How to Check For Bed Bugs in Hotels and on Cruise Ships

If you’re travelling in the US or Canada, a proactive resource is available to you, free and online. The Bed Bug Registry contains user-submitted addresses of hotels with bed bugs, usually with updated statuses on the situation and what the owners/operators were doing to fight the bed bugs in hotels (or apartments — my old apartment made the list! Lucky me.).

How to Check for Bed Bugs When Staying In Hotels

If you’re already in the hotel as you read this, there are a few things you can do. While asking at the front desk might not get an honest response about the hotel’s bed bug status, you can have a quick look-through around the bed (lift the sheets) and headboard for the usual signs of a Bed Bug Hotel — brown or red spots are the usual indicators.

If there’s no sign of bed bug blood and feces, but you’re still not convinced you’re going to sleep as tight as a bug in a rug, what can you do?


Some questions and answers about ways to prevent bed bugs in hotels or on travels from snacking on you


Sleep sacks: ”Would the silk “sleep sacks” travel accessories be any help at all against bed bug bites at a hotel?


Answer: Probably not, since bed bugs likely can penetrate with their mouthpart through the weave of the “sleep sack.” As long as the opening of the sleep sack was not the weakest link (make sure the sack has a special bed-bug-proof closing style), and you are paranoid, the sleep sack is worth a try.


The best protection is simply to inspect the entire bed (mattress and sheets) and the headboard for signs of bed bugs. If you find any, don’t spray them yourself. This may cause them to move around and infest other areas. Instead, contact the hotel management, inform them of the bugs and request a different room immediately.


“When traveling I carry a can of Lysol spray and spray the bed with it. Is this helpful in getting rid of bed bugs?”


Answer: The only way that the Lysol spray is helpful in killing bed bugs is if you sprayed the bugs directly. The alcohols and propellants would probably kill bed bugs if you marinated them in it. However, dried spray on or around the bed has no effect. When traveling, always inspect your mattress for bed bugs, which again, means pulling back the covers and looking carefully at the seams and tufts for bed bugs or bed bug evidences (black fecal spots).


Bed Bugs on Cruise Ships


Bed bugs on cruise ships? ”I’m getting ready to go on a cruise, should I be concerned about bed bugs there?”

Answer: Because we know that bed bugs are increasingly resistant to pesticides and are making a comeback with a vengeance, it makes sense to inspect any location away from home where you are planning to sleep. Look over your cabin thoroughly, checking for signs of bed bugs before you unpack. Look behind the head board if possible, and inspect your mattress. There is no need to tear the room apart, but a close look at the mattress seams and inside the cabin drawers prior to putting away your clothes should become part of your traveling routine. Also, set your luggage away from the bed and preferably off the floor on a metal rack.