OTIS | Check For Bed Bugs When Traveling This Holiday Season

Dec 08, 2022

All pests are inconvenient, but one type that is a particular nuisance is the bed bug. The bites these tiny pests leave behind are itchy and uncomfortable, especially if you are one of the unlucky few who have an allergic reaction. One of the things that makes them such a tricky pest to deal with is that they will make themselves at home anywhere! It is especially common for you to pick them up in hotels when traveling over the holiday season. It doesn’t matter where you stay; bed bugs are equally at home in a 5-star hotel and a budget motel! The last thing you want is to bring bed bugs home in your suitcase and find yourself needing bed bug treatment in Knoxville. The last thing anybody expects from Santa Claus this Christmas is a bed bug infestation! With that in mind, here are our tips to help you avoid bringing home bed bugs if you travel over the holidays.

Check Your Room First

Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers, and all it takes is one pregnant bed bug to get into your suitcase to trigger an entire blown infestation requiring professional bed bug treatment in Knoxville when you take it back home. The longer your luggage is in an infested room, the bigger the risk of contamination! We recommend leaving your luggage outside the room on a luggage cart or in your car while you give the room a quick check for signs of bed bugs and other pests.

Where to Look for Bed Bugs

The problem with checking for bed bugs is they are tiny, no bigger than an apple seed, so they can be tricky to spot. Especially if you are not sure what you are looking for. However, knowing some of the most common places they like to hide can make it easier to spot them.

  • Around the Bed - Bed bugs can fit into the tiniest spaces thanks to their small stature. Check the bed frame, headboard, box spring, mattress, and bedding. The nightstands are also worth checking since they are close to the bed.
  • Soft Furnishings & Upholstery - If a couch exists in the room, you will also want to check it as well. Be sure to look between and underneath the cushions and check the upholstery seams.
  • Small Dark Crevices - Bed bugs usually prefer to stay close to where humans spend the most time, giving them easier access to an all-you-can-eat buffet. That’s why couches and beds are the hotspots. However, if needed, they will find other places to hide, including electrical outlets, behind loose wallpaper, picture frames, curtains, and small dark crevices.

What to Look For

Now that you know where you need to look, you need to know what to look for! The obvious sign is, of course, seeing a bed bug. However, they are primarily nocturnal insects, so they likely won’t be active when you first check in. That means you must look for other common signs that your hotel needs bed bug treatment! Here are a few telltale signs of bed bugs:

  • Check for Fecal Spots - Linens should be changed between guests, so one of the clear signs of bed bugs could be traces of fecal matter. Feces are usually found in the mattress seams, behind the headboard, and around the bed frame. They are small dark spots that can easily be missed, so look closely.
  • Shed Body Parts - As bed bugs grow, they molt their exoskeleton. This means you will likely find shed body parts in the same areas where you would likely find fecal staining.
  • Blood Smears - Blood stains usually happen after the bed bug is crushed after it has become engorged with blood from feasting on a human, so you likely won’t notice this sign on arrival to your hotel room. However, you should check the sheets after you wake up, especially if you feel like you may have been bitten. The blood stains will resemble red-brown smears.

If you spot any signs of a potential bed bug problem at your hotel, you need to inform the manager immediately so that they can arrange for bed bug treatment. You will need to move to a different room, or possibly a different hotel.

What To Do When You Get Home

Whether or not you have noticed bed bugs when traveling, you may have picked them up and brought them home. It only takes one bed bug getting into your suitcase to cause a massive infestation as they reproduce at alarming rates. It is best to follow these tips any time you come home from a trip as they will minimize the chance of you needing beg bug treatment in Knoxville.

  1. If possible, don’t bring your bags inside the house for a couple of days. If you can keep them in a separate garage or similar, any eggs that hatch will likely die without a food source to feed on.
  2. Empty everything in your bag and wash on a hot cycle. This will help to kill live bugs in your clothing. Don’t forget to include the clothes you came home in!
  3. Vacuum out the inside of your luggage to suck up any eggs that may have been laid. Make sure you empty the bag and filter outdoors, away from your home, to avoid contaminating the house.

After these precautionary steps, if you have still brought bed bugs into your home, book an appointment with Otis Pest Control for professional and effective bed bug treatment in Knoxville.


Otis Termite & Pest Control is a full-service pest control company with a focus on outstanding service. We have been serving the East Tennessee area for over 56 years and our reputation is built on prompt and effective service. We’re good at what we do and we’re fast. We do the job right the first time – and that’s an actual guarantee! 

Call 865.690.1662 or visit www.otispestcontrol.net.



Emily Moeck

"I unknowingly moved into a home that had a HUGE bed bug infestation..."Don't you worry, we are on top of this until they are gone, I promise!"... Jack was knowledgeable and honest in his assessment of my house/treatment methods. Thank you, Jack and Rocky and the whole Otis team! My home is home again!"


Joshua Weaver

"Prompt responses and appointment times. Very friendly and knowledgeable. Straight forward service without any "pushing" for extras."


Charlotte Bishop

"These guys were super helpful and kind. Jack thoroughly explained every procedure and made what could have been a horrible situation much more bearable. I definitely recommend them!"


Tamie Ridenour

"Excellent service and staff!! They were at my house the same day I called, for New construction pre-treatment!"


Cathy Amos

"Highly recommend! Jack and Rocky are great! You've got a business and highest recommendation! Great people to work with!"

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