Do Bed Bug Traps Really Work for Hotels?

Updated: May 2

For many years, bed bugs have been a nuisance to humans. Physically and mentally.

The effects bed bugs have on people are not ideal in any setting, but especially for hotels where bed bugs have been responsible for lawsuits that could ultimately cost over $1 million dollars. The payouts themselves are only the beginning of loss of revenue. This is a predicament any hotel will be looking to avoid. So, you might be looking for the most effective way to deal with a bed bug problem. Traps might be the go-to solution for many other kinds of pests, but are they useful for bed bugs?



How Can Bed Bugs be Found and Removed?

Generally, it is good practice to regularly check bedding, furniture, rugs, clothing, and meeting points between floors and walls for bed bugs and eggs. Nymphs and eggs can, unfortunately, be more difficult to spot, though a good technique is to shine a flashlight on these areas for better insight. It’s worth bearing in mind that this procedure must be carried out manually by hotel staff. Therefore, issues like bed bugs often go unnoticed, especially with the existing pressures on housekeeping workers to maintain COVID hygiene levels, and with the nationwide staff shortages.

There are other methods of finding bed bugs, however. Professional pest controllers are capable of finding and removing bed bugs. Trained canines have also been used to scope out the insects, though results can vary a lot throughout the industry. However, both of these methods may be time-consuming and aren’t feasible to carry out for every room on a regular basis. Ultimately, you will have to close off rooms, decreasing room availability.

So What Options Do You Have?

The first thing most people think of for eradicating pests is traps. There is a range of bed bug traps on the market right now, designed to lure and kill large numbers of bed bugs. One of the more effective types of bed bug trap is known as a ‘pheromone trap’. Relatively self-explanatory, these traps are placed under or around a bed or other suspected infestation site and will release a chemical signal in order to attract them. Once the bed bugs enter the trap, they will not be able to leave, eventually killing them off. While this makes sense in theory, they are less effective in practice for multiple rooms. Another type of trap is a sticky trap. These alone do not work to contain or prevent an outbreak. One study determined that sticky traps were largely ineffective in removing an entire infestation. Complete removal is paramount in the hotel sector. The other slight concern with some traps is that they are not effective against the tropical bed bug (Cimex hemipterus). This is due to the bugs’ ability to secrete their own sticky substance allowing them to climb out of some traps.

Traps Aren't Built for Hotels

While some people may believe these traps are useful in homes, hotels are a very different story, as the risk associated with an untreated infestation is too high. The main issue is that homes do not have to worry about reputation, reviews, and, in some cases, lawsuits. One hotel was forced to pay a $546,000 dollar settlement to a family over a case of bed bugs. At the same time, at home, there is not a constant inflow of potential new bed bugs. Hotels see travelers arriving from around the country and around the world. As a result, a hotel is more likely to pursue the prevention and suppression approach over catching and removal. Ultimately, it’s not worth the risk that a guest is bitten before the problem is addressed. For hotels, it is just as much of a concern to have word get out of a bed bug infestation as it is to have the bugs themselves. While some traps may well be effective at removing some of a bed bug population, from the viewpoint of a hotel, it is already too late. Finally, infestation or not, bed bug traps lend a certain undesirable look for hotels, suggesting dirtiness and previous infestations. The reputation of the hotel will still suffer or the hotel will send large sums of money to settle with guests to protect its reputation.

Alternative Solutions

As an owner or manager of a hotel, it is important to consider all options before making a decision. It is clear that what hotel management requires is a quick, discrete and reliable method of detecting, preventing, and removing bed bugs. At Spotta, we specialize in smart pest control for the hotel industry. Our bed bug monitoring system relies on smart devices that lure bed bugs inside, identify them, and alert you to their presence. Ultimately, we know the damage that a bed bug problem can cause. Contact us today to learn more about our innovative solution to bed bug prevention.