Wil-Kil Pest Control's Pest of the Month: Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

Traveling? Tips to prevent and avoid bringing home bed bugs from Shane McCoy of Wil-Kil Pest Control.

By Shane McCoy, Certified Entomologist and Technical Training Director at Wil-Kil Pest Control

You cannot just “get” bed bugs. They have to be brought into your home. One way of bringing bed bugs into your home is from hotel rooms. Whether traveling in the United States or internationally, there are hundreds of places where your luggage might come in contact with bed bugs. Bed bugs might be in your hotel room, in the trunk of a taxi, in the luggage compartment of the airplane, or in the baggage handling facility at the airport.  Although you cannot control your bag’s travel experience, you can inspect your hotel room on arrival and your luggage prior to bringing it back into the home.

How to Spot a Bed Bug

First, let’s make sure you know what bed bugs look like. Adult bed bugs can be seen easily with the naked eye. Adults are reddish brown and about the size of an apple seed. The nymphs (or babies) can also be seen with the naked eye but they are smaller and a translucent white-yellow in color. The nymphs that first hatch out of the egg are the most difficult to see. You can also see the eggs, especially on a darker surface like behind the headboard or on the bottom side of the box spring. However, on a white mattress or white box spring, they are difficult to see.

In addition to spotting bed bugs themselves, there are also other signs of bed bug infestations. Bed bugs go through a process called molting when they grow. When a bed bug molts, it sheds its external skeleton (like cicada skins you’ve seen on trees). Bed bugs molt five times, so there may be many skins lying around where bed bugs are living. Bed bugs only feed on blood (primarily human blood) and, of course, they have to excrete some of the excess liquid as waste. This waste, called fecal spotting, is black in color and is often found before the bed bug. Fecal spots can be found on a mattress or box spring, behind the headboard, along the baseboard, at electrical outlets and behind pictures on the wall.

Checking Into a Hotel Room

One of the most common ways of encountering bed bugs is in a hotel room. Inspecting your room for signs of bed bugs is very important for protecting not only yourself, but a future infestation in your home.

When inspecting your hotel room:

  • Pull back all of the bedding at the head of the bed near the headboard to look for bed bugs and fecal stains (usually black spots)
  • Check the underside of the mattress piping and tags
  • Check the seams and piping of the box spring
  • If possible, lift up the headboard and remove it from the wall to inspect the back of it. This may take two people.
  • If bed bug evidence is found, report it immediately to hotel management and ask for another room

Returning Home

Tips for inspecting and laundering your items:

  • Avoid setting your suitcase on the bed while unpacking
  • Immediately launder all clothing using the high heat setting in the dryer for at least 20 minutes kills all life stages of bed bugs. If you have items that cannot be laundered like shoes and backpacks, place those in the dryer.
  • Using a flash light, perform a close inspection of all items that cannot be laundered or placed in the dryer, such as your suitcase. I place my large items in a big suitcase and store them in the garage until my next trip. Avoid storing luggage in your bedroom closet.
  • If you want to take extra precautions, some pesticides can be used on your suitcase. These products can be found in your big box hardware stores or online.


I hope I haven’t scared you to the point that you no longer want to stay overnight in a hotel, as that’s definitely not my intention. I stay in hotels at least a couple nights every two months, but I am now bed bug conscious. My awareness of encountering bed bugs as a way of prevention has kept me from bringing bed bugs into my home, and yes, I have found bed bugs in my hotel room, but just once. I perform that quick inspection upon checking in, and take precautions when I get home. Bed bug treatments are not simple and can be expensive, and for this reason we all need to be bed bug conscious and stop their spread.


Shane McCoy is an Associate Certified Entomologist with 17 years of experience in Pest Management and is the Technical Training Director for Wil-Kil Pest Control servicing the Upper Midwest. To learn more about Wi -Kil, visit http://www.wil-kil.com/ or contact your local office at 800-236-8735. Follow Wil-Kil on Facebook and Twitter (@WilKilPest).

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

BUTCH March 06, 2013 at 01:45 PM
@Mr Roberts my snarky comment u sound like an alien was not meant for u it was for Terry the middle of the roader who sees the best in everything evil sorta like the Obama appointments one pro environment the other u cannot be more opposite than having Monsanto in the cabinet, and now we know why he and his new Sec State like the phony corporate AG are moderates. OBAMA is the best SOCIALIST the Roundtable ever had what would the market be with a ROBME in the WH? LOOK at the TERRY ALIEN POSTS i did not articulate the response to what u said and then the #*** have done their best to edit and plant viruses and malware on my PC , THAT IS more than a bit annoying and something in his and your interpretation of my post on these related subjects, like Yakima,Fukishima and Red Gate woods, too bad we can't share the experience I have every intention of finding out just how much freedom there really is on the internet these days.
BUTCH March 06, 2013 at 01:55 PM
MR ROBERTS i also have the same regard for chemicals and Big Pharma and more young people also do, which is bad news for the Cayman islanders and Obama Roundtable, DDT it seems is one of the false flag reactions the scum like patches and his colleagues run on these blogs to get off on it diverts the attention away from serious issues like abortion and the other things that occupy the congress and moron TPARTY state house they are concerned about the loss of cannon fodder and guinea pigs how can they wave the flag if there are not enough cannon fodder! screw them with he chem's!
The Truth March 06, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Hey Chicago! You're a big city and have a BIG bug problem. When I first moved to Chicago, I couldn't believe how must dust my 3rd level apartment accumulated within one week. After about 2 months, I discovered that it wasn't dust - it was DIRT! Black, filthy, soot covering everything. I also realized I had to clean my dogs ears much more frequently. This was in fancy "Andersonville". Hey, it's the city. Nevermind the glass shards everywhere while trying to walk your dogs in this "green" city that doesn't even have a bottle return law. This BIG bug problem is further slowing your "condo" sales and even their rentals. It's being HIDDEN by "associations". Worry about that "da man" right now and forget about Bishop Tutu, Republicans and "green" rooftops. Clean up your own backyard first. You're no different than that yuppie wannabe Mom in tony Lakeview East complaining about the cigarette smoker on the corner 2 blocks down while she's jib-jabbering on her "smart" phone totally oblivious that she's blocking the entire sidewalk with a stroller and..........at a bus stop with lil' Biff Jr. surrounded in a cloud of CTA #36 exhaust. Just plain stupid too.
BUTCH March 06, 2013 at 05:18 PM
@Truth great job, Clean up! these rat pol's are only listening to the AIPAC and CAYMAN ISLAND lobbyists the soot and dirt everywhere are only a sample of what it will be when the BP REFINERY comes on line and starts refining the tars from th Dakotas and Canada,read Roberts post on the bugs and solution. It is all about the money the new congresswoman of the 2nd Dist has not won but assuming ---the first thing she does is go to the AIPAC DINNER to get her marching orders aka more money for Israel, the 2nd dist is not a disaster it is a blighted health hazard in many places and Kelly is guaranteeing the Zionist state has her support it is the dirt and soot problem, it is every problem nothing else matters so the dirt debris piles up and Rahm is now on the long list of POTUS in 16,the son of a IRGUN terrorist is not into cleaning up Andersonville or So Chgo he has to be clean the wailing wall and make it safe for jews, Fundy charlatans and predators alike to pray the dummies never wake up! .
BUTCH March 06, 2013 at 05:28 PM
McCLOUD i find it hard yer concern is over any millions of Africans, more like the millions lost by DOW, roundup and the other Chemical poisoners if their poison saved a million lives( hardly) they did not count the 100 million of species INCLUDING HUMANS that are gone or mutated! U must be a colleague moron of patch61!


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