Bed bugs in hotels: how to report (and check up on) bed bug infestations

by nobugsonme on July 31, 2007 · 12 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs and travel, bed bugs in hotels, washington

This article from Walla Walla, Washington’s Union-Bulletin, offers the standard “local story on bed bugs.”

It begins with Al Grable, local Pest Control Operator (PCO):

While there have apparently been no official bedbug complaints lodged against any Walla Walla county motels, local residents can’t rest easily.

Al Grable, owner of Agreeable Pest Control in College Place, knows better. The pest expert has treated apartments, homes and motels throughout the area. And, although he declined to name the hospitality facilities, one was severly infested, he found. “And it was one of the better ones.”

When it comes to bugs, Grable gives legs to his profession. He taught entomology at Walla Walla College for 28 years and has vanquished pests for 15 years since retirement from teaching. He is certified with the Entomological Society of America and a member of the National Pest Management Association.

His first case of bedbugs came about four years ago, catching him by surprise, Grable remembered.

Clearly, local motels do have bed bugs, and Grable is treating them. But not one customer has called the local health department to complain about this. That may be because it doesn’t occur to travelers to do so.

Those planning travel in Washington can get some help, said Shannon Walker with the Washington state Department of Health. Her office inspects and oversees lodging businesses throughout the state.

With the increased publicity about bedbugs, her desk is crawling with requests for hotel and motel inspection reports. People want to about any multi-legged guests before making a reservation, she said from her office in Olympia.

Many consumers are unaware they can get such information or lodge their own complaint with the state, Walker said. “I’ll take a complaint in any way. They can call me, they can e-mail, they can fax it.”

No one will make a pest out of themselves in doing so, she promised. “I love it when people call me.”


If you encounter bedbugs while lodged in Washington, the state Department of Health wants to know, at (800) 633-6828, by fax at (360) 236-2901 or at shannon.walker

There is no centralized location for such information in Oregon; travelers must check with each county health department.

This article focuses on the Washington State Health Department as a place to report hotel bed bugs, as well as a place to check whether a hotel has bed bugs before you stay there. (Don’t assume that a hotel with no bed bug reports is bed bug free, though, since obviously everyone does not yet know to report them in this way.)

We haven’t really seen local health authorities inviting the public to enquire about bed bugs, or report bed bugs, in this way. But now that I read this, I am inclined to think that anyone who has experienced bed bugs in a hotel or motel should not only report them to the hotel or motel, but also to the county and/or state health departments.

If you encounter bed bugs in a Washington State hotel or motel, call the health department listed above. If you encounter them in another state, find out what county you are staying in, and google the county health department, as well as the state health department, to notify them of your experience. Doing so is not about revenge. It’s about letting others know where bed bugs lurk. And with the government, it’s about letting them know how bad the problem is–so we can all get some help with this. The government needs to know our concerns.

Travelers should also post a review on which details their experience in the particular hotel. This warns others of your experiences. I always check tripadvisor before I book a hotel, and I follow up once in the hotel by carefully searching the room for bed bugs (David’s video here gives a good demonstration).

1 parakeets July 31, 2007 at 1:48 pm

Remember when the National Hotel Management Association said the problem of bedbugs couldn’t be that severe since they had had so few complaints (or maybe none)? Like we were supposed to know that organization even existed and that we were supposed to send *them* our letters about bedbugs in hotels? I may be jaded but we could all be instructed to write to the health department in one state such as Washington, while a neighboring state’s health department might not even count the letters on bedbugs in hotels it gets, let alone act on them. People don’t know where to write…and with growing lawsuits, you can bet hotels don’t want these reports via letter, anecdotal though they will be deemed, tabulated anywhere. Bedbugs are taboo. See no bedbugs, count no bedbugs, disclose no bedbugs. Until the problem of bedbugs is solved, there is a head-in-the-sand quality of how they are being dealt with–which of course won’t solve the problem either.

2 Amanda philipow August 8, 2007 at 2:33 pm

PLease give information about thwem following youi in dirty clothbes

3 nobugsonme August 8, 2007 at 6:14 pm

We have a FAQ on that Amanda. Here.

4 charlene June 28, 2008 at 7:19 am

the pop in motel 667 hume highway Lverpool
the matress are so dirty you can see things crawling around the sheet haven t been clean or
taken off for the next guest .This motel is so dirty that my husban & i had to sit on the end of the bed until 6.30 am we couldnt lay & sleep

5 nobugsonme June 28, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Hi Charlene,

Per the article above, you might go to to record your unpleasant experience.

If they were verified bed bugs in North America, you can also go to

I doubt anyone seeking reviews of The Pop In Motel would find this one if you leave it here.

6 Priscilla Valentine July 11, 2008 at 2:07 pm

I was put on hold for 30 minutes when I called the number.
Finally got a number, the woman never heard of this site.
She transferred me to someone else who was out of the office….
totally worthless! No wonder no one reports!
It’s impossible!

7 nobugsonme July 11, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Hi Priscilla,

Do you mean you followed this instruction?

If you encounter bedbugs while lodged in Washington, the state Department of Health wants to know, at (800) 633-6828, by fax at (360) 236-2901 or at shannon.walker

This information is not coming from the site. We quoted an article from the Walla-Walla Union Bulletin, which you can refer to in further discussions with the Washington State Health Dept., if any.

If you’re not happy with the way that call went, I’d email Shannon Walker.

I still think people should complain to health dept.s about bed bug encounters in hotels, as this dept. has told the press they wish for us to do so. The more people call, the more notice will be taken.

8 Mike Maiocco October 9, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Occurred At: Tidelands Caribbean Hotel & Suites
5th Street and The Boardwalk
Ocean City, Md 21842

This happened in room 326 on Friday 9/26/2008. I woke up with several smeared marks on my pillow and red stains on the sheets. I pulled the mattrsess cover back and observed several live bugs. I immediately called housekeeping to report the infestation. Norma Foxwell, housekeeping manager observed the bugs and suggested we change rooms. I spoke with Michael Dean, Hotel General Manager who agrees to reimburse for the nights stay however refused to allow me to change hotels without a full nights charge. Bites started appearing on Saturday and continued for 5 days. It was noted by my Doctor I suffered over 300 hundred bites from my forehead to my feet. I also developed an allergic reaction to the bites which resulted in large welts all over my body. The hotel has been unresponsive and a law suit has been initiated.

9 nobugsonme October 9, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Hi Mike,
You might want to look at this site:

10 homeliss October 10, 2008 at 6:33 pm

i have mentioned this before…
CHONGKING MANSION on hongkong island. if you want to pick up hundreds of bed bugs this is the place to do it

11 nancy March 31, 2009 at 1:32 pm

came home with 8 or 9 bed bug bites after a one night stay in room 414 grand casino couushatta in kinder l.a.

12 nobugsonme April 1, 2009 at 12:04 am

Hi nancy,

You might consider leaving notes at the and to warn others.

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