Chicago, IL

Does your hotel room have bed bugs? Here's how to check

Jennifer Geer

Chicago ranked first on Orkin's 2023 Bed Bug Cities List.

(CHICAGO) If you're staying in a hotel in Chicago, you may want to check first for bed bugs. That's because Chicago topped Orkin's list of cities with the most bed bugs for the third year in a row.

Yes, the Windy City beat out even critter-infested cities such as New York and Los Angeles in Orkin's Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List.

The list is compiled from treatment data in metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments for the previous year.

"Bed bugs are extremely resilient, making them difficult to control. As people begin to ramp up their travel plans this year, it's important they know how to protect themselves through pest identification and proper control," said Ben Hottel, Orkin entomologist in a press release. "Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, but are excellent at hiding. Involving a trained professional at the sight of a bed bug introduction is recommended."

What were the top ten cities on the list?

  1. Chicago
  2. New York
  3. Philadelphia
  4. Cleveland-Akron
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Detroit
  7. Indianapolis
  8. Baltimore
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. Columbus, Ohio

How to spot a bed bug?

Bed bugs are tiny (3/16 inch long) and red to dark brown. They typically hide during the day and come out at night to bite humans. They can spread from hotel rooms to your home easily by clinging to suitcases, purses, and other belongings.

If you don't check for bed bugs in your hotel, the first sign may be waking up to itchy red spots all over your body. Worse than the bites, bed bugs can infest your belongings and hitch a ride home with you.

Search your hotel room before settling down

Consumer Reports has these suggestions to follow when you check into your hotel.

  1. Don't set your luggage on the floor or the bed when you arrive. Set it in the bathroom or on a luggage rack while you do your search.
  2. Inspect the bed. Pull back the sheets and blankets and also check out the box springs. The bugs and their eggs are large enough to see with the naked eye. You also can look for rust-colored stains or exoskeletons (what the bugs leave behind when they molt.) If you want to be really thorough, lift the mattress and check underneath with a flashlight.
  3. Take a quick look at upholstered couches, chairs, or other furniture.
  4. Keep your suitcase on a luggage rack or a hard surface during your stay, and keep it zipped up. Consumer Reports recommends not spreading your stuff all over the room and giving bugs a chance to get into your items.
  5. Finally, when you're home, if you're still worried you may have picked up bed bugs despite your precautions, throw your clothes from your suitcase in a hot dryer for 30 minutes. The heat kills the bugs, but regular washing does not.

Check hotel reviews before you go

You can also search hotels on review sites such as Yelp or Google Reviews and look for any mention of bed bugs in the comments.


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Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL

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