Spring tips to keep pests out bed bug update


Hotels are advised to search guestroom headboards for bed bugs.
Hotels are advised to search guestroom headboards for bed bugs.

A bed bug sighting can ruin not only a hotel stay but a guest’s future interaction with a brand. Despite this, these critters are difficult to defend against as they ride into your property aboard guests and unwitting employees.

“Hotels and motels can’t pat down guests in the corner or shake down their luggage, so we have to have their employees on the front line with their eyes open and capable of recognizing problems,” said Phil Pierce, technical services manager and entomologist for Western Pest Services. “Educated housekeeping and maintenance staff are the workers most likely to discover the bed bug problems initially, and are the facility’s first line of defense.”

Though the bed bug is crafty in its ability to find hiding spots in the most inhospitable of locations, their need to conserve energy causes them to stick near places that guests routinely visit in a hotel room. For this reason, a five-foot radius around areas such as the bed and couch should be searched thoroughly, including the mattress, box spring, the bed frame, headboard, end tables and items on the end tables such as lamps, electrical outlets and alarm clocks.

“If you catch these pests early enough in concentrated areas, you can use heat or cold to kill them,” said Greg Baumann, VP of training and technical services at Orkin. “A pesticide product should also be applied around the perimeter of the room, but heat treatments are non-invasive. Steam is best for the seams of mattresses, but it won’t penetrate deep into a surface like a heat treatment will.”

Frequent vacuuming can also assist in the removal of accessible bed bugs, though the eggs of these creatures are secured to a surface using a glue-like substance, and in order to be vacuumed a scraper-like accessory must be used first. Similarly, sealing all cracks and crevices in a room can prevent bed bugs from finding areas to hide.

Susan Jones, associate professor at the department of entomology for Rothenbuhler Research Lab, recommends sealing the crevices in guestroom headboards, as that is a prime location for bed bugs to hide. “In terms of future furnishings designed for the guestroom, we have to envision furnishings that make it easier to do an inspection and offer less bed bug hiding places,” Jones said. “A balance between good design and some level of comfort.” 

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