Bed bugs are one of those elusive, mysterious pests that people don’t quite understand. This commonly encountered pest can easily be brought into a hotel regardless of the business’ best efforts. And, while the internet is full of advice on how to avoid them, some of this advice is simply incorrect while other theories are really half-truths, false beliefs or remnants of old wives tales’ that won’t effectively prevent a bed bug infestation from occurring.
In order to clear up some misconceptions about bed bugs, we compiled the following list of bed bug myths. A thorough understanding of bed bugs and keen awareness of what to watch out for is necessary to keep your hotel safe from a bed bug infestation:
Bed bugs only occur in unkempt and cheap roadside motels and hotels. Our hotel is clean and safe from bed bugs.
Bed bugs do not discriminate. They will infest a rundown motel just as easily as they will a five-star resort. Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers that can be picked up nearly anywhere. Just one impregnated female bed bug can result in a full-blown infestation in nearly any hotel in a matter of weeks. Bed bugs are quite common. According to a study by the National Pest Management Association, one out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel. Without a bed bug prevention program in place, a hotel has a high likelihood of suffering from bed bug infestations.
Our housekeeping staff and guests are not reporting bed bug sightings in our rooms. We change our bedding daily and this helps us to avoid an infestation.
Bed bugs are a nocturnal pest and can be very difficult to detect. They are extremely small in size, adults are just about the size of an apple seed, and will hide during daylight hours in tiny cracks and crevices in or near sleeping areas, not necessarily in the bedding itself. Not only are they difficult to find, but also they are difficult to properly identify. According to an online survey of the traveling public conducted by the University of Kentucky, 70% of leisure travelers can’t properly identify bed bugs. Just one bed bug complaint can severely scar the reputation of a hotel. When just one guest takes to social media to lodge a bed bug complaint against a hotel it can quickly become a toxic problem for that property’s reputation just as this New York Times article suggests.
The bed bug encasement on our mattresses and/or box springs will protect our guests from bites and our hotel from getting an infestation.
Encasements are simply a barrier that protects only the mattress and/or box spring that they are covering from bed bugs by trapping them inside or preventing them from entering. Once ripped or torn, a common occurrence, their effectiveness is completely compromised. Encasements do not protect the person sleeping in the bed. A bed bug can easily seek harborage in the seams of an encasement or other cracks, crevices or soft surfaces near the bed. While the encasement will theoretically protect the actual mattress and/or box spring from becoming infested, it will not stop bites nor will it protect a room from an infestation if bed bugs are introduced after the encasement is installed. Once installed, any bed bugs missed during treatment will remain available to establish an infestation. An active liner will, however, kill bed bugs after they make contact helping to prevent an infestation for up to two years. An added benefit is the identification of dead bed bugs is a clear signal of activity.
When seeking out information about bed bugs ensure that you are tapping into a legitimate site such as a pest control company, state university or national association like the National Pest Management Association.