If One Room Has Bed Bugs Do They All? Check for Bedbugs In Hotels, Homes

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Pest Control | January 5, 2024

Man wondering if one room has bed bugs, do they all, and how to check for bed bugs in hotels and others rooms of your house, as well as how to treat bedbug infestations.

If one room has bed bugs, do they all?

This is a question many people ask if they’ve discovered bed bugs in their home or in a overnight rental.

Did you know that bed bugs are on the rise, with over 95 percent of pest control specialists reporting clients with these insects in 2023?3

If you’ve never seen bed bugs in your home or hotel, be thankful, but most infestations are carried in, so knowing how bed bugs spread indoors, how to identify them as well as check for, remove and prevent them from spreading can help.

This guide will help you stop wondering, if one room has bed bugs, do they all, and will put the power in your hands to take back your home from dangerous biting bed bugs.

Do Bed Bugs in One Room Mean They’re in the Rest?

You believe you’ve found bed bugs in a room of your home. (Despite the name, these bugs don’t exclusively dwell in your bedroom. That’s just where they prefer.)

If you have a bed bug problem in one room, are the rest of the rooms in your home or multi-part hotel room sure to be infested?

Where to find bed bugs elsewhere besides your mattress and couch graphic showing light switch and outlet covers, joint of drawers, in appliances' electric receptacles, screws holding together appliances and furniture, in between cushions, seams, and folds of curtains, and on the junction of the ceiling and wall are the places you may find bed bugs.

Not necessarily, but it’s likely.

Rooms with sofa beds and couches attract the most bed bugs outside bedrooms, so check those spots next. Then, move on to the other rooms of your home.

If One Room Has Bed Bugs, Do They All? How To Prevent Bed Bugs From Spreading to Other Rooms

Vacuuming is one of your best defenses for limiting a bed bug’s spread. When you suck these insects up into your vacuum canister, they can’t lay eggs and worsen the infestation in your home.

Turn the suction up high, and carefully go over the carpet with the vacuum attachment. You don’t want to bounce the bugs from the bed to the floor!

Identifying Bed Bugs

Before you can check for bed bugs across your hotel room or home, it helps to know what you’re looking for.

Bed bugs have an anonymous enough look to be commonly confused for many other insects, from ticks to fleas, cockroach nymphs, booklice, and carpet beetles.

So, what are you looking for when hunting for bed bugs?

Most bed bugs are Cimex lectularius,2 known as the common bed bug. If you live in tropical regions, you’re likelier to experience Cimex hemipterus.7

Bed bugs can be difficult to spot until adulthood, as the insects are between one and seven millimeters. For comparison’s sake, one millimeter is about the tip of a sewing needle, so it’s incredibly small.

As bed bugs mature, they take on a brownish or reddish hue.11

Before reaching maturity, they might appear somewhat translucent and more yellow or white than brown. These are still bed bugs!

Bed bugs don’t have wings between the two species, so if the insect in your home or hotel room takes flight, it’s not a bed bug.

A bed bug’s egg measures about the size of a pinhead, so it’s tough to discern. The eggs will develop spots in about five days, but it’s still tough to see them.

Bed bug larvae are equally difficult to detect. They’re translucent, and while they’ll move around in search of food, it’s only when they fill with your blood that you can typically see them. Even then, you need to keep a close eye out.

How To Check for Bed Bugs

Are you ready to hunt for bed bugs? Let’s get started.

Bedbugs on Mattress

The best way to check for bed bugs in the bedroom is by changing your bedding. Remove the duvet, sheets, and mattress cover.

Do you see stains that almost look like dried blood? That’s not exactly what it is. When you sleep on a bed-bug-infested mattress, you crush the insects, so those dark red, rusty streaks are dead bed bugs.

You might see a few live bugs, a sure sign they’ve made your mattress their home.

Watch out for small yellow flakes. These are eggshells and possibly whole bed bug eggs (remember, they’re very tiny).

Dark spots about the size of a pencil point are another sign of bed bugs. These are insect excrements that can bleed through surfaces.8

Bed Bugs on the Couch

Another spot where bed bugs congregate is the couch. How to check for bed bugs here?

You have to go deep. Look between and underneath the cushions. Remove pillows and blankets from the sofa and check under.

If yours is a pull-out couch, take the mattress out and check between and under the mechanisms and the mattress frame.

 Bed Bugs Elsewhere

Bed bugs may favor bedding most, but they will venture elsewhere as necessary. Continue scoping out the full extent of your insect problem by checking these locations:

  • Screws holding together appliances, furniture, and other items; insects can hide in the screw heads
  • Between the ceiling and wall at the junction between them
  • In your appliances, including within the electric receptacles
  • In the joints of drawers
  • In the folds of curtains
  • In between cushions or seams in chairs
  • Behind light switch panels and outlet covers

By checking every nook and cranny of your space, you can make sure to find any infestation if there ever is one.

No Signs of Bed Bugs, But I Have Bites: What’s Going On?

You may see no outward signs of bed bugs but continually wake up with fresh bites.

Several problems can be afoot. First, you might not show signs of a bed bug bite immediately.

Close up of a human hand with a single bed bug at the center.

(Image: British Pest Control Association13)

This is normal. The bites appear in the morning after being bitten overnight for some people, while for others, it can take days.

If you stayed at a hotel and noticed bites several days after your vacation or business trip, it doesn’t necessarily mean the bed bugs are at home. They could have gotten you in the hotel.

The next issue could be that you’re only searching for bed bugs during the day.

Day vs Night: When Is the Best Time To Check for Bed Bugs?

The most active time for bed bugs is after dark, usually from midnight to 5 a.m. They instinctively feed on humans while asleep, which is how you can get bitten and not notice it.

So, how to find bed bugs during the day?

It’s more difficult, as the insects have fed and have little need to risk detection. The bugs don’t disappear but will hide until nightfall when they can feed again (if needed).

The above signs of droppings, crushed bug stains, and egg fragments are there day and night, so keep your eyes peeled. Just don’t expect to see live bugs by day.

How Do Bed Bugs Start? Can You Get Bed Bugs From Hotel?

If you keep your house immaculate, you can drive yourself crazy wondering where the insects came from.

This will improve your peace of mind: you likely didn’t do anything personally.

Bed bugs could have latched onto your clothing, luggage, or purse. If you found a great deal on a secondhand couch on Facebook Marketplace or bought a low-cost mattress on Craigslist, you might have unwittingly invited bed bugs in.

If you live in an apartment complex or enjoyed an extended stay at a hotel, your room might not have been initially infested, but the bugs made their way there.

Once they’re in, you’ll start wondering, if one room has bed bugs, do they all have them?

How Do Bed Bugs Spread? How Far Can Bed Bugs Travel?

Once bed bugs arrive, they’ll feast on your flesh night after night, or at least, as often as they’re hungry. It can sometimes take months for a bed bug to satiate for more blood.

Bed bugs can travel remarkably far, with estimates of 20 to 100 feet per evening.1 This worsens their spread across the house.

Happy, full bed bugs will reproduce, laying eggs and beginning the lifecycle anew.

A Few Bed Bugs vs Infestation: How Do You Know When You Have a Bed Bug Infestation?

You should worry if you see even a couple of bed bugs. After all, only spotting a few doesn’t mean more aren’t hiding under the surface.

Close-up of a corner of a bed with black spots showing signs of bed bugs.

(Image: Hadifn14)

Here’s another reason to nip the bed bug problem in the bud. One blood meal allows female bed bugs to produce up to 20 eggs,5 so the female bug can potentially litter your home with hundreds of eggs waiting to hatch.

If One Room Has Bed Bugs, Do They All: The Risks of Bed Bugs

Cimex lectularius carries many mental and physical health risks and economic circumstances.12 For example, a hotel reported for a bed bug infestation will have to shut down, incur the fees for a health inspector and exterminator, and deal with reputational damage.

Here are the risks everyday homeowners need to know about.

Skin Irritation

A bed bug bite can be unwelcome to wake up to. The site will look swollen and red. You might have a single bite or several in a line. The bites bring with them a burning pain and can develop blisters filled with liquid.

Washing the area with soap and water and applying a corticosteroid cream can alleviate discomfort.

Sleep Issues

The side effects of a bite–especially the itching–and the fear of encountering more bed bugs when you go to sleep can leave you with insomnia. As you sleep less each night, your focus, concentration, and quality of life can plummet.


Your sleep difficulties can cause anxiety, as can all the stress a bed bug infestation wreaks. You’ll feel dirty and ashamed since your home has become a magnet for the bugs, and you won’t want to host friends or family for sleepovers.

You might even stop inviting others to your home altogether, fearing a bed bug spread in other rooms.

If One Room Has Bed Bugs, Do They All: Bed Bug Removal Options

If one room has bed bugs, do they all? Bed bugs are trouble no matter where you find them, so you shouldn’t allow them to stay once you’ve diagnosed your issue.

Here’s how to get rid of bed bugs permanently.

Stop the Spread

Besides vacuuming, you can take these precautions to safeguard your home or hotel from bed bugs and control their spread.

Use mattress and furniture covers, pulling them tightly over the items. Caulk any openings and damaged seals through your home or hotel building to stop bed bugs from getting inside or venturing across the home.

Try Non-Chemical Treatments

What kills bed bugs instantly? It’s not always chemicals.

The following treatments will do the trick.

  • Diatomaceous Earth for Bed Bugs

Often favored as a pesticide, diatomaceous earth is an excellent way to keep bed bugs away from unintended areas and kill them if they encroach.6 The powdery substance is comprised of diatoms or small fossils.

When bed bugs contact diatomaceous earth, the substance pierces through the insect’s waxy layer, reaching the exoskeleton and slicing the organs to cause death.1

  • Steam Cleaning

Rent or buy a dry or wet steam cleaner. This device can reach deep into corners and crevices where your fingers can’t, killing bed bugs. You can safely steam clean your bed frame, carpeting, and baseboards.

Man bent over near a couch holding steam cleaning equipment to get rid of dirt or any bed bug infestation.

(Image: pixxiestails15)

What about how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress? Steam cleaning and vacuuming will work.

Before you begin, ensure the steamer temperature is 150 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you use lower temps, you might have a clean carpet, but the bed bugs won’t die.

  • Cold Treatments

Plucking up bed bugs caught in a vacuum cleaner and storing them in the freezer will ensure a frosty death. However, your freezer must be zero degrees for this strategy to work.

Further, the bugs will need at least three days of consistent freezing to die.

  • Heat Treatments

Besides steaming, running your clothes and linens in the dryer in high heat can help you deal with your bed bug problem for good.

You will also feel confident your clothes are wearable and your linens ready for resting.

Use Pesticides

Show those bed bugs no mercy when you whip out the chemical killers.

Here are the options at your disposal.

  • Insect Growth Regulators

These chemicals can affect an insect’s development, stifling its growth into adulthood.

When a bed bug can’t mature, it won’t be able to propagate and continue the spread. Other insect growth regulators speed up growth to the degree that other insects can’t keep up, again affecting reproduction rates.

  • Neonicotinoids

A bed bug’s nerves will go haywire when exposed to neonicotinoids, as these chemicals affect the nervous system’s nicotinic receptors. If other chemicals have failed because the bed bugs are resistant (which unfortunately can happen!), neonicotinoids will do the trick.

  • Pyrroles

The pro-insecticide Chlorfenapyr is a pyrrole that affects how the bed bug’s cells function,10 causing the insect to die. Other pyrroles on the market aren’t approved for use against these insects.

  • Biochemicals

Cold-pressed neem oil is a biochemical that works as an insecticide. It’s a popular treatment for indoor and outdoor plants because it’s non-harmful. Neem oil is one of the top options on this list if you’re concerned about fumes and safety around children and pets.

  • Desiccants

Diatomaceous earth is a desiccant, as is boric acid, which will surely eradicate bed bugs.

Desiccants dry out the waxy covering, causing the bed bug to dehydrate. Death follows closely after.

  • Pyrethroids and Pyrethrins

The last chemical treatment for bed bugs is among the most common. Pyrethroids are synthetic, while pyrethrins are natural botanicals. You can use either or both to get bed bugs out in the open and kill them on the spot.

However, bed bugs are sometimes resistant to pyrethroids and pyrethrins.

Don’t Keep Items You Can’t Treat

If you’ve tried chemical and non-chemical treatments alike, but the bed bugs recur, it’s time to remove the offending item from your home, including mattresses and furniture.

Abandoned mattresses. a bicycle, and other items in front of a brownstone.

(Image: Jeangagnon16)

No matter how expensive they are or the sentimental value they hold, keeping infested items in your home will only give you more headaches in the long run.

When Should You Hire an Exterminator for Bed Bugs?

An exterminator can handle your bed bug problem, making your hotel or home safe to inhabit again. Consider calling one if you’ve exhausted your treatment options and are ready to throw out nearly every item in your home to ensure they’re not contaminated.

You should also consider an exterminator when dealing with an infestation of bed bugs.

An exterminator will know which treatments to use and which the average bed bug is resistant to. They also have access to heavier-duty treatments and chemicals than the average consumer.

Bed Bug Exterminator Prices

How much does a bed bug exterminator cost? Exterminator prices vary depending on the extent of service required and how bad of an infestation you have. The lower end of the cost spectrum is $300, but services can cost up to $5,000.9

Heat treatment for bed bugs costs $1 to $3 a square foot.4 You would spend $6,000 on a 2,000-square-foot home if charged $3 per square foot.

The prices above include more than labor and treatment. Bed bugs can go anywhere from 70 to several hundred days without food (i.e., your blood), so the exterminator will monitor your home over months to ensure the bed bugs are gone.

Now that you know that a sighting of one of the signs of bed bugs could mean that they could be anywhere, you must take immediate action and clean those places and crevices to keep your home free from them. By doing so, you’ll stop wondering, if one room has bed bugs, do they all?


1Akhoundi, M., Bruel, C., & Izri, A. (2019, September). Harmful Effects of Bed Bug-Killing Method of Diatomaceous Earth on Human Health. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6790245/>

2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, December 4). Bed Bugs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://www.cdc.gov/dpdx/bedbugs/index.html>

3Chadnick, L. (2023, June 6). 2023 Bed Bug Facts and Statistics. AmCan. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://amcanproducts.com/pages/2023-bed-bug-facts-and-statistics>

4Hazen, T. (2023, August 10). How much does a bed bug exterminator cost? Home Guide. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://homeguide.com/costs/bed-bug-exterminator-cost>

5Miller, D. M., & Polanco, A. (2023). Bed Bug Biology and Behavior. Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pdf/bb-biology1.pdf>

6National Pesticide Information Center. (2023). Diatomaceous Earth Fact Sheet. NPIC. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/degen.html>

7ScienceDirect. (2023). Cimex Hemipterus. ScienceDirect. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/cimex-hemipterus>

8Terminix. (2023). What do Bed Bug Droppings Look Like? Terminix. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://www.terminix.com/bed-bugs/identification/what-do-bed-bug-droppings-look-like/>

9This Old House Reviews Team. (2023, March 27). How Much Does a Bed Bug Exterminator Cost? This Old House. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://www.thisoldhouse.com/pest-control/reviews/bed-bug-exterminator-cost>

10U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2001, January). Pesticide Fact Sheet: Chlorfenapyr. EPA.gov. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/registration/fs_PC-129093_01-Jan-01.pdf>

11U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2023, February 15). Bed Bugs Appearance and Life Cycle. EPA.gov. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/bed-bugs-appearance-and-life-cycle>

12U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2023, February 21). Bed Bugs are Public Health Pests. EPA.gov. Retrieved November 16, 2023, from <https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/bed-bugs-are-public-health-pests>

13Bedbug Feeding On Human Skin Photo by British Pest Control Association / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved January 5, 2024 from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/95230066@N07/29517671700>

14Black Spots Signs Of Bed Bug Infestation Photo by Hadifn / Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 5, 2024 from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BedBugFeces.jpg>

15Steam Cleaning For Bed Bug Infestation Photo by pixxiestails / Attribution (CC BY 2.0). Cropped, Resized, and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved January 5, 2024 from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/pixxiestails/4644725722/>

16Dumped Mattresses And Furniture With Signs Of Bed Bugs Photo by Jeangagnon / Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Cropped, Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 5, 2024 from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rue_du_Couvent_94.JPG>