St Louis Pest Control Blog

St. Louis Pest Control – Bed Bugs

To answer the first question everyone always has, Yes Bed Bugs really do exist, and they do bite.  Our generation has not had to deal with them really as they were mostly eradicated since the 1950’s and 1960’s.  They still existed even then, mostly in third world countries, and with more global travel and the ability to get from Cincinnati to India in a day has made it possible for Bed Bugs to piggy back on our luggage from these remote parts of the world to our own doorstep.

This article is mostly about what you can do to inspect for and prevent bringing back Bed Bugs from your travels.  The first thing you can do is look online for ratings of hotels.  There are even entire sites devoted to Bed Bugs like among others.  Here are some other steps upon checking in to inspect for in your hotel.

  1. Pull back the sheets on the bed.  This is not always a problem area since most hotel sheets get changed regularly, if not everyday and that is typically too much activity for the bed bugs to get comfortable.  Even so, check along the edges and along the gap between the mattress and the box spring.  You are looking not only for the pests, but mostly for droplets of blood which will look like dots of rust on the fabric.
  2. If you are comfortable with doing so, get a friend or call hotel maintenance and remove the headboard, or at the very least, pull it away from the wall to inspect behind it.  This is the most common area that we find Bed Bugs in hotels as it is close to the meal (you) and is relatively protected and doesn’t get a lot of activity or attention.  Here again you will look for the Bed Bugs themselves as well as their dropping or even egg cases.  Pay attention to cracks, crevices, and even screw holes, or the bracket where the headboard attaches to the wall.
  3. Next up would be the furniture next to the bed, either the nightstand or desk whichever are closest.   Pull out the drawers and look along the corners of the drawer itself, and inside the furniture again looking at corners, cracks and screw holes.  You may notice the Bed Bugs, their droppings or egg casings in this area.  Also check clocks or other electronics nearby as the heat the generate is inviting to the Bed Bugs.


If you don’t find anything in any of these three areas you are probably all right to stay there.  If you find something suspicious at all I would ask for a different room and tell them why, they should certainly accommodate you if not even move you up a room grade for the inconvenience and their own embarrassment.  No hotel chain is above suspicion as Bed Bugs have been found in 1 to 5 star hotels all around the country.  Typically there are found more prevalently in cities that are hubs for international travel like New York, Chicago, Dallas, etc., but I have found them in several hotels here in the St. Louis area.

The next step to prevent them from hitchhiking back home with you is relatively simple.  Check your clothes and bags before you leave.  Before you put your clothes back look along the seams of your luggage.  Also check your clothes themselves if you placed them in the drawers of the hotel.  This is a bit of a moot point if you inspected before settling in, but nonetheless still a good idea.  If you happen to find something on your bags upon leaving don’t panic, you can still prevent them from making it home with you.  I would suggest that you get some plastic bags from the hotel and place your clothes in the bag and seal it off before placing it in the suspect suitcase.  This should prevent the Bed Bugs from getting into your clothes or vice verse if you found something on your clothes and not your bag.

Upon arrival at your house, leave the bags outside, if it is cold that is even better.  Take your clothes out and I would suggest going to a laundromat to do your laundry.  Dispose of your plastic bags there and use a basket or something else to bring your clothes back home.  Any temperature water and detergent will kill the Bed Bugs.  As far as your bags you can do two things.  If it is below freezing, leave your bags outside, maybe inside a plastic bag for a week, and the cold temps should kill the Bed Bugs.  The other option would be to place the luggage into plastic bags, and treat them with a material like Pyrethrin (PT 565 at our stores) to kill the bugs, but leave a residue all over your bags.  After treating seal the bag for about 24 hours and you should be fine to re-use the luggage.

Don’t forget that Bed Bugs have also been found in college dorms, apartments, and nursing facilities so check all of these before moving in.  Also if you buy any used furniture or mattresses, make sure to check all of them very thoroughly especially mattresses, sofas, and bedroom furniture.

I hope that these tips help you on your future travels, feel free to let me know if you have any questions about Bed Bugs or other pests.  You can reach me at anytime.


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