Only a few sleeps until Christmas. With global travel on the rise, the prevalence of bed bugs can be a fast-growing problem for premium hotels and boutique guest houses alike. Notorious for impacting brand image, reputation and customer satisfaction, these pests are highly challenging to eliminate and can result in revenue loss through unoccupied rooms if overlooked, or left untreated. Even the best-run and cleanliness-conscious of establishments can suffer bed bug infestations. The influx of travellers to and from exotic destinations, where bed bugs are tolerated, calls for increased efforts in regular, informed inspections and prompt remedial action.
How do you get bed bugs?
Bed bugs have become a significant problem everywhere in recent years. Since the early 2000s there has been a drastic increase in the number of bed bug infestations around the globe. In Ireland, 2016 saw an 80% increase in bed bug infestation, compared to the same period in 2015.
Hotels and other overnight accommodation facilities play an important part in the spread of bed bugs. The increase in global travel has led to these facilities receiving a high amount of human traffic. This allows bed bugs to spread easily, discreetly travelling from one occupant to another. With the increasing travel at this time of year, the problem becomes more prevalent.
How to check hotel rooms for bed bugs?
When staying in a hotel, hostel, B&B or any other overnight accommodation while on holiday, inspecting the room for bed bugs can help you avoid bed bug bites and bringing bed bug infestation back to your home.
1. Mattress and bed frame
Bed bugs often like to live near their food source. That’s why beds are always an ideal hotspot for bed bugs.
How to check a mattress and bed frame for bed bugs:
- Fully inspect the headboard, checking in between any design patterns. Move the bed away from the wall to check behind and underneath.
- Check any and all crevices, corners, joints, carvings and any over small cracks and holes on the bed frame.
- Inspect the bedding. This includes checking the inside and outside of the pillow cases, duvet covers, and the fitted sheet, paying close attention to the seams.
2. Bedside cabinets
Items of furniture near a bed such as nightstands and bedside cabinets are also key bed bug hotspots
How to check bedside cabinets for bed bugs:
- Look inside drawers, especially along the joints as well as the handles
- Inspect behind and underneath the bedside cabinet
- Check ornaments, lamps, and picture frames.
3. Wardrobe and skirting boards
Although it is true bed bugs like to hang out in areas close to their food source, that doesn’t stop them from visiting other places in a room.
How to check wardrobes and skirting boards for bed bugs:
- Thoroughly inspect wardrobes, drawers and other pieces of furniture. This includes inspecting behind, on top of, and beneath.
- Check in between joints, handles and any crevices, cracks and dents.
- Inspect the gaps between the skirting boards and walls.
4. Sofa, chair and throws
Bed bugs are attracted to the CO2 we produce. You can often find them hidden in areas which see high levels of human interaction such as chairs.
How to check sofas chairs and throws for bed bugs:
- Remove the cushions from the seats and check above and below. Look in between joints and crevices.
- Remove the covers off the cushions and check the seams, corners and zips for bed bugs.
Luggage is the main instigator when it comes to bed bug infestations. Best practise is to place your luggage in the en-suite before you begin your checks to eliminate the risk of it acquiring some unexpected stowaways.
How to check luggage stands for bed bugs:
- Check where the webbing wraps around the frame
- Inspect along the joints on the stand
What signs of bed bug should you be looking for?
Bed bug signs
- Live Bed Bugs – Bedbugs are small, flat and oval shaped. They have six legs and two antennae and are a reddish-brown colour. Adult bed bugs are usually around 5-6mm in size.
- Blood smears – This happens when a bed bug has been accidentally crushed after a meal and look like small red stains. This comes from the undigested blood meal in its body.
- Dark/black stains – This comes from the dark liquid bed bugs excrete after a meal.
- Shed skin – A bed bug sheds its skin in order to grow and move on to the next stage of their life cycle. Once they have fully matured they no longer go through this process. Sightings of shed skin usually point towards indications of a large infestation.
- Bed bug eggs – Bed bugs can lay anywhere between 200 and 500 eggs over a two month period, and are usually laid in batches of 10. Bed bug eggs are 1mm long and are a pearly white colour.
Remember to “Look before you book” accommodation to avoid bed bug problem!
If you have found yourself with a bed bug problem, the best way to remove bed bugs from your home or business is to enlist the help of a pest control professional. Or simply Tweet us at @Rentokil_PestIE to get immediate assistance.