There is even a Bed Bug iPhone App that was launched late 2010.
There are a number of proactive approaches that can be implemented to lessen their impact on your operations when they arrive. EcoGreenHotel spoke with Michael Merchant, PhD an urban entomologist for the Texas AgriLife Extension in Dallas to discuss ways to reduce your risk:
- Work with a Pest Management Professional (PMP) that has experience combating Bed bugs. Rely on the PMP’s experience and knowledge to guide you through all of the steps needed to prevent or eradicate an infestation. Bed bugs are complicated pests and are resistant to many traditional chemicals and treatment protocols. An over-the-counter chemical remedy applied by an untrained hotel staff member could be a recipe for disaster.
- Employ good passive monitoring in your guest rooms. Glue or deadfall traps allow hotel owners to identify potential problems quickly and without great expense. If bed bugs are spotted in a trap, a well-trained PMP can quickly identify if the infestation is limited to one room or if it has spread to adjacent rooms. Canine units trained to detect bugs can also be brought in to help identify the extent of the infestation.
- Develop a bed bug action plan to educate all hotel staff members what to look for in the guest rooms and how to react quickly and effectively if a guest makes a complaint in person or online. Simple visual inspections by trained housekeepers looking at sheets, mattresses and other hiding areas is an inexpensive first line of defense.
- Use of mattress, pillow and box-spring encasements effectively eliminates the most common breeding grounds. A typical encasement set for a king bed can be purchased for around $150. It is extremely important that the mattress encasement be placed on both the mattress and the box springs. Encasements can also help eliminate allergens and dust mites that improve indoor air quality in your green hotel.
- Until a nationwide eradication strategy is implemented, we will continue to see this epidemic in hotels and other lodging facilities, homes, movie theaters, dormitories, and all of the other uninviting areas they reside nationwide. Hotels will definitely be subjected to bed bugs arriving with guests on a continual basis. The problem will not go away without a fight.