Updated: October 26, 2022

Safety and security while you’re traveling is a top priority, and there’s nothing worse than realizing you have bed bugs when you’re on the road or in an unfamiliar place. 

Even though Airbnb has emerged as a leader in hospitality…

Bed bugs still present a health risk to travelers that shouldn’t be underestimated.

How Likely is it to Find Bed Bugs in an Airbnb?

In many ways, staying at an Airbnb is similar to staying at a hotel as far as the risks of a pest infestation.

Bed bugs in particular, tend to show up in places where there are many people coming and going.

(So essentially any room or hostel has potential for these pests). 

The risk increases with each additional person that stays in a given period of time.

The only difference with Airbnb is that the host may not always clean the location thoroughly between guests, while hotels usually have a strict standard that their staff executes daily.

How to Check for Bed Bugs in an Airbnb

Seasoned travelers know the signs of bed bugs in a rented room, and they know to check for them before getting too comfortable in a new space. Sometimes the bugs are very obvious to see, but other times you have to look more closely. 

You’ll want to check the corners of the bed, mattress, and bedframe in your room for bed bug feces, which are just tiny black dots. Any other plush or fabric objects in the space are also fair game, like curtains, upholstery, and carpet. 

This is where bed bugs love to hang out. 

As for the bugs themselves, they are small in size, comparable to Lincoln’s head on a penny, up to 7 mm in length. They are reddish brown and oval-shaped (without wings).

If you see other signs of the room just being generally dirty, such as cockroaches, trash, or unclean surfaces, that may be an indication that you should check for bed bugs as well. 

Even if you don’t spot bed bugs or their feces, if you notice that your room is dirty, it’s best to find other arrangements despite the inconvenience. A dirty room comes with a host of associated risks, including bacterial or viral disease.

If you do find bed bugs, you should contact your host immediately, remove your belongings, and vacate the premises ASAP. 

Wash any clothing that has been exposed, wipe the exterior of your luggage, and take a shower. If any bag was opened, it’s best to clean the inside and its contents as well. 

Can You Get Money Back if Your Airbnb Has Bed Bugs?

To get your money back on an Airbnb, you should first contact the host and let them know about the problem by messaging them through the Airbnb portal or calling them directly. 

After that, you can request a refund by logging into your Airbnb account, accessing your reservation details, and canceling it. You will then find a button labeled “request refund,” and you can use this to submit your request and explain why you are requesting a refund. 

The host will get back to you within 72 hours. If you don’t receive a refund, then you should call the Airbnb Help Center

It’s best to take photos of the bed bugs or feces in order to show that your claim is legitimate.

How Can Airbnb Owners Protect Against Bed Bugs

Preventing bed bugs is more preferable than attempting to remove an existing infestation. Bed bugs are attracted to spaces that have people and animals coming and going regularly, so the best practice is to maintain a strict standard of cleanliness and sanitation. 

Usually, as long as no one carries them into the room, consistent cleaning practices and periodic inspections can keep them away, including: 

  • Disinfecting surfaces
  • Removing trash
  • Dusting
  • Sweeping
  • Vacuuming
  • Changing the bedding and any other objects that guests use during their stay. 

These tasks must be done every time a guest checks out and before the next guest checks in to ensure their effectiveness. 

Utilizing professional pest control is also a great idea.

Does Airbnb Have Any Specific Bed Bug Policies?

If a host’s property is reported with bed bugs, they will be removed from listings until they have submitted evidence that the infestation has been resolved in the form of a report from a pest control company or a K9 evaluation. 

Without this submission, they will be permanently removed from the Airbnb site.

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Date Published: 2022-08-05

Written By Robert Brown

I'm a seasoned pest control veteran. I focus my time on writing educational content about the industry and helping people learn about indoor insects. When I'm not thinking about bed bugs I am spending time with my daughters or walking the dog.

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