This Popular Summer Destination Has Become a Bed Bug Epicenter
If you're going on vacation here, be sure to check your mattress before sleeping.
If you're someone who's hyper-concerned about cleanliness, you likely inspect the mattress for signs of bed bugs after checking into a hotel or rental house. But plenty of people simply trust the establishment that they're paying good money to stay in and plop down on the bed after a long day of traveling. While you're always at risk of bed bugs when you sleep somewhere unfamiliar, one popular summer destination has become a bed bug "epicenter," according to a lawyer who specializes in bed bug cases. To see which vacation spot you may want to think twice about visiting, read on.
Myrtle Beach has become a bed bug epicenter.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a popular destination for both families looking for seaside fun and young adults looking to go out after a day in the sun. But that vacation could come at a cost—a lawyer who works with people who have encountered bed bugs says that Myrtle Beach has become South Carolina's "largest epicenter" of bed bugs.
Trevor Eddy, who specializes in bed bug cases, told local CBS News affiliate WBTW that 90 percent of his cases stem from hotels and resorts in Myrtle Beach. "Myrtle Beach is by far the largest epicenter of my cases in South Carolina," said Eddy. He added that his practice has worked on at least 45 bed bug cases with more than 200 clients in recent years, with most cases still in active litigation. Eddy noted that this summer's spike in tourism combined with the shortage of workers at some hotels has led to an increase in bed bug bites.
Nearly 120 hotels in Myrtle Beach have reports of bed bugs.
According to The Bed Bug Registry, 119 hotels in South Carolina have had reports of bed bugs, totaling 543 reports in all in the state.
Of the hotels listed, 54 are in Myrtle beach. Some of the hotels on the registry, which is self-reported by guests, have dozens of individual reports, while others only have one or two. The Compass Grove Hotel appears to have a particularly high number. According to the registry, the hotel has had 24 reported bed bug incidents from guests.
There are a few tell-tale signs of bed bugs to look for at your hotel.
Eddy advised any travelers to look for small blood stains and shells, especially around bed corners, when checking into your hotel room. "It's so easy to find these things," Eddy said. "My clients find the bed bugs in the rooms and the beds all the time, and they're not trained." He pointed out that if his clients can easily find bed bugs, "there's no reason why the staff in the hotels should not be able to."
Of course, it's possible you don't notice signs of bed bugs before being unlucky enough to sleep in an infested hotel bed. If you get bitten, pest experts say there are key indicators that your itchy red bump is from a bed bug. "One of the most tell-tale signs that you've been bit by a bed bug is having a group of bites clustered or in a lined path on an area of your body that has had direct contact with your mattress while sleeping," pest expert Zack DeAngelis previously told Best Life. "Bed bugs usually don't leave one single bite and often leave multiple in clusters."
The lawyer is calling for the state to address their hotels' bed bug problem.
Bed bugs lurking in hotels is a "pervasive problem in South Carolina," according to Eddy. He feels the issue should be addressed by the state government or the industry-at-large so that people don't have to hire a lawyer themselves.
Eddy said that when his firm begins a case, hotel officials tends to ignore them until the paperwork is filed—then "they fight tooth and nail," he said. "It makes you wonder how many of these cases, how many of these events, are going unreported and unresolved."
Earlier this month, 15 News, a South Carolina ABC News affiliate, reported that a family was suing a Myrtle Beach hotel over bed bugs citing "permanent emotional distress, humiliation, mental anguish, indignity, loss of pleasures of enjoyment of life." In Dec. 2020, another family ended up in urgent care due to a rash the father developed from bed bug bites, according to The Sun News.