No one wants to check into a hotel room, only to find a bed bug infestation, or worse — to wake up to bed bug bites. Unfortunately, this scenario is becoming increasingly prevalent, and is a constant concern for travelers as well as hoteliers. Bed bugs are little pests that can be difficult to kill and are getting more resistant to some types of pesticides. It compounds the problem when these bugs hitch a ride on a suitcase back home with a traveler, or to another hotel.
For anyone who travels, it’s essential to understand the problem of bed bugs in hotels and to know what to look for, so you can protect yourself.
How Typical Is It for a Hotel to Have Bed Bugs?
Unfortunately, the problem of bed bugs in hotels probably occurs more frequently than you’d like to think. People have reported seeing these insects in all 50 states, and they are a typical sight in not only hotels, but also in offices, daycares, hospitals, nursing homes, dorms, apartment buildings, single-family homes and more. The problem of bed bugs has been on the rise in recent years, especially for hotels. New York City hotels saw a 44% rise in bed bug incidents from 2015 to 2016.
Bed bug infestations often come with negative connotations for a hotel — you may imagine a seedy little motel as the most likely candidate for something like this. However, bed bugs don’t discriminate based on levels of cleanliness or luxury. Just as they thrive in small, roadside motels, bed bugs can also show up in five-star hotels and resorts, and even in the cleanest of rooms.
10 Quick Facts About Bed Bugs in Hotels
- Bed bugs are small insects, about the size of apple seeds as adults.
- Younger bed bugs are even smaller and can fit through a thread hole in a sheet.
- These pests multiply rapidly, and can have up to 500 offspring in a lifetime.
- Bed bugs are parasitic, feasting on human and animal blood.
- These small bugs hide out in small crevices in between mattresses and bedding, cracks in wooden furniture and other tiny spots, coming out at night to feed.
- Bites from bed bugs can result in red, itchy splotches that resemble mosquito bites. However, bed bugs are not disease carriers.
- More than 80% of hotels have reported needing bed bug treatment in the past year.
- Bed bug infestations can cost hotels large amounts of money in treatment costs and lost revenue.
- Negative reputations and possible litigation can cost hotels even more when they face an infestation.
- The bugs can travel between hotels and homes in suitcases or on moving furniture.
How to Check for Bed Bugs in Your Hotel
Because bed bug infestations are becoming so prevalent and problematic, in all types of hotels, it’s a good idea to look around right after you check in to ensure you’re not settling into a bed bug-riddled room. Here are some tips for checking out your hotel room for signs of these notorious pests.
- Keep your luggage and belongings safe: When you first enter your room, place your suitcase on a luggage rack away from the beds, or in the bathroom — the least likely places for bed bugs to hide and later hitch a ride on your luggage. Even after inspecting your room, keep your luggage on the rack and try to keep your things tidy — clothes and extra items strewn all over the room give the bugs more places to hide. To be extra safe, you can also bring large garbage bags to keep your suitcase and other belongings in during your stay.
- Inspect your room for bugs: Before you settle into your hotel room, do a thorough visual inspection of the whole room. Remember, the bugs don’t just hide in beds, but could be in just about any soft surface, as well as in cracks in wooden furniture. Check under the sheets, under and around mattresses, as well as couches, chairs, headboards, artwork and carpet/flooring seams. Use a flashlight to help you see, if you have one. Adult bed bugs and eggs are easily visible to the naked eye. Also, look for additional evidence of bed bugs, including small, dark, rust-colored spots on bedding and discarded exoskeletons.
- Alert hotel staff to any issues: If you do find any evidence of bed bugs in your hotel room, report the issue immediately to a hotel staff member so they can investigate the room, as well as the surrounding rooms and common areas. Do not stay in a room with visible bed bug evidence, and request a room in a different part of the building if possible.
- Check for bugs at home: If you have any concerns after traveling, thoroughly inspect your suitcase for any bugs. Washing clothes doesn’t necessarily kill the bugs, but heat from the dryer will. Place all travel clothes in the dryer for 30 minutes to kill any remaining hitchhikers. Alternatively, you can place any items that will fit inside a freezer to kill off bugs.
What Bed Bugs Can Mean for a Hotel
Hotels have a responsibility to provide safe, comfortable spaces, and protect their guests from specific dangers, like bed bug infestations. So, if guests report bed bugs, hotels should take swift action to take care of the problem by moving people to other rooms and calling in professional help. One study estimated the average cost of a single bed bug infestation for one hotel at more than $6,000. This figure includes extermination costs, replacement costs and lost business. If any guests choose to sue the hotel for damages, the total costs can skyrocket even higher. And with the average hotel facing around seven infestations every five years, it’s easy to see these little pests are quite costly to hotels.
Beyond monetary costs, hotels risk an unfavorable reputation if word gets out about the bed bug infestation. And negative publicity can mean more lost business for the hotel. The hotel industry spends millions on pest control, always working to combat these pesky insects and find new solutions for dealing with them.
Pest Management Solutions for Bed Bugs
The technicians at Pestech have the tools and services to help you control any bed bug problem — whether for a home or business. We back our services with a 100% guarantee, so you can rest easy knowing our expert technicians will take care of the pests quickly and professionally. If you have a bed bug infestation or issues with any other type of pest, contact Pestech today to get started with an inspection and an integrated pest management plan.