MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) One North Carolina family visiting Myrtle Beach for New Year's says they found unwanted guests in their hotel room, and that facility now says an inspector's report shows the guests were mistaken in their claim.
"I'm in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and I notice there are bugs on the counter," says George Stephenson. George and his family found dozens of what they believed to have been bed bugs in their hotel room at the Hampton Inn at Broadway at the Beach.
Following WMBF News airing the original story of the Stephenson's visit to the hotel on Jan. 2, management with the Hampton Inn at Broadway at the Beach had Lane's Pest Elimination inspect the rooms the Stephensons were offered.
"We used the same company that WMBF trusted to provide a bed bug overview to [its] audience since [they] feel [Lane's Pest Elimination] are trained in determining the presence of this insect," explained Scott Martin, Regional Director of Operations for Strand Development Company, in an email to WMBF News.
Mr. Stephenson explained that once they discovered what appeared to be bedbugs, the family requested a room change which was granted by a hotel employee.
"I went up to inspect it before I moved my entire family's luggage," Stephenson says. "As soon as I walked into the doorframe I saw bugs."
In a statement issued by Mike Coffey, Service Manager with Lane's Pest Elimination, inspectors of both rooms offered to the Stephenson family were clear of any type of pest.
"Lane's Pest Elimination, Inc. was asked to perform an inspection for bed bugs and any pest at the [Hampton Inn at Broadway at the Beach] in unit 205 and 311...There were no bed bugs or any other pest found during this inspection."
Stephenson says after a third attempt to relocate to another room, hotel management asked him and his family to leave the hotel. Management declined to comment, but George says the Hilton Corporation eventually reimbursed him and moved his family to another property in Myrtle Beach.
Pest control experts say that coming off of a holiday weekend with lots of people traveling to or from the Grand Strand, it can be easy to pick up unwanted pests in hotel rooms.
"They latch on to your luggage, clothes, or anything you set on the bed," says Lennie Johnson with Lane's Pest Elimination. "Anything you set on the bed has the potential to pick up bed bugs."
Johnson says the best thing to do is perform a sweep of the hotel room first before settling in. Set your luggage in the bathtub, where bed bugs and other pests are least likely to be, and check the living space of the room.