Check for Bed Bugs in Your Hotel Room or Apartment: 8 Tips and Tools
Few things strike fear into the hearts of renters and holiday-makers like the words “bed bugs.” When you stay somewhere, you want to have a good night’s sleep.
Unfortunately, bed bugs are small, insidious, and pervasive. Your rental experience or dream vacation can quickly turn into a disaster.
Fortunately, technology has made it easier to avoid, identify, and destroy these pests. Here are the best websites and apps that will help you decide if your hotel room, Airbnb, or apartment has bed bugs.
1. How to Check for Bed Bugs
Before we run through the websites and apps, we want to do a basic rundown on the best ways to look for bed bugs.
If You’re Renting a New Apartment
- Try to find online reviews about this apartment building, to see if other renters have complained.
- Ask the rental company or landlord if there is a history of bed bugs. It’s important to do your diligence.
If You’re Booking a Hotel Room or Airbnb
- Read online reviews to see if previous guests have complained about bed bugs.
- Read up on the cancellation policies of the place you’re staying at. If you find bed bugs, you’ll need to rebook your room.
In both of these cases, but especially when entering a room with a used mattress:
- Do not put your luggage on the bed. Check for bed bugs first.
- Get a small flashlight and check the headboard, the mattress cover, and the piping of the mattress for adult or juvenile bed bugs.
- Check the mattress for tiny bloodstains. This is a sign of the bed bugs feeding.
If luck prevails, your accommodations will be clean. But what if you do find bed bugs in your hotel room or apartment? What are your options?
2. What Should I Do If I Find Bed Bugs?
We’re going to keep this section pretty short, as there’s a wealth of information and resources further down on the list. That said, there are a few basic things you should know.
If Your Hotel Has Bed Bugs
- Go to the front desk and inform the concierge. Either ask them to move you to a new room or book another room at a different hotel yourself.
- Be warned: Depending on their cancellation policy, you may or may not be charged for this room.
If Your Airbnb Has Bed Bugs
- Let your host know that there are bed bugs on the premises.
- If you read the fine print on Airbnb’s TOS, you’ll notice that you may not be able to receive a full refund on your booking if you cancel last minute. This will depend on the Airbnb cancellation policy for that specific accommodation.
If Your Apartment Has Bed Bugs
- Finding bed bugs in your apartment is both the easiest and most intractable situation on this list.
- If you’re looking for a place to rent and you haven’t signed a lease yet, you can simply say “thanks but no thanks” to the landlord, then move on.
- If you’re living in an apartment and you find bed bugs, you need to:
- Record evidence of the infestation.
- Immediately report the issue to your landlord.
- Make sure pest control is called, and a date is set up to deal with the issue.
- Follow the steps recommended by pest control to remove the infected materials from your apartment.
As you can imagine, all these steps can get expensive very quickly. On the flip side—if you’re a host—a guest bringing bed bugs onto the premises is one of the many risks Airbnb hosts might face .
This is why it’s so important to use tech-based tools ahead of time to rule out problematic buildings. Here are the websites and apps that you can use to make a more informed decision on where to stay.
3. Bed Bug TV
Bed Bug TV is a YouTube channel devoted to all things bed bugs. With new videos posted on a semi-regular basis, Bed Bug TV acts as a resource for people who learn better through visual cues.
Along with its incredibly useful videos on how to find bed bugs, they also run the website BedBug Central, where you can find additional information on how to detect and contain these small insects.
Bedbugger.com is a website devoted to everything and anything on bed bugs. It has been around for a long time, as you can probably tell from its very outdated “look.”
That said, you shouldn’t judge this website by its cover. It’s a useful tool for anyone looking to get a comprehensive understanding of how to get rid of bedbugs and how to protect yourself in the future.
On the website, there are links to useful tools to get rid of bed bugs, along with a community forum of fellow sufferers.
5. The Bedbug Registry
The Bedbug Registry is an outdated website that has been around since 2006, but it’s still a useful tool if you want to get an overall idea of “does my apartment have a history of bed bugs?”
Through self-reporting by users, the registry keeps track of bed bug incidents in the US and Canada. You can either look up specific addresses to see if there have been any reports, sign up for bed bug alerts, or check out the bed bug maps.
- While users are still posting new alerts to this website, The Bedbug Registry website doesn’t look like it’s been updated in some time.
- There have been extended periods where the search functionality and overall website have suffered errors.
- The Bedbug Registry also doesn’t verify its reviews, as explained by its FAQ.
If you see multiple reports for bed bugs at the same location, you shouldn’t outright dismiss the report. But you should definitely check the date of the report, to see if it’s recent.
You should also double-check your sources when trying to determine the report’s veracity. The anonymity of the reporting system leaves The Bedbug Registry vulnerable to abuse from malicious actors or rival landlords.
We know, it seems strange to include TripAdvisor on this list! But TripAdvisor is one of the best, if not the best travel review website that you can use. It’s invaluable when looking up hotels and their issues with bed bugs.
The reviews on TripAdvisor—by and large—are strongly vetted. When you go into the comments section for a place that you want to stay at, chances are high that you can trust the information that’s there.
You can find out about the overall cleanliness of the building, along with any pest control issues that have been reported. Definitely use this website if the question “does my hotel have bed bugs” keeps you up at night.
7. BedBugs 101
BedBugs 101—run by the company Protect-a-bed—is a great little app for iOS and Android.
The app hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it’s a handy reference if you’re actively searching for a new apartment, signing into a hotel room, or checking into an Airbnb. The app contains a lot of easy-to-understand information on how to spot, detect, and disinfect an area with bed bugs.
The only downside to this app? Protect-a-bed is a mattress company, so they have an obvious incentive to promote their products. This might throw you off if you’re looking for an “unbiased” source of information.
8. Bed Bug Field Guide
A full-fledged field guide, the simply-named “Bed Bug Field Guide” functions as a mini-encyclopedia on all things bed bugs. It’s a great tool for anyone who wants to get into the details of how to identify these insects and locate them.
Beware of Bed Bugs
With these apps and websites on hand—and armed with common sense—you should be able to avoid all but the most unexpected of infestations. You’ll also be well prepared for anything that may go wrong.
However, bed bugs are not the only thing you have to worry about when apartment hunting. You’ll need to actually find the apartment itself: one that has the right location and amenities.
If you’re searching for a new apartment but have had no luck, you can narrow down your search by using some of the best apartment finder websites .