Just return from a trip to find that bed bugs hitched a ride with you? If so, it can be quite unsettling. Bed bugs are notorious for being a difficult pest to control. And once a population “sets up shop” in your home and starts breeding, bed bugs can also be an expensive pest to eradicate. Complete evacuation of bed bugs can often mean a price tag in the thousands. But don’t panic! A few hitchhikers does NOT have to turn into a full-blown infestation. By using the following tips, you can increase your odds of avoiding a multi-generational bed bug infestation.
If you have been unfortunate enough to have battled bed bugs, then you completely understand how difficult treatment can be. A quick search on the web for bed bug treatments can leave you dizzy with suggestions, choices and opinions. Many websites tout home-based remedies such as diatomaceous earth, steam cleaning, vacuum cleaning, etc. There are also many over-the-counter products (too many to name in fact) that promise to “kill bed bugs overnight” or offer a “1-time bed bug treatment”. So who and what information do you trust?
Undoubtedly, if you are reading this blog, you have heard about the resurgence of bed bugs. We have written about the pests’ rapid increase in numbers as it effects the hotel industry and it’s guests, discussed the usefulness of the bedbug registry, and commented on housekeeping duties and training to help alleviate guest incidents, among other topics. And we are not the only website writing on the subject. A search for “bed bugs” on Google yields over 7,210,000 results! That is a LOT of information. Unfortunately, not all of the information can be trusted.
There have been bed bugs for thousands of years, and at least as long as people have been sleeping. However, the use of DDT nearly wiped out the now-common pest in the 40s, 50s and 60s. But DDT use was banned here in the United States in 1972, and the resurgence of bed bugs began. Within the last 10 years in specific, bed bugs have made a dramatic comeback. According to a 2015 Bugs Without Borders Survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky, homes are still overwhelmingly the #1 place where pest control professionals battle the bugs. In second place, nearly 3/4 (74%) of pest control professionals have also battled infestations in hotels, motels and resorts. This explains the rise of consumer concern around bed bugs (a good thing) as well the the proliferation of websites like the Bed Bug Registry (not a good thing!) Hotels, motels and resorts are on the front lines of this battle, and need to be proactive. Having a well trained housekeeping staff is the best place to start!
If you were paying attention over the last couple of weeks, you probably noticed that bed bugs are still a hot topic for news headlines across the country. Thankfully for the hotel industry AND it’s guests, the focus has shifted from the lodging industry and headlines are now discussing the growing bed bug problem in our nation’s schools. Even in the nation’s capital, a school had to be closed for bed bug and rodent issues.
At the same time, as Spring approaches and we start to make plans for our Summer vacations, focus will undoubtedly shift back to bed bugs in hotels, motels and resorts. They may already be a factor in your travel decisions. The concerned traveler may be familiar with Orkin’s annual list of the ‘Top 50 Bed Bug Cities‘, and may try to avoid destinations on the list. The pest control company based the ranking on treatment data collected from the areas it performed the most bed bug treatments between December 1, 2015 and November 30, 2016. Before you go changing travel plans, however, remember that this list includes residential as well as commercial treatments. You might want to ask yourself this question instead: Where do the people who live in the cities on this list travel? Where do they take their vacations? Are they taking bed bugs with them?