Most people fear bed bugs more than other common threats such as terrorism, kidnapping, and disease outbreak. These vampiric bugs are bad for business in accommodation, including hostels. As a hostel owner, you need to know how to deal with them because you will have to deal with them at one point or another.

Bed bugs can hide in several places in a hostel room. They have also become extremely difficult to get rid of because they’ve developed resistance to pesticides. Luckily for you, this post offers expert guidance on preventing or getting rid of bed bugs in your hostel.

Do Hostels Get Bed Bugs?

Five-star hotels can get bed bugs. Getting them in your hostel is not rare. Bed bug problems are one of the main issues hostel owners encounter. You may think that you only get bed bugs in your hostel due to poor hygiene but that is far from the truth.

Hostel rooms are at risk for bed bugs because they house several guests.

Bed bug statistics show that all 50 States in the USA have bed bugs, and public accommodations like hostels can get them. They can hitchhike on unsuspecting guests’ belongings and make their way to your hostel anytime. There is no full-proof solution to prevent bed bug infestations in your hotel. All you can do as a hostel owner is to learn:

  • The signs of bed bug infestations
  • Measures to prevent them
  • How to get rid of them in a quick and affordable way

How to Know If Your Hostel Has Bed Bugs

Hostel owners know their properties are infested in most instances when guests start complaining about bed bug bites. That said, itchy, red spots on the skin don’t always mean you have a bed bug infestation. Here are some common signs of bed bug infestations that will help you know if your hostel has bed bugs:

When someone shows you bites

According to PestWorld.Org Bed bug facts and statistics, 92% of people identify bed bugs using bites. That said, just because a guest has itchy red spots does not mean you have a bed bug problem in your property. As a hostel owner, you need to learn to differentiate bites from bed bugs, other pests, and skin infections. Bed bug bites often appear in a cluster in areas that individuals often expose during sleep.

Blood on bed sheets and pillows

It is a common practice to change bed sheets for hostel rooms regularly. If you or your employees notice blood stains on sheets and pillows, it is safe to assume you have a bed bug problem. Guests unknowingly crush bed bugs as they twist and turn in their sleep leaving behind blood stains. If you find such a sign of bed bugs in one room, you need to assume that your hostel is infested.

Inspect all hostel room beds and surrounding areas for signs of bed bugs

Dark and rusty spots

As a hostel owner, it is your responsibility to inspect hostel room frequently. Any dark and rusty spots on beds, linens, mattresses and walls indicate the presence of bed bugs. Bed bug excrements appear has dark and rusty spots due to the blood they consume.

Point to Note: It is wise to routinely check for bed bugs in your hostel even if you’ve not received complaints from guests.

What to do if there are Bed Bugs in Your Hostel

Bed bugs are not suitable for business; hence, most people panic when they find them in their hostels. Panicking is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when getting rid of bed bugs. This step by step guide will help you deal with bed bugs in your hostel:

Deal with guests’ belongings

The first course of action upon discovering a bed bug infestation in your hostel is dealing with your guests belongings. Inspect all non-washable items to ensure they don’t have bed bugs and put them in sealed plastic bags. After that, take all washable belongings and put them in a dryer to kill bed bugs. Bed bugs die at temperatures of 119°F (48°C) and their eggs at 125°F (52°C).

You must put aside woolen belongings when washing your guests’ clothes and linen because wool shrinks under high temperatures. Getting rid of bed bugs in wool requires extreme care, especially when using heat. Put woolen items in a dryer with lower temperatures for a longer time to kill bed bugs.

Inspect all hostel rooms

You are most likely to discover bed bugs in one room and not in all the rooms at once. The first thing you need to do is close down the infected room immediately to avoid the spread of bed bugs. You also need to inspect all the other rooms to make sure they don’t have bed bugs. Checking for bed bugs is a rigorous process that requires diligence and attention to detail. Even if you don’t find bed bugs in the rest of the rooms, it is best to treat all of them.

Relocate all affected guests to safe accommodations

As a hostel owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that all your guests are safe. If you find that only one room is infected upon thorough inspection, relocate the infected guests to safe rooms. In a scenario where the infestation has spread across the hostel, find safe accommodation for your guests nearby.

Treating Bed Bugs in Your Hostel

When you uncover a bed bug infestation in your hostel you don’t need to panic because it leads to several mistakes. Any mistakes when trying to get rid of bed bugs will have several negative repercussions for your business. Calmly come up with a carefully thought out plan for treating bed bugs in your hostel.

Most people often settle for pesticides to treat bed bugs but, they are expensive and ineffective against bed bugs. A recent study shows that bed bugs have grown resistant to several common pesticides. Do-it-yourself treatment options are affordable and more effective against bed bugs than pesticides. Here at some effective treatment options you can use to get rid of bed bugs in your hostel:

Heat treatment

You collect all your bed covers and duvets and take them to the dryer. Place clothing inside the dryer stepwise and avoid mixing clean and dirty clothes. You might also need to apply heat to furniture in your hostel rooms and other potential hiding spots such as cracks and corners. Steamers come in handy when applying heat to baseboards, carpets, bed frames, and other furniture in your hostel room.

You can also buy or rent heaters that can heat the whole room at a temperature between 120°F to 155°F (49°C to 68°C) killing bed bugs with their eggs.

Vacuum clean all hostel rooms

Vacuuming is an excellent way to get rid of bed bugs. When vacuuming pay attention to spaces behind beds and cracks, especially in areas where the wall meets the floor. Once you finish vacuuming, seal the vacuum bag and dispose it appropriately.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Learning how to do the treatment yourself can be interesting as the infestation will certainly happen again in the future.

How to handle guests if your hostel has bed bugs

Handling guests properly is an essential part of getting rid of bed bugs in your hostel. Failure to handle guests properly will cause immense damage to your business’s reputation. Here are some things that you can do for guests that have experienced bed bugs in your hostel:

  • Trace their travel history to determine if the guest had bed bugs before staying at your hostel
  • Ask their permission to examine their belongings for bedbugs
  • Inform them that you will address the problem and avoid similar incidents in the future.
  • Ensure that you address each guest privately from other guests at your hostel to avoid the commotion.
  • If the guest still resides at your hostel, offer to change their beddings or hostel room. Ensure that the room transfer process is done cautiously to avoid carrying the bedbugs.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs in Your Hostel

There is no guaranteed solution to prevent bed bugs from infesting your hostel fully. Nonetheless, some preventative measures can help prevent bed bug infestations on your property. Here are some that you should implement:

  • Examine any secondhand furniture you might want to bring into your hostel room thoroughly. Bedbugs might be hiding in them.
  • Ensure that your mattresses have high-quality encasement to minimize hiding spots for the bedbugs. Frequently check for cracks and heat treat them to exterminate pests.
  • Minimize clutter in your hostel rooms. Clutter creates hiding and breeding spots for bedbugs.
  • Frequently vacuum clean your hostel
  • Purchase a portable heating chamber that you can use to heat any surface and furniture in your hostel room regularly.

Final Thoughts

Bed bugs are most certainly one of the top three things you dread as a hostel owner. These vampiric critters can cause immeasurable harm to your business’s reputation and drive away potential clients. The key takeaways from this post on how to prevent such an unfortunate occurrence include:

  • Always make an effort to know where your clients have come
  • Put in place robust measures for preventing bed bug infestations
  • Perform regular thorough inspections of all hotel rooms for signs of bed bugs


Are bed bugs common in hostels?

Finding bed bugs in a hostel is common. However, this is a common problem and not a sign of untidiness

Should I refund guests if my hostel has bed bugs?

Yes, guests need to be refunded if your hostel rooms have bed bugs. That said, this is a controversial issue because the guests in question may be responsible for the bed bugs in your hostel. If one room is infested, it will be wise to investigate and get to the root cause of the infestation.

Can guests sue me if my hostel has bed bugs?

Guests can sue you for negligence depending on infestation and losses suffered. Some may seek compensation for damages since it is your responsibility to provide hospitable services.