The complete guide to dealing with bed bugs in hostels (2023)

Bed bugs are absolutely dreadful. They are also bad for business. However, most hostel owners will have to deal with them at some point in their careers.

These pests can take up residence in every kind of accommodation or property, can live in any type of textile, and are found all over the world. In recent years, bed bugs, in particular, have become increasingly difficult to get rid of as they are more resistant to pesticides and more people are traveling than ever before.

Prevention is much easier than eradication. So it’s vital that you have a scheduled cleaning and maintenance program and follow it.

What is a bed bug?

The complete guide to dealing with bed bugs in hostels (1)The complete guide to dealing with bed bugs in hostels (2)

The scientific name for bed bugs is Cimex Lectularious. They are flat, oval-shaped, non-flying insects which are about 5mm-7mm long. Reddish brown in color, they are often mistaken for ticks. As the photos depict above, you may come across either narrow or fat bugs; the fat bugs have just eaten.

Bed bugs develop and thrive during the warmer temperatures, 21-30°C (70-86°F), which is why infestations tend to coincide with the busy tourist season.

"I think my room has bed bugs!"

It is important to take this claim seriously but to stay calm and work methodically to determine if indeed there is a bed bug loose in the guest's bed, or worse, an infestation in the room.

The complete guide to dealing with bed bugs in hostels (3)

Ask if the guest actually saw the bed bug, or if they have a bite. Adult bed bugs are easy to see, and their bite marks are relatively distinctive in that they are usually three or more in a row. However, they can be confused with mosquito bites or even allergies. A single bite on the skin that may have been exposed during the night (i.e. arms and face) is more likely a mosquito.

(Video) Bed Bugs- What You've Been Told is Totally False

You might also ask if the guest smelled anything unusual. Bed bugs leave a strange hormone odor behind that is rather sweet but unpleasant. Allow the guest to describe the smell to you in full, and do not ask leading questions like, "Did you smell anything sweet?" You want the guest to do the describing.Bed Bug Odor Explained

No matter what the guest describes to you, it is important that you do take action, 1) because if there really is a bed bug, you want to get rid of it quickly before it becomes a real problem; 2) if there is not a bed bug, then going to investigate and asking questions shows that you care about the guest's wellbeing and about your hostel. Thus, there is less likely the chance the guest will leave a "dirty" review when they leave.

If you are unsure of a bed bug, take action assuming that there is one.

  • Be discreet! Talk to the subject guest away from other guests if possible. Ideally, youdon't want this to become a big dramatic event because it can cause a psychosomatic chain reaction throughout your hostel community.
  • At the end of the conversation with the guest, you can say something like, "It's hard to know for sure if this was a bedbug, but I would like to work with you to make sure we deal with the problem if it is."
  • Inspect the bed and the guest's luggage (with permission) with the guest present.
  • Explain that bed bugs frequently do not leave their host and sometimestravel on luggage. Ask the guest where they stayed last. Sometimes this will envoke a story of "Oh that last hostel/hotel was terrible!"
  • Offer the guest a free hot water wash and dry of all of their clothes.
  • Offer to heat treat, wash or wipe down their luggage, especially around the zippers, handles, and corners.
  • Check the bedding and mattress tray for bugs, fecal matter or blood. Check for dark dots on linen or walls as this is also excrement from them.
  • The bug(s) may be on a different bed. Check adjacent beds and furniture as well. Different guests will have different sensitively to bedbug bites.

If you do not see evidence of bed bugs:
If you do not see anything, you can still change the bedding, which should give the guest, and yourself, some peace of mind.

If you do see evidence of bugs:

  • Remove all of the bedding, including pillows and mattress cover on the affected bed. It's important to do this carefully so you don't shake any bugs loose to other areas of the room. Put the items in plastic trash bags and tie or tape them closed before bringing to the laundry. Put items that that can be washed through a hot water cycle. If your hostel only has a cold-water wash, you will definitely want to use your dryer and not hang dry the items. It is the heat that kills the bugs and the eggs hiding in the linens. Some have a small concern that bed bugs can survive the wash, get separated from the linen and crawl out of the washer. Therefore, they recommend heat treatment in the clothes dryer first, then complete wash and dry.
  • Treat the mattress with a pesticide spray that's approved for use on linens, or use a steamer across all surfaces of the mattress. You may want to have a ready replacement mattress to switch out until this one is clean. Or you can offer the guest a different bed or room to make them comfortable in the meantime. However, only do this only after the guest's clothes and luggage have been treated so you don't spread the problem to another room.
  • Check the corners of the bed frame and springs or slats. In our experience, bed bugs have a hard time climbing some types of metal bed frames. However, they do like nooks and crannies where they can feel protected on their back and belly, areas where skin cells and dust tend to collect. Give these areas and the entire bed frame a good clean with a strong cleaner.
  • Carefully inspect the walls and baseboard for cracks and see if you see any signs of bed bug fecal matter which may indicate a larger infestation involving more extreme measures (see below). Bed bugs will leave fecal matter outside their hiding places so they can find this area in the future based on smell.
  • Vacuum the room, all around the bed, under the bed and near the baseboards.
  • Check the other beds for similar signs of fecal matter.

Bedbug Cleaning Tips

When you have a suspected case of bedbugs in a room, the last thing you want to do is spread the infestation around your hostel. Here are some extra tips to keep the problem confined to one room where you can deal with it strategically.

  1. Before you remove linens, pillows, and duvets from the room, put them in plastic trash bags and tie them off. This will prevent you from scattering bedbugs and eggs throughout your hostel on the way to the laundry room.
  2. Keep bags tied off until just before you are ready to wash. When you take linens, pillows, and duvets out of the bag, be gentle so you don't fling bedbugs and eggs around the laundry room.
  3. Adopt a policy at your hostel of never letting bedding get switched from one room to another. When guests are switching rooms mid-stay, never let guests or staff move linens from one room to another. Likewise, when you are deep cleaning, be careful not to move linens and mattresses from room to room.

Scheduled Cleaning and Maintenance Program

As stated before, prevention is the best policy. Therefore, your hostel should have an ongoing deep cleaning procedure for bed bug prevention. Most residual insecticides have limited effectiveness of about 3 months; therefore, your ongoing deep cleaning procedure should address each room in the hostel within this amount of time.

You may want to do one room at a time, especially if your hostel is in the busy season, or do all the hostel at the same time to reduce the chance of bed bugs migrating to other rooms.

Eliminate potential refuge spots for bed bugs- Wooden bunks or furniture, cracks in walls, crevices, carpet, corners of bed frames are all places where bed bugs feel safe and comfortable. You want to seal access to these areas with caulk or spackle. For cracks in baseboard or walls be sure to seal adjacent rooms first so you don't exclude them from the treated room and force them to adjacent rooms.

Steam along baseboards - After you sealed adjacent rooms, if you have a high-pressure steamer, consider injecting steam under the baseboards of the treated room to kill bugs in areas that are unreachable.

Invest in bed bug resistant mattresses- Bedbugs like to hide in the cording found on most mattresses. If you can, have custom mattresses made with no cording. If this is not possible, buy mattress encasements that will exclude bed bugs from getting to these hiding places. If bed bugs or eggs are already on your mattresses, the encasements will prevent them from exiting the mattress.

Clean and vacuum thoroughly - Now is a good time to clean out all those dust bunnies behind the beds. Pay careful attention to the crack where the wall meets the floor.

Spray a residual insecticide - Unfortunately, if you are running a hostel (or hotel) you will very likely need to use insecticide. We have seen all sorts of hostels try and fail to use "eco-friendly" products to deal with bed bugs. Bedbugs are very robust and resilient; therefore, chemicals are needed to combat and prevent the problem long term.

If you are allowed to use an insecticide as a non-professional, be sure to follow the instructions for the insecticide very carefully. Make sure what you are using is allowed for use near bedding. The last thing you want to do is poison your guests.

(Video) How to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel Room | Consumer Reports

If you decideto (or are required to) hire out a professional service, just note that they are expensive and they may not do a proper job either, so be sure to supervise their work. In any case, they will generally not do the prep work. Professional exterminators are there to spray chemicals, not move personal belongings, vacuum crevices, etc. Prepare the space with the above cleaning steps and move furniture so they can do their job.

Apply desiccant insecticide powder such as Cimexa inside outlets and in other inaccessible areas

Do Frequent Inspections - Train your manager (or yourself) to look for bed bugs on a regular basis. This inspection is not merely "looking around the room". To properly inspect for bed bugs you will need a flashlight and the discipline to carefully look EVERYWHERE. Under the beds, behind the beds, in the bed frames, etc. Remember, you are not so much looking for bed bugs as you are looking for the signs of bed bugs (i.e. fecal matter).

Do this yourself - Unfortunately, this is not something you can usually delegate to staff. It takes a trained eye, or at least one that is keen for detail/ vested interest in the well being of your hostel, to really look closely and give this work the attention it needs in order to be effective.

Even if you do have others help you, staff, or otherwise, you should be the one to personally inspect that it is being done properly. Preferably, you should inspect your helpers as they clean or spray, so you can catch issues right away. For example, proper attachments are being used to do a thorough job, or certain furniture is being moved in order to clean behind it.

Also, don't trust that you can simply hire a professional to make the problem go away. We have seen a lot of professionals spray and go without really caring about the process and outcome. It's your hostel so you need to be the one personally invested in this.

Dealing with a hostel bed bug Infestation

Unfortunately, a bed bug infestation will require precise and meticulous measures. Some will feel the measures listed below are drastic, but they are designed to eliminate your bedbug infestation without spreading them to other areas of your hostel.

Although it can be difficult to deal with an infestation when the hostel is busy, this work almost always needs to be done when the dorm is closed. If possible, immediately reduce allocations for this room and do not check new guests into the room and proper treatment may take days. If necessary, move guests to other dorms but, before you do this, carefully inspect their luggage and/or wash and heat treat their items.

Clean and declutter - First, you will need to prepare your space for treatment by decluttering the room. But you will need to be very conscientious about not spreading the bugs to other areas of the hostel.

Bring the black trash bags into the infested room to throw rubbish, paper and cardboard, and unused clothing/linens away. Secure tightly with duct tape before removing from the room.

Pick up all valuable clothing and linens from the floor, remove the drapes and place every item into the plastic bags. Secure tightly with duct tape before you take them to the washer and dryer. When you open the bags near your washer, put items directly into the wash gently so you won't shake bugs out. Bugs that get away may wind up in your clean linens.

Remove anything from under the bed and inspect each item for bugs or dirt (bedbug feces). Either discard or treat thoroughly. If you have cardboard or cloth storage boxes, you may need to throw out and get plastic storage instead.

Move the bed away from the wall and fully inspect the bedposts and springs for bugs. Put the bedding, pillows, mattress toppers, and linens into plastic bags and secure for the laundry. Fully inspect the mattress and boxspring. Vacuum to remove any visible bugs (especially around the cording), then place the mattress into fully zipped, bug-proof liners. * Be sure to zip completely.

Clean all items in the room: the bed frame and chairs or tables, wipe down the walls and baseboards. Remove the electric switch and outlet covers to check for hidden bugs.

All cleaned items need to be sealed plastic to prevent them from being re-contaminated.

(Video) How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs Guaranteed- 4 Easy Steps

As you empty the vacuum bags, do so into the garbage bags there in the infested room. Seal the bags with duct tape so as not to contaminate other areas.

Shrink wrap the furniture tightly before moving outside.

Exclusion - Caulking and painting the room is one of the best ways to rid yourself of bed bugs once and for all. Be sure to caulk cracks on adjacent rooms before working on the infested room. In addition, painting provides a great excuse for why you are closing the dorm. The nice thing about painting the room floor to ceiling is it will entomb any bugs and eggs you can't see. White paint will make things look clean and it will help you spot future bugs more easily. Semi-Gloss or Gloss paint seems to be harder for bed bugs to climb on but it also makes the walls more cleanable. The cleaner your wall is, the easier it will be to see bugs.

Depending on the extent of the infestation, you often may also need to remove the carpets completely. Again, be vigilant about containment of the carpet in shrink wrap prior to removing from the room. Once the room does not show evidence of bedbugs, you can install new carpet.

Apply Insecticides - Either hire a professional or apply insecticides in accordance with local laws and the required procedures and labeling. These products will vary from country to country but be sure to use professional grade products. Home pest insecticides are rarely effective.

There are two main types of insecticides. Residual sprays and dust. In almost all cases, you will need to apply follow up treatments after the initial treatment. This is rarely a "one and done" project.

Every few days, you will need to check the room for evidence of bugs. Eggs may have hatched or areas missed, so be vigilant. If you see bugs, you need to retreat the room and, if possible, use a different type of insecticide.

If the infestation is severe, you may need to purchase new furnishings.

This video provides excellent detailed instructions for dealing with bed bug infestations. If nothing else, it illustrates how meticulous you will need to be when dealing with a bed bug infestation.

10 tips for preventing bedbug infestations in hostels

1 - Seal and caulk all cracks and places where bedbugs might hide. The idea is to leave them no place of refuge where you can't see and inspect.

2 - Use a residual insecticide spray and dust along baseboards and in areas that you can't see and inspect.

3 - Consider painting walls and ceilings white and keep them clean. This won't prevent bed bugs but will help you spot bedbugs much more easily to spot an infestation earlier.

The complete guide to dealing with bed bugs in hostels (4)

4 - Train managers to thoroughly inspect and look for bedbugs and their markings on at least a weekly basis. Consider making faux markings on the wall with a pencil to help train managers to look carefully.

(Video) How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs | DIY Pest Control | The Home Depot

5 - Keep walls clean. This won't prevent bedbugs, but it will help managers more easily spot bedbugs.

6 - Place faux marking rewards on the wall to confirm your manager is inspecting thoroughly. It's much easier to tackle an infestation when it's small so thorough weekly are a must.

7 - Use mattress encasements to prevent bedbugs from getting in the mattress. This vendor sells custom sized mattress encasements.

8 - Deep clean dust in mattress trays and behind beds. This will make insecticides more effective and may prevent dust mites which may also bite guests.

9 - If a guest is arriving from another hostel or hotel in your own city, ask why. Usually travelers don't hostel hop within the same city. If they state the other hotel/hostel had bedbugs, give them a free service wash and heat treat their luggage.

10 - Take all reports of possible bedbugs seriously. Not everyone reacts to a bedbug bite so if you have a guest who complains, thoroughly inspect the room.

Other inspection techniques and services

Bed Bug Detecting Dogs - A trend that seems to be growing in the States is the use of specially trained dogs to sniff out the bed bugs. I mentioned earlier about the sticky sweet smell bed bugs tend to give off, well sometimes we humans cannot smell it.

Of course, dogs can smell anything better than we humans can, so why not use them to help us out?

How this works is the handler will leave the dog outside the room while he goes into the room to be searched. He will have a "salt shaker" type of jar that contains bed bugs and will hide it in some out of the way place.

When called into the room, the handler will lead the dog around to sniff all corners of the room, the beds, the wall outlets, the baseboards, and the carpets.

If the dog signals he has found something, for example, the dog may be trained to sit when he smells a bed bug, the handler will search the area the dog indicated. If something is found the dog is rewarded. If nothing is found the dog will need to continue searching.

By the end of the sniff-search, the dog will be taken to the bed bug shaker. When he signals the handler of bed bugs, the dog will be rewarded.

Passive Bed Bug Detector/Traps - These traps attract bed bugs with a pheromone scent and have sticky glue that traps them. These traps can be placed in dorms and monitored from time to time to see if there is an infestation. However, they will not catch the introduction of new bugs, especially if there are people sleeping in the room.

Active Bed Bug Detectors - These are more elaborate traps that use bothpheromone scent and CO2 to attract bed bugs and trap them. This is not a method of elimination but it's good for testing if you have bed bugs in a room. However, like the passive traps, they don't work well unless there is no "competition" in the room. In other words, if people are sleeping in the room, bed bugs will travel to the closest opportunity for a meal. However, these monitors are good for confirming the room is clear before putting guests back in the room.

Electronic Bed Bug Detectors -. We have thisdevice at our hostel. It works but in all honesty,you have to be so close the bed bugs to detect them, I would say visual inspection works better. However, it does give guest comfort that an "objective" test was done after you have already visually inspected the area.

(Video) How to Get Rid Of Bed Bugs on Couches and Furniture

Heat Treatment - This is a controversial eco-friendly technique to eliminate bed bugs from a room. However, it requires a LOT of preparation to remove and wash linens and furnishings. Then you need special heaters that can burn your hostel down if you are not careful. You also need to insulate windows and fire sprinklers (to prevent accidental discharge). You also need to have multiple wireless thermometers throughout the room to ensure the kill temperature has been reached for the specified period in all areas of the room. Personally, I think cleaning, caulking and painting the room is more effective.


How do you get rid of bed bugs in hostels? ›

Vacuum your mattress and floors often.

Wash all sheets, clothing, and textiles at least once a week in hot water. Use caulk to seal cracks around baseboards, electrical outlets, light sockets, and furniture, so bed bugs can't hide in them. Check for bed bugs in hotels, hostels, and guest rooms you sleep in.

Are bed bugs common in hostels? ›

The frequent movement and shared accommodation of backpacking makes it very easy for bed bugs to spread, and hostels have no way to prevent this. Remember it's not you versus the hostel, it's humans versus bed bugs. Make sure the hostel takes the problem seriously though and is taking steps to address it.

What do you do if you stay in a hotel with bed bugs? ›

Wash everything on a high temperature or sanitary cycle for at least 30 minutes. Placing everything in the dryer on the hottest setting for 30 minutes will also kill bed bugs and larvae. Immediately after you're finished putting clothing in the washer, tie up and throw out the empty garbage bag in an outdoor trash bin.

What kills bed bugs instantly and permanently? ›

Pyrethroids are synthetic chemical insecticides that act like pyrethrins. Both compounds are lethal to bed bugs and can flush bed bugs out of their hiding places and kill them.

Do bed bugs travel in backpacks? ›

Bedbugs can hide in backpacks. Check seams and pouches throughout your backpack for bugs or eggs. Do not place your backpack on or under your bed. Clean and reduce the clutter in your room to eliminate places for bedbugs to hide during the day.

Can bed bugs survive a washing machine? ›

Technically, bed bugs can live through a cycle in the washing machine. The truth is that while washing your clothes or linens will kill most of the bed bugs, the heat of drying your items is what will ultimately exterminate any and all remaining bugs. As we mentioned above, bed bugs do not tolerate heat.

What to do with backpack with bedbugs? ›

Put everything from your backpack, including the backpack itself, in a dryer on high heat (over 120 degrees) for at least 30 minutes to kill the bugs and their eggs. If a dryer isn't available or some items can't go in one, seal them in a black plastic bag and put the bag in direct sunlight all day.

Can bed bugs survive in the dryer? ›

If you want to only kill bed bugs and do not need to wash your clothes, simply putting infested items in the dryer for 30 minutes on high health will kill all the bed bugs.

Can bed bugs get into a zipped suitcase? ›

Myth: Bed bugs can't get into hardshell suitcases! Not true – bed bugs will find their way into the zippers and seams of any bag or suitcase. Sleeping bag liners prevent bed bug infestations!

How long before I know if I brought bed bugs home? ›

How Long Does It Take To Realize You Have Bed Bugs? There's no surefire answer to this. Each infestation is different from home to home, but generally, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month for signs of the infestation to show up. If the infestation is small to start, the signs won't be immediate.

How do I make sure bed bugs don't travel with me? ›

Some things you can do to reduce the risk of picking up bed bugs as you travel include:
  1. Do not put your clothing or luggage directly on the bed. ...
  2. Use metal luggage racks at all times. ...
  3. Use small plastic bags to pack clothing, shoes and other personal items. ...
  4. Hotels aren't the only bed bug travel threats.

What gets rid of bed bugs fast? ›

Wash bedding and clothes in hot water for 30 minutes. Then put them in a dryer on the highest heat setting for 30 minutes. Use a steamer on mattresses, couches, and other places where bedbugs hide. Pack up infested items in black bags and leave them outside on a hot day that reaches 95°F (35°C) or in a closed car.

Is it easy to bring bed bugs home from a hotel? ›

Not everyone who stays in a bed bug infested room will take bed bugs home. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to act as if you may have picked up a stray bed bug or two. The most likely place to pick up bed bugs in luggage is on, or next to, the bed.

What does rubbing alcohol do to bedbugs? ›

Alcohol works two ways to kill bedbugs. First, it acts as a solvent, which means it eats away the bug's outer shell. The dissolving action might be enough to kill some bedbugs, but alcohol delivers a one-two punch. It also acts as a desiccant, a substance that induces drying out.

What happens when you spray alcohol on your mattress? ›

If you spray it on a surface, it evaporates after some time. So, you may use it to disinfect your mattress. It is also highly effective in removing body odors or foul smells. Spraying the alcohol mixture and leaving it for 15 minutes will remove the stink and microorganisms.

What to do when you get bed bugs while traveling? ›

  1. Tell the management of your accommodation as soon as possible. You may be able to change your accommodation. ...
  2. Run your clothes, shoes, and other fabric items through a hot wash cycle. ...
  3. Treating suitcases is tough, but not impossible. ...
  4. Try not to scratch your bug bites. ...
  5. Check your home once you return from your trip.
Nov 27, 2018

How Long Will bed bugs live in a suitcase? ›

To avoid bringing home an infestation, the first thing you need to do is protect your luggage. Once bed bugs burrow themselves into the crevices and seams of your suitcase, they can stay alive without a feeding for up to four months.

Can bed bugs travel on the clothes you wear? ›

Bedbugs can easily hide in luggage, clothing, and other personal items, so take a few precautions while travelling to keep them from coming home with you.

What is the natural enemy of bed bugs? ›

Shortlist of bed bug predators are:

American Cockroaches. Thanatus Flavidus Spiders. House Centipedes. The Masked Hunter also known as the Masked Bed Bug Hunter.

Is Febreze good for bed bugs? ›

The answer is NO- or at least very, very unlikely. There is 0 evidence to support that it has any effect After speaking about this subject in a group full of bed bug experts, we all came to the conclusion that it probably doesn't even repel bed bugs.

What kills bed bugs instantly baking soda? ›

Myth. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that baking soda is a successful home remedy for bed bugs. Baking soda actually breaks down when it comes into contact with water, so the idea that it can absorb the thick fluids found on a bed bug shell is quite questionable.

How do I know bed bugs are gone? ›

You can either manually inspect the same areas each day, or some clients find it helpful to put a sticky adhesive trap around the bed legs which would pick up bed bugs that are on the move. If no bed bugs show up in the trap after several days, that's one indication that they have been completely eradicated.

Do you need to wash everything if you have bed bugs? ›

One reason is that bed bugs can get all over your clothing and make the infestation even worse. For this reason, you should take any clothes that may have potentially come in contact with the infested area and clean them immediately to eliminate the threat of bed bugs spreading when you wear your clothing.

Can you vacuum up bed bugs? ›

Vacuums can be helpful in reducing the numbers of bed bugs in certain locations especially where there are groups or clusters of bed bugs. Vacuuming is not 100% effective, but will help capture bed bugs.

How long can bed bugs live in a Ziploc bag? ›

Plastic bags can kill people and most any bug by rapidly removing oxygen but even so, suffocating bed bugs in this manner is challenging. With their tiny size, bed bugs don't need much air to breathe and just enough air can be in a sealed bag to keep them kicking for months.

How long can bed bugs live in a vacuum sealed bag? ›

Like other living things, bed bugs require oxygen to survive. A2016 study showed that bed bugs were susceptible to very low oxygen levels and nearly complete mortality could be achieved in as little as 8 hours.

How long can bed bugs live in a sealed garbage bag? ›

Bug bugs live in plastic, and considering adults can survive approximately five months without feeding, this removal method is not effective. Not to mention that by simply placing bed bugs in plastic bags haphazardly, you risk spreading the infestation from one location to another.

What laundry detergent is best for bed bugs? ›

The good news is that laundry detergent can kill bed bugs. The even better news is that the detergent you use doesn't need to be expensive or in any way unique. IN fact, good old fashioned washing up liquid can kill bed bugs. All you need is a generic laundry detergent and you are good to go.

Do bed bugs go away when you wash sheets? ›

Yes! Washing your linens in a hot water wash has proven to be effective in killing bed bugs. Although this may not get rid of your infestation entirely, it will control the bed bug problem.

Is there a mattress cover that kills bed bugs? ›

ActiveGuard Mattress Liner is a bed bug protective encasement made of a mesh material that can be used on various types of mattresses. The mattress liner is used to eliminate bed bugs and dust mites. Liners have no offensive odor and are effective for up to 2 years. Please make sure that this is the item you need.

What type of luggage is best to avoid bed bugs? ›

If possible, use hard shelled luggage for traveling, which is less bed bug friendly than fabric luggage. Place shoes, electronics, books, jewelry, and toiletries, in sealable plastic bags (Ziploc® bags work well for this purpose). Keep these items sealed when not in use, especially during the nighttime hours.

Do bed bugs wash off in the shower? ›

Showering using soap and water is sufficient to remove bed bugs from your person. Wash your work clothes and dry them completely in a clothes dryer. Once dry, run the clothes on high heat for an additional 30 minutes to make certain that any bed bugs transferred from the washing machine are dead.

Do bed bugs lay eggs in suitcases? ›

Once you've cleaned all of your clothes, some bed bugs and eggs will remain in your luggage. To get rid of them, vacuum your suitcase throughout. Use the tiny adapter to get to all of the pockets and crevices, especially around the zippers.

Can you have bed bugs for years and not know it? ›

People may have bed bugs and not know it because many people have no physical reaction to bed bug bites,” Dr. Harrison says. “That's why it's important for people everywhere to inspect for bed bugs regularly.”

Why do I have bed bugs all of a sudden? ›

They can come from other infested areas or from used furniture. They can hitch a ride in luggage, purses, backpacks, or other items placed on soft or upholstered surfaces. They can travel between rooms in multi-unit buildings, such as apartment complexes and hotels.

What are the little white crumbs in my bed not bed bugs? ›

Dust Mites

They thrive in warm and humid environments and are usually present in mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, and curtains. As scavengers, they don't directly feed on humans as bedbugs do. Instead, they feed on dead skin, pet dander, pollen, and bacteria.

What do hotels do to prevent bed bugs? ›

Hotels usually get rid of bed bugs by reaching out to certified pest control professionals, which provide several means to control the infestation. These methods may consist of vacuuming, steam or heat treatments, and insecticides.

Should I stay somewhere else if I have bed bugs? ›

Since bed bugs can go a significant amount of time without eating it is strongly recommend that if you decide to vacate your home that you do so for an extended period of time. This will ensure that all of the bugs will die due to the lack of food source and the treatments provided by the exterminator.

Can bed bugs live in your hair? ›

Bedbugs feed off human or animal blood. They're often found in places like the seams of your mattress or cracks in your bed frame. Bedbugs aren't adapted to live in your hair, but it's possible a bedbug could end up in your hair after biting your scalp. Finding bugs in your hair is much more likely a sign of head lice.

What spray kills bed bugs permanently? ›

Pyrethroids are synthetic chemical insecticides that act like pyrethrins. Both compounds are lethal to bed bugs and can flush bed bugs out of their hiding places and kill them.

What smells do bed bugs stay away from? ›

There are some natural scents that don't smell bad to humans, like lavender and lemon, that can keep bed bugs from exploring your luggage and clothing.

How long does it take to get bed bugs after exposure? ›

Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line.

What do I do if I slept at a hotel with bed bugs? ›

Wash everything on a high temperature or sanitary cycle for at least 30 minutes. Placing everything in the dryer on the hottest setting for 30 minutes will also kill bed bugs and larvae. Immediately after you're finished putting clothing in the washer, tie up and throw out the empty garbage bag in an outdoor trash bin.

How do you treat bed bugs when traveling? ›

Use a scrub brush along the seams and folds. You may also wish to use a household or industrial steamer to heat-treat the luggage. Commercial products are also available for frequent travelers that heat-treat the luggage and contents. If you encounter bed bugs in your travels there is no need to panic!

How do you get rid of bed bugs when traveling? ›

Heat the luggage and clothing brought on the trip. Stick with me here: Bedbugs die in extreme heat, so if you can heat your bag and belongings, that's great. Put your clothes straight into a hot dryer cycle, if possible, when you return home.

Can bed bugs survive in checked luggage? ›

Protect Your Luggage

Once bed bugs burrow themselves into the crevices and seams of your suitcase, they can stay alive without a feeding for up to four months.

Do I have to throw away my clothes if I have bed bugs? ›

While they work on the space, you can wash your clothes and blankets. We recommend washing them at least two cycles, just to be absolutely sure that they're bed bug free. There are even some special laundry detergents that you can buy in order to be absolutely sure you got them all.

How long can bed bugs live in a sealed plastic bag? ›

Plastic bags can kill people and most any bug by rapidly removing oxygen but even so, suffocating bed bugs in this manner is challenging. With their tiny size, bed bugs don't need much air to breathe and just enough air can be in a sealed bag to keep them kicking for months.

Where do you put luggage to avoid bed bugs? ›

Use metal luggage racks at all times. Bed bugs cannot easily climb metal surfaces, so they make an ideal overnight spot for your suitcase. Keep the rack away from the walls and any wooden furniture.

Are bed bugs repelled by anything? ›

While not overly effective, the most useful essential oils for deterring bed bugs appear to be blood orange oil, paraffin oil, silicone oil, and spearmint oil.


1. How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs - Ace Hardware
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2. How to Survive Bed Bugs
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3. Checking Hotel Rooms for Bed Bugs
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4. How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in 4 Easy Steps
5. Bed Bug Management for Professionals
6. Bed Bug Basics: 10 Tips to Protect Yourself
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