Over the past decade or two, bedbugs have become a significant issue at every level of hotels, from fleabag hotels to Airbnbs to Disney hotels to hostels to the Waldorf=Astoria. These tiny, brown bugs get their name from their habit of feeding on humans while they sleep in their beds, causing welts or even rashes on the skin of their victims. Unfortunately, they move quickly and are excellent hitchhikers, so it’s easy for them to wind up in your clothes, luggage, and places you’d never even expect, putting you at risk of bringing them with you on your continued travels, and even to your home.
Orkin publishes an annual list of the U.S. cities with the most bedbugs (here’s the most recent one), but that encompasses ANY problem with the critters; homes, apartments, airports, hotels, etc.
Obviously, some hotels manage to keep their bedbug problem quiet. Others, especially ones with well-known brand names, make it to national news.
There are a few ways to find out if your hotel has had reports of bed bugs. Like these…
Established in 2006, The Bedbug Registry is the granddaddy of bedbug databases, with 20,000 reports covering 12,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada. The most recent reports are listed on their “Recent” page, but you can check for reports based on hotel name and/or address.
The Bedbug Registry can also email you alert(s) if you’d like, should there be a bedbug report within a mile of whatever address(es) you input.
They also have city maps of New York (over 4000 reports), San Francisco (bedbug concentration is in the Tenderloin district), Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto and Vancouver (lots of bedbugs in the city’s West End) that pinpoint where bedbugs have been reported.
BedbugReports.com started in 2010. It has an extensive database of hotels in the U.S., and a newer, smaller database in Canada.
Searching is simple – pick your state, then your city, and you’ll be given a list of hotels that have been reported as having bedbugs.
The website also gives useful general information about bedbugs, including how to check your hotel room for them and how to get rid of bedbugs if you inadvertently bring them home with you.
You can find out a lot about a hotel if you look it up on TripAdvisor, including whether or not people encountered bedbugs.
You can do a search for “bedbugs” AND, separately “bed bugs,” on TripAdvisor, and you’ll get all of the hotels that have reviews that include those respective terms, as well as how many times it was mentioned for each hotel. Unfortunately, there’s no way to organize the results or to remove the different ways to say, “There were no bed bugs,” “We didn’t see any bedbugs,” etc…
So it’s probably better to read the reviews of a specific hotel to see bedbug reports.
Of course, one has to take every bedbug report with a grain of salt. I’m not saying that some people are liars but, well, some people are liars. They may report a hotel having bedbugs as a sick joke, or as some sort of passive-aggressive “revenge” for whoever or whatever they feel slighted them during their stay. The vague reports of, “I woke up with a rash” can also be questionable as to whether or not it was actually caused by bedbugs vs. a spider bite when someone was walking around the day before vs. eating something that caused an allergic reaction.
I would also suggest looking at all three references in your research. Someone may not post something on The Bedbug Registry or Bedbug Reports because they never heard of them, but it could be on TripAdvisor. Or a bedbug report(s) could be so buried in reviews of a popular hotel on Trip Advisor that you just never see it/them, but it’s prominently posted on one or both of the other two sites, since ALL they report about are bed bugs and not the pool, gym room, check-in, hotel restaurant, bell services, housekeeping, etc.
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