A model is suing a hotel in California after she said she was “massacred” by bed bugs following a visit. Sabrina Jales St. Pierre, who has modeled for brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, alleged in a lawsuit filed June 5 in Riverside County Superior Court that her visit to the Embassy Suites by Hilton Palm Desert affected her modeling career.
Brian Virag, St. Pierre’s attorney and founder of My Bed Bug Lawyer, Inc., told the Desert Sun that St. Pierre “started noticing the bed bug bites after her first night in the hotel, and eventually she was massacred by bites covering pretty much her entire body.”
The bug bites the model suffered, Virag said, were some of the worst he’d seen during the eight years he’s spent as a bed bug lawyer.
He added St. Pierre “experienced psychological trauma” and, “because her body is her work,” the ordeal “severely affected her work and her career.”
The peak season for bed bugs is June through October. The increase in heat and humidity during the summer and early fall months does appear to have the effect of making bed bugs more active. By “more active” we mean that they will want to feed and breed more often. However, bed bugs are indoor pests and do not die out in the winter time so vigilance is necessary year-round.
Besides the weather factors, the increase in travel within the US during the summer months allows bed bugs to spread from place to place very quickly creating new infestations in many more hotel rooms and homes.
Bed bugs can live in any area of the home and can reside in tiny cracks in furniture as well as on textiles and upholstered furniture. They tend to be most common in areas where people sleep and generally concentrate in beds, including mattresses, box springs, and bed frames.
Travelers need to be prepared, and here’s how:
- Research your hotel: Before confirming your reservation, check for recent reports of bed bugs in your hotel at tripadvisors.com and bedbugregistry.com Some of the reports will be false alarms, but why take a chance an walk into an existing problem if you don’t have to.
- Know your enemy: Bed bugs are small but not microscopic. Spend some time learning what bed bugs and their tell-tale signs look like online at reputable sites like http://bedbugger.com/faqs
- Inspect your room: Bring an LED flashlight and a magnifying glass with you on every trip. With your luggage still in the hallway, pull the sheets off the top half of the bed and check the edges of the mattress for tiny black spots that look like mold spots. These are the tell-tale fecal spots that bed bugs leave behind. It’s rare to find actual bugs since the hide in the walls and furniture so well, the black spots are a dead giveaway. Also, check the bed skirt in between the mattress and box spring which should be totally clear. Lastly, most hotel beds have a headboard that can easily be lifted off the wall with two people. Again, use the flashlight to check for black spots in the screw holes and any crevices.
- Zip up your luggage: Even a hotel room that looks spotless could still be hiding the early stages of an infestation. The only way to prevent bringing them home is to place your luggage in plastic zip bags by BugZip.
- Do not leave children’s stuffed animals unattended. If you feel they have been infested, discard immediately.
- Just because it is a highly rated hotel, means nothing. Always do your own research.
Ref. Fox News, usbedbugs.com/blog, webmd.com
Photo courtesy of Bing.com