Hotel best practices for “getting in front of” bed bugs

Most hotel owners I talk to are frustrated, nervous and struggling to stay on top of their newest headache – the bed bug.  If bed bugs take hold of a hotel it takes determination and the proper tools to 1) get rid of bed bugs and 2) to identify them before the guests do.  Ignoring the problem will create a PR and customer relations nightmare for the hotel.  Improperly treating the infestation will exacerbate the problem and accelerate the movement of bed bugs in to adjacent rooms.  Managers don’t tend to know the best way to stop the problem, much less how to contain it.

So first things first – if you have a current infestation in a room in a hotel, the likelihood that there are more rooms infested is good.  You must get a clear picture of what is happening in every room in order to treat the problem effectively.  The most efficient and accurate way to do this is utilizing a canine inspection.  A trained bed bug dog doing a through inspection can sweep on average 15-20 rooms an hour and most companies will charge by the room for this service.  The dog inspection will provide details on which rooms are infested giving the hotel manager and the technician the information to identify trends and linkages in the hotel that may influence the extermination effort.

Once the infested rooms are identified then heat extermination of those rooms is essential.  The heat will kill all stages of bed bugs without chasing the bed bugs to other rooms. 360 degree (top, bottom, right and left) treatments are not necessary either.  Remember, we used the dog to determine the reach of the bed bugs.  Furnishings don’t have to be discarded if heat is used because the whole room is sterilized in the treatment.  It is important to note that all infested rooms should be put on lock-down and treated as quickly as possible to avoid the natural spread of the bugs.  So cook every room and start your next phase with the knowledge and confidence that you have a clean slate.

Once your hotel is clean, we want to keep it that way.  Since you are by nature of your business turning rooms quickly, it is likely that a new guest is going to bring a few bed bugs with them every once in a while.  These bugs will take up residence in your facility.  In a prior blog we discussed the rapid reproduction of bed bugs – the net is that one fertilized female can create over 700+ bugs in just under 90 days.  Their growth is rapid and exponential.  To prevent other guests from coming in contact with the new bugs it is critical to have everyone looking for them.  All housekeeping staff must be trained to identify bed bugs and offering a bounty will motivate them to be on a constant vigil.   In addition to staff training the dog inspection team should be brought back frequently to inspect and monitor the hotels bed bug activity.  Quarterly is sufficient if you are checking the whole hotel, every 6 weeks is better, given the bed bug growth cycles.  With dog inspections the bed bugs will be caught before they impact the guests or your online PR reputation.

Feel free to contact us for a comprehensive bed bug program for your hotel.  Bed bugs are not inevitable and uncontrollable, we just need to get a handle on your situation and then build proactively from there.

Ashley Marratt

 

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