No one wants to find small, reddish-brown bugs sharing their bed on vacation. Cimex lectularius, colloquially known as bed bugs, feed exclusively on blood leaving behind red, itchy welts on the body. Even if you carefully inspect your room before occupying it, there is still chance that you will wake up wondering what bit you in the middle of the night. When that happens, it is important to do the following things.
1. Remain calm
The likelihood of becoming ill due to a bed bug bite is minuscule. Likewise, it is possible that even though your room has bed bugs, you will not bring them home with you if proper precautions are taken. It is important to remain calm and methodically begin documenting your experience.
2. Take pictures
The majority of Americans have one of the greatest tools in their telephone, a camera. Take pictures of any bites. If possible, take pictures of any bed bugs you discover or any rust-colored stains you see on the mattress, linens, box spring, couches, pillows, or baseboards of the room. If you find a bed bug, do your best to capture and contain it for further evidence.
3. Notify the hotel
While there are no federal regulations regarding bed bug reporting, several states including Alabama, California, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota and West Virginia have laws that require hotels to report incidences to take measures to exterminate bed bugs. Anytime a guest acquires an injury during their stay, it is best practice for the hotel to create an incident report to document it. Ask your hotel to create such a report, then ask for a copy.
4. Consult the local health department
Just because hotels are not required to report bed bug infestations, doesn’t mean you can’t. Contact the local health department and let them know of your experience. Not only will they move forward with next steps to ensure eradication of the bed bugs, but they can also guide you about your rights under local law.
5. Have your belongings professionally treated
Before moving rooms or changing to another hotel entirely, ask the hotel to have your belongings professionally treated for bed bugs. Fortunately, bed bugs die in temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit and can be killed, along with their eggs and larvae, by simply washing clothing on high for 30 minutes and drying it at high temperatures for 30 minutes. Any clothing that cannot be washed should be dry cleaned immediately, and the dry cleaner should be informed of the situation. Luggage, toiletries, and other personal belongings can be placed outside in the summer where they will reach 120 degrees for more than one hour. Placing these items in black plastic garbage bags can effectively raise the temperature on sunny days, even when the temperatures are not warm. However, having your belongings professionally treated will offer you peace of mind before returning home.
If a bed bug infestation has harmed you or a loved one, contact the Washington, DC bed bug lawyers at The Elan Law Firm for a free consultation.