Business Traveler on 03/07/2012
Feb 26, 2012, I checked into Room 206, at the Homestead Studio Suites St Louis - Westport, 1216 Lackland Road, St. Louis, MO 63146. Property ID 9675. Feb 27, I noticed a curious little insect was crawling on me in bed and nasty little casings on the sheets near the headboard and the pillow. The insect was slightly round/oval, almost flat, mottled brown/orange in color, and the diameter of a small, dried peppercorn. I'd never seen anything like it before so I put the bug in a zip-loc bag for
future identification because I hadn’t seen any insects anywhere since I’d been in St. Louis on business beginning Jan 22, 2012. I checked the mattress seams in a couple spots but didn’t see any other insects. I was under the impression that bed bugs were tiny, barely visible to the naked eye, and red/orange in color. The insect on me looked more like a slightly flat, wingless beetle or deer tick without long tick-like legs (this is totally grossing me out just writing about it). That night I kept feeling itchy but when I'd turn on the lights I wouldn't see anything and figured I just had a case of "bugitis" from finding a mystery bug on me earlier. Saturday Mar 3, I checked out of the property over a plumbing problem that was not remediated and the subsequent need for a room change that was delayed for various reasons. The same day I checked out of the property I noticed a sizeable, curious red bump/blister on my side and several little blisters and a slight red rash in the same area on my neck. Sunday evening/early Monday morning I Googled “beg bugs,” reviewed information on many different sites and much to my horror, recognized that many pictures of some bed bug varieties and bed bug bites resembled my specimen and my skin condition. I included the findings in a survey I completed about my stay at the property, and reminded management of previous concerns I’d raised over accumulated dust, debris and grime in all three rooms I’d stayed in among two separate ESA properties with a couple miles of one another between Jan 22 and Mar 3. Corners, cracks and crevices weren't getting vacuumed or cleaned in any of the rooms and two of three rooms didn’t have mattress covers or properly fitting sheets. All three rooms had worn bed linens with stains that didn’t launder out and generally busted up, worn out room furnishings. My white socks turned black walking in two different rooms the first ESA I had stayed at, which along with many other issues led me to move to the property where this bug was found. I originally didn’t want to post a bed bug report until after the insect was verified by an entomologist, qualified professional at a cooperative extension office or exterminator (who didn’t work for ESA hotels/properties) but I’ve been working late all week. Since the results of my bed bug research correlates so strongly with my specimen and symptom observations, I’m posting this report in the hopes that it may instigate further investigation of the property or warn potential guests of the possibility of being exposed to the insects. I’m now staying at a clean, well appointed property and the cost difference was only $25/night. I had already laundered my clothes shortly after checkin, but based on guidance I’ve read about bed bugs, I'll need to re-launder everything again at higher temps and hope I will not have any residual issues.