By Chris Williams on April 1, 2015.
By now I hope at least a few of you out there have read either me or others preaching about the importance of inspecting your hotel room for bedbugs while traveling, and last week I got a chance to follow my own advice.
Even with my vacation trip last week, I believe I’m still the least traveled person that I know. It’s been twenty years since I’ve been out of the country so that is at least four years or so before my industry and the hotel industry began to see an upsurge in bedbug infestations (around ’99, ’00). It was definitely the hot topic at annual CEU seminars and was interesting that they were first showing up in very expensive hotels thereby debunking the myth that only the lower socioeconomic class has to deal with such things. Fast-forward to today and the new reality appears that bedbugs are here to stay. No one is immune from them, and they love to travel too! They don’t need their own carry on bag; they’ll just use yours!
After my wife and I arrived and checked in at the hotel in Playa del Carmen, we were informed that our room was not quite ready. No problem, the bar was right there and it was a good time to look around. So after an hour or so we still had not gotten our room keys and by this time the guest services people were asking if we’d checked in and we said yes, but were waiting for our room to be made up. Finally we go up to our room and the housekeeping crew is still there!
Anyway, I dig out my new 600-lumen light and start doing my inspection. The flashlight is insanely bright and even the reflected light from it was enough to bother my eyes. The good news about the room’s décor was that the floor and cove base were all marble tile and it was in good shape so it would be tough for the little critters to hide. Even the headboard of the bed was made of inlaid tile right into the wall. Wall coverings were light painted sheet rock with stucco, so again it was easy to spot anything if it was there. The housekeeping crew must have thought I was insane flipping over the nightstands and opening up the dressers but I just smiled.
Amazingly, I found half of a dead bedbug on the floor in my room! “Great,” I’m thinking! I don’t speak Spanish at all, but I do know the word for bedbugs and it is chinches. “Looking for chinches,” I said to one of the housekeepers. “No chinches” was the reply I received. Well, I put all the bags in the tub and after they finished, started to pull the bed apart and proceeded to look at every square inch of the studio room. I found absolutely nothing live on either the mattress, foundation, luggage stand, or anywhere else in the room. It was a pretty good bet that after the bed came up negative, I was not going to find any. My wife and I both breathed a huge sigh of relief. Now we could fully enjoy our stay.
After we returned home, we laundered all of the clothing we brought with us regardless if it had been worn and I did one last check of every little nook and cranny of our baggage and zipped them all up one inside the other. All in all it was a very relaxing week and best of all like the housekeeper said, no chinches!
Photo: CDC/ Harvard University, Dr. Gary Alpert; Dr. Harold Harlan; Richard Pollack. Photo Credit: Piotr Naskrecki (http://phil.cdc.gov/phil) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons