Bed bugs have been a pest of significance for literally thousands of years. Within the last ten years, however, they have become a major challenge for hoteliers across the country. This nocturnal parasite feeds on the blood of humans, causing itchy bites and irritation to their victims. Further, this insidious pest has the ability to damage a hotel’s reputation and negatively impact bottom line revenues when reports of an infestation hit the Internet.
Hoteliers are empowering themselves and their staff with education on this blood-sucking pest. Ensuring that your housekeeping staff can quickly identify the signs of a bed bug including an infestation is a great defense against the pest. Staff should regularly inspect the beds in your facility as well as the surrounding sleeping areas for signs of bed bug activity.
Prevention and early detection of bed bugs are keys to faster control, less expensive treatment costs and maintenance of your ‘peace of mind’. Ensure that your staff is well-versed on the following signs to uncover a bed bug infestation early:
- Dark spots 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch in diameter or red spots from a fresh feeding or crushed bed bug. These can be either small spots of dried blood remaining from a feeding or even fecal spots from the bugs. Some spots appear dark and others look faded as though a magic marker had made the spot and the ink bled somewhat.
- Bed bug eggs which are tiny, 1mm long white and elongated or eggshells, that may appear glued to a surface.
- Cast skins that the nymphs (young bed bugs) shed as they grow through their 5 stages of development.
- Live bed bugs themselves that can be seen by the naked eye, although they are small (adults approximate the size of an apple seed). Bed bugs are flat and often hide in tight areas near the bed and their human host. When bedding is being changed, staff should slide a credit card through any thin gaps near the bed that may disturb the bugs and increase their chances of seeing them, if present.
- Another sign of a bed bug infestation may be the report of unexplained bites by guests or even staff. Note that although two or more guests may sleep in the same bed it is possible for only one to react to bed bug bites.
- If the infestation is large, signs of bed bugs may be found beyond the bed and bedding and a sickly sweet odor may be detected.
For more tips on preventing bed bugs and uncovering infestations early visit us online at www.hotelbedbugprevention.com.