Thursday, November 08, 2012

Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite

Did your mom ever tuck you in at night with that little phrase, "Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite."? I grew up thinking that was just a little saying that adults said to children, never even considering that such things as bedbugs actually existed.

Then, a few years ago, bedbugs became headline news when bedbug outbreaks began occurring in public places such as hotels, movie theaters, clothing stores, and public transportation. The enlarged pictures of the tiny little nasties, featured on television news reports, were fuel for nightmares.

As much as Doug and I stay in hotels and motels on our travels, that news caused us some concern. We always comforted ourselves with the knowledge that we generally stay in nicer places. We learned long ago the importance of a clean, quiet room with a comfortable bed for getting a good night's rest. So we are willing to pay a little extra for that. We don't look for the really fancy places, just clean, quiet, and comfortable.

When choosing lodging, I usually start with the American Automobile Association (known as "Triple A" or "AAA"). I find hotels on their site that are within our price range. Then I go to and read reviews of those hotels before choosing one. So I'm careful.

But it happened to us. We were staying in a hotel that is part of a nationally recognized chain of hotels. It appeared very clean and well furnished. We had both showered and gotten ready for bed and then settled down to read for awhile. A movement on the bed caught Doug's eye. When he looked up, he saw a tiny bug crawling on the bed. He got up and killed it, then sat back down to read again. Soon, he saw another tiny bug on the bed. He killed that one, too, and put both of the little carcasses in a tissue before calling me over to look at them.

I got my camera and took a photograph so that I could enlarge it and get a better view of them.


There was no doubt in my mind what they were. They looked just like the nightmarish pictures I remembered from those television news stories. And then, to make matters worse, we saw two more crawling on the wall. And, when Doug pinched a miniscule spot off his tee shirt, he had blood on his fingers. It apparently was yet another bedbug, and this one must have bitten Doug before he killed it.
We called the front desk and told them about the bugs, inviting them to send someone up to see them for themselves. The manager came himself. He seemed totally shocked at the realization that there were bedbugs in his facility. He offered to help us move our things to another room. But we said we were checking out and moving on.
So, although it was almost midnight, we packed quickly, checking our things as carefully as we could in an attempt to avoid having any little hitchhikers traveling with us, and put about 85 miles between us and that place before stopping for the night at another hotel. This one was a bit on the shabby side, but we saw no vermin and slept well.
As for far, we've not seen any sign of them.


  1. I've heard about these critters forever but I've never encountered them...yet.

  2. Oh ugh! I'm hearing about them more and more lately. They are apparently quite a problem in Toronto, now. But I've not heard of their presence where I (or Frank) live. At least, so far. Ugh.. ugh.. ugh. I'm scratching now.

    And yes, my mom used to say "Goodnight. Sleep tight. And don't let the bed bugs bite" with every tuck-in.

  3. you were extremely lucky to spot them like you did. a friend of mine was traveling with her kids. stopped at a national chain that shall remain nameless. woke up with bites all over. ended up carrying them home with them and infested their house. had to get it treated, sprayed, fumigated over and over and over. had to give up couches, beds, pack clothing in plastic bins and store them for 6 mos. if offsite storage. finally, after so many chemicals being sprayed in their home and sleeping on air mattresses for months, they finally got rid of them. but by then, they decided to sell the place and move. fully divulged its history to new owners. just never felt 'safe' there again. and they were able to get a settlement from the national motel chain - although it was a terrible, long, drawn-out, painful process and hardly worth it. this was years before bed bugs even made the news. so sad.

  4. Yuck, I always worry even in the best. I used a travel site on Internet and tried to cancel once and thet wouldn't refund or change me however.

  5. This is why I hate staying in hotels, no matter how nice they are. You are very fortunate that they didn't travel home with you. What a nightmare. *shivers*

  6. Great - THANKS A LOT - NOT!!! I just arrived at a hotel - Yikes! If I can't sleep tonight I am blaming you! And, I thought you were my friend. The balloon has just been exploded and disillusion is setting in.

  7. Stephen - You've been fortunate. I hope you never do run into them.

    Hilary - Our reaction was very much like yours. As we drove away from that hotel, we were both scratching imaginary itches and inspecting each other for any dark specks. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

    Theresa - What a horrible experience for your friend. I can't even imagine. I don't think they usually appear until late at night, and we hit the road as soon as possible after spotting the first ones. We are still praying that we escaped without any on our clothes or in our suitcase.

    Steve - "Yuck" pretty well sums it up. It was worth forfeiting your room charge if it kept you from an infestation of bedbugs. Our hotel manager told us there would be no charge for the time we used the room. He even added points to our account with the hotel chain. Big whoop. :)

    Gail - I thought maybe this would convince Doug that we should try an RV again...but I think he'd rather have bedbugs. His first and only experience with RVing wasn't one he wants to repeat. :)

    So sorry, GQ. Hope you have a restful night with no unwelcome "roommates."

  8. Linda, I fully understand your reaction at the hotel, I couldn't sleep there either. You were lucky to find out soon enough and hopefully you got rid of them when leaving the place. One can never be cautious enough... and I'm afraid of these bugs as it is so difficult to get rid of them when they infest one's household.

    We have a bit different phrase used when putting someone to bed but it's very similar and may also be based on some previous experience. The phrase is "good night, let fleas bite you all night" and although it may sound cruel, it is meant as fun and everybody smiles when hearing it. Yeah, I know. It sounds weird... :)

    1. Petra - Reading TexWisGirl's comment above was enough to contribute to my nightmares. We're praying that we saw them soon enough to escape without any on our person or in our luggage. Time will tell. Yes, to my ears, your phrase does sound a little weird. :)

  9. My Mama always said that as she tucked us into bed...and never knew until a few years ago BED BUGS were real! So far, so good as to coming upon any in our travels :) AND none have made their way into our guest room! I do remember some missionary friends having a huge problem with the little buggers on the mission field. Praise the Lord they didn't bring any in with them when they stayed with us! BUT I'm going to be careful to check the guest bed sheets with so many coming and going around here. I'd like to keep our 5 Star rate :)

    1. Diane - If you really think about it, there are so many ways that we could be exposed to bedbugs. It's only by the grace of God that we've escaped them so far. May He continue to protect us.

  10. Hope you never have to go through this experience again... Hope we don't ever go through it either... YUK... (We had a great experience at the Clarion Inn in Asheville.)


    1. Believe me, Betsy, we're counting our blessings, as we appear to have escaped without bringing any of the little buggers home with us. I'm so glad you enjoyed your stay at the Clarion Inn. Looking forward to your blog post about it.


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