Bedbugs found at 4 Las Vegas hotels, Nevada Resort Association says instances are 'rare'

At least four guests staying at four separate hotels along the Las Vegas Strip saw bedbugs crawling in their rooms between Sept. 2023 and Jan. 2024, local outlet KLAS reported. The sightings came months before millions of visitors traveled to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl.

Health inspectors with the Southern Nevada Health District told KLAS that the bedbugs were seen at the Encore, Venetian, Excalibur Hotel & Casino and Mirage. A guest's complaint on Dec. 5, 2023, led to a bedbug-sniffing dog being used at the Encore, where a live bedbug was found, the TV station said. The hotel then closed the room so it could be thoroughly cleaned.

The Southern Nevada Health District told the Los Angeles Times that it provided KLAS with inspection reports after receiving public records requests about “bed complaints for public accommodations” over six months.

Jennifer Sizemore, communications officer for the Southern Nevada Health District, told USA TODAY in an email that the four hotels "had one room each with a verified bedbug complaint."

"Each of the properties responded appropriately to the issue," Sizemore said. None of these reports involved a bedbug infestation as was reported in some media outlets.

Finding bedbugs: Bedbugs are blood-sucking pests. Here's how to identify and control the tiny invaders.

Bedbugs 'rare and isolated occurrences,' resort advocacy group says

The Nevada Resort Association, a gaming and resort advocacy group, released a statement that said: "The health and safety of guests is the highest priority for the resort industry."

“With approximately 155,000 hotel rooms and 41 million annual visitors, four rooms impacted over a nearly five-month period that generated millions of room nights shows these are extremely rare and isolated occurrences,” the association said. “The minute number of incidents reflects the comprehensive and proactive health and safety measures and pest-control procedures Las Vegas resorts have in place to prevent and address issues.”

The association continued to say that it abides by health and safety protocols after bedbugs are reported at hotels, including relocating guests.

According to the Wall Street Journal, over 330,000 estimated people came to Las Vegas for Super Bowl 58. Steve Hill, president and chief executive of the city's visitors authority, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that 300 events took place across Las Vegas ahead of the game. He did not say how many of those visitors stayed in the city.

"There are more than 150,000 hotel rooms in our community and approximately 40 million people visit each year, so it is inevitable that there will be some bed bug complaints," Sizemore said. "Hotels maintain ongoing pest control to help keep their properties pest-free as they want guests to return."

What are bedbugs?

This photo taken on November 28, 2023 shows senior researcher Eom Hoon-sik holding a small plastic cup containing bedbugs.
This photo taken on November 28, 2023 shows senior researcher Eom Hoon-sik holding a small plastic cup containing bedbugs.

Bedbugs are described by the Southern Nevada Health District as "small wingless insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, such as humans, birds, rodents, bats and pets."

Younger bedbugs can even be the size of a poppy seed and adults are about a 1/4 inch long, the health department said. Their bodies are oval and flat and their color ranges from nearly white, after molting, to deep brown after feeding.

Don't try to look for bedbugs during the day because they hide in cracks and crevices and only come out at night to feed, according to the health department.

Bedbugs also aren't known to spread disease, but they do inject a small amount of saliva into the skin while feeding which can cause an allergic reaction, the health department said.

What to do if you encounter bedbugs

If you walk into a hotel room and spot bedbugs, the Southern Nevada Health District advises you to report it and ask for accommodations to be made for another room.

After reporting to the hotel, the health department said you can notify them by calling (702) 759-0588 to report the bedbugs.

Preventing bedbugs can include washing clothes in hot water (preferably at 110 degrees Fahrenheit) and drying them in a commercial dryer for an hour, according to the health department. Also, storing luggage in a sealed plastic bag, even for months, can help.

Other tips from the Southern Nevada Health District to get rid of or prevent bed bugs include: Leaving bagged luggage for several hours in a closed vehicle when the full summer sun is out may kill bed bugs and eggs and scrubbing and vacuuming out suitcases thoroughly following inspection.

Things like reducing clutter, thoroughly cleaning rooms, moving around furniture, encasing mattresses and box springs with special mattress bags and filling cracks can all help get rid of and reduce bedbugs, the health department said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bedbugs spotted at Las Vegas Strip hotels in recent months