Growing use of the Internet for bed bug shaming

The headboard, bed skirt and mattress liner

The headboard, bed skirt and mattress liner are prime areas of inspection for finding bed bugs in the hotel guestroom. Pictured: The headboard, bed skirt and mattress liner are prime areas of inspection for finding bed bugs in the hotel guestroom. 

If a hotel guest has an encounter with bed bugs during their stay, they now have the power to tell their story to the entire Internet. Some websites exist with the primary objective of cataloging bed bug horror stories, often categorizing them by hotel property. Ron Harrison,  director of technical services at Orkin, said these sites are often unfair in their criticism, though sometimes it is necessary.

“We fault properties if they aren’t doing proper inspections,” Harrison said. “If a guest is reporting 25 or more bites on them, housekeeping is not doing proper searches.”

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Despite this, Harrison is highly critical of websites designed for bed bug shaming, downplaying their importance when it comes to business. “[They] aren’t a fair indicator of whether or not a hotel is doing a good job or not when it comes to pest management; they just offer a record of when outbreaks have happened.”

Because bed bugs often arrive at hotels on guests, Joe Barile, technical service lead at Bayer, said that the overall quality of a property has little to do with whether or not an infestation can surface.

“Hotels have to be vigilant, because we’ve found bed bugs in value properties and high-end brands alike,” Barile said. Speed is of the essence in removing the bugs once they are found, and Barile suggests washing laundry from infested rooms using isolated bags and separately from the rest. Housekeeping can watch for fecal deposits on sheets and bedding, and headboards and bed skirts are prime areas for constant inspection.

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