Bed Bugs Make News, Money, and Influence Hotel Decisions

Thirteen Honolulu hotels were mentioned on the Bed Bug Registry site as having problems with the dreaded creature. Is the problem real or just a way to damage a hotel’s reputation?

As we pointed out in our last report, references to “bed bugs” have grown tremendously on U.S. TripAdvisor reviews. If bed bugs are mentioned in a hotel review, there is no faster way to stop a potential guest from making a reservation.  This is a fact well known to those who would seek to manipulate hotel user reviews. Hotel managers have told me that the dollar value of achieving a top TripAdvisor review is huge and cannot be overlooked.

Follow the money: new bed bug sites join the Internet

Bed Bug Registry has been in existence since April. It’s two-thirds Google Ads and one-third alleged guest reviews. The site professes to help you figure out which hotel has a problem, or alternatively, which hotel someone is trying to put out of business. And if one bed bug site isn’t enough, you can have a look at, and, among others.

Need more than websites? No problem.  Rest easy.  There’s a new product which has surfaced to eliminate bed bugs. I’m not sure quite how this product works, because the website is anything but clear.  But it is green, so you can feel good about spending your money on that.  It’s sold on Amazon and at Walgreen’s. There is a plethora of other products which has recently surfaced as well.

Dogs are now being trained to find bed bug infestations with a near 100 percent accuracy rate.

Needless to say, a website aptly named has popped up to sort out the problem. Hire a “rent-a-Fido to make sure your home or business is bed bug free.

What’s your experience with bed bugs in hotels?

I travel a lot and still (thank goodness) have yet to run into my first bed bug.  In fact I stayed in five hotels in the past two weeks without a problem.  What experiences have you had with bed bugs, and have you had any problems here in Hawaii?

Photo Credit: Big Island sky and not a bed bug in sight. I decided to follow the example from drug manufacturer TV ads. You know the kind. They show nice pictures while telling you the bad side effects.


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8 thoughts on “Bed Bugs Make News, Money, and Influence Hotel Decisions”

  1. I Know someone who actually got bed bug bites. ME! I was traveling in Australia in mid-August and really didnt hear much about the little buggers until I was in Airlie Beach. Mind you, I had already been to Sydney, Cairns and Townsville, nothing.

    We decided to do a night sail around the islands and when we were signing in, we were given a half sheet about bed bugs. Bed bugs? Really? It stated what the bed bugs were about and where they came from (“travelers from Asia”) plus dont bring them on the boat. Whatever, didnt give it a second thought.

    We stayed at one of the better hotels because there was no way I was staying at a hostel. WE left our BIG luggage at the hotel storage and took a few thing on the boat. After our Sailing trip, we went back to the hotel, got our luggage back and took a loooong shower, then changed. Met up with some new friends and went out. As I was out, i started getting a little itchy on my leg. Eh, just a mosquito bite.

    As we left the hotel the next morning, we took a ferry over to the island our flight was leaving from. I decided to take a nap on the trip and layed down on my back pack ( which I hadent touched since before we went on our sailing trip). When I woke up forehead was itchy. Before the plane left my ankle started getting itchy. Then my legs. OMG! Were there bed bugs on me!!!!

    I immediately looked up symptoms for bed bugs and sure enough, they were all bites in a row. My ankle looked like i was wearing an ankle bracelet. I changed clothes and was still itchy but didnt see any bed bugs ( I think I had just ).

    After reading so much on bed bugs before I got back to the states, I left my luggage outside my home (in a plastic bag) walked in my house, striped, threw everything i was wearing in the washer and washed it twice in super hot water, even darks.
    I later washed the rest of my clothes, same as above, but left everything out side (st 125 heat kills the lil bugger) for a few days. And to top it off I bought Diatomaceous earth and put it all over my stuff.

    Sound like much? Yes, Perhaps. But from what I know it only takes on bug to infest an entire home and I wasnt taking that chance. Ive been carless in the pass and putting my luggage on the floor or the bed, but no more.

    I actually hope that I didnt contaminate the hotel we checked into after I started getting the bites, and to be honest Im not sure if the bed bug was from the hotel or the sail boat, but that bug sure latched on.

    I rather take home a roach any day over a bed bug, but thats just me.

  2. These are not just horror studies. Bed bugs in hotels are a reality due to decreased use of pesticides and an increase in visitors to the US from countries where bed bug infestations are commonplace.

    I had a horrible bed bug experience in Orlando, Fla, but thank God never in Hawaii. This occurred about 6 years ago when bed bugs were not even front page news. Although bed bugs themselves carry no disease, the bites can be extremely itchy and, in some cases, can cause significant allergic reactions. Indeed, my wife’s reaction was so severe that she had to be started on oral steroid medications to reduce the swelling of the bug bites. Furthermore, if you happen to bring these bed bugs back to your home (they love luggage too!) the extermination process can be very very expensive. Trust don’t want to even go there.

    I cannot go into specifics of my experience, because the situation became a legal matter, resulting in a financial settlement to cover the medical bills and property damage incurred as a result of the hotel’s infestation (which they later confirmed and admitted). Nevertheless, I will tell you that it was a large, popular hotel chain.

    That said, I have never had a problem in Hawaii (I have visited Hawaii about ~20 times in 10 years) , and part of the reason for my “luck” (in HI and everywhere else now) is that no matter what hotel I stay in (even if it is a 5 star hotel), I carefully inspect the room. Until I inspect the room, I never sit my luggage on the floor. I always put my suitcase on a luggage rack right away. I then take a look at the mattress, headboard, ceiling and closets. It may sound ridiculous, but a bed bug infestation can ruin your lovely Hawaiian vacation.

    I have attached a link to a Youtube video which provides some useful information on how to inspect your hotel room for bed bugs…Maikaʻi Pomaikaʻi (Good luck!!!).

  3. We hear all these stories about bed bugs. But, does anyone actually know someone personally who has experienced them? And can the experience be documented?

    Ants are not bed bugs, nor are red ants. And in a climate like Hawaii (tropical) there will be bugs, ants, spiders, etc.

    Of course, when we rent a room, we expect them to clear the little critters out before we get there. And, yes, an apology might be in order if the room is truly infested. But, I would never complain about ants or even a spider – unless they were crawling all over me.

    We have all ‘heard’ or ‘read’ these bed bug stories – I would just like someone to prove they are true.

    If they are true – then that’s a real problem. But I wonder if all of this isn’t just NEWS on a slow day or ‘payback’ for a hotel that didn’t give us a discount when we complained or maybe giving a competing hotel a hard time.

    I may feel differently if I ever personally run into these little critters. I would definitely NOT be happy. But, fortunately, so far, we’ve never seen any.

    Just in case anyone is interested:

  4. Stayed at a hotel in the Netherlands that had bedbugs. Woke up after a couple hours itchy and surrounded by little bugs. Think our body heat got them to come out of the mattress. Got over 40 bites which welted up and itched. So they’re real, although perhaps not as prevalent as ‘bed bug registry’ and other sites make them sound.

    Thankfully have never encountered them here in Hawaii.

  5. From what I’ve heard, the quality of the hotel doesn’t necessarily determine if it has the potential of having bedbugs or not. In fact, there was one statistic I heard that the higher “star” properties have a higher instance of bedbug issues. Personally, I’ve *NEVER* stayed in a 5-star property (The closest I’ve come is the Royal Plaza Hotel in Hong Kong, which is listed as a 3-star, but could beat any 5-star here in the United States!) Usually I stay at timeshares, but when I visit Oahu, I love staying in the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani…Usually the Towers, they are nice rooms and not very expensive…I’ve never paid more than $150/night.

  6. earlier in the year we booked an extra night after our timeshare week was done in maui at the kaanapali ocean inn when we checked in they informed us that the ocean inn wasbeing renovated and we would be staying in the cottages which to my understanding its the oldest place for accomadations in maui,nevertheless the cottage had i think bedbugs something in the bed ants(RED) in the carpet andspiders in the bathroom very musty we complained and they moved us to a partial oceanfront cottage,same thing but no ants,upon checkout we filled out the survey explaining the situation,not even an apology notthing no reply at all.Why even have a survey? 🙁

  7. We don’t travel as much as you do, but we do stay in hotels regularly and have for years. We have NEVER seen anything that looked like a bedbug.

    I did notice advertising on local TV about a company that will come and heat up your house (heat supposedly kills the vermin) for $$$.

    I have to admit I have looked for them – but have never seen any. We don’t always stay at 5 star hotels, but we do frequent mid range hotels. I will admit I have walked away from a hotel room that looked awful – didn’t even get a refund – we just walked out. It was just grungy and we couldn’t bear staying. A hotel in New York was similar – possibly worse. But, in 40 years of travel, only two places that gave us the creeps. That is pretty good.

    Something just makes me think that this is a fine way to hit your opponent ‘below the belt’ – how does one in the hotel business fight back? It would be difficult.

    We will continue to stay at hotels – just got back from a weekend in Branson and we didn’t even think of OR look for bedbugs. Just had a very nice time.

    So, I will probably do what I have always done – throw out all the 5 star reviews and throw out all the very worst reviews and all those in between ones are probably a lot closer to the truth.

    Happy travels everyone!

    Bet you thought I fell into a hole, huh, Jeff? :0)
    Still here…………

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