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Has anyone dealt with a bedbug situation?

Our guests have been here since early March. They just sent us photos of bites and a video of a bedbug. Has anyone dealt with this? What do you do? We have booked them into a hotel for the night and have an exterminator coming. Any other suggestions? We will of course have to make a claim to Airbnb to reimburse us for all the expense. I’m practicing keeping calm through all this, so kindly, no horror stories, only success stories, thank you!

Julie P

My daughter lived in NYC and when she found bed bugs in the apartment she threw everything away and moved out. I personally think she overreacted.

I think that having the exterminator and washing everything in really hot water should do the trick. Also use plastic zippered covers for your matresses since there might be eggs waiting to hatch.

What? Airbnb doesn’t reimburse hosts for hiring an exterminator or paying for a guest to stay in a hotel if there are bedbugs, so don’t waste your time on that.


I suggest reading old threads to see how people dealt with this in the past.


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It’s possible that they brought them , or a friend of theirs brought them; bugs do not suddenly ‘appear’ after 2 months…


Some rental property insurance has bed bug/ lost revenue coverage. Do you have specific STR coverage?

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Sorry to hear. Clearly the guest or a visitor brought them in. Or are looking to scam you.

Seems odd that it took 2 months for them to show up. I had a friend that stayed at someone else’s short term rental and they started noticing bites in the first few days just took them a bit to figure it out. The host had them at a hotel for a night or two till the exterminator came. The host did put a plastic zippered case over the mattress.

Ouch. As @KKC said, search this forum for “bedbugs”. It’s not a good thing for hosts. Don’t expect to be reimbursed for anything by Airbnb even if the guests brought them in.

Have the exterminator try to determine how long you’ve had the infestation, if only so you can respond to a negative review if you receive one.

Unless the exterminator says there’s no evidence of bedbugs, I would cancel the remainder of the booking. Order zippered mattress encasements for all your beds regardless.

Definitely zippered mattress covers made for bed bugs. Buy them at Walmart. Use duct tape over zipper and keep it covered for six months.

I have these covers on all my mattresses to keep from getting them in the first place.

Wash all the bedding, pillow cases, throw pillows - get rid of throw pillows if you can’t wash it. You may need your carpet cleaned as well.

AirBnB does NOT reimburse you for an insect infestation. That was their answer when I asked them before I started hosting.

IF YOU REPORT THIS TO AIR THEY MAY SHUT DOWN YOUR LISTING until you pay mucho bucks for an exterminator to certify that you no longer have them.

If the folks have been there that long and didn’t notice it before, THEY brought them in from somewhere or they would have seen them earlier. Do any of them work in hotels, been traveling lately, or purchased used clothing, bedding or luggage?

Don’t hire an exterminator that sprays chemicals, because they don’t kill them. The ONLY thing that kills them is to heat the entire space and its contents to 180 degF for 12 hours or more. Good Bedbug exterminators use heat which also kills the eggs. Chemicals will just make them disburse further into the rest of the house.

But before you do anything else, first make certain that they are actually bedbugs. Get a bedbug trap which uses pheromones to attract them and compare the pictures with some from a reputable insect site. I once had some tiny wood weevils crawl into a bedbug trap (they are there to be checked after each guest leaves to make sure they didn’t bring any in) and guests of the peel-back-the-throw-rug variety left without telling me and went to a motel (which HAS had many bedbug problems). Air was convinced when I sent them comparative pix, but that was back when they had a staff that actually answered the Superhost line on one ring.

Here are the traps:

SenSci ActivVolcano Bed Bug Monitor and Lure - 2 Pack - Volcano Bed Bug Monitor and Activ Bed Bug Lure


  1. I can’t see that Airbnb owes you anything.
  2. Also, be aware that if you have bats in a crawl space or attic next to a rental space, the bats carry bugs very similar to bed bugs. They will creep into the living space and also give bites similar to a bedbug. We had this issue with a LTR off the Airbnb platform (thankfully). We did have an exterminator come but the real issue was keeping the stubborn, resourceful bats out.
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AKA fleas. Which once upon a time were epidemic in human settlements in many parts of the world, but not all. If they bite and jump, probably fleas.

The scene in “Shogun” where the fleabitten gaijin sailors were kept away from everyone until they had been showered several times and soaked in a furo really opened my eyes to the fact that the Japanese are always cleaning, and rarely had flea problems except when ships brought in infested rats.

Cultures like the Greeks, Romans, and Japanese that bathed often and kept very clean houses and few animals in the house had no flea problems.

Fleas were dramatically depopulated during the 1940s and 50s by the use of DDT, and pet owners tend to now use very effective flea deterrents. Many folks don’t even realize they’re still around unless they own pets or live on a farm.

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The exterminator didn’t call them fleas, likened them more to the bedbug and they looked more like bedbugs.

Hi Julie,

Really horrible situation to be in and hope you got it sorted.

We had a long term guest who, after 5 months in staying with us, claimed that there were bed bugs in her bed and we went through hell. The bed was new (Id bought it for her year long stay) and I was distraught. I had the exterminators out twice, who found nothing (!!) and hot washed the bedding and all her clothes over and over again because she kept saying the bites came back … she could never show me evidence of bites and she was the one who had been coming back and forth to China etc so I had a horrible feeling that she had brought them with her!

She finally announced that she couldn’t do it anymore and then promptly moved out to live with some friends. Lol. I think she just didn’t want to cancel and lose loads of ££ (she was booked for another 6 months) and I had to go through a big investigation with Air Bnb to show them we had done everything we could. So lost loads of ££ in lost revenue and costs. Voluntarily took room down for a month.

I did however expense it when I did my self assessment tax. Maybe this is one way to get some money back?

Now, even though I thought she may have been lying, after she left I couldn’t with a clear conscience use this lovely, practically new bed anymore (just incase) for other guests. I was going to throw it away when a friend got in touch and said he could really use a new bed/ mattress. Poor thing has had a very bed couple of years and I said no at first (you know - bedbugs!!) but after a lot of pushing and me warning him about the allegations this guest had made about the mysterious bites, he took it. And guess what? He loves it and as never had any bites or issues with it in a whole two years :crazy_face:


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I’ve had to deal with on several occasions. Bed bugs are the worst pests to deal with in my book, though I’ve never had a termite issue. Bed bugs are a high alert problem that needs immediate attention. Even though they come from guests, Airbnb is quite firm on placing all accountability and cost on the host. I’ve never been reimbursed for anything and they would block my calendar upon the report. It sounds like you could make a strong case that they were brought by the guests since they’ve been occupying the space for so long, but good luck. For me, Airbnb threw me under the bus every time.

I’ll hire a well trained specialist to handle the issue. It’s expensive, but Airbnb may require you provide proof that a professional was hired. Beforehand (depending on the severity) I’ll steam everything - bedframe, mattress, pictures frames, floor, corners, and all nooks and crannies of every piece of furnishing and fixture in the room. Any fabric gets pulled and either placed in the dryer or thrown away. High heat is what kills the bugs.

Good luck!

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My thought too. They could’ve picked them up anywhere by sitting on upholstered furniture in an office, then sitting on the bed

First thing I do when checking into a hotel is to put my luggage in the bathtub. No bedbugs there. Then I check both mattresses in the foot corners, looking for bedbug signs like blood stains. So far none.

But I had friends get bedbugs in their luggage in major chain hotels in the US (Las Vegas and DC) and bring them back home. So I do the tub thing with my luggage when I return from a trip, and unpack everything from inside the tub, checking every item including unzipping the suitcase liner and checking behind it.

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