General Question

zzc's avatar

What do you do to avoid bedbugs, besides visually checking, when traveling?

Asked by zzc (1135points) August 25th, 2010

There is a national epidemic of bedbug infestations. It can happen anywhere, regardless of the “quality” of the hotel. A visual inspection of the bed linens, mattress, headboard, furniture, has been shown, and recommended, on the news. Do you do anything else to avoid them?

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8 Answers

Kraigmo's avatar

I never use the comforter. American hotels and motels do not wash those things. I throw that filthy giant rag under the sink, far from the bed.

I then inspect the top blanket with a light. Usually bugs are startled by light and will jump or scurry.

I then inspect every inch of the white sheet, and the mattress sheet underneath. If one single bug is found, that represents 500 bugs not seen. So I will refuse the bed if I see one single bug. I’ve stayed in some pretty dank and cruddy places… I’ve stayed in every blue light cheap motel…. the kind with holes in the walls, ripped blankets, leaky showers, thugs in the parking lot, and all that…. but so far I’ve never found bugs. That would be unacceptable. Hotels & motels should start getting plastic or wooden floors, no more comforters, and all-white blankets and sheets that are bleached weekly.

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MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I don’t think there’s much you can do. I had them, but was never able to see them – I just had a buttload of bites all over me. Really, just don’t go to any that have had a reported case and then haven’t followed it up with “we’ve fumigated now”. Other than that, hope for the best.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

There have been a couple of other posts on Fluther regarding bedbugs, so you may want to read through them using the search field. (I can’t find the thread with my response, so my apology to those that might be reading this a 2nd time.)

I worked for Hilton for 24 years, with 5 of those in the hotel inspection dept. In all that time on the road, at ~175–200 nights a year, a different hotel every night, I have yet to experience bedbugs, nor did any of my co-workers. Trust me, we would have talked about it.

From what I’ve read, bedbugs are attracted to body heat, so they get into dwellings, be it home or hotel, from the outside or by being transported on clothes or suitcase to another place. Cleanliness is not an issue. They just want blood, which is why the tend to nest in bedding and come out at night…to feed on the blood of the warm human.

Yes, the # of bedbug cases is growing in the U.S. Several sites attribute it to international travelers carrying them in their luggage. This is why NYC is battling them…many intl. travelers visit the fine city.

My peeve is that the blame seems to often fall on hotels. There are many, MANY more cases of bedbugs in residential dwellings than hotel rooms. They just don’t make a sensational news story. Read some postings on Q&A sites that discuss bedbugs, and you will see what I mean. No one who has an infestation in their own home is going to call the local news to report it.

When selecting a hotel, there is really no way to find out in advance if one has had reported problems with bedbugs. And some of the reported cases simply are not true. As for inspecting your room after check-in, that is virtually impossible as well. They are tiny, tend to be nocturnal, and come out when they feel body heat. The best visible signs are typically the next morning when spots appear on the skin or there are small blood streaks on the sheets.

john65pennington's avatar

Take along a portable hand-held steamer. way before retiring, lightly steam the sheets and everything else associated with this bed. they will be a little damp for a while, so steam early. never sleep with a comforter. throw it on the floor and have your partner snuggle up a little closer for warmth. i do not trust comforters.

MeinTeil's avatar

Stay out of Manhattan.

Thank the bleeding hearts that got DDT banned.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@john65pennington I suppose a hotel iron with a steam setting might work as well, but I have no idea what it takes to draw them out temperature- and light-wise.

@MeinTeil I’d prefer to sleep in a bedbug infested room than a DDT infested room. The fastest and safest way to detect bedbugs is by using dogs trained to detect them. Using extermination chemicals that are currently approved and/or properly disposing of infested mattresses/box springs are a much safer way.

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