By in Personal

An Unpleasant Surprise...Bedbugs!

This story follows on the heels of this one, about the washing machine

A couple of weeks before the washer broke, I went to Charleston, South Carolina. It was a lovely trip, and the hotel I stayed in was not ritzy, but it was comfortable. Unfortunately, it appears that I might have brought back more from that trip than just happy memories.

The day after the washing machine stopped working, my husband and I were sitting in the living room, watching television, and I remarked about the trail of small red marks on my arm that I had noticed that morning. They looked like mosquito bites, but I've never seen mosquito bites clustered like that, and I hadn't been outdoors the night before. "It looks like something crawled along my arm and bit me as it went," I said, puzzled.

I had no clue what they were, but my husband advised that they looked like bedbug bites. Bedbugs! I was horrified. All those stories you see on the news about how difficult they are to get rid of, how they can spread so easily, and how they just generally bring misery flashed through my mind. The marks didn't hurt, and didn't even itch, but the idea of something living in my bed to crawl out and feast on me at will really, um, bugged me.

I normally check the mattresses at hotels very carefully, and I do remember when I was at the hotel in Charleston pulling one corner of the fitted sheet down to look, but I was distracted because we were running short on time, and I forgot to check more thoroughly later. Besides, apparently they don't always hang out on the mattress--they could have been anywhere in the room, really. How depressing!

According to my online research, the best way to kill bedbugs is with heat, so I lost no time in grabbing all the linens off my bed. Unfortunately, since the washing machine was broken, I couldn't throw them in a nice, hot wash, so I hand-washed the mattress cover in the hottest water I could stand to touch and threw it in the dryer with the rest of the bedding. It was sopping wet, but they were dry, and as I mentioned in the last post, the moisture redistributed evenly.

I despaired that I might have an infestation while also hoping that maybe I just brought ONE bedbug home, and maybe it was a BOY bedbug, with no eggs. And maybe, just maybe, I lucked out and killed him in the dryer. And I might have, because I haven't noticed any bites since.

Haven't NOTICED any, anyway.

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CoralLevang wrote on February 20, 2015, 12:47 PM

This just made my skin creepy-crawl! It also reminded me of a story I hesitate to share about lice. *shudders*

MsBiz wrote on February 20, 2015, 12:52 PM

Oh wow, that's not fun at all! I hope you don't see anymore signs of them. (I brought home roaches from a client's house once. It was a MESS!)

GemstonePink wrote on February 20, 2015, 1:06 PM

My son brought home bedbugs, luckily to his home and not ours, after staying at a very nice hotel for a convention. His fiance was not happy.

j2jworkz wrote on February 20, 2015, 1:12 PM

Well, eww. But it happens. Hope no buggeroo followed you home.

VinceSummers wrote on February 20, 2015, 1:34 PM

Oh, this is FUNNY! Why do I say that? Because I once had an episode with a bedbug I picked up at a motel/hotel. And where was that, you say? CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. Wow. That is one amazing coincidence. It must be SC's state animal.

wolfgirl569 wrote on February 20, 2015, 1:59 PM

I hope you got them all. I am glad I like to stay home where fleas are my worst problem.

valmnz wrote on February 20, 2015, 2:31 PM

That reminded me of a time we stayed in a cheap guest house over forty years ago. Yuck. We booked out of there very quickly.

Kasman wrote on February 20, 2015, 4:48 PM

Critters like these are surprisingly common. The one we have some trouble with is head lice - the young daughter of a friend keeps bringing them home from school. Fortunately, they are easy to get rid of. Don't think I've ever seen a bedbug - and I don't want to either!

MegL wrote on February 20, 2015, 6:13 PM

That's terrible. It doesn't even have to have been the hotel. There are reports that they can be found on transport and that trains from airports are possible places to find them! I read a report one time from a medical expert on these that people with messy beds, or who didn't bother to make them were the LEAST likely to have bedbugs. Apparently, they die in the dry and the cold and leaving your bed open kills them off. I was brought up to always leave the bed open to air before making it (my father explained that everyone sweats when they are asleep and you need to let the bed air out every morning). Nowadays I make sure my bed lies fully open for at least half an hour before it is made. I stayed in Africa for a time (I was supposed to be doing a job there for a time but it fell through) and read a lot of information written by ex pats living there and they advised ironing all clothes, especially along the seams, to get rid of jiggers. If you are worried about your mattress, perhaps running a hot iron along the seams might finish off any remnant!

scheng1 wrote on February 20, 2015, 10:11 PM

We had bedbug infestation a few years ago. The pain from bedbugs woke me up at night. You must be a very sound sleeper to sleep through the biting.

Ellis wrote on February 21, 2015, 9:28 AM

Bugs are everywhere...even in your home...they can cause allergies in some people but most are harmless. If you think you have bed bugs in your mattress...wrap mattress in polythene and leave outside on a dry cold day (- temps)...

GemOfAGirl wrote on February 22, 2015, 2:18 PM

There's actually a website where you can check to see if a hotel is known to have a bedbug infestation: Don't leave home without it!