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It’s every traveler’s nightmare. You’re exhausted from a long day on business or vacation. All you wanna do is flop down on your hotel bed and go to sleep. But the next day, you notice the bites. You probably won’t even be able to sleep until after you’re home again! We have a little bad news: that nightmare could very well become a reality. Bed bugs love to travel, and hotels--even really nice hotels--tend to be a hotspot for them. We always recommend travelers take the following steps to check their hotel rooms for bed bugs. Follow these steps and you can make absolutely sure there aren’t bed bugs in your room. ‌

Step 1: Pre-prep

To look for bed bugs in your hotel room effectively, there are a couple things you’ll need. First, make sure you bring some kind of flashlight. You don’t need anything heavy duty; your phone’s flashlight will be fine. Next, make sure you have a credit card or something similarly thin. You'll use this to check under around seams, zippers, and other tight areas. When you first enter your hotel, find the luggage rack. Luggage racks are usually in the closet. Put all of your luggage on the rack while you inspect the room. If you don’t have a luggage rack, put your luggage in the bathtub. Hang up any clothing or non-luggage bags you brought along until after you’ve followed the next steps. ‌

Step 2: Inspection

Now, to get down to business. Keep your flashlight and your credit card on hand, and inspect each of the following places in order:

The bed sheets

check the bed sheets for bed bugs, especially around seams and foldsStrip the bed down to the mattress. Lay the sheets out flat or as flat as possible. Inspect each sheet thoroughly using your flashlight. Pay particular attention to the edges, corners, folds, and seams. Make sure to turn over each sheet to inspect both sides. Look for the bugs themselves, as well as small, copper-colored stains.

The bed’s corners

Start your inspection of the bed itself at each of its four corners. Use your flashlight to closely examine the folds, creases, and seams at each corner. Use the credit card to peel back the seams of the bed to see beneath them. Bed bugs often squeeze into small crevices to hide, especially during the day. While you’re examining the corners, make sure you lift the mattress itself to look beneath it. Bed bugs like to hide in dark, cramped spaces, so they often crowd around the underside of the bed. They also often lay eggs in the creases around the bed’s corners. Bed bug eggs look like very small, clear or translucent beads. They’re also sticky, so they might stick to the creases of the bed.

Seams and folds

After you’re done with the corners, it’s time to broaden your search. Now, you should take your credit card and peel back the seam along the entire perimeter of the bed. Make sure you use your flashlight so you can actually see into the areas you’re revealing. Just like around the corners, you’re looking for eggs, stains, and the bugs themselves. Make sure you check around the zipper, too!

The rest of the bed

After you’re done thoroughly checking the perimeter of the bed, work your way in. Give the whole mattress a once over. Look for stains, eggs, and any other signs of bed bug infestation. If you haven’t done so already, now’s a good time to flip the mattress and check the underside.

The Headboard

check the headboard for bed bugsContrary to popular belief, bed bugs aren’t confined exclusively to beds themselves. They tend to migrate to all kinds of hiding places where they can wait for a meal. The headboard is one of the most popular of those hiding places. Check along the grooves, behind the bed, and against the wall. Check the nightstands while you’re under there. Use your flashlight, but don’t try moving the nightstand if it’s too heavy. You don’t want to injure yourself on your vacation either!


Occasionally, bed bugs can even migrate to different furniture throughout a room. Check any cloth furniture for signs of bed bugs after you’ve finished with the bed. Use your credit card and flashlight to peek into crevices and corners.


You’re almost done! Curtains are another popular hiding place for bed bugs. Simply give the inside and outside of the curtains a thorough inspection. Make sure you smooth out any wrinkles so you’re seeing the entire curtain.   If you’ve completed each step of this inspection, you can be confident there are not currently bed bugs in this room. To keep the hotel room that way, inspect any clothing and bags you carry in and out of the room. Finally, when you get home, throw everything you can into your dryer. Heat kills bed bugs, so drying your luggage is a great way to ensure you didn’t bring any unwanted hitchhikers back with you. We realize this all sounds a bit like overkill, but the way we see it, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If in the off-chance you do end up with bed bugs, don’t despair! Just call Plunkett’s right away. If you think our inspection tips are thorough, wait until you see how we remove bed bugs once and for all. Just give us a call, and we’ll make sure the bed bugs don’t bite.

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