Found One Bed Bug: How to Fight an Infestation

Updated: May 12

No hotel manager wants to learn that a guest found a bedbug. However, the fact that someone found one bed bug doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got a full-scale infestation.

There are many different ways a single bed bug could have entered the hotel and found its way into a guest’s bed. With the large turnaround of visitors into the hotel at any given time of day - most likely, the bug came in with one of the guests checking in.

If you’re able to locate the bed bug early enough - there is a good chance that you won’t have an infestation on your hands yet. But you still need to take all of the necessary precautions on how to fight an infestation, before it becomes a bigger problem.

Bed Bugs vs Other Pests

Although hotels and single-family homes are the most common places to find bed bugs, it is possible to find them in other types of spaces. However, sometimes other kinds of pests are identified as bed bugs.

Most people struggle to pick bed bugs out from other pests/insects, with this study suggesting only 32% of business and leisure travelers are able to correctly identify a bed bug. The same study also found that most reports of bed bugs in spaces other than hotels, such as offices, ended up being false reports due to misidentification.

If one bed bug has been found, it’s important to ensure that it is definitely a bed bug. Fumigation is costly for establishments. While you do need to take the initial report seriously, it’s important to confirm the presence of bed bugs.

Once you have confirmed that bed bugs are present, then you need to take appropriate action to prevent a full infestation.

What To Do When You’ve Found One Bed Bug

After you’ve removed the bed bug and locked off the location in which it was discovered, the main thing that needs to happen is to ascertain whether it was simply a straggler that had been dropped off, or whether there is an infestation.

Thoroughly investigate the room, and all adjoining rooms if necessary. The key signs you want to look for are dried red spots on the bedding from where bed bugs may have fed, translucent shells from where first stage eggs may have hatched, or small brown marks/stains that have a slight smell to them. The presence of these marks could indicate that there is more than just one bed bug in the room, and the bed bug population is likely to grow.

If you cannot locate any of these - then it’s unlikely that there is an infestation, however, it is a good idea to regularly check that room in case these signs become apparent.

How To Prevent an Infestation

The best course of action if you are unsure whether there is an infestation in your hotel is to treat it as if there is. It is a good best practice to ensure that any risk to your hotel is minimized, wherever possible.

Hiring a pest expert or going straight for an exterminator is the best way for you to ensure that the bugs are exterminated before they have the opportunity to spread anywhere else - and any that remain in the initial site of discovery are gone.

Risks of Not Preventing a Bed Bug Infestation

Even though one bed bug sighting isn’t an omen for the worst-case scenario, not taking the steps to prevent a bed bug infestation can be extremely damaging for your business. The longer you wait to treat the small problem area, the more rooms that could potentially be put out of service, therefore creating a loss of revenue for the hotel.

If an infestation is not prevented, your guests are put at risk of a bite or series of bites from bed bugs. Not only would compensation be needed for the customer, but you may also face serious litigation costs should they seek legal action against the hotel. The payouts from litigation and compensation could be business-destroying, depending on the size of your business.

Alongside these costs, your reputation among potential customers will be in serious jeopardy. Although bed bugs are not a sign of uncleanliness, in the post-COVID age, there are higher expectations of cleaning protocols in the hotel industry. Bad reviews can follow your business for a long time - and they do have a very strong negative influence on a guest’s decision on where to stay.

Early Detection is the Best Preventative Measure

Bed bugs are extremely easy to miss - due to their size, speed, and their behavioral patterns.

At Spotta, we have developed the BedPod. A smart device that attracts, traps, and identifies bed bugs when they first appear. You get sent alerts as soon as one is detected, meaning you can take all of the necessary steps as early as possible to minimize the risk and potential damage that a bed bug infestation can cause to your business. The device works 24/7 and is only serviced once a year for less than a minute, creating minimal disruption to the day-to-day of the hotel.

By partnering with Spotta, your hotel and its reputation are protected against potential losses due to bed bugs.