Island Paradise Bug Bites

Avoid My Travel Nightmare in One Step with Ortho

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Avoid My Travel Nightmare in One Step with Ortho

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Ortho Home Defense but all opinions (and sadly the bug bite nightmare) are uniquely mine.

Island Paradise Bug Bites
The view from my room was gorgeous, the view of me covered in bug bites not so much

A few months ago, I woke up in a fancy island hotel covered in bug bites.  The hotel had a program in place (very few hotels actually do) to quarantine the room and have a local exterminator come in to survey the area and issue a bed bug report. The issued report indicated that there were no bed bugs but to look at me you might have thought differently. In fact my doctors weren’t sure as the markings looked like bed bug bites. I had over 50 bites on my shoulders, arms and legs (I still itch thinking about it) and I was freaking out.  Then I was googling everything I could about bed bugs, how to prevent bed bugs and how to deal with the aftermath. I realized how little I know about bed bugs. At the time, I had done my normal bed bug check upon arriving in the room – pull back the sheets and with a flashlight look for black or brown spot evidence.

Little did I know that they can hide in crevices, furniture, carpets, headboards and a variety of other places I wasn’t checking. My Google research (incorrectly) said you couldn’t detect them until you were bitten, which quite frankly isn’t comforting. I shouldn’t be the bait to detect if bed bugs are present.  I had survived an African safari with mosquito nets, taken malaria prevention medicines and slathered myself in super industrial bug creams on past travels and now I was done in by bugs I couldn’t see.  My weekend getaway was marred by this and my family cruise disrupted. At the time, I wasn’t aware of anything that I could buy to detect bed bugs. But now I’m happy to have discovered a bed bug detector for consumers, the Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap, that can be used at home and on the road.

bedbug luxury hotel covered in bug bites legs
my leg when I arrived on the cruise – clusters of bug bites on my legs

What I didn’t realize at the time was that I had a severe histamine reaction to the number of bug bites – my body was freaking out in a major way. At first, I used over the counter hydrocortisone and Benadryl that the nurse recommended at the cruise ship clinic (I was on a cruise and itching for a week).  When I returned home, I visited my GP who said to continue using the hydrocortisone and Benadryl.  After two weeks when the bites and itching weren’t going away, my GP sent me to the Dermatologist for stronger meds (a steroid protocol, plus a special spray for the itching). The spray would cost $180! Luckily, I called the doctor’s office and they recommended an online pharmacy and a manufacturer’s rebate so the spray would be free.

Bedbugs Covered in Bug Bites Cortisone
Five star resort and this was the offer to assist with the itching

So the bug bites:

  • severely affected my cruise vacation with my family
  • cost me time off of work to see the doctors
  • cost me out of pocket for blood work and doctor co-pays
  • marred my body for six months with marks/scars from the bites

This was a travel nightmare!


Bed Bug Stories

Luggage Security Ties
My bag is all tied up but that won’t keep bed bugs away

I’m sure we’ve all heard stories from friends about bed bug incidents or had a few of our own we didn’t share because we were embarrassed. I have a few:

  • My friend posted about her hostel experience when she and her husband woke up covered in bed bug bites – many blamed the choice of lodging but bed bugs don’t discriminate as they can be found in budget to luxury properties no matter how clean they appear.


  • I asked my colleague about bed bugs and she said, “I always check the hotel when I get there”. How do you do that I asked? “I pull back the sheets and look for bugs” she said.  I replied, “While some are the size of a seed, others are smaller and the eggs are pinhead sized so you really can’t see all of them.  You might see black spots of waste”.  I then asked her “where do you put your suitcase?” She replied, “on the floor.” I said, “you know that they could be in the carpets and upholstery, right?” Now I was freaking her out.


  • Another friend came up to me at the gym and said “My husband was bitten by bed bugs at the hotel last weekend and brought them home, we had to have the exterminator come. He’s been fighting the hotel over compensation.”  I said, “I’m surprised the hotel I recommended had bed bugs.” She replied, “We didn’t stay at that hotel, we stayed at x hotel.” Ugh, I wasn’t surprised by her ordeal as I had heard many stories about that hotel. She was really upset by the experience because she and her husband travel a lot and thought they were immune at the luxury and chain hotels. I told her that bed bugs can be anywhere. I was becoming an expert from my experience. Luckily her husband rebounded quickly (unlike me) from his bites.


  • When I posted my bug bite experience, a few comments made me itch. One reader posted about her experience at home. She had to get rid of her bed, furniture and have the apartment exterminated. It was an expensive experience.

What I learned is that people don’t know much about bed bugs until they have an experience with them. You can’t prevent bed bugs as I continue to learn but you can now detect them to save yourself from the ordeal my friends endured and from my nightmare of a tropical vacation. After my experience, I put my pajamas in a plastic bag and then in the dryer on the hottest setting on the cruise ship. I wrapped my luggage in plastic and left outside in the sun and then used a hairdryer on all the surfaces (I don’t know if it worked or not but again peace of mind was worth it).

Detect Bed Bugs in the Hotel or at Home

Ortho Bed Bug Trap
Press the button to activate the Ortho Bed Bug trap in home or at the hotel, hostel, airbnb

The Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap comes in a small box with two traps which you can easily pack in your luggage. They are available at major retailers and, of course, on Amazon.

The Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap lures, detects and traps bed bugs within an hour, if present. If you see that the trap has bed bugs in it (seen through the viewing window), snap the station closed to permanently trap them and dispose of the trap in the trash. Then you know you have to go to the next step to control them (no, you can’t burn your house down). You can choose to self-treat with affordable Ortho Home Defense products or go Defcon-4 with the more expensive exterminator.

You can easily take the trap with you on your travels to test the hotel room before you go to sleep.  I’d suggest testing when you arrive. I would use the video on my phone to film the hotel room and time as well as you placing the trap near the bed  per the directions. Now I’m not one to watch the science experiment so I would leave for the hour testing window. I would then pray every minute that the trap is empty when I return.

What to Do at the Hotel if You Find Bed Bugs

Ortho Bed Bug Trap Viewing Window
The viewing window to see if you are sleeping here tonight

If you see bed bugs in the trap (or otherwise find bed bugs in the bed easily)

  • If the trap detects bed bugs, snap the station closed to permanently trap the bed bugs (after you show the hotel staff, you can dispose of the trap in the trash)
  • Immediately call the Front Desk of the Hotel ask to speak to the Manager on Duty
  • Tell them you found bed bugs in your room and ask them to come to the room (note: Solo women always keep the hotel room door open when staff is in your room or ask for two staff members to come to the room)
  • Complete an incident report with the hotel (get a copy and manager business card) and discuss next steps
    • If your hotel has a bed bug protocol like the posh hotel I did, then follow their reporting steps. The manager on duty met me to discuss my experience, she explained the next steps and sent me the exterminator report later in the day. She then followed up with me a few times and had to report the incident internally to hotel management.
  • If the hotel wants to hush you up like they did my friend – you need to agree a price for your expenses and inconvenience. Don’t agree on a price until you know all of your expenses you will incur (home exterminator, doctor costs, medicines, etc.). My friend had to sign a non-disclosure legal agreement to receive his reimbursement. You’ll want to tell the world to avoid that hotel but once you sign the agreement and receive your reimbursement you won’t be able to. Consider that before signing away any legal rights.
  • If traveling on business, call your corporate travel agent to find another hotel. Complete the incident report with the hotel but do not sign any agreements on site.  Immediately notify your company’s Travel Manager/Department of the incident and forward all agreements to them to handle.

Peace of Mind When You Travel

So now that you are itching just thinking about bed bugs, the question is – would you buy the Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap to help give you peace of mind in your home and/or travels? When I travel, I want peace of mind when I go to sleep and not to think of myself as a potential bed bug buffet. It costs just $11.99 for one package with two traps.   The Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap is an easy travel essential to add to my packing list. To learn more about Ortho Home Defense bed bug products visit their site at

Ortho Bed Bug Trap Package
Consumer package comes with two traps for $11.99 – peace of mind for the price of a glass of wine


3 thoughts on “Avoid My Travel Nightmare in One Step with Ortho

  1. I member reading about your bed bug saga and it scared me senseless. My husband travels for work most of the week, in and out of all sorts of hotels. Who knows what he’s bringing back!

    Is the trap single use? If you find bugs do you them have to throw the trap away?

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