Frequent business traveler Neil Kelley says bedbug bites were “all over my legs,” and he was awakened in the middle of the night by a cockroach that crawled across his face at a resort two years ago.
“I itched like crazy,” recalls Kelley, who was attending a food industry conference and volunteers information as a USA TODAY Road Warrior. “I would never go back to that hotel.”
Staff at many hotels have heard guests like Kelley complain about bedbugs.
“Most chains have experienced bedbugs,” says John Barcay, a senior scientist at Ecolab,a company with a pest-management division that services hotels. “Bedbugs are more prevalent in hotels with high occupancy rates and in high tourist areas.”
Barcay says a hotel’s sanitation standards are unrelated to bedbug infestations, and any hotel — whether budget or luxury — can have bedbugs. They are brought into hotels in guests’ belongings, he says.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says bedbug infestations usually occur near where people sleep — in hotels, apartments and other dwellings — and America is one of many countries “now experiencing an alarming resurgence” in the bedbug population.
Experts suspect the recent resurgence, the CDC says, is linked to several factors, including bedbugs’ increased resistance to pesticides and increased international and domestic travel.
The good news for travelers is that bedbugs — parasites that feed on human blood — are not known to transmit disease. Their bites, which affect each person differently, can cause itching and loss of sleep, the CDC says.
The bites can also cause allergic reactions, including a “whole-body reaction,” and lead to skin infections, the agency says, while some people may not show any physical signs of a bite.
Jerry Barnes, the general manager of the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Ill., says…