Guest says they now have bedbugs - WHAT???

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gillumhouse's picture
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I just got an e-mail from a guest who was here just before Thanksgiving. She said they did not have bedbugs in Canada and stayed 2 places on the way to Florida. They now have bedbugs.

I have a white pillowtop mattress with a white mattress pad. I just went up and took the pad off at the head of the bed (where head & shoulders would be), lifted the pillowtop part, and see no black spots, no red spots, nothing jumping around. What else should i do to check for them?

As if that is not enough for one day, DH has put himself back into a wheelchair with foot problems. Just what I need on top of all else right now - at the beck & call. Sorry folks, it just gets old to listen to the grumbling of someone insisting on sucking the lemon instead of making lemonade from the situation. And he is bound and determined to live forever........ as he grumbles about his failings. There is no suck it up here.

Sorry for the diatribe. It helped to vent. Now back to the important thing - How do I make sure if they got them, it was not from here. (Of course it could not have been from their place in Florida - it HAD to be while they traveled - either here or their other stop-over.

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Some friends of ours who have a holiday cottage received a complaint from someone claiming that they'd been bitten by bed bugs whilst staying in their cottage. Upon further investigation it turned out to be a tic, which are not uncommon in the bracken in the local countryside.

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 Yes, they hear it in the news all the time (BB) so that scream BB when they get bit by something. That was what I wanted to know since they said they had them now, what does NOW mean, they found the bugs in their home. But asking just prolongs the issue, so I never suggested it.  

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I understand being freaked out hearing that past guests may have bbs (when did they pick them up? before they stayed with me? did they leave some behind?) but I don't understand getting so ticked off at the guest who emailed.

She clearly wasn't accusing, threatening or finger-pointing. She was just giving an FYI, a heads up, to say there might be a problem here so check it out and if so, take care of it early. Same thing a parent would do if they found their kid had lice or chicken pox: tell the day care and the parents in the play group (etcetera) so they could check the kids and deal with it if necessary before it gets to be a bigger problem.

I'm glad to hear she was wrong about the bbs. She must be as relieved as you are. It wasn't a pleasant email for you to read but I'm sure it was no picnic for her having to write it either.

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In the beginning I was not ticked off - just concerned and IMMEDIATELY went upstairs to check. I think what started me to be ticked was on re-reading the suggestion I contact previous guests. Excuse me? That would A - sound as if I was accusing them of bringing them and B - would really help the reputation of my inn .... Especially since I do not have them and a few days later they realize it is not the bugs.

What ticks me off most is her message today saying they found no evidence of them either, just the bites. Had she said that in the beginning, I would have asked where were the bites (upper torso or legs & ankles) or suggested what to look for due to our previous threads here I knew to look for black and/or red spots at the head of the bed. I had replied to her previously that it may be chiggers, something Canadians would not be aware of. She replied later this morning they had just found out about chiggers. I received her "concerned message" based on nothing other than itching bites. For an innkeeper that is not just a minor accusation/concern - it could be thousands of dollars and a reputation slam that could kill a good business.

Someone who had not had the advantage of this Forum could have gone apesh** and spent a fortune looking for or trying to eradicate something that was not there before getting her - oh, we just have bites and not think it is something else. The bb scare had everyone thinking they were everywhere and if you have a bite, that is what it must be.

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well ... was 'just sayin' ... y

ou know, there's been so much in the news about bed bugs ... my daughter's house mate came back from a camping trip (spent two of the nites in an old scout camp lodge due to bad weather) and had all bites on his ankles and a few other places.  he went to the doctor and said, do you think i might have bed bugs?  the doctor said 'maybe' ... but the doctor had never seen bed bug bites so didn't know and prescribed something for the itch

my daughter freaked and was about to throw out the mattresses, had stripped the curtains and linens from the house and was frantically washing everything in hot water, was online checking prices of mattresses and box springs and pillows, contacted a bed bug sniffing dog company, when the fellow camper's wife called and told her they had poison sumac or something.

bed bugs indeed!  it's not ALWAYS bed bugs.  i mean, it can be ... but it isn't always.   

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gillumhouse's picture
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Just got another e-mail from them. Gee, I guess they never considered another answer......

Such a pain. We have found not a thing also except for being bitten. However, there may be another culprit. Sand ticks. Apparently they are bad this year and we are close to a heavily wooded area. I found two of them after being outside and they are teeny tiny, smaller than the head of a pin. Right now it is the only thing that makes sense. I will continue looking but the ticks are not a problem except for being itchy and don't transfer to beds, etc. Keep your fingers crossed. If you don't hear from me I think we had a false alarm. Happy Holidays and I am sorry for the alert but I couldn't rest without informing you of the possibility. Alison

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 OMG..what can you say!!!!  Send her packing for sure. Who needs someone like this staying with you and causing such a fuss. Tell her "I TOLD YOU SO!!!"

gillumhouse's picture
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I wonder what the OTHER inn replied to her - if she did indeed write to the other inn. Oh well. The cure for stupidity is not something I can offer legally.

seashanty's picture
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maybe the bites are from chiggers or fleas and not  bed bugs at all ... Just a thought

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seashanty wrote:

maybe the bites are from chiggers or fleas and not  bed bugs at all ... Just a thought

seashanty wins the prize! It was not bbs after all! All this huge ado, spread worldwide, and all K's angst and investigation over a false alarm.

I suspect she's not happy with these folks.

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Arks's picture
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Good point. Do horses get fleas? (they're horse people)

gillumhouse's picture
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I do not know about fleas, but horse fly bites are as bad as a mosquito bite. itch like heck. And I do doubt Canadians are familiar with chiggers - although this is not their first year in Florida for the winter. Last year they bought their own place instead of renting this year.

Madeleine's picture
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I was assuming they had taken a sample of the bugs somewhere or had someone come in to verify they had bb. Not that they had a few bites and immediately cried bb!

If you hear from them find out why they think they have bb. Instead of fleas, ticks, chiggers, etc.

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gillumhouse's picture
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I am sincerely hoping to NOT hear from them again.

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 I recently heard a discussion on NPR on bbs.  They suggested taking all the soft bedding and furnishings and running through the dryer on the hottest setting.  This would be a precaution for you since you have NO real evidence that the problem belongs to you.  So sorry that they are putting you through this.  I would never have them back.  

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 120 degree temp will kill them. So a good washing of linens is a good thing. 

gillumhouse's picture
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Mattress will not fit in the dryer.

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gillumhouse wrote:

Mattress will not fit in the dryer.

For the mattress, you should put an enclosure on it. There are a few that work and many that don't. They need to be woven to 3 microns or less and have a cover over the zipper. It also needs to enclose the entire mattress. If you do have BB, they stay in. If you don't, they can't get in. 

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 I said linens Smiling  You don't have them so forget about the mattress.

gillumhouse's picture
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I was just being a SmartA

Breakfast Diva's picture
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bed bug encasements are used to not only keep them out of your mattress, but if you could block them inside.

A while ago I listed a wholesale source for bb mattress encasements in the resource section (linens). Set up an account with them and save about 50%.

gillumhouse's picture
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Thanks. Will check it out.

gillumhouse's picture
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Madeline's DH said the same thing. I have decided it is not worth the chance that they could bring anything with them - as nice as they are - for 2 nights out of an entire year, it is not worth the risk. The stable will be unable to accommodate them will be my answer.

seashanty's picture
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 bedbugs.com for ideas. I heard of running a blow dryer along matress edges in case ... Might be a help or waste of time, I don't know. Sorry

Madeleine's picture
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BTW, have they said anything other than they have bb? They want something? Anything like that? Or were they just being nice and telling you they think you have a problem?

Hard to tell in an email.

Are they asking for a response back from you?

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No, asked for nothing. Here is her e-mail.

Hi Kathleen:  We have a rather unwelcome Christmas present ... bed bugs.  We definitely didn't have them in Canada and stayed in 2 places on the drive down.  The timing of the bites beginning works for having picked them up enroute.  I am sending an email also to the other inn.  So, I want to give you a heads up as you should probably check and treat that room and inform anyone who stayed there before us.  Sorry to be the bearer of this news and otherwise I hope you have a happy holiday.  Alison

 

I e-mailed thanking for the heads-up and that I would check everything. I have replied back that I not only checked but had some photos sent to me showing what I was looking for and since I have a white mattress and white mattress pad, it should have shown up if we had them. I told her I found noting, not even much lint.  I asked if they had purchased any new linens as I had been told the critters sometimes come in that way. I am not going to worry about it. I cannot prove a negative via e-mail. The ball is in their court. I certainly am not going to suggest they got them from another inn either. Such is life in the big city.

Re-reading her e-mail, it is as if she really does believe they got them here referring to anyone who stayed here before they did. As if I have not had any guests since they were here? I guess I will be VERY surprised if they come back in the Spring. I know this, I have wasted as much time and energy as I am going to on this.

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 Oh yeah notify all your previous guests. Balderdash. She couldn't possibly have gotten them in Canada, is there a incubation period or something? I am sorry, it made me mad on your behalf.  I would be tempted to ask her "How are YOU eradicating them?"  

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Dh said he would have replied back and asked them to be sure they have gotten rid of them before returning next year. Then he thought better of that and said he wouldn't take them as they have openly stated they have bb.

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When it comes down to it, they need me more than I need them. They have 3 horses so their rig is big. I have a good stable with turn-around so spacious that anyone who could not turn around there should not be driving. They do not like to drop the trailer since the dogs are in it  and it is convenient with the rail-trail being 50 feet away to walk the dogs night and morning. they know I do not take a reservation with horses unless the wife of the stable owner gives her OK. I guess this Spring (your DH has a VERY GOOD point) the farm cannot accomodate them - IF they even call. They are 2 room nights a year - big whoop. The stable gets almost as much as I do since they have 3 horses.

Madeleine's picture
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I am really surprised they are writing now and not weeks ago, unless they had no access to any kind of email until they got home Given they were itching and saw the bites that would have happened immediately, not 3-4 weeks later.

Sorry you are dealing with this.

 

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Thank you both. The photo JB posted helped a LOT. This was the same guest who discovered the coffee splatter on the wall behind a nightstand that I really did not see. I thanked her for telling me about it and did get it wiped of immediately that day. I am not going to waste another moment on this. I am going to make that bed up tomorrow - the next guests chose cotton so now I know what to put on it. I have a microfiber coming in to Rosi's in January so will go ahead with that one too. It will give me a break from DH.

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 You have searched and your place is clean. Don't worry about it. If they bother you about it again, just say thanks but my place checks out clean. You could have picked them up anywhere. Or just don't bother with them.

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They may not have noticed any bites if they are in the large % of people who have no reaction to the bites. But, had they been bitten at your place you would have seen evidence.

Did they say anything else? They found them in their luggage? They are in their house?

They could certainly have gotten them from the stabling. The dogs could have picked them up. Assuming the dogs come in the house when they get home, the dogs could have left them all over the place.

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 bed bug hotel mattress

Photo credit for all three photos goes to David James of Packtite.

gillumhouse's picture
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Nothing on the mattress or the mattress pad.

Madeleine's picture
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gillumhouse wrote:

Nothing on the mattress or the mattress pad.

Well, by now you would have thousands of them had they been there at Thanksgiving. So, try sleeping in that room. Keep a flashlight with you. What the bb go for is the CO2 from your respiration.

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Sorry to hear of both these accounts.

First question - did they get BIT at your place? I mean that is what people complain about, the bites, not bringing them home.  Their luggage has been in FLORIDA. World travelers galore there, hotels have a serious problem with them.

Take a photo of the mattress around the head board area, if you do not see dark spots or stains (fecal from the BB) then you won't have them, that is the primary area, sure they can be in the carpet and drapes, but they will be where dinner is found.

My advice, do not call the health dept unless absolulety necessary for an inspection.

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K, reality is that they may not have gotten them at any of their stops.  They could also have gotten them from a store when purchasing clothing or bedding.  Keep a watchful eye but don't become burdoned with this thought, most likely they did not come from your place.

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If you have had other guests since then with no complaints, it's likely they got them AFTER you. Basically, look at the piping around the mattress, that would likely be where you would see them.

An expert can test for you, but call them back and tell them that you checked and it's all clean. You are sorry that they got them, but they must have picked them up after you.

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If they picked them up at your place you would have seen signs when they checked out. And certainly before they checked in. If they LEFT them behind, you may need to wait until the next guest shows up, the bugs hibernate between meals. You could sleep in the bed to see what happens.

Did they have a rental car? Travel at any point on planes? Stay at any other accommodations? Go to the movies?

You can explain that if they had picked up any bugs at your place they would have known immediately, not 3 weeks later. And, yes, there are bb in Canada.

You'll see 'dirt' on the mattress/pad/sheets if you have bb.

Not sure what to tell the guest. But if they are saying they have them NOW, after 3 weeks of traveling, my guess is they are trying this out on every place they stayed to see what sticks.

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They were traveling with their horses - truck, trailer, and dogs that always stay in the horse trailer when here. I have had guests since they were here - once of them was a 2-nighter so I would have expected them to complain after the 2nd night. These guests were for 1 night here, one night at another stable, and then they would be at their Florida home. Not a lot of hotel travel.

There is nothing anywhere - I did not think there would be. I know it has nothing to do with my cleaning. It is like fleas - walk through the grass and you have them. BB come from lots of places. I have not responded to her yet other than to say I would be checking BIG TIME. I just do not know what else to tell her other than I looked extensively and found no evidence of them. And will she believe me? Like if I did have them, would I admit it. I will know this Spring when they either book their return trip or I do not hear from the again. Sigh....................

gillumhouse's picture
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How do I know if they are here? Will I "see" them on the mattress? Mattress pad? pillows? What signs do I look for? I am certain they did NOT get them from here - but how do I know for sure?

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 Any bed bug detection dogs in your area? that would be sure proof if they check and give you the ok.

Finding bed bugs in your home has nothing to do with poor hygiene! It takes only one bed bug to hitch a ride on your clothing (furniture, suitcase, etc) and infest your residence. What's worse is that they can live up to one year without drinking a drop of your blood. Feeding takes about 10 to 15 minutes for adults and less for the nymphs; they feed about every three days. Depending on the conditions, bed bug nymphs can survive for months without feeding.

Check this site: http://www.badbedbugs.com/

 

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Sorry about the other one-will pray for you.

About the bed bugs: Hopefully they got them AFTER they left the Inn, if not you may not really "see" them for a month or two.

We had a guest say that as well from here THREE days after she left, time matters cause you can pick them up ANYWERE. I know for a fact that we did not have them, she claimed a rash three days after she left...

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