky.
32MilwaukeeToledo, Ohio
33Ft. Wayne, INBirmingham, Ala.
34Greensboro, N.C.Grand Rapids, Mich.
35Cedar Rapids, IASouth Bend, Ind.
36KnoxvilleMiami, FL
37HoustonFlint, Mich.
38Davenport, IAShreveport, La.
39TampaKansas City, Mo.
40Youngstown, OhioFt. Smith, Ark.
41South Bend, INSpringfield, Mo.
42PhoenixMobile, Ala.
43Lexington, KYSeattle, Wash.
44SeattleMilwaukee, Wis.
45OrlandoSan Diego, Calif.
46Louisville, KYFresno, Calif.
47MiamiTulsa, Okla.
48Lansing, MILas Vegas, Nev.
49Peoria, ILSacramento, Calif.
50MinneapolisDothan, Ala.

What are the chances of getting bed bugs in a hotel?

One of the main bonuses of travelling is the chance to explore diverse accommodation. Hotels strive to maintain high levels of hygiene in order to keep their customers happy and satisfied. However, it is practically impossible to scan all guests to ensure they don’t have bed bugs. Some guests unknowingly carry bed bugs and that is where the bed bug problem in hotels starts.

So to answer the question above, there is a huge chance of getting bed bugs in any hotel. The level of hygiene or the luxury in a particular hotel does not reduce the chances of getting bed bugs. These pesky, crawling insects do not discriminate between a presidential suit and a cheap, untidy motel room.

According to a Kentucky University research report, 74% of pest control professionals in the USA have dealt with bed bugs in hotels. This is an indication that you ought to be very cautious when visiting a hotel regardless of its status. How can you avoid visiting hotels with bed bugs?

Ways to avoid visiting hotels with bed bugs

While hotels often keep bed bug infestations secret, there are ways you can use to find out before booking a hotel. Here are some techniques you can use to find out if a hotel has bed bugs before booking a room;

Check online hotel reviews

You should research various hotel review websites before booking a room in a particular hotel. There are several websites that allow you to see where visitors have re-counted encounters with bed bugs. The most popular sites that provide reliable information include the, and Trip Advisor. You can also do a google search with the hotel’s name followed by the word “bedbugs”.

You should pay attention to the last report date when checking for bed bug reports of bed bug sightings. The hotel’s management is most likely to have resolved the problem if it was reported a while ago. If you come across anything that suggests a bed bug infestation, it is best to avoid the hotel in question.

Seek advice on social media platforms before booking a hotel

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are excellent avenues for crowd sourcing information. A post seeking advice on particular hotels is most likely to attract responses from the hotels’ previous guests. It would be in your best interest to avoid an hotel with several negative feedbacks

How to check for bed bugs in a hotel room

Bed bugs have made an astonishing comeback in recent times. A few of these pestilent crawling insects on your personal belongings can kick off a full-blown in your home. There are number of ways you can check your hotel room for bed bugs and avoid bringing them home. Here are some things that you should do when you walk into your hotel room;

Inspect the bed

The first thing you should do when checking for bed bugs is to perform a thorough inspection of the hotel bed. These pestilent creatures usually stay close to their meal. You should retract the linens on the bed and check every nook and cranny. It is wise to focus on the headboard, and the seams of the mattress. You should also not to forget to check under the mattress.

Where do bed bugs hide in hotel rooms?

What should you watch out for when inspecting the bed? Bed bugs tend to leave behind several evidences including blood stains and small black dots that look like mold. The best way to identify an infested space is to look for such signs of bed bug infestations. If you notice any signs, it is best to alert the hotel staff immediately and request a room reassignment.

Inspect your hotel room

Extend you search to the rest of the room once you finish inspecting the bed. Bed bugs can hide 5 to 20 feet away from the bed. You must not limit your inspection to the bed area. Check behind picture frames, telephone, alarm clock, and any books.

It is also wise to check the cushions and seams of any pieces of furniture your room. If the room has a closet, you must inspect it before storing your belongings.

My hotel room has bed bugs

There are several questions that come to mind when you find bed bugs in your room. Here are some answers to common questions that may come to mind.

What should you do if your hotel has bed bugs?

It is best to alert the hotel staff immediately if you find any evidence of bed bugs in your room. This will allow them to inspect the room and take the necessary steps to remedy the situation. You should also request a room reassignment, preferably in another part of the building.

What should I do if I find bed bugs in my hotel room that I booked via is just an agency that passes your details to their partner hotels, but it is advisable to contact their customer service. In some cases, some customers had a partial refund. The most important is to notify the hotel directly and request a new room, further away from the infested room. You can also ask if they have a steamer to kill any bedbugs on your belonging.

Can bed bugs travel from room to room in a hotel?

Yes. Bed bugs can travel from room to room by hitching rides on guests’ clothes and belongings. They can also crawl into adjacent rooms through cracks and openings on walls.

Will sleeping with lights on keep bed bugs away?

No, lights don’t keep bed bugs away. They prefer darkness, but keeping the lights on will not prevent them from biting you.

What is the worst thing that bed bugs can do?

Bed bugs are a huge bother but they are often not dangerous. They do not transmit disease. The worst thing that they can do is trigger allergic reactions as a result of bites. For some rare persons, bed bug bites can cause Anaphylaxis, a severe, life threatening allergic reaction.

The most profound risk of staying in a bed bug infested hotel is not being bitten. The biggest risks is taking the bed bugs home and kick starting a full-blown infestation in your home.

Precautions to avoid getting bed bugs in a hotel

There some precautions that you must take when packing, when inside the hotel, and when checking out of the hotel to avoid getting bed bugs. The precautions are categorized as follows;

When packing

  • Use hard-sided bags without zips: Bed bugs are intelligent enough to find their way through most zippers and into your clothes. Using a hard sided bag without zips reduces the chances of getting bed bugs.
  • Seal all belongings in Ziploc bags inside your bag: Air-tight bags are generally bed bug proof. Keeping your belongings in a Ziploc air-tight bag protects your belongings from bed bugs. It is wise to also invest in a hard-case luggage because it is popular for repelling bed bugs

When inside the hotel

  • Store your bag on the luggage racks. Using such amenities reduces the chances of getting bed bugs. Do not let your clothes on the floor.
  • Consider placing your luggage in a plastic bag to protect it against bed bugs.
  • If you have to change your room, you must not move to one that is adjacent or directly below and above your original room.

When checking out of your hotel room;

  • Inspect your items closely before packing – It is wise to take some time and check all your belongings for signs of bed bugs before leaving the hotel.
  • Spray some bed bug spray on and around your suitcase to knock-off any lingering bed bugs

How to avoid bringing bed bugs from a hotel

After spending time in a hotel, there are several activities you must undertake to avoid bringing bed bugs home. The activities are listed below;

Bed bug prevention activities upon arriving home

  • Upon arriving home, perform a swift scan of your luggage, preferably on the driveway
  • You need to inspect your belongings one by one when unpacking them
  • Unpack your belongings directly into the washing machine and wash them under high temperatures. Hot water kills bed bugs. It is wise to launder your clothes in extremely high temperatures, dry them in a hot dryer. You can kill adult bed bugs at 119°F (48°C) for about 90 minutes. Bed bugs are more resilient and may require a temperature of up to 125°F (52°C) over the same duration Once clean, dry them in a hot dryer before putting them away
  • It is also wise to spray your suitcase with quality bed bug spray just as a preventive measure

How to know if you brought bed bugs home?

It is easy to bring bed bugs home despite all the precautions you take when travelling. It would be great to know if you brought bed bugs home and stop them before they multiply. For a complete guide on how to identify bed bugs, read our ultimate guide on how to check for bed bugs. It is also wise to invest in a worthwhile bed bug trap.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does every hotel have bed bugs?

No, not every hotel has bed bugs. There is a significant chance, however, of finding bed bugs in any hotel, including a five star establishment.

What causes bed bugs in a hotel?

Bed bugs in hotels are often brought by unknowing guests. These pesky insects hitch rides on luggage, purses, and any other personal items.

Are bed bugs in hotels caused by poor hygiene?

Bed bugs in hotels or your home are not caused by poor hygiene. They are not enticed by dirt or decomposing organic materials. These pesky insects can thrive anywhere with a steady supply of human blood.

Do bed bugs in hotels go away on their own?

No, bed bugs do not go away voluntarily because they can survive for months without food. They are also very hard to get rid of. It is advisable to notify the hotel immediately you notice signs of bed bugs.

Do hotels give refunds in case of a bed bug infestation?

Policies concerning refunds vary from one hotel to another. That said, most hotels cannot put their reputation in jeopardy by not giving refunds in a bed bug infestation scenario. Your hotel is most likely to give you a refund if you uncover a bed bug infestation.

Final Thoughts

The thought of harboring bed bugs is scary but you cannot always avoid them. That said, there are some precautionary measures you can take to avoid a full-blown bed bug problem in your life. Some of those precautions include;

  • You must always watch out for signs of bed bugs wherever you go whether it is a hotel or a friend’s place
  • Try as much as you can to learn all the ways of avoiding bed bug infestations by reading and learning about bedbugs.