Hotels, resorts, and other lodging establishments are a “home away from home” for both business and leisure travelers. Even the smallest pest problems at these properties can swiftly lead to unhappy customers and negative online reviews that take away from your brand’s reputation.
For hospitality operators, knowing what pests are trending each month can help you anticipate and get ahead of potential problems. Rentokil looked at the data from our services conducted at hotels in 2017 and 2018 to give you a month-by-month picture of top pest issues.
What are the top 10 pest issues for hospitality properties?
Because Rentokil provides a wide array of pest management services, we grouped pests into categories to streamline the data. While most categories saw activity throughout the year, services were most frequently conducted for these ten pest categories:
- Rodents (Mice and rats)
- Large flies
- Bed bugs
- Small flies
- Occasional invaders
- Night-flying insects
- Stinging pests
Year-round pest pressure from the same culprits
The infographic above illustrates the top five pest pressures in each month. While there is some minor seasonal variation, the same five pest categories dominate throughout the year: rodents, bed bugs, large flies, small flies, and cockroaches. In one month, however, occasional invaders also creep into the top five.
This means that, by and large, hospitality property operators are facing the same major pest pressures year-round. While there will certainly be fluctuation based on geography, this provides valuable insight to operators on where their primary pest management program focus should be.
Rodents, rodents, and more rodents
Rodents dominated as the leading pest issue for hotels. In fact, rodent services outpaced the second largest category, large flies, nearly four-fold.
This pest category includes all mice and rat species.
Interestingly, rodent services begin booming in June and continue at high levels through December, before beginning to taper off. The most active month of the year is November.
What are the highest months for bed bug activity in hotels?
Bed bugs are a top pest for the hospitality industry. For many years, the pest management industry has advised hotel properties that the most active months for bed bug infestations are in the summer. The general belief has been that because travel increases during this time of year, so do bed bug issues.
Rentokil’s data analysis reveals a potentially interesting trend: bed bug activity actually spikes in September, October, and November. This may be because many hotel properties have put seasonal bed bug inspection programs in place during their “busy” travel months, but then ease off after summer travel ends.
What does this mean for operators? Seasonal bed bug problems are a thing of the past. Bed bugs are one of the top five pests that hospitality properties face year-round. As bed bugs have become a more established pest in North America, it now behooves hospitality establishments to have year-round, proactive bed bug programs in place year-round.
Put a focus on small flies
While large flies are an obvious concern due to the known health hazards associated with them, small flies – a category of pests that includes what most people call fruit flies, phorid flies, and other tiny nuisance flies – are a top pest in every month of the year.
Small fly issues can persist in bars, kitchens, and in bathrooms. Having a dedicated bioremediation or drain line program to address concerns will help to reduce the prevalence of problems. These programs can include drain cleaning, grease trap cleaning, and more.
Interesting pest trends in hotels
A deep data dive revealed a few interesting trends with specific pests that are useful for hotel operators to know.
- Occasional invaders creep into the top five pests in September. This category includes a wide variety of pests such as pillbugs, millipedes, crickets, earwigs, and silverfish, many of which make their way into facilities through the smallest gaps, cracks, and crevices. Have your maintenance or engineering department do an exterior inspection in the late spring or early summer months to look for these gaps and cracks and fill them with pest-resistant materials. Don’t have the staffing to do the task yourself? Rentokil can assist you. Talk to your specialist for details.
- Wood-boring pest issues spike in the months from April to August, most frequently with carpenter ants and carpenter bees. Hotels may be able to reduce carpenter ant and carpenter bee issues by monitoring areas with high concentrations of wood in the winter months. Is there softened wood that should be replaced? Are there any areas that can be stained or painted to deter these pests in the spring?
- Not surprisingly, stinging pest services increase in the months from May to August before falling off in September. For hotels, stinging pest issues represent a significant liability, simply due to the amount of people traffic coming and going from their properties. Paper wasps and yellow jackets are the most reported stinging pest issues.
- While not one of the top 10 pest issues, termite activity jumps drastically in the month of April at hotels. Hotels may be able to combat surprise termite issues by using a year-round termite monitoring and baiting program.
Year-round, comprehensive pest management programs are needed in hotels
This monthly chart shows that hotels do not have the luxury of relaxing their pest management programs at any point during the year – however, you may be able to use this information to focus your program to address seasonal spikes in activity.
By looking ahead to the next quarter’s pest issues, you may also be able to direct your own internal resources to tasks that can help prevent pest activity.
Need help? Rentokil’s pest management experts can help you design a comprehensive pest management strategy customized for your property’s unique pest pressures and needs. For a free inspection or to augment your existing program, call 800.488.9495 or visit rentokil-steritech.com.