adult BB spotted in hotel room - 1st in 16 different stays :((9 posts)
So after 3.5 years of never having seen a bedbug (or knowingly been bitten), disaster struck as at about 10:30 PM yesterday, when drawing the curtains of my hotel room, I saw an adult bedbug on the top of the curtain. Fortunately all my stuff was in the bathroom (the "safest" area) bagged up as a standard hotel room precaution, apart from my laptop which I was using on a desk, also quite far away from the curtain. I would say I had been in the room only a few hours, and I believe the bedbug had only been seen because it had been disturbed when I drew the curtain. It was definitely unengorged, so it hadn't fed on me yet. I saw no other signs in the room but hadn't done the most thorough inspection.
I quickly called reception, reported the issue, and specifically moved to another room which is two floors higher and completely on the other side. This new room doesn't appear to have any. I specifically chose the hotel since it was less than a year old, hence by my theorizing it is at considerably lower risk for having bedbugs (as compared to older hotels - purely a question of number of exposures, right?). I also checked all the main review sites and no previous reports - just my luck! Although I guess I was lucky that I happened to see that one before going to bed.
I would say it has been almost two years since I started to get REALLY concerned about bedbugs and take all the precautions when travelling. Weirdly, the one encounter I had 3.5 years ago I didn't take too seriously, and frankly was lucky to avoid taking them home! In the last two years I have stayed in about 16 different hotels and this is the first evident encounter, so at least a 6% infestation rate... more if there were some in my previous stays that I didn't notice
So I was wondering:
1. Do you think I pretty much acted as I should in this instance? Laptop is of course hard to screen/de-infest apart from inspection, but I checked clothes I was wearing and found nothing.
2. Do any of you have similar encounter rates of like 1 in 16 when staying at hotels?
Thanks in advance!
good for you for being so careful....curious...what did the hotel do about the bb, and did you register on the bb registry?
For what it's worth, I'm 95% sure I know exactly which hotel i brought them back from. I found what I thought, at the time, was a giant tick in the bed.
At that conference, I had two roommates in a room with two queen beds. I shared a bed with one, while our other roommie had hers all to herself.
Neither of them got bed bugs on that trip.
I mention this only because it drives home for me the fact that not everyone who is exposed brings the bugs home. Part of it is that they just got lucky, sure.
But it's also true that despite our fears and anxieties, simply walking into a room with bed bugs does not mean you will get an infestation.
I would guess that in that amount of time, chances are, your laptop is fine.
Stay alert, by all means, but it sounds like another win for the "inspect your hotel room carefully" school of reducing your chance of bed bug infestation.
Good job! Everyone needs to check, every time they stay in a hotel. You were in the room for such a short period of time, I think you will be fine.
So after 3.5 years of never having seen a bedbug (or knowingly been bitten), disaster struck as at about 10:30 PM yesterday, when drawing the curtains of my hotel room, I saw an adult bedbug on the top of the curtain. Fortunately all my stuff was in the bathroom (the "safest" area) bagged up as a standard hotel room precaution, apart from my laptop which I was using on a desk, also quite far away from the curtain. I would say I had been in the room only a few hours, and I believe the bedbug had only been seen because it had been disturbed when I drew the curtain.
It sounds like disaster did not strike! You searched the room, you had your stuff bagged and in the bathtub/bathroom, and you got a new room before staying there too long.
It's possible to be exposed to bed bugs at any time, of course. On a train or plane or in a cafe, you and your clothing/bag/laptop could be exposed.
However, it does sound like the risk is low in this case. I am so glad you were knowledgeable about bed bugs going in.
Also, I do not have a 1 in 16 rate of seeing bed bugs in hotels. I've stayed in at least that many since becoming bed bug-aware and had no obvious signs, let alone bed bug sightings.
On one hotel visit, I had some itching which made me suspicious (but there were no signs, and it could have happened outside of the hotel room, even if it was a bed bug-related issue).
On another, I saw a blood streak (not a definitive bed bug sign) and an object which I thought was suspicious at the time, though at the time I did not have a good idea what cast skins looked like! (I now think it was something else...)
Though I've never knowingly encountered bed bugs or obvious fecal stains, etc., I DO still consider every hotel room (and many other locations) to be potentially infested.
Thanks a lot for all the encouraging replies.
Well I can't claim any credit for finding it during an inspection since I only happened to see it as I drew the curtain To be honest I never used to check curtains and such very thoroughly, if at all. My general inspection procedure operates around the assumption that most bed bugs would be found on or near the bed. I shudder to think how close I was to going to bed in that room...
I had already seen bed bugs before and thanks to this site was able to verify 100% that it was a bed bug. I took measurements and it was about 4.5 mm and looked very much like an unengorged adult from the pictures here. Also, it was thanks to this site that I had my stuff bagged up in the first place, and I believe it was Winston who first suggested to me to put my stuff in the bathroom since that is theoretically the safest place in the room.
Alas, as was the case with most hotels I stay in, the box spring is very hard to get to! I think here I theoretically could have checked had I ripped the fabric off the bottom of the bed but are we really supposed to go to these lengths for every hotel stay?
By the way, I checked BBregistry and while a very useful site it seems like it only caters to U.S. cities! The hotel manager has been informed and while I of course said you need to send some exterminator it is hard to say whether they will actually go ahead and do so. I'm sure that even if I was able to capture a live specimen to show them, most hotel managers would tend to hope that it was the only one, and would only treat once there were some more specimens captured and/or concrete guest complaints about bites.
Once more, thanks for all the help, and my compliments on an excellent site!
The Bed Bug Registry covers the US and Canada.
I think it would be impossible to be sure you were in a bed bug-free room. So you search as best you can, and if you see no signs, you assume there may be something.
I find it reassuring that this method would probably help me find a large infestation, or even a medium one if it existed. Having read a number of hotel horror stories in the media, it's not so much encountering a bed bug or two in a hotel that freaks me out, but the thought of either (a) sleeping in a massive infestation, or (b) taking them home. (Not that I want to sleep with even one bed bug, mind you. I am just considering degrees of horror.)
You can probably search most rooms well enough to rule out (a). You can never search a room well enough to rule out (b), so you have to take other precautions. You're right that you're unlikely to see a single bed bug or a very low level infestation. I am glad you caught that (blood)sucker!
Nobugs: You said you didn't see a rate of 1 in 16 (6.2%) in your hotel stays. However, would you have any updated stats on how high the current rate is expected to be? I believe there is a widely-quoted survey of 76,000 hotel rooms between 2002 and 2006 which quotes the bed bug infestation rate per room at 0.6% (1 in 160, so an infestation rate about ten times lower than what I experienced). Normally this would be encouraging but for a start there were obviously some (mainly lightly infested) rooms which slipped through the net in this survey, so the real rate must have been higher. Secondly, this was between 2002 and 2006, and given the year-on-year growth rates, the infestation rates on a hotel room basis must be far worse in 2010? Not sure if this is worth starting another topic over...
buggyinsocal: Yes you're right about the fact that not every exposure results in taking them home. You mention your rommates as having gotten lucky for not taking them home from that infested room. However, isn't it more accurate to say that you just got very unlucky? Based on the stories I hear, it seems that even for heavy infestations experienced by guests who take zero precautions, the vast majority of them do not take bed bugs home?
bugration - 2 hours ago »
Nobugs: You said you didn't see a rate of 1 in 16 (6.2%) in your hotel stays. However, would you have any updated stats on how high the current rate is expected to be? I believe there is a widely-quoted survey of 76,000 hotel rooms between 2002 and 2006 which quotes the bed bug infestation rate per room at 0.6% (1 in 160, so an infestation rate about ten times lower than what I experienced). Normally this would be encouraging but for a start there were obviously some (mainly lightly infested) rooms which slipped through the net in this survey, so the real rate must have been higher. Secondly, this was between 2002 and 2006, and given the year-on-year growth rates, the infestation rates on a hotel room basis must be far worse in 2010?
I don't think anyone has a truly accurate statistic for how many hotel rooms are infested in 2010. (I am not sure how accurate the statistic you mention was either. How long did they search each room?)
I was not trying to offer an accurate statistic based on my own experience. I have not seen any obvious evidence in my hotel rooms yet (knock wood).
You're probably right that the rates are higher than they were 4-8 years ago. OTOH, hotels are more clued in and may be handling the situation better than they used to once they come to light. Maybe.
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