Tips to Prevent Bedbugs at Your Hotel
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Posted by Paige N. on June 14, 2017 in Acuity Focus

As a property owner, a complaint of bedbugs is one of the last things you want to hear. These brown, apple-seed-sized insects colonize in mattresses, box springs, and furniture frames, and they can be easily spread through the transfer of luggage, clothing, and used furniture.

 

These factors make hotels, motels, apartments, homes, office buildings, and retail stores prime targets for a bedbug infestation.

 

Because they are transferred through items, bedbugs are generally not a sign of dirtiness. A perfectly bedbug-free hotel could have a guest bring them in on his or her luggage and cause an infestation. Bedbugs are not known to spread disease either. When they bite, they leave the victim with a small red dot that usually becomes itchy. While some people may develop a serious allergic reaction, most people just experience irritation around the bite.

 

Unfortunately, most people see bedbugs as a big problem. A 2015 University of Kentucky survey asked over 2,100 people how they would respond to various issues with their hotel room, such as signs of smoking or a dirty shower. Of the surveyed problems, respondents claimed that a bedbug sighting was the most concerning, with 60 percent saying they would leave the hotel if they spotted a bedbug in the room. The next closest concern was foreign material (such as blood) in the room at 23 percent. This means that a single bedbug infestation can lead to severe consequences, such as lost time, extra costs, and a harmed reputation.

 

So what can you do to prevent a bedbug infestation? Having a prevention plan in place and early detection are both important. Regular inspections can catch a small infestation before it grows into a larger one. Here are a few suggestions for what to incorporate in your prevention and detection plan:

  • Train staff on the signs of an infestation. Teach staff to look for the bugs and their empty shells (bedbugs shed their protective shells as they grow), pepper-looking spots of bedbug feces, and small stains of blood on sheets or mattresses. For employees handling luggage, this means observing the outside of luggage. For housekeeping employees, this means inspecting rooms as they clean.
  • Routinely inspect furniture and walls. Bedbugs can gather in cracks and crevices of furniture and walls. Removing headboards and disassembling furniture periodically, along with fixing peeling wallpaper and cracked plaster, can help detect infestations before they spread.
  • Separate clean and dirty laundry. Bag dirty laundry and put it in a plastic wheel cart separate from the clean laundry to prevent migration of bugs from dirty to clean linens.
  • Hire a pest management service for regular checks. Professionals can spot infestation signs early-on with special resources, such as dogs trained to detect bedbugs by scent.

 

In the unfortunate event you encounter an infestation, a response plan addressing the situation quickly and thoroughly can help preserve your resources:

  • Provide the guest with a new room. Offer to wash or dry clean the guest’s clothes, and provide plastic bags for luggage. When removing bedbugs, wash and dry clothes on the highest heat setting. Assure the guest that bedbugs are not known to spread disease. Check the guest’s new room for bedbugs before and after his or her stay.
  • Hire an extermination service. Treatments may include steam cleaning, vacuuming, and insecticide application. They will most likely check rooms across the hallway from the infested room as well as any rooms with common walls, floors, and ceilings. If you have had multiple complaints, the service may need to inspect the whole premises.
  • Mitigate threats for another infestation. Seal up walls by repairing plaster and gluing down peeling wallpaper. Dispose of infested mattresses and keep room decorations to a minimum to reduce the number of places bedbugs can hide.

 

Bedbugs can be a big problem, but with preventative maintenance, early detection, and response plans in place, you can buffer the adverse effects of an infestation.

 

Sources:

Paige N.
Paige N. came to Acuity in 2015 as a commercial lines underwriter. Through her time in underwriting, she worked on a wide array of accounts, many in the service industry, including: automobile repair shops, apartments, beauty shops, and everything in between. In addition to her underwriting experience, Paige worked in advertising and is studying to obtain the Associate in General Insurance (AINS) designation. Thanks to her father, Paige drives a manual transmission and finds driving a manual much more fun than an automatic!


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