Ricky Kresslein

The Worst Bed Bugs Ever


Before I came to Fiji, I thought bed bugs were something colonial men and women got due to their straw mattresses. Now I know better. I also think it was rude of them to invent the saying, "Goodnight, don’t let the bed bugs bite." That is a scary last thought before going to sleep when bed bugs are an actual concern.

I’ve had bed bugs on several occasions since I’ve been in Fiji. Thankfully, they have never invaded my house. Some people are lucky enough that bed bugs don’t affect them. I am not. I get huge welts that swell up until I look like I was bit by a black widow or a rattlesnake. Still, they typically don’t prevent sleep. Most of the time the worst thing that can happen is you wake up and realize you were bit and now you have big itchy lumps on your body. That’s not so bad. At least you were still able to get your eight hours.

I say that is the worst thing that can happen "most of the time" because one time it wasn’t.

I was staying at the Capricorn Hotel in Suva when it happened. There were three of us in the room. We turned off the lights, got into our respective beds, and closed our eyes. Then my feet started itching. A few minutes later, it was almost unbearable and continuously getting worse.

Eric was the first to say something. "Are you guys getting bit?"

"Yes!" we replied.

"Is this room filled with mosquitoes?" I asked. It was possible, since the screen on the windows did not fully connect, but the windows and doors were closed most of the day.

Over the next few hours of little to no sleep, we realized what was terrorizing us. Bed bugs.

I had never known a bed could be so infested as to keep one up at night, but that’s exactly what was happening. I freaked out. Typically, I don’t care much about bugs and small critters, but this was different. It felt like an invasion of my space and body. I couldn’t take it. But I had too. There wasn’t another option. I knew just about every room in this particular hotel had bed bugs. (Yeah, never stay there.)

The next night, with a desire to get more than one hour of sleep, I switched rooms. Eric stayed. I learned the following day that they had been so bad again that night that he went to the front desk in the middle of the night and had all of our stuff moved to another room. Apparently, one even fell into his hair. They were big enough to see easily with the naked eye, which is not common with bed bugs.

For a week after the incident, I had oozing welts covering my shins. My shins were essentially one big, itching scab.

So, next me you check into a cheap motel, or visit a foreign country on a budget, make sure to look at some reviews first. The last thing you want is a mattress that acts as the main hive for every bed bug in the world.