Found BB's in hotel room upon inspection(10 posts)
Well as some of the regulars may know, I had a BB scare a couple of months ago after staying at a hotel, but it was a false alarm. But due to the hassle and problems that caused, I had decided to follow a much stricter protocol when visiting hotels. I had watched David's hotel inspection video several times.
Well this weekend, my brother and I had to go out of town for a business trip. We packed everything in ziplock bags and only took what we needed. We left all our bags in the car when we checked in. All we took with us was a flashlight and some rubber gloves which we kept in our pockets. We wore cheap sandals we bought at Walmart and left our work shoes in the car.
Upon entry to the room, we worked our way around and did a thorough search of all the dressers, the desk, and the furniture...no noticeable signs. We moved to the beds, which we found to be encased (both mattress and box spring)...we weren't sure what to make of this but we assumed that this may have been a preventive measure done by the hotel. My brother went to check the headboard and he said it looked to be nailed down so he just did a cursory look around it. I took the flashlight from him and did a look around. Something wasn't right though, I noticed some black spots on the wood attached to the wall. I wanted to take a look behind it because one of the pros on this forum has suggested that the headboard in the most common place of harborage in hotels. I grabbed the headboard from underneath and it moved. So we went ahead and took it off.
The first headboard had some fecal on it. At first we weren't sure what to make of it. We had only seen fecal in pictures and we were a bit taken aback. We put it back on the wall and moved to the other headboard. Wow, this one was covered in fecal on the backside. There was fecal in the screw holes and along the backside. And wait for it...a live adult bed bug with a couple of eggs sitting in a screw hole. Don't ask me how we kept our cool, we barely flinched. We removed the bed bug using a pen and tossed it into into a glass. We sealed the glass and then went down to the front desk.
The front desk attendant was a friendly guy and I quietly asked him if we could speak to the manager, there was an issue with our room. He asked me what it was and I very quietly explained to him that we had found bed bugs in the room. I did not explain to him that we had inspected the room from head to toe, but he didn't ask any questions. He pulled the room up on his computer, and to be honest, by the way he reacted, you could tell that the hotel knew that the room had a problem or had been treated for a problem. I'm not expert, but based on the amount of fecal, this room seemed to have a serious problem at some point. It must have been wrongly cleared. The hotel moved us to a new room. Thankfully we didn't have any luggage sitting around in the infested room.
When we got to the new room we had to do the inspection all over again which was a pain, but obviously it had to be done. This time we found nothing and the headboards appeared quite clean. Hopefully there was nothing in the room. We brought our ziplocks into the room and tossed them in the bathtub. Wallets, phones, etc, were all in ziplocks and also in the tub. Our work shoes and anything that we wouldn't be able to decontaminate when we got home remained in the car. We slept ok, knowing we did our best.
The next morning, we showered and dressed from our ziplocks. All our dirty clothes went into a sealed xl ziplock and then were put into a garbage bag before being put into the car. They will be decontaminated tomorrow. We tossed the sandals.
Overall the whole process was a pain, but in this case it seems to have paid off. Generally I would have just done a cursory inspection of the mattress, box spring, and checked around the headboard. This time we were quite thorough and we found something. I don't know what the risk of taking a problem home with us was, especially because we had packed accordingly and planned on decontaminating everything anyways when we got home, but I'm glad we found out the problem before we slept in that room. We are two young men, so we had a bit of an advantage, we could move things a lot easier. Hopefully our method has prevented us from bringing home a problem.
I don't want to name the hotel but it was not a cheap place to stay, it can regularly run up to $180 a night so the bugs can really be anywhere. The hotel waived the charges for our nights stay which was good, I think it was fair that they did not charge us. For anyone traveling, please check your room and save yourself the grief of bringing home a problem. I think we were a bit neurotic and we were laughing at ourselves the whole time that we've joined the loony bin, but even a simpler approach would have probably found the problem.
Thanks for sharing your experience and making the effort to protect yourself and your family from bed bugs ! ! !
While I can't speak for my friend David, I'm sure he would agree that while we'd be happy to help folks that have a bed bug problem our preference is to educate folks such that they can be better prepared to prevent bringing this problem home with them as you have done.
Increasing public awareness may be the largest portion of the overall solution as well as the biggest challenge.
Please do three things: 1) Follow up with the hotel manager to make sure that they actually do something about there situation, 2) Continue to utilize these procedures to protect yourself on an ongoing basis, and 3) Continue to share this story and information with others.
Thanks again for sharing, excellent job ! pb
Great Job! If everyone was as diligent as you, this country wouldn't have such a problem on its hands.
I like how you kept your cool.
Well done, my only additional advice would be save the time working in to the bed and focus bed out in your search.
If more people took this on board a significant portion of the bedbug issue would be resolved. It is not the whole issue but it's a significant portion.
Glad to see that something has helped though, in fact other than meeting a few of the professionals in the US that video is the most productive thing I have done in Chicago and I used to work there.
Keep up the good work and spreading the gospel of avoidance.
This forum really has been a big help in learning more about inspection and monitoring. I really appreciate all the work the pros do to educate everyone and also nobugs for setting this place up.
One question I had was what should someone do if they find fecal, but no bugs? In this case, we found a live specimen, but I'm not sure how I would approach the front desk if all I found was fecal traces. Would this warrant a room change?
That would very much depend on the level of faecal.
If light, let's say less than 10 traces I would be asking reception if the room has been treated and if so when. The answers would determine if I stayed or moved.
If heavier and showing signs of treatment ( washed out faecal traces are more diffused ) I would ask for the treatment logs and asses from there.
However there is a lot to be said for moving room at any sign because it will ultimately teach hotels to insist on higher treatment standards. When treated correctly very few people could tell if there had been a previous infestation in the room but that takes an experienced level of attention to detail which is not currently taught.
I'm going to be a little careful what I say here and limit most of the discussion to recent personal discussions with hospitality in the price range you are discussing (a major full service chain with a price range of $150-$200 in the midwest).
I agree with David, personally, that it would be a great idea to change rooms when you see faecal and request that the manager watch you do the next inspection...ie stands in the room and watches you do it. The reason for this is based on the following:
1. I can't move a headboard on my own. I've tried. I found out that most of the paintings are nailed into the walls for liability purposes (so it doesn't fall on your head). I think it would be good for them to see someone remove the headboard and look. The hotel manager I recently quizzed (for personal reasons) said that the maid staff looks for bedbugs on the mattress seams and they have dogs inspect all rooms on a monthly basis.
2. Kudos to you for doing the inspections! Paul's idea of followup is great..don't be surprised if you don't get much of an answer.
3. I quizzed the hotel manager about their BB protocols. He sighed and then stated that the room, the rooms next to it and above and below are heat treated. The room is shut down. I asked if they keep a certain number of rooms "open" in case of BB moves, and was told they have agreements with other local hotels to transfer guests in a worst case situation. They shut down the rooms upon finding, but treatment timing will depend on the pest control company's schedule and the hotel's. My best guess would be it occurs Sunday night when there are the fewest number of guests in this area.
4. If you've read through this (sorry I'm long), here's where we as guests need to ask more questions. I asked what kind of monitoring of the room they have after treatment and got a blank stare, with "the dogs come back on their regular inspections". I asked about if they use any sort of passive monitoring since that may be more timely with once a week checks vs. the dog visit. I think we as hotel guests need to be concerned that the ongoing monitoring is dogs, maid staff checking the beds and guests when there are more sophisticated systems that aren't that more expensive. Don't get me wrong..I was thrilled to hear it was this much, but our cleaning lady at work also does hotels during the day. They are the $80-$100 range but she has a very brief time to do each room and I'm not sure they are fully checking. The supervisors may be.
If any of the PCOs can correct or add to this post, it would be appreciated. My interpretations may be wrong.
That's a great job. I stay in hotels nearly every weekend and after my initial bed bug scare 18 months or so ago (which turned out to be nothing) I was for a time super diligent about doing thorough inspections. I find though that as time wears on, and the balance between my bed bug paranoia and my inherent laziness shifts in favor of the laziness, my inspections have become progressively less thorough to the point where I almost don't do anything anymore besides a few simple precautions (ie, I don't keep any closes on the bed and don't generally unpack at all).
Okay, all of that was pretty much pointless rambling. What I really wanted to talk about was headboards. I generally travel alone and even when I was in diligent inspection mode and wanted to inspect behind the headboards, I could almost never find a way. It really takes two people. I recall watching a video which suggested asking hotel staff to help, but I could never bring myself to do it and believe me, I'm no shrinking violet. It always frustrated me that I was spending all of this time doing this super thorough inspection but the single most likely place to find them was effectively off limits.
Yes, sorry for my long post. I too am less diligent and rely on the packtite. However, I keep my suitcase in the bathroom and pack less.
Between KQ at the mouse house and this, it's a reminder to always check...
You must log in to post.