(WSVN) - Airbnb is a popular option for people looking for an alternative to hotels, but one family says they got more than they bargained for when the lights went out. 7’s Brian Entin investigates.

It looks so nice! The Airbnb listing said “modern beach home.” There were pictures of a remodeled kitchen, a big living room and inviting bedrooms.

Toni George, booked Airbnb: “It was beautiful. It was immaculate looking.”

George and her daughter booked the Airbnb in Hollywood for eight family members visiting from out of town over Thanksgiving.

But it was what visited their family at night that has them outraged. The bedrooms were infested with bed bugs.

Toni George: “Stains all over this mattress. Blood stains.”

The guests recorded as the bed bugs crawled.

Brittany George, booked Airbnb: “They aren’t shy at all. They were jumping on the bed, on the bed sheets. It was creepy. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

They were bitten on their arms and even their faces.

Toni George: “It was a nightmare. Everyone had to huddle in the living room for the duration of the vacation, and not only that, have bed bugs biting you for three nights.”

After the first night, the family says, the property manager showed up with two cans of bug spray.

But bed bugs are hard to get rid of, and the spray didn’t do the job.

Brittany George: “They were itching the entire time we were there, the entire time we were there.”

And by the time you’re itching, it’s too late. Experts say the moment you get into your Airbnb or hotel room, you should immediately check for the bugs.

Eric Hoffer, Hoffer Pest Solutions: “First thing, I always move the pillows out of the way, and I pull up the corner of the bed sheet right here.”

Eric with Hoffer Pest Solutions says to look into the creases of the mattress because that’s where bed bugs hide. Also, look for blood stains and small, dark droppings.

This family did eventually get the $600 they spent on the Hollywood Airbnb refunded, but they still went home itching.

Toni George: “It was a vacation nightmare for my family, and I feel horrible because we are the ones who booked the Airbnb – my daughter and I – and we still feel awful.”

The owner has fixed the bed bug problem. He sent us receipts for an exterminator and new mattresses.

Airbnb tells 7News they investigated and cancelled all reservations until the owner proved the bed bugs were gone.

Airbnb also released a statement to 7News which reads:

“Providing a safe and clean space is a pillar of our community standards and if a guest alerts us to a hazard or safety issue at a listing, we immediately suspend it and investigate. Upon learning of this incident, per our health and safety protocols, we removed this listing from our community and cancelled all upcoming reservations. Our host was able to re-list their space after demonstrating it was suitable for future guests by providing documentation from a professional inspector. We apologize to our guest for our original handling of this case and have reached out to offer additional support.”


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