The top 10 pests for hospitality properties – and what you can do

Mona Latif

Hotels, resorts, and other lodging and hospitality properties face an enormous range of pest pressures year-round. People are coming and going from these properties at all hours of the day, bringing in luggage and other personal belongings. Therefore, the industry faces unique pest control challenges that can be difficult to anticipate.

Rentokil Steritech recently analyzed data from over 47,000 hospitality services conducted in 2017 to determine the top 10 pest pressures. This allows us to help our clients in this industry prepare for the coming year, conduct staff training sessions, budget appropriately, and understand where to focus pest control resources in 2019.


hospitality pests

More people equals more opportunity for pests

Pests can invade hotels, resorts, and other lodging facilities in a wide variety of ways. Hotels have constant traffic from guests, employees, and deliveries, which leave them vulnerable to pest introduction.

Pests often gain entry into properties in the same ways that people do – by crawling or flying in through open doors. In delivery areas, flies, mice, rats, and even birds can become problems, especially if exterior dumpsters or trash pens are in the same area. Be sure that delivery or dock doors only remain open while they are in use to prevent pests from having easy access. Talk to your pest control provider about how to amplify pest control measures in this area.

Guests and employees can unknowingly introduce pests to your property on their personal belongings. Frequent, regular inspections can help you identify issues before they become problems.

Empower your housekeeping and maintenance teams by providing training on common pests and signs of their presence – for example, bed bugs and cockroaches. They can look for these pests as they perform housekeeping duties in guest rooms or routine maintenance tasks.

It’s also important to establish a strong relationship with your pest control provider, who can perform inspections of areas such as employee break rooms or employee personal item storage areas.


Shared space can mean shared pest problems

Location can also contribute to pest pressures. Hospitality properties in cities or with close neighboring properties may experience higher pest pressures than those in more remote areas.

Rodent and bird issues can quickly spread from property to property. Build a strong relationship with your neighboring properties so that when pest issues do arise, discussions about them can be open and you can work together to tackle problems.


hospitality pests

Structural issues can increase pest issues

The structural age of buildings can also contribute to pest problems. The older a facility, the more likely it is to have gaps, cracks, and other structural issues that may allow pests to easily enter. Ants, spiders, cockroaches, rodents, and occasional invaders such as boxelder bugs and stink bugs can all enter this way.

Having a strong relationship with your pest control provider can help reduce the likelihood that a structural issue will lead to a pest problem. Reputable providers such as Rentokil Steritech will alert you to structural concerns and why they can be an issue and can often recommend solutions or perform small maintenance jobs to help eliminate or reduce problems.


The top 10 pest issues found in hospitality

So, what are the most common pests in hotels and other hospitality properties? Rentokil Steritech’s 2017 data analysis reveals that these are the biggest pests of concern.


Rodents such as mice and rats were reported as an issue in well over one-third of services. This indicates that hospitality properties should be putting an extra emphasis on rodent control. In 2018, many areas have seen increased mouse populations. The roof rat is also continuing to expand its footprint, especially in the central U.S.

Bed Bugs

It should come as no surprise that bed bugs sit at the top of the “problem pest” list for hotels, resorts, and other hospitality properties. Impacting nearly 20 percent of serviced properties, bed bugs problems are hard to predict, which can cause panic when they do pop up. Be sure you have a plan in place for what to do if a bed bug issue arises. Train all staff members on the proper protocol, who to call, and how to talk to impacted guests about the issue.


Spiders were cited in 10 percent of hospitality services in 2017, making them the third largest issue. Often they lurk in corners, undisturbed in untouched areas of guest rooms and common areas. But when they are spotted, they’re likely to raise alarm since many people have a fear or these eight-legged pests.

German Cockroaches

German cockroaches commonly plague kitchens, break rooms, or other areas with plentiful food. These days, with many limited service hotels now offering grab and go snacks, problems with German cockroaches can also crop up in service or food storage areas. Be sure that you work with your pest control provider to ensure these areas are serviced regularly.

Miscellaneous Flies

Not all flies are house flies – and this category encompasses a variety of fly pests that can be problematic for hospitality properties, including bottle flies and blowflies. Like house flies, these pests can carry and spread harmful pathogens. These flies need a substantial
amount of decaying organic matter to breed. The breeding source is often not found inside – it will be signaled by strong, putrid smells such as decaying animal carcasses, or rotting organic materials.

Small Flies

Small flies can be a problem in many areas of a hospitality property, from kitchens and bathrooms to maintenance closets and lobbies. The good news is that small fly problems can be quickly rectified once the source is identified. Source identification is best done by an expert. Get tips for reducing small fly issues from our Tips Sheet.

House Flies

No one wants flies around. Flies at your property may signal to your guests that your property has a sanitation issue. The presence of house flies is more than just annoying – these pests can also be a serious health and food safety hazard. They can carry and spread pathogens to surfaces and food. One way to help reduce flying insect issues is to review your trash area management. Our Large Flies Tips Sheet has actions that you can implement today to help further reduce the likelihood of problems.

Night Flying Insects

Moths and other insects that are active at night are attracted to lighting, which is often plentiful at hotels in parking lots and entrance areas. From lighting, these pests make their way inside through open doors. Your Rentokil Steritech Specialist can make recommendations on how lighting selection could help reduce this type of pest activity.

Pavement Ants

These ants get their name from their likelihood to nest near or under sidewalks, asphalt, and foundations, all of which are plentiful around hotels and other hospitality properties. With parking lots and walkways close to buildings, these small ants can easily march inside looking for warmth or food. Once established, they can be present in large numbers, which can be concerning for guests.


Gnats can be a problem outside, especially in warmer weather months. If your hospitality property has outdoor lounging or dining areas, gnats can be a nuisance to guests and reflect poorly on your property. These pests can be present for a number of different reasons, so talking with your pest control provider can help you determine the best course of action to reduce problems.


hospitality pests

Create a pest-free guest experience

Whether they are traveling for business or leisure, hotel and resort guests are looking for a pleasant stay that includes all the luxuries of home, from technology to accommodations for their pets and more. Nothing can disrupt that more quickly than a pest encounter.

With a well-designed and managed pest control program, you can create a pest-free experience for your guests. Rentokil Steritech is here to help you do that. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help eliminate pest problems at your property.

Mona Latif
Mona Latif

Mona Latif is the Director of Product & Innovation for Rentokil North America. Mona specializes in creating and deploying processes, products and enhancements to improve the overall customer experience. When not at work, Mona is seeking new adventures, taking pictures, shopping and reading.

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