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Avoiding Bed Bugs When You Travel


SPRING BREAK IS JUST around the corner, and for many that involves travel to warmer destinations and hotel stays. If you’re lucky enough to be planning a getaway, be aware of the chance of bed bugs putting a damper on your stay. They’re on the rise, and they love to hang out anywhere people sleep, like hotels and motels.

And we’re not talking cheap or dirty hotels.

Recently, during a professional basketball game, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers had to stop playing due to flu-like symptoms. However, he didn’t have the flu. What he didhave were bite marks on his face, which he claimed were from bed bugs in his hotel room.Bed_bug.jpg

(Apparently, some people can develop body aches, fever, headaches, tiredness and a runny nose in reaction to the saliva of bed bugs. The rest of us merely suffer redness, swelling and itching from the bites, as well as anxiety at the thought of more bugs crawling on us during the night.)

Sure enough, the hotel where the team was staying confirmed the presence of bed bugs the next day.

Allow me to bring the situation a bit closer to home.

Verlo’s Guest Experience Manager, Kristin Shirley, stayed at a 5-star hotel in Chicago not too long ago. The first night as she and her boyfriend lay in bed, she looked up at the headboard and discovered a bed bug!


After screaming, she immediately called down to the front desk and reported the incidence. She also captured the offending bug and trapped it in a glass, as you can see from the photo on the right. (See the brown dot at the 6 o’clock position in the bottom of the glass.) The hotel responded just as quickly, whisking them away in bathrobes to another room, sealing and treating the contaminated room, and dry cleaning and heat treating their clothes and luggage. Needless to say, the hotel comped their entire stay.

Ironically, Kristin says that she usually checks any hotel room she’s staying in for bedbugs. This one time, however, she didn’t because it was such an upscale hotel and she felt safe not doing so.

A lesson for us all: Avoiding bed bugs means always checking your room no matter how fabulous the accommodations. (This includes the guest bedrooms of family or friends. These critters don’t discriminate!)

What do bedbugs look like?

According to Orkin, these little buggers are wingless and approximately ¼ inch long when fully grown. They have flat, oval-shaped bodies that look like apple seeds. They are usually brown, but turn reddish after feeding on human blood.

Where do bed bugs hide?

The answer is everywhere within a few feet of the bed. Before you even start searching your hotel room for bed bugs, put your luggage in the bathroom, preferably in the tub since that’s the least likely place for them to go.

Then, with your luggage safely stored, Fox News says you should begin searching in these five places:

    • Look at the headboard. (Kristin can attest to this.)
    • Check the mattress piping. (This requires removing the sheets.)
    • Inspect the mattress for blood spots or small black dots (poop) that look like mold or ground pepper. (The staff at Verlo is trained to do this. Before any mattress is taken back to our factory for a comfort adjustment, a thorough investigation is conducted.)
    • Search the nightstand and drawers.
    • Check anywhere else near the bed, such as the luggage rack, picture frames, lamps, etc.

One important reason for avoiding bed bugs on your trip (besides the obvious one) is to minimize the risk of infesting your own home. It’s very easy to inadvertently bring these pests home with you in your suitcase. Once you have bed bugs in your home, getting rid of them can be time-consuming and expensive – whether you employ DIY methods or call an exterminator.

(Which reminds me, a mattress protector that encases your mattress is a great way to protect your investment should you ever bring these unwanted guests home with you.)

Lest you decided to nix hotel stays altogether to avoid bed bugs – don’t bother; they’re everywhere people sleep. Hotels rank third (75%) as the most likely place to find bed bugs, with 95% coming from apartments and condominiums, and 93% appearing in single-family homes.

Bed bugs are simply a fact of life. Knowing what to look for can prevent them from becoming a fact in your life.

For more information on how to get rid of bed bugs, visit the Orkin website.

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