The common Bed bug or Cimex Lectularius is a nuisance pest and has recently made a bit of a comeback – making headline news here in the UK last summer. No longer a pest from the past the current resurgence is not only due to a lack of public awareness and increased overseas travel, but also to the little critters suspected immunity to synthetic pesticides. The Bed bug has been out of our minds for some time now because of effective chemical treatment. However, they have returned, so should hotels in Bournemouth have a bed bug strategy? Well yes, and this is what you as a responsible hotelier need to look out for:
Bed bugs are about 6mm long and dark yellow to brown in colour. They have evolved to feed on human blood, although there appears to be no evidence to suggest that they pass diseases onto us, their bites can be very uncomfortable. They don’t have wings but crawl very well and can easily manage vertical surfaces. Saucer type traps used to be the way to catch them crawling up or down bed legs. They are happy to crawl between rooms looking for food and can manage for at least a few days without eating. Bites tend to be presented in rows on the back, neck, legs and arms and can be very irritating.
Bed bugs can be found in the seams at the edges of mattresses, on the underside of the mattress or on the bed frame or headboard, edges of carpet and look like a cluster of apple seeds. They will also happily live behind skirting boards or in nearby furniture. It’s worth checking rooms for signs of Bed bugs as customers will not welcome the nightly guests and your reputation will be very badly affected if found.
A Bed bug infestation is not caused by poor hygiene, like their parasitic relative the Head louse the creature has evolved with us and an infestation is more likely to be a case of bad luck than dirt. That said you need to be vigilant and check rooms thoroughly.
• Keep your rooms in good condition – removing possible hiding places
• Train your staff to spot signs of Bed bugs before your customers do
• Avoid buying second-hand furniture
• Always wash bedding at 60 degrees
The high turnover of guests in hotels means that Bed bugs could arrive in luggage or bags and will happily make themselves at home. Washing bedding at 60 degrees may solve a domestic Bed bug problem but commercial premises will need professional help because the problem will be unlikely limited to one room. If you do have a Bed bug infestation, contact a professional pest control expert. Chris here at Shawyers will happily answer your questions.