Hotel Nightmare – Bed Bugs

FACT AND FICTION

Bed bugs are not invisible. They are small bugs that hide well. They prefer dark places and will only come out of hiding when the lights are off. The blood they ingest determines the color of the bug. A bug that has not fed in a long time (they can live for months without feeding) will become nearly white and when it fills up with blood, it will turn a dark red or brown color. Babies are a little larger than fleas and adults will be the same size as a tick.

The bites are not dangerous, disease-carrying or fatal and the bugs do not borough into the skin. The bites are not any more dangerous than a mosquito bite and much the same as mosquitos, they are just biting to feed off of blood. The bites are itchy and slightly swelled, but unless a person has a specific allergy, a regular cortisone cream will be all that is needed for treatment. Try always to abstain from scratching as this is what can cause the bites to become infected.

Bed bugs do not fly or jump. They crawl as fast as they can, but they are not difficult to catch.

Bed bugs are not indicative of filth. They can be found in five-star hotels just as easily. The difference in finding bed bugs in a reputable hotel is that when you report it to the management, they are more likely to have a plan in place to rid themselves of the problem effectively and efficiently, regardless of the cost. Whereas a not-so-reputable place may try to ignore the problem or treat the room with cheaper, less-effective methods.

Bed bugs are not easy to kill. They do not feed or colonize like roaches, so laying down pesticide will not guarantee that a nest will be targeted. Effective treatments require a full inspection of a room, with every item turned upside down. A full inspection of all surrounding rooms must be completed also to determine the perimeters. (Surrounding rooms are all of the rooms on either side, above and below. And if an infestation is found in any of these rooms, this sets a separate ground zero and all of its surrounding rooms must be inspected.) Once the radius is determined, any area that showed signs of infestation must be treated. Treatment may be a strong dust pesticide that is placed everywhere or prolonged heat, which should be monitored by professionals so as not to set off fire alarms, sprinkler heads or ruin any FF&E. This treatment will average around $500 per primary room and $250 for secondary or returns, but this is absolutely crucial in containing and eliminating the problem.

 

How to Spot a Bed Bug?

When setting up a reservation for a hotel.Check Trip Advisor for any recent and excessive comments about bed bugs. Check BedBugRegistry.com. This site is not verified, but again, any recent or excessive comments about bed bugs or lax attitudes from management will serve as a good warning to stay out of that hotel for the time being.

Remember, that any public place is subject to bed bugs and any hotel is subject to slander. Research carefully and when in doubt, you are free to call the hotel and ask what their bed bug protocol is.

Before you settle into a room.Using a small flashlight, check the ribbing of the mattress, the box spring, the headboard, the folds of the bed skirt and the carpet base around the room. If the room is lit up, the bugs will be hiding around the bed in any dark crevice they can find. Bed bugs shed, so you may find the shell casings with no bugs. After you have stayed the night. Check your body for mosquito-looking bites that will usually appear in a line of two or three. Check the sheets and pillow cases for blood stains or fecal matter. When bed bugs feed, they usually poop right after, so blood drops will be visible on the bedding.

In Case of Exposure If you suspect bed bugs are in your room, you should leave all of your belongings in the room and report it directly to the front office. They will issue a key to another room and may let you bring your shower supplies with you so that you can shower and bag your current clothing. All of your clothing should be laundered immediately and brought to the new room afterwards. Luggage, bags, brief cases and bedding should be left in the room until a trained staff member or pest control professional can inspect the room and clear or treat your belongings. Hotel management should act with urgency to make sure that the possible infestation is contained and the guest is taken care of and made comfortable. There is never proof of where a bug came from, so accusing a guest of bringing them in will only serve to further antagonize an already flustered guest.

Bed Bug Fun Fact While Bed Bugs are a real fear for any traveler and a real pain for any hotelier, everyone may find a small amount of consolation in knowing that a Bed Bug’s sex life is horrific. Their mating ritual, Traumatic Insemination, consists of a male Bed Bug stabbing the female in the abdomen with his sharpened genitalia and inseminating her, directly into her body cavity. Crazier still is that the male Bed Bug does not always know a female from a male and will often attempt to mate with another male, punching a hole in his abdomen. While the female Bed Bugs have developed a mass of cells to protect them from a fatal stabbing, the male Bed Bugs did not and will often die after this epically failed attempt at procreation.

june mccreight author

June McCreight

June McCreight began her career in the hospitality industry as a housekeeper in 1996. In the years since, she has risen through the ranks, learning maintenance, front office, sales and revenue management, property management and district management, bench management and opening team management. She has trained hundreds of hoteliers and won many awards for her management successes. In 2011, June wrote and published, The Strangers in My Beds, a fictional novel based strictly on the strange events of her career in hotels. In 2014, June partnered with her father, a very accomplished software architect, and opened the business, Coba Enterprise Management, LLC with a very unique and specialized CMMS (Computer Maintenance Management System) software for hotels.

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