Good hotels should have a pest control and prevention plan in place. Learn more…
Good hotels should have a pest control and prevention plan in place. Unfortunately, threats evolve, and one of the largest threats to hotels in recent years is bedbugs. Beyond the itching and the bite marks, these pests can follow your customers home and continue to cause problems long after their stay in your establishment. Nothing can sink your reputation faster than an outbreak of bedbugs, but the chemical pesticides and other methods used by many pest control companies offer solutions that are often as bad as the original problem. Seeking out green pest control companies can help the problem, but before you do, take some time to prevent bedbugs from taking hold in your hotel.
Be Vigilant in Prevention
Make sure your housekeeping staff is aware of how to properly check for bedbugs in the room. They need to pull back the linens from the bed and check all the way around the mattress. Then, they need to check all the nooks and crannies in the headboard. Pests are often found in the seams of the bedding or the corners of the bed. Signs of bedbugs include small black dots or blood stains that are about the size of ground pepper. They can often be misidentified as mold, so the staff member should also be on the lookout for actual bedbugs at this stage. Bedbugs look a bit like apple seeds.
Even if the bed is clear, the search isn’t over. Most bedbugs are found within 15 feet of the bed, since that’s where there are the most places for them to live and breed. Employees should next check anything near the bed where bedbugs might exist. Places like picture frames, under the stuff on the nightstand, and even in the guest services menu and materials. The bed and the immediate area nearby are the most likely places for bedbugs, but they can be found throughout the room, in places like the closet or furniture. Once the sweep gets to the bathroom, things should be all clear. Because the bathroom has less hiding places, bedbugs rarely take root there.
There are also professional canine inspection services you can hire that use bedbug detection dogs to sniff out potential infestations so you don’t have to, saving time and staff resources. Either way, take steps to make sure that a room stays all clear after an inspection. Mattress and pillow encasements are standard in hotels for this very reason. They keep bedbugs and other pests from taking root inside bedding. Put regular application of repellants on your preventative maintenance schedule by putting those repellants on exterior walls to keep bugs out. EcoSmart has an entire line of pest sprays that are organic and environmentally friendly.
Seek Professional Help
Despite your best efforts, an infestation may still occur. If your guests report bedbugs in a room, take that report very seriously. Move the guest to a different room and send staff in to do a proper inspection right away. Move the guest two floors or more away, if possible. Bedbugs can travel through the electrical sockets and other spaces in the walls, so that one room may not be the only one in the area affected. Travelers are aware of the threat bedbugs pose, so they should be happy with swift action to get out of a dangerous area. It’s better to take precautions and find there’s no bedbugs in a room than to ignore a complaint and open your hotel up to litigation if the infestation affects the guest at home.
One eco-friendly option used by pest control companies is known as thermal remediation. This turns the heat up on the bedbugs past 120 degrees Fahrenheit and sweats them out. This works best on rooms that have already had every crack and crevasse sealed. If any of the bugs can flee to an area outside the thermal remediation, the problem can return. Green-certified exterminators know how to properly handle this process. One thing they’ll find helpful is the removal of anything affected by high heat, like candles, aerosol cans and the like.
Another method freezes the bedbugs out. Cryonite is a non-toxic pest control treatment popularized in Europe. The machine sprays carbon dioxide frozen down to -110 degrees Fahrenheit below zero and kills bugs that touch the deadly snow. It’s more expensive than a regular chemical treatment but it’s very effective against bugs and safer for the environment.
Bedbugs are the latest pest to cause massive headaches for hotel owners. But now there are methods to prevent and eliminate them that don’t require damage to the environment or expensive chemical treatments. The best defense starts with prevention. Looks for evidence in your bedding or anywhere else in a room where you suspect there might be bugs. Take any reports from your guests seriously. When the time comes to call in the pros, explore your eco-friendly options. Thermal remediation or Cryonite can drive bugs out through extreme temperatures. Once you can see your hotel is bedbug free, you’ll be the one sleeping easy every night.
Featured image “Lovely hotel room” courtesy Flickr user Connie Ma licensed under CC by 2.0.
Image of “Clean Hotel Room” courtesy Flickr user meritosh licensed under CC by 2.0.
Images “Infested Mattress” and “Common Bed Bugs” courtesy of Flickr user The NYSIPM Image Gallery licensed under CC by 2.0.