Bed bugs are most active at night, usually staying dormant in tight hiding spaces during the day. This means that it is unlikely that you will find bed bugs unless you are specifically looking for them.
There are other ways in which bed bugs can be identified, mainly the waste they leave behind while feeding during the night. Although harmless in the larger world of pests, bed bugs can cause big problems to the hotel industry, from lost revenue and guest complaints all the way to legal action.
You may have a suspicion of a bed bug infestation, so the big question is how to find bed bugs during the day, and what to do when you do find them.
What Are the Signs?
There are various signs that bed bugs are present in your hotel. The most obvious, and the most troubling, are customer complaints. If a guest has been bitten by a bed bug - they will ensure that the managers are made aware. These will be itchy red spots on their skin, usually on parts of the body that are exposed overnight,
Depending on the type of skin that the victim has, bites can take up to a further three weeks to heal. People with sensitive skin will see the bites a lot earlier - and also have the potential to cause anaphylaxis, which will require immediate medical attention in rare cases.
If you have concerns that you may have bed bugs in a hotel room - the best place to start checking for them is the bed, both the frame and the bedding. Bed bugs leave behind visible signs of their presence. These include dark spots of dried blood on the mattress covers where they will have fed overnight, as well as specks of ‘dust-like’ excrement and clear or foggy shells where nymphs (juvenile bed bugs) have shed.
The ‘leftover’ signs will be your biggest identifier of whether you have a mild bed bug infestation or a severe one.
Don’t Get Confused
Itchy spots on the skin are a sign of bed bugs. However, these spots can also be symptoms of other pests or ailments. Your guest may have eczema or have been bitten by another bug while out and about.
The key difference between a bed bug bite and other bites is the pattern of bites, as well as the general behavior of the species. For example, mosquito bites are random and have no clear pattern. Whereas bed bugs tend to leave a trail of bite marks in the form of a zig-zag or straight line - depending on ridges in the mattress cover and the position of the guest.
Other causes of small dried blood spots on the bedsheets could be because of skin conditions such as eczema or acne. Dry and irritable skin can lead to itching at night - especially if the guest is sensitive to detergents you used in laundry. The more one scratches during the night, the more likely that you will see small spots of dried blood - not caused by bed bugs.
Alongside this, it is possible for staff, or even guests, to misidentify or completely miss bed bugs.
Actively Looking for Bed Bugs During the Day
There are other checks that you can do to fully confirm the presence of bed bugs in the affected room. These will need to take place during the day when the bed bugs are not active. With as much light as possible, with curtains open and even flashlights, you want to look in any of the crevices on and around the bed. You should also check the slight cracks in the slats, gaps in the walls, and all over the bed frame.
You can also set up traps for the bed bugs but traps are limited in their effectiveness. The issue with bed bug traps is that they are most effective in a home environment but are not appropriate for hotels as bed bug infestations grow very quickly in hotels, and it is off-putting for the guests to see bug traps in their room. Guests would find traps a sign of uncleanliness, inadvertently leading to loss of revenue and bad reviews.
What To Do Once You’ve Confirmed Bed Bugs
Whichever way your management team goes about locating and identifying bed bugs, the response to finding the start of (or a full-blown) infestation must be immediate.
Closing off the affected room(s) and determining the severity of the infestation is the first step. At this point, you may still have to locate the actual bugs within the room(s). The best way to do this to ensure all bases are covered is to hire a professional bed bug removal company or pest control expert to do a full inspection. They will conduct their checks and establish how bad the infestation currently is
These detection services will usually have their pest removal methods and would be able to eliminate the bugs for you. However, this can get quite expensive.
There are other things to consider when fighting off bed bug infestations. The loss of revenue from the rooms being closed is the main issue that your business would face. Alongside this, if the bed bugs were first identified by a bitten guest, the legal fees and reputation of the hotel could amount to huge financial losses.
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