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Bed Bugs in Hotels

By Pestech Pest Solutions
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Bed Bugs in Hotels: Everything You Need to Know

Travelers visit hotels and resorts to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation time away from the responsibilities of day-to-day life. However, it’s not always clear whether the room they’ve checked into is free from pesky critters — namely, bed bugs.

To protect your guests and your property from bed bug infestations, brush up on the need-to-know information in our all-inclusive guide.

Understanding Bed Bug Infestations

Bed bugs can move around rather discreetly due to their small size and can be a real challenge to remove from a space. They’re becoming more resistant to some pesticides, meaning new pest-removal innovations are essential for hotels to get ahead of the game and keep their property clean. Suitcases, plush toys, coats and pillows serve as taxis for bed bugs, allowing them to hitch a ride back to travelers’ homes or other hotels and proliferate further.

How Common Are Bed Bugs in Hotels?

Unfortunately, the problem of bed bugs in hotels probably occurs more frequently than you’d like to think. They are a typical sight in hotels, 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.

Debunking Myths Around Bed Bugs in Hotels

Bed bug infestations often come with negative connotations for a hotel — you may imagine a low-cost, undermaintained motel as the most likely candidate for an outbreak. 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 appear in five-star hotels, resorts and even in the cleanest rooms.

Contributing Factors to Bed Bug Infestations in Hotels

There has been an uptick in travel over the past few years, and increased travel means more opportunities for bed bugs to hop from one establishment to another via luggage and personal belongings. At the same time, the hospitality industry has seen major staffing shortages in the United States, so frequent, vigilant bed bug inspections may be less likely to occur. A lack of thorough inspection by housekeeping is a surefire way for bed bug infestations to take hold of a hotel.

How Do You Identify Bed Bugs in Hotels?

The common bed bug, or Cimex lectularius, is a small, brown, oval-shaped insect about the size of an apple seed at full maturity. When mature bed bugs have recently eaten, they turn a darker reddish-brown, and their oval shape expands outward. Younger bed bugs are harder to spot as they are semi-translucent and can be small enough to fit through a threaded hole in a sheet. Bed bug eggs are the trickiest to see at less than 1/16 of an inch long with a pale, off-white color.

Understanding Bed Bug Behavior

Bed bugs are parasites that live off human and animal blood, leaving behind tarry excrement that dirties sheets and linens. They multiply rapidly and can have up to 500 offspring in a lifetime. They usually hide during daylight hours and come out to feed at night.

Places bed bugs can hide include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Mattress seams
  • Cracks in furniture
  • Crevices in bags
  • Cushion piping
  • Curtain folds
  • Wallpaper defects
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Appliances

Spotting Bed Bug Bites

Bites from bed bugs can result in red, itchy splotches that resemble mosquito bites and usually appear in clusters of around three bites. While the EPA, CDC and USDA have not discovered any diseases carried or spread by bed bugs as of 2024, they still consider them a serious threat to public health. This is because people bitten by bed bugs can develop skin abrasions that lead to infections, allergic reactions and significant psychological distress.

How to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel Room

Because bed bug infestations are becoming so prevalent and pervasive in all types of hotels, it’s a good idea to conduct thorough, consistent bed bug checks in your hotel.

When you conduct a bed bug check in a hotel room, inspect the whole room. Remember, the bugs don’t just hide in beds but could be in just about any soft surface and in cracks in wooden furniture. Check under the sheets, under and around mattresses, couches, chairs, headboards, artwork and carpet/flooring seams. Use a flashlight to help you see. Also, look for additional evidence of bed bugs, including small, dark, rust-colored spots on bedding and discarded exoskeletons.

Don’t forget to check areas outside of hotel rooms, too. Any common areas across your property are fair game for a bed bug infestation.

What to Do if You Find Evidence of Bed Bugs in Your Hotel

If you or a staff member finds evidence of bed bugs on the property, you should immediately follow a bed bug action plan, which can include specific steps for containing the infestation, disposing of infected furniture and linens, and eradicating the pests.

While prevention should always be the first priority, hotels with high traffic and occupancy will be at risk no matter how clean the premises are kept. Ideally, hotels should have pest control services on a regular basis to treat outbreaks and regularly conduct inspections for pests.

How Do Bed Bugs Impact a Hotel’s Success?

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.

Financial Loss

Bed bug infestations can cost hotels large amounts of money in treatment costs and lost revenue. This includes extermination costs, replacement costs and lost business.

Potential for Legal Action

Negative reputations and possible litigation can cost hotels even more when they face an infestation. If any guests choose to sue the hotel for damages, the total costs can skyrocket even higher.

Effects on Reputation

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.

Pestech Pest Solutions Can Help Keep Your Hotel or Resort Protected From Pests

The technicians at Pestech have the tools and services to help you control any bed bug problem you face in your hotel or resort. 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 us at Pestech to get started with an inspection and an integrated pest management plan.