Tracking bed bugs in St. Louis area motels

ST. LOUIS - Health inspectors recently forced seven motels to close rooms after finding bed bugs.

Fox 2/KPLR 11 requested inspection records after talking to a woman who reported feeling them crawling on her.

Tammy Randall was with her family at an O’Fallon, Missouri motel when her daughter started screaming she saw bed bugs.

“I'm like, 'Girl, you're crazy.' I went in there, she's like, 'No, mom, I know what I'm talking about.'"

Randall said she looked for herself.

“When I moved the pillows back and seen those and, this is gross, but I actually squished one,” she said.

Randall said she snapped pictures.

“Then I just started feeling like they were on me,” she said.

Randall called the state health department. Inspectors are checking it out now.  Meanwhile, the department revealed seven motels where it's confirmed bed bugs within the last 12 months.

In February, inspectors wrote up the Capitol Inn in Bridgeton, writing “bed bugs found in 562 and 563” and “...not allowed to be rented until further notice.”

An inspector cited the Red Roof in on Lackland last August, saying, “I observed bed bugs in room 117." The room "...shall be closed for 4 weeks."

And in Fenton, the Motel 6 on Bowles shows, “room 207… live bed bug activity” in May and again in June. The room was “approved to reopen” in October.

“Bed bugs are probably the best hijacker in the world,” said Gary Rottler, Rottler Pest and Lawn Solutions.

Rottler said you can find them anywhere.

“It doesn't matter if it's the premium, most expensive facility or on the low-end, the least expensive facility," he said. "You and I are the food. We've got blood and that's what they want. They want your blood.”

Check the cord around the mattress.  It’s a good hiding place that might also reveal bed bug droppings.

“You're looking for specs of pepper or pepper like substance or something sticky," Rottler said. "You're looking for shells or live bed bugs. Anything that doesn't look like it belongs there."

Heat is a bed bug's worst enemy. If you think you`ve picked one up in your clothing, throw your clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes.

It's also not uncommon for people to mistakenly think they've seen bed bugs. Inspectors visited just as many motels and hotels where they did not find the bed bugs as reported by customers. You can look at each of the confirmed reports below.

Springdale Motel
4121 Springdale, Bel-Ridge

Red Roof Inn
11837 Lackland Road, Maryland Heights

Motel 6
3470 Hollenberg Drive, Bridgeton

Motel 6
1860 Bowles, Fenton

Capitol Inn
3655 Pennridge Drive, Bridgeton

Airport Quality Inn
10232 Natural Bridge Road, Woodson Terrace

Super 8
650 S. Hwy Drive, Fenton