4 tips for bed bug prevention in hotels

Finding bed bugs before guests do is half the battle. Photo credit: Getty Images/SementsovaLesia

Bed bugs are everywhere and are one of the most stubborn pests to deal with. Hotel pest control has its own set of unique challenges because there are numerous potential hiding spots and areas that allow bed bugs to thrive. These pests not only put the health of your guests and staff at risk, but can also harm your hotel’s reputation. However, with early detection and a strategic approach, they can be eliminated.

Here are four tips to help you deal with the pests: 

1. Educate Your Staff

Your staff is your best defense for bed bug prevention on your property. The first and foremost step you should take is to educate your staff on how to find bed bugs and best practices to follow to keep these stubborn pests away from your hotel. The staff must be attentive at all times and should look out for the following signs:


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  • Reddish or rust-colored stains that resemble dried blood on mattresses or bed sheets. These occur because the bed bugs are crushed while they are feeding or if they have recently fed.
  • Small eggshells or eggs in the bedding and skins cast off by the nymphs as they grow. The eggs are around 1 millimeter in size, and the skins shed by nymphs are usually of a tan shade or pale yellow in color.
  • Groups of tiny dark spots that smear when they are wiped with a wet rag. This is bed bug fecal matter and is generally dark brown or black in color.
  • Live bed bugs, which are wingless, flat and oval-shaped creatures. They are usually brown in color but may appear reddish if they have recently fed. The nymphs are paler and smaller and the fully grown adults range from 4 to 5 millimeters in size.

2. Carry out Proper Documentation

Proper documentation is of utmost importance. Reports regarding customer complaints, inspections and the treatments carried out help the concerned department tackle a bed bug infestation effectively. Just as early detection is essential, proper documentation is also crucial. You can keep a track of previous incidences of infestation and track the occurrence and areas that are frequently infected. This helps you chart a clear strategy to eliminate bed bugs.

3. Take Appropriate Preventive Action

The next step is planned prevention. If a bed bug infestation is ignored for long, it becomes more difficult to eliminate these pests because of heir ability to harbor in hard-to-reach areas and how quickly they breed and spread. Sealing the areas that are prone to infestation is important. For instance, use sealed mattress and pillow casements. If your hotel is prone to bed bug infestations, it is important to consider partnering with professional bed bug exterminators.

4. Employ Effective Elimination Methods

When it comes to bed bug extermination, vacuuming, freezing and steam heat are some of the most effective treatments. All the headboards, seams and other potential hiding places should be carefully vacuumed. Bed bugs generally hide within 5 feet of the bed. Once done, check all the vacuum brushes to ensure that no pests are caught in the roller and place the vacuum bag in a securely sealed bag before disposing. Freezing the bedding, pillow and bed covers in extreme cold for 48 to 72 hours can help eliminate these pests. Professional bed bug exterminators use carbon dioxide under pressure to immediately eliminate bed bugs and their eggs. Steam heating is another effective method. Remove all the infected bedding items and covers and send them for a steam wash. This not only helps you get rid of the bed bugs, but their larvae, pupa and other small bugs also are eliminated.

Raymond Web is the digital marketing manager for Take Care Termite and Pest Control in Tracy, Calif.