In the last few years, reports of bedbug infestations have popped up across
the country in a variety of places. Nursing homes, schools, dorms, movie
theaters, stores, offices, and even trains have had outbreaks. The National
Pest Management Association (NPMA) has been tracking the growing problem
The 2015 NPMA survey reveals that nearly all U.S. pest professionals have treated bedbugs in
the past year, which is significantly higher than 15 years ago when only
one quarter reported treating for bedbugs.
The continued rise in the bedbug population has been keenly felt by the
hotel industry. So named because of their habitat preference of mattresses
(they tend to hide close to where they feed), bedbugs don’t discriminate
between hotel beds and those at home. They also live in furniture, clothing,
and luggage, and are happy to relocate by hitching a ride in a traveler’s
suitcase. They can affect anyone at any time and are not the result of
poor housekeeping or poor hygiene.
About the size of an apple seed, bedbugs have been around for thousands
of years, feeding on warm-blooded animals. These flat, oval, wingless
insects tend to eat at night while their hosts are asleep, but they are
not exclusively nocturnal and can survive for months without food. Bedbug
bites are often all in a row and can take up to nine days to appear. More
of a nuisance than a threat, bedbugs do not spread disease-causing germs,
but can cause painful irritation and itching. Alarmingly, they are beginning
to show evidence of increasing resistance to the insecticides that are
most commonly used against them.
Tips for Avoiding Bedbugs at Hotels
- Inspect the bed upon arrival, looking under the linens, under the mattress,
and behind the headboard.
- Keep your luggage off the ground in case bedbugs travel from another room.
- For extra protection, wrap your suitcase in a plastic garbage bag.
- If you suspect bedbugs, tell the management immediately and request a room
at least two floors away.
- Wash all the clothes in your suitcase in hot water when you get home.
- If you think you’ve brought bedbugs home, call a professional exterminator.
Found in budget properties as well as luxury resorts,
Florida officials cited 210 hotels for bedbug violations in 2013.
An online public database of sightings where individuals can anonymously post their experiences
shows almost 1,600 reports of hotel/motel bedbugs in Florida alone. Hotel
property owners owe a legal duty to guests to make the premises habitable
– and that includes being free from bedbugs. Lodging owners must
reasonably inspect the property for bedbugs and remedy any bedbug problems.
This is especially important due to the ease with which bedbugs can be
transferred to the guest’s home, where the cost of eradication can
If you think there are bedbugs in your hotel room:
- Report the bedbugs to management before you leave the property.
- If you see a bedbug, capture it and place it in a sealed plastic bag.
- Take pictures of any bedbugs or evidence of them (e.g. stains, eggs, egg
casings, blood streaks in the sheets where a bedbug was crushed, etc.).
- Take pictures of any bites you have and see a doctor to document them.
Department of Business and Professional Regulation at 850-487-1395.
All hotel and motel guests have a right to accommodations that are suitable
for human occupation. As one of South Florida's most respected and oldest law firms,
Stabinski & Funt, P.A. has helped many people sort out their legal rights, responsibilities,
and remedies. For 45 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless
personal injury victims and their families. We also work on a contingency basis, which
means that if there is no recovery, there is no fee or cost to you. If
you wish to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance to you,
we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 305-643-3100 or
filling out a case evaluation form.