Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite!

Update: No, I didn't get bit. I think I woke up in time to catch them before they had the opportunity to dig into me. The clerk DID come up to my room to see for herself, but all she said was "Eww." As if she had already seen them perhaps? She refunded my credit card before I went out at 12:30 p.m. to search for another hotel. I think I should at least get a free night voucher for a future stay? But then, do I ever want to stay at a Comfort Inn ever again, or any hotel for that matter??!

a cute old saying, huh? Until a real-life experience gives it new meaning...

traveling to Ohio last week, I had a close encounter with bedbugs. I stayed at a Comfort Inn in Plainfield, Indiana - this was my 3rd stay at this particular Comfort Inn, a relatively new and very clean hotel. Plainfield is an up-and-coming area with new hotels and new restaurants, many still in the process of being constructed.

reading several years ago that bedbugs are a growing problem, not only in hotels but also in dorms and hospitals (!), I make it a habit to check the sheets on my bed before I retire for the night. Last week was no exception; of course, I have never seen or found anything, yet it's still part of my evening routine in hotels.

I woke around midnight, extremely warm, so I arose to turn down the heat in the room. As I walked into the bathroom a moment later and saw myself in the large mirror, I was shocked to see little bugs all over my pajama top!!

I DO wish I would have taken the time
to snap a photo of the bedbugs on my pajama top
and the bed... but needless to say, I was too freaked out!

I did
the bug dance, ripping off my pajamas and underwear... and was disgusted to find one INSIDE my underwear... when I went back to look at the bed, the bugs were all over the pillows and the sheets. Not just 2 or 3, no, more like 20 or more.

I calmed down and double-checked my hair and the rest of me for more bedbugs, I dressed and went to the front desk to inform them of this unfortunate situation. I was offered another room, which proved to be less than satisfactory, so I checked out and spent the rest of my night at Hometown Suites by Hilton at 3x the cost of the Comfort Inn. Even then, I kept waking up and checking the sheets of my large and oh-so-comfy bed at the Hilton.

pajamas were bagged up in the laundry bag present in hotel rooms and thrown into the very back of my car. I left the bag there from Tuesday evening through Saturday. In sub-zero temperatures. You would think that would kill any remaining bedbugs? OH NO. Upon dumping my clothes into my mother's utility sink, one bug appeared. Of course, we assumed it to be dead. Until its ugly little legs popped out from its body and started wiggling. I heard mom in the basement stomping the living life out of this bug before she flushed it down the drain.

my return to Kansas, I stayed in a Quality Inn in Kansas City. I woke up almost every half hour, checking the bed for any bugs. It may be quite some time before I sleep soundly in a hotel ever again.

Lesson to learn? To be safe, never, ever, put your luggage or anything else on the bed or floor of a hotel room. I was very lucky in this respect - I had put my luggage on a table. Always, always, take a close look at the bed, especially up near the headboard and the wall. Check out this quick slideshow on bedbugs with tips and hints on how to avoid them or get rid of them if you've had an encounter. Here is another extremely informative article on bedbugs by the University of Kentucky. Vigilance while traveling and prudence when acquiring used furniture items are essential.

Tell me
if you've ever had an experience with bedbugs, and what type of hotel did you stay - middle of the road, or five star?

Tell me if you check your bed for anything when you stay in a hotel... and tell me if you think I'm doing the right thing by writing a letter to corporate at Choice Hotels!


  1. I would definitely write a letter. I hope you got a refund? I've heard this is a growing problem everywhere and that they are extremely difficult to get rid of once they settle in. I had no idea about not putting your luggage on the floor or bed, but I will make sure never to do that! Thanks for the tip, and yes, I check for 'things' but so far haven't come across these critters yet.


  2. oh my gosh...I'm itching all over just reading this....they should give your money back plus some...

  3. Oh. My. Gawd.

    I would have freaked out. I can't even completely go there in my mind. It's just too horrible.

    When my family stayed in cabins during summer vacations as a kid, my Mom would always check the beds for mouse droppings. I've never considered checking a bed for bugs. Ick. I will never look at another hotel room the same way again.


    I may have been permanently scarred.

    (BTW, thank you for stopping by my place and leaving such a lovely note on my doorstep. Please drop by again, any time.)


  4. I think traveling with herbs are the answer. It might take a little research, but I'm sure there's something non toxic to sprinkle around beds before sleeping. For example, eucalyptus repels ants.

  5. OH. MY. GOSH!!!! Just OH. MY. GOSH! You poor thing! Yes indeed - write a letter to corporate. I'm guessing these things come in on other people?? EWWWWWW. But there has GOT to be a way for them to control that in hotels. Doesn't there? Thank for totally confirming why I am a hermit. I can not stop shivering.

    PS - did they bite you???

  6. Oh my gosh, that is a horrible experience! You should definitely write a letter and ask for a refund.

    Thanks for the tips about not leaving luggage on the bed. We do that all the time, and never think a thing about it.

    And we do check the sheets, but probably should do it sooner, since we often lay on the bed to watch TV.

  7. Oh my goodness! I am itching just reading your post!
    Get complaining!
    Nice to catch up with you.......we are way behind!

  8. Yuck!! I stopped at a hotel on the outskirts of LA about 5 years ago driving to Texas from Ohio for a visit. There were roaches in the hotel room. The worst thing was, they were BABY roaches. Needless to say, we got another room that was VERY clean. Worst nights sleep I ever had - hahahaha.

  9. I'm such a clean freak that i check the bathrooms, beds, under the beds, etc. Plus i never ever lay on top the bedspread because they don't wash those between guests and I don't want a blanket that's not covered by a sheet being folded over the top, around my face. ALSO i won't drink out of the glasses even if they have plastic or paper wrapped around them because I watched an undercover show about how they clean a room and most would just rinse the glass, dry it off and wrap it in plastic like it was clean. Ugh......I'm so freaked out by hotel rooms anyway. Next time fly!!

  10. *shudder* Now my skin is crawling!

    I'm glad you found them and didn't end taking any home with you to infest your home. gah!

    I've not had any bedbug problems that I know of, but years ago I stayed in a Hilton...5-star hotel and was shocked to find MOLD growing in the coffee maker the next morning. I asked for a new coffee maker and THAT one had mold, too!
    So much for the fancy, expensive hotels being cleaner.


    Thanks for those links. I checked them out.

  11. OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!
    I could hardly read this whole post! Major yuk.
    I am such a clean-sheet freak, I CHANGE my sheets each morning! I cannot imagine how freaked out you were, Susan!
    YES, write a letter. Send it hard copy, certified and also by email. And ask for a respone within 3 days of the reciept of the letter. Did you call the BBB? I would!

    Keep us updated. Inquiring minds need to know where NOT to stay!

    Glad to have you back!
    xo, misha

  12. I wonder if they'll tell the next occupant about your experience? I always travel with my own sheet and blanket, pillow and pillow case...and can of lysol spray.

  13. OMG!! We've never run into bed bugs, thankfully. However, on our honeymoon (no less) we had big mean ants in our bed at TanTara Resort (Lake Ozark, MO). Yikes. We packed up and headed to another destination after the first night. Almost 30 years ago, but I can still feel the sting of ant bites when I think about it. How romantic, huh?! Thanks for the tips - I did not realize bed bugs were such a problem. Yuck! -Tammy

  14. No, I've never had an encounter and yes I think you are doing the right thing writing a letter.

  15. Euuuuwwww! Yuck, and Euooowwww. You get my drift.

    You definitely should contact head office and let them know. This needs to be stopped right away before it spreads.

    Never been bit by a bed bug. But one morning after sleeping over at a friends house I did wake up with Frankenstein knees. Apparently I am quite allergic to fleas.


  16. We are in the hotel business and have never had this issue...the east coast is more prone to it. Definately give the corperate office a piece of your mind about this and trust me...they really want to know about this. They can NOT let this happen! Sorry you had a night with no sleep...had one myself recently!

  17. Oh goodness! That is so terrible!! I would definitely be writing a letter! ASAP!!!!
    I have stayed in numerous hotels, and some that looked a little on the rough side, in Montana and North Dakota. I always get worried about bedbugs, or anything "creepy" for that matter. I don't believe I have checked the bed for anything before, but I will now!!

  18. EW! Definitely write a letter. Corporate will send someone to check it out and you should receive a reply after that visit. Ew!

  19. Ohhh, ewwww. I'm itching just thinking about it. Gross. You know - I didn't even realize that bedbugs weren't noticeable at first glance. I thought it would be obvious if there were bugs...but now I will check twice. *shudders* I think it definitely warrants a letter.

  20. OMG I too am now itching!! By all means write a letter to the manager of the hotel - the corporate office and the local health department!!! I'm going to Minneapolis this weekend and I'll be inspecting the the bed - yuk...

  21. I hear you! I just can't think about cleanliness too much when I have to stay in a motel. Thanks for the tips. Who woulda thought Comfort Inn. That's the chain I always choose first.

  22. You're not doing the right thing writing to the hotel boss. You should make a personal visit, punch his lights out and drop bedbugs all over his office.

  23. Eww, this is so gross. Glad you got a refund and wrote a strong letter. Hopefully this will save someone else from being subjected to those unpleasant little critters.

  24. Um yeah, so we had a little bed bug situation in Africa. We brought them back from one of our weekend trips. We didn't have any problems at the hotel (middle of the road). After we returned home we kept waking up with bug bites, in clusters of three. After a few nights, we started reaserching to figure out what it was. We figured it out via searching the interent and rid ourselves of them THAT NIGHT! Thank goodness we had another mattress in the basement that we were able to use for a while. We vacummed really well, washed all of our bedding, and switched mattresses for several months. We also put the legs of the bed in metal pans with vaseline inside, so bug couldn't travel from the carpet to the matress. Never had another bite. They were way easier to get rid of than I originally thought. Luckily they were just in our room, no where else. We ALWAYS check hotel mattresses now! We are headed out of town this weekend. Eek!

  25. I blogged about this as well... my first time ever in America, and I picked them up at the Days' Inn. They had no clue about how to prevent them, and even just offered to move me to another room. Like I wouldn't just spread them then? After a repeat attack, I had to throw away most of my luggage, and poison them in the next place I stayed. I am pretty sure I got them all, so if you want a hotel room guaranteed to be free of them, stay at Howard Johnson in Anaheim, top corner room above the pool. Only problem with that is the sex pest that calls at 2am. But after those creatures he was an improvement. I looked like a plague victim for my first week here, and in my student ID photo.