How to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel

Nov 20, 2022 | Bed Bugs

How to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel

Despite making reservations at some of the top 5-star hotels, travelers are always susceptible to bed bug infestations. With hotels seeing thousands of travelers throughout the year, it is not uncommon for these unwanted guests to hitch a ride and find a new home.

To protect yourself from being turned into an evening meal and covered in bed bug bites or bringing home unwanted guests, it is important that you check for bed bugs when you first get into your hotel room.

Key takeaways

  • Learn how to identify a bed bug or signs of a bed bug infestation.
  • Explore key areas of your hotel room to check for infestation.
  • Learn what to do if you encounter bed bugs in your hotel room.

How likely are you to get bed bugs from a hotel?

Unfortunately, bed bug infestations are becoming more and more common, both in homes and hotels. In fact, estimates are that about 20% of homes and hotels in the United States have a bed bug infestation every year. With international travel being much easier than it was years and years ago, hotels have seen a steady increase in bed bug infestation. While most hotels have a regular bed bug prevention and pest control program in place that includes regular bed bug inspections by professional bed bug control companies, bed bug infestations can still occur.

What signs of bed bugs should you be looking for?

Unlike noticing a cockroach crawling across a motel floor, seeing evidence of a bed bug infestation is much more difficult. These pests are very small and typically hide during the day and only come out to feed on human blood. They are attracted to the carbon dioxide that you exhale and are typically highest during REM sleep which occurs in the early morning hours, around 4 a.m. In order to check for potential bed bugs in your hotel room, you need to conduct thorough inspections looking for common bed bug signs. These can include:


  • Live bed bugs: Adult bed bugs are small, oval-shaped bugs that are light to reddish brown in appearance and the size of an apple seed.
  • Blood smears on sheets or mattresses: bed bugs feed during the night, filling themselves with blood. If you roll over and they are crushed, this leaves tiny smears of blood behind.
  • Dark, pepper-like stains: When bed bugs feed, they often leave behind droppings that can look like sark or black stains.
  • Shed skin: As a bed bug grows, it shed layers of skin, much like a snake. This skin shed is left behind and is often a sign of a large infestation.
  • Bed bug eggs: While often difficult to see with the naked eye, bed bug eggs are pearly white in color, laid in batches of 10, and are under 1mm long.
Woman's hand pressing on white mattress

How to check for bed bugs in hotels

When staying in a hotel, inspecting for bed bugs before you get comfortable will help reduce the risk of you bringing home unwanted visitors from your stay. If possible, you want to conduct a thorough inspection before you even bring your luggage into the room. If, however, that is not possible, place your luggage in the bathtub while you inspect the rest of your room. Here we take a close look at some of the key areas you should check before unpacking.

Mattress, box spring, and bed frame

Bed bugs like to take up residence near their food source, so the most important place to check for evidence of their presence is the mattress, box spring, and bed frame. You want to check the bed linens, including inside the pillowcases and the pillows, as well as the mattress, paying close attention to the seams of the mattress. In addition, you want to look between any cracks, joints, carvings, and holes in the bedframe and headboard for signs of an infestation.

Bedside cabinets

Bedside cabinets or tables are also a common hiding place for bed bugs given that they are close to the bed bug’s food source. When checking these tables, you want to look inside drawers, along joints and handles, underneath the table, in between crevices, and on everything that is on the table, such as lamps and lampshades.

Wardrobes and dressers

While bed bugs like to be near their food source, they can still travel and hide in other spaces within the hotel room. You want to check just about everywhere but pay close attention to areas such as inside drawers, in joints or legs of tables, gaps within the walls or around picture frames, and around the baseboards of the hotel room.

Additional hotel furniture

In addition to the bed, many hotel rooms include other furniture such as couches and sofas, upholstered chairs, and additional throw blankets. Unfortunately, these can create ideal hiding places for bed bugs as well. If possible, remove couch cushions and inspect underneath, paying close attention to cushion seams, corners, and any zippers where bugs may be hiding. Examine any areas where upholstery meets wood, creating a seam.

Luggage racks

Most hotels offer luggage racks for guests to place their suitcases on when traveling. While most of these luggage stands are metal and often not a favorite hiding place for bed bugs, luggage is the main culprit for the spread of bed bugs, so it is important to inspect the luggage stand before placing your luggage on the stand. This includes the webbing that wraps around the metal stand, taking care to check the seams closely. Inspect any joints in the stand for any bed bug signs.

Man handing out the hotel room electronic key

What to do if you find bed bugs in your hotel room

If you are unfortunate enough to find evidence of a bed bug infestation in your hotel room, alert the staff immediately and ask to be placed in another room in a different area of the hotel. Unfortunately, bed bugs can easily spread through the walls, infecting neighboring rooms, so moving to the room next door is often not enough. If you took your luggage into your room before finding bed bug evidence, be sure to thoroughly inspect your luggage for any hitch-hiking bed bugs before you move on to your new room or hotel.

Be aware of bed bugs when you travel

The last thing you want to bring home from your travels is an unwanted bed bug that can quickly cause an infestation in your home. Taking the time to inspect your hotel room before getting comfortable can save you a major headache later.

If you brought home an unwanted vacation souvenir

If you find yourself with a bed bug infestation after traveling, professional bed bug pest control services are recommended. DIY bed bug control is often ineffective and bed bugs can be some of the most difficult pests to eradicate. If not taken care of immediately, the infestation can quickly get out of control.

The team at Arrest a Pest are experts in bed bug eradication and control and can quickly have your home bed bug-free. To learn more about bed bug treatment, schedule an appointment today.

Adam Judnich

Adam Judnich

Owner @ Arrest A Pest

Serving the entire Coachella Valley

Arrest A Pest is your top-rated pest and bug control solution in the Coachella Valley! As a family-owned and operated business, our technicians grew up in the Coachella Valley and have a deep understanding of the pests in our area.

We understand that every pest infestation is an emergency, and we offer quick, safe, and thorough pest solutions and preventions for your home or business. No matter what pests are invading your space, our technicians are armed with state-of-the-art technology designed to rid your home or business of pests and help you stay pest-free long into the future.

Contact us today to schedule your FREE evaluation and let our team send the pests packing!

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