A reader (we’ll call him “Tim Cruise”) writes,
We were on a [name of well-known cruise line deleted] ship only a year or so old.
I looked under the mattress as soon as we arrived and was very surprised to see bed bugs and a bloody-looking smear on the bed frame. Instead of denying that they were bed bugs, which is what I expected, they tried to comfort me by telling me that our room had been infested recently, but their onboard “horticulturist” had fumigated and cleared the room a week prior so no further treatment was necessary.
So, if the room was cleared, how did I find them so easily? Just an error in cleaning up after the fumigation I was told. I told them that from what I’ve read fumigation doesn’t kill them all, especially if done only in one room and wouldn’t kill any of the eggs which would now be hatching. I was further upset that they left our luggage in and around the infested room for hours as we argued over where we would sleep. They insisted there were no more bugs since the room was “Cleared” and that our luggage would not be bringing bed bugs to another room with us. I don’t know how they can be so sure.
And by the way, they typically book every room so there are no extra rooms to move guests to when bed bugs are found. I guess since most guests do not check themselves, this rarely is a problem for them yet. However, had I not checked under the mattress or had I agreed to sleep there anyway as they suggested, there would have been a much higher chance we would have brought bed bugs home with us.
Luckily, this reader is someone who not only knew bed bugs existed but also knew (and knew how) to search a room for bed bugs. Thanks to “Tim” for sharing his story.
Note: “fumigation” is a term often misapplied to spray and dust treatments. True fumigation, with a gas like Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride), cannot be done in single rooms. Done properly to an entire structure, it leaves no live bed bugs or eggs behind.
Meanwhile, spray and dust regimens generally require multiple treatments (though practitioners who really take their time and know their stuff do claim to get rid of bed bugs in fewer treatments).
The Travel FAQs give tips for bed bug free travel. If you do nothing else to spread the word about bed bugs, please do teach your family and friends how to search a hotel room or ship cabin for bed bugs. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.