Totem Frequently Asked Questions

Where do bed bugs come from?

Bed bugs feed on human blood. They find their way on to human skin attracted by our body heat and emitted CO2. Bed bugs come out when they sense the heat and CO2 comes from a stable source: a sleeping human. That's why bed bugs hide and nest in the cracks and crevices close to beds and hitchhike their way from a bedroom to another, typically along luggage or other belongings.

What do bed bugs look like?

The appearance of bed bugs varies according to their stage. Adult bed bugs are flat, dark brown and 5-8mm big, while nymphs are lighter coloured and 1,5-4,5mm big. Bed bug eggs are oval, translucent and about 1mm big. However, live bed bugs or their eggs are very hard to detect visually early on, since for most of the time they hide in dark places like the cracks and crevices of headboards or floor moldings. That's why instead of detecting live bed bugs it's more probable to find only signs of bed bugs.

What are typical bed bug signs?

Besides visual proof of live bed bugs, bed bug infestations have three common signs: bed bug bites, feces marks and blood stains. Bed bug bites have commonly a dark red centre surrounded by a lighter red area, come in rows of three bites, leave the skin itchier in comparison to regular mosquito bites and, at worst, cause severe rashes requiring professional care. However, bites can come even with a seven day delay, and some people are completely immune to them. That's why it's hard to trace the roots of a bed bug infestation by analysing only bites.

The two remaining signs - bed bug feces and blood stains - help identify a bed bug infestation. Bed bug feces are tightly-knit black spots bed bugs leave after feeding, while blood stains are the result of bleeding bed bug bites. Look for both in the bed sheets, mattress, pillow, bed frame and the surroundings of the bed like floor moldings. However, once these signs are visually noticeable, the original population has already been in the room for quite some time and developed into an infestation of +20 bed bugs.

How does a bed bug infestation develop?

Bed bug infestations start typically with just a couple of bed bugs who've hitchhiked their way into a bedroom via luggage. Mated female bed bugs lay around 3-5 eggs a day (about 500 eggs within one lifetime) and feed every couple of days. After 10 days eggs hatch and bed bug nymphs begin immediately to feed. Within two weeks, what started as a couple of bed bugs has become a +20 infestation of nymph bed bugs with 50 eggs about to hatch within the next days.

Nymphs pass through five stages before reaching maturity and require a blood meal in between each stage to level up. Within six weeks of the introduction of the first couple of bed bugs the infestation has developed into +20 adult bed bugs, 150 nymph bed bugs and 50 eggs about to hatch within the next 10 days. By this time two dramatic things have happened. On the one hand, the first bed bug nest has become too small for all the bed bugs and they've started to spread in the room and/or between rooms in search for more space. On the other hand, the new adults will start mating with each other and laying eggs: the population growth becomes exponential. At this point the infestation has also affected the stay of tens of guests. The longer it takes to detect bed bugs, the more catastrophical their damage becomes.

Figure showing the development of a bed bug infestation.

Figure 1. Development of a bed bug infestation.

What is the best way to get rid of bed bugs?

The best way to way to get rid of bed bugs is to prevent them from reaching into an infestation in the first place. This is possible with autonomous bed bug protection systems that continuously monitor room status, and attract, detect and trap bed bugs once they're introduced into a room. Once bed bugs are detected and trapped within hours instead of several weeks, they are not able to feed and breed into an infestation.

However, if you don't have an autonomous prevention system currently in place and have already detected all abovementioned signs of bed bugs, call a professional bed bug controller for a heat treatment in the infested room(s). If bed bugs have nested behind floor moldings or headboards, you should treat the neighboring rooms, too.

Figure showing effect of early detection for bed bugs

Figure 2. The best way to get rid of bed bugs.

What is the economic loss of a bed bug infestation?

Bed bugs can cause severe economic loss for a hotel. In the short term, bed bug infestations result in lost room revenue for multiple nights across multiple rooms, fees related to the extermination like inspections and heat treatment, costs related to room refurbishing for unusable furniture, along with a number of negative customer interactions. Since bed bugs breed quickly, it is not uncommon for them to spread into a whole floor or wing within weeks. The more infested rooms there are, the higher the economic loss is.

In the long term, bed bug infestations can make permanent damage to the reputation of a hotel with the rise of social media, OTAs and online reviewing sites. The revenue loss of a negative bed bug review can be even in the hundreds of thousands of euros.

How does Totem bed bug protection prevent bed bug infestations?

Totem bed bug protection prevents bed bug infestations by detecting and trapping bed bugs introduced to a room early on. It combines the most effective bed bug control method with a modern application: the Totem Legs, a set of smart bed legs with an integrated pitfall trap that attracts, traps and detects bed bugs. With Totem bed bug protection, the bed bugs are caught early one before they are able to breed into an infestation and harm hotel premises. Totem bed bug protection also protects hotel guest sleep from bed bugs by blocking contact between the two.

How effective is Totem bed bug protection in detecting bed bugs?

Totem Legs detect bed bugs within the first 24 hours of bed bugs being introduced to a room. That's why Totem bed bug protection is 28x quicker in detection compared to manual bed bug programs. Totem bed bug protection not only detects, but also traps existing bed bugs into the Totem Legs. That's why Totem bed bug protection prevents the development of an infestation and keeps rooms always clean no matter who visits the rooms.

Does Totem bed bug protection protect sleep and prevent bed bugs getting in the bed?

Yes. Totem Legs attract, trap and detect bed bugs trying to get to the bed for their blood meal. For maximum protection, continuous contact between the floor and bed sheets/covers should be avoided as they offer an alternative route to the bed.

What happens after a bed bug detection?

After receiving a detection notification, Totem App has a step-by-step guide that instructs you to eliminate the caught bed bugs and recommends further action, if needed.

How do I install Totem bed bug protection?

Installation is quick and easy: just screw in the Totem Legs and you're ready. No wires or hassle.

Do I need to change all bed legs in my beds?

Yes. Totem Legs come always as a full set of bed legs for maximum protection.

How does the wireless connectivity work in Totem bed bug protection?

Totem Legs form a reliable, scalable and low energy wireless BLE mesh network that is easy to set up and operates independently of existing WIFI or other networks. Totem Connectivity transmits room status data in real-time enabling 24/7 remote monitoring, and sends email and in-app notifications when bed bugs are detected and trapped.

What maintenance needs does Totem bed bug protection have?

Totem bed bug protection works fully autonomous without recurring maintenance needs. Totem Legs come each with two AAA batteries that last for approximately five years. The only maintenance need involves substituting batteries after this time.

Does Totem bed bug protection work with all beds?

No, currently Totem bed bug protection does not work with all beds. Totem Legs are compatible with bed frames or box-springs that have detachable bed legs. If you are unsure of your beds and their compatibility with Totem bed bug protection, please contact us at

I don't have detachable bed legs in my beds. Can I get Totem bed bug protection anyway?

No, unfortunately not. Currently Totem bed bug protection works only with beds with detachable bed legs.

What colours do Totem Legs come in?

Totem Legs come only in matte black. Very cool.

How can I get Totem bed bug protection for my hotel?

Please leave your contact details on the front page and we will happily contact you to place an order.

How can I get Totem bed bug protection for my home?

Totem is currently only available for hotels and other hospitality provider businesses.

What does Totem bed bug protection cost?

For pricing and enquiries please contact us at