COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - It's a vacationers worst nightmare...checking into a hotel room that's infested with bed bugs. It happens all over the country, especially this time of year.
"It's prime season for these guys," said Hank Spivey, with Why-U-Buggin Pest Control.
There is no city ordinance in Colorado Springs that requires a routine inspection for bed bugs in hotels or other businesses to ensure they're following appropriate protocol.
"However, Code Enforcement will respond to individual complaints of bed bugs or other infestations that fall under the city code," said Kim Melchor, Colorado Springs Lead Communications Specialist.
Spivey, who is the owner and exterminator for "Why-U-Buggin" said he's come across hotels who refuse treatment in order to book another room.
"I have been in the situation where they have bed bugs and the management would chose to rent the room out another night as opposed to treating the room then," said Spivey.
What started out as a business trip, turned into a nightmare for Christina Thomas.
"I couldn't believe they were three inches from my face," she said.
Last week, Thomas checked into the Extended Stay America off of Corporate drive, with unexpected visitors.
"At four in the morning I woke up... just 3 inches from my face ... I see a spot, I look at it and I say... uh there's no way that's a bed bug," Thomas said.
Thomas said they were all over her pillow, and she immediately reported it to hotel management downstairs.
"The lady's like oh my gosh I'm so sorry ... here's another pillow .... and I said I'm not going back to the room."
The hotel was booked - forcing Thomas to sit in the lobby for the night.
"That's when I noticed the pillow was just sitting up on the counter and I actually took some pictures of the pillow not wrapped in any plastic or anything. Plus - the bed bugs were still on it," she said.
- Below are pictures sent to us from Thomas last week -
KRDO NewsChannel 13 contacted Extended Stay America's corporate office to ask about its policies regarding bedbug infestations. Terry Atkins, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications agreed to an interview, but did not answer our calls at the set time.
We know the bug-infested pillow was moved out of the room and placed on the counter because of pictures sent into our newsroom. This could of potentially exposed the bugs to other rooms in the hotel. We don't know if any measures were taken to treat the infestation, because no one locally or at corporate will respond to our questions.
What should you do if you find bed bugs?
As Spivey explains, if bed bugs aren't properly removed - the whole vicinity is at risk.
"The best thing to do, is put it in a sealed bag. Then put some scotch tape on it - anything to keep it from getting loose because they breed really fast," he said.
Unfortunately, Thomas's situation isn't uncommon.
"With hotels and motels that have contacted me - I've been in the situation where they have bed bugs and management would chose to rent the room out another night as opposed to treating the room immediately," he said.
A horrifying thought for Thomas, who is still dealing with the bites a week later.
Note: Code Enforcement will respond to individual complaints of bed bugs or other infestations when requested.
Here are some tips on how to pack your luggage to avoid these pests.