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6 rules for housekeeping staff to spot bed bugs in hotels

Evidence suggests that the rise in global travel has led to the increase of bed bugs in hotels.

Hotel operators are at risk of both accumulating and spreading bed bug infestations due to the high amount of human traffic they receive.

However, hotels can help protect themselves from bed bug infestations through the simple act of education.

Training your housekeeping team on how to check for bed bugs in a hotel allows your business to act early on any potential pest threats, protecting both hotel guests and brand reputation.

6 rules to help spot the early signs of bed bugs in your hotel

In order to successfully detect the presence of bed bugs in a hotel room, your housekeeping staff must follow these six simple rules to easily identify bed bugs in a hotel before it becomes an issue.

1. Inspect the entire room

A common misconception about bed bugs is that they are only found on bed frames and mattresses. Bed bugs will hide in small cracks and crevices near the bed, in skirting boards or bedside cabinets.

When checking for bed bugs in a hotel room, housekeeping staff should also check:

  • along the seams, inside covers and around the zips of sofas and chairs
  • where furniture, skirting boards and carpets meet the wall
  • along the seals of doors and drawers as well as the joints
  • around ornaments such as lamps and picture frames

2. Investigate customer complaints

Customer complaints, whether they be face-to-face or on online review sites about finding insects bites, can often hint that you might have bed bugs in your hotel.

Although it is difficult to identify a bed bug bite as everybody reacts differently to them, any concerns from customers around bites should be investigated immediately.

Insect bites could point towards a potential bed bug infestation. Bear in mind that mosquitoes and fleas might also be the source for insect bites.

3. Check for eggs

Bed bug eggs are a common sign of an infestation. When checking a hotel room for bed bugs, housekeeping staff should remember to look for bed bug eggs as well as live bed bugs.

Bed bug eggs are laid in batches of between 1 and 5 eggs each day. They are approximately 1 mm in length and are a grain-like milky white colour. Bed bug eggs are usually laid singly or in clusters within cracks and crevices, such as the joints of furniture and between floors, walls and skirting boards.

4. Inspect adjoining rooms

In hotels, bed bugs can spread easily to adjacent rooms either beside, below or above.

After identifying the signs of bed bugs in your hotel, it is highly advised that housekeeping give a thorough inspection for bed bugs in adjacent hotel rooms, including lobbies and other recreational areas.

5. Investigate stains

After a bed bug has fed they will often defecate. Their excrement can be found in the form of dark/black stains located on the mattress and surrounding area.

Housekeeping staff should be on the lookout for any suspicious-looking stains around these areas to help identify bed bugs in hotels.

6. Follow your nose

The discarded exoskeletons, faeces and pheromones emitted by bed bugs produce an unpleasant, sweet, sickly scent. Detection of this scent could indicate you have a large bed bug infestation in your hotel.

Housekeeping staff should be aware of this and investigate the problem if they discover an unpleasant, strange odour in a hotel room.

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26 August 2019