Bed bugs in hospitality

Bed bugs in hospitality

Bed bugs are an increasing problem for the hospitality industry. Not only the immediate problem of unhappy guests with bite marks on their skin, but the long-term consequences of reviews and reputation tainted by the experience of those who report staying in bed bug infested accommodation. 

Bed bug occurrence is not confined to one specific type of accommodation, and is a problem across the hospitality industry. They are easily introduced in guests luggage, can move from room to room on linen or equipment and migrate within a building by themselves. Even the cleanest and most well-maintained hotels can fall victim to bed bug infestations, with the ease of introduction making it impossible to prevent bed bug introduction.  

During the last decade the number of bed bug infestations has increased dramatically within the hospitality industry due to the increase in travelling frequency and distance. Bed bugs are spread between one sleeping place and another, commonly within luggage and clothing. Hotels and other accommodation within the hospitality industry is especially at risk from this due to its nature of having a high turnover of sleeping guests.


Benefits of early bed bug detection to the hospitality industry:
  • Earlier (smaller) infestations are easier to treat.
  • Lower bed bug populations are less likely to have spread to other rooms.
  • Fewer rooms will be disrupted during treatment.
  • Less risk to the guests.

Because there is no way to prevent bed bug introduction into a hotel room, and no way of knowing when it might happen, the best approach to reducing risk to the business from bed bugs is to constantly monitor for the pest. The most reliable and cost-effective way of doing this is with a sensitive and high-quality bed bug monitoring trap such as Nattaro Scout.

Hospitality has a problem in addition to the risk of site-to-site movement and bed bug introduction with visitors, this is how cleaning and maintenance is carried out within a hotel. In 9 out of 10 cases, bed bugs are found around the bed as they want to be close to their host. Bedding carrying bed bugs, can therefore be a risk of spreading the bed bugs as it is being gathered together and moved around a property before it is laundered. Bed sheets removed from one room and left in corridors, piled together or placed on a trolley and transported between bedrooms can act as a way of spreading bed bugs around a property faster than they may be able to disperse by themselves. Bed bug eggs, nymphs and adults can also be carried in brushes of vacuum cleaner nozzles from one room to another and from floor to floor.         

Hotel accommodation is contact risk of bed bug introduction, especially within the hospitality industry which by the nature of hotel businesses means bedrooms have a high turnover of visitors. In addition, hotels have so many sleeping rooms located so close together there is significant risk of bed bugs moving between rooms. Nattaro Scout bed bug detection traps are and essential tool for hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses to monitor for bed bugs and provide peace of mind or alert owner for when action is needed.


Why are Nattaro Scout bed bug detection traps essential for the hospitality industry?
  • Reliable trapping to allow confident decision making.
  • Most accurate trap on the market at low bed bug pressure for early infestation detection.
  • Easy to use, so can be integrated into everyday room servicing activities.
  • Discrete monitoring system to not disrupt guests experiences.
  • Constant monitoring to allow fast treatment response when needed.

Treating a hotel room for bed bugs can be a costly situation. Not just considering the actual pest control cost, but the lost revenue when moving guests to another room and closing off the room for the time of treatment. Often the adjoining hotel rooms on the sides, above and below also need to be closed off and treated.

Nattaro Scout offers an effective and reliable bed bug detection tool, the use of which can be easily included in a hotel room cleaning routine. The easy to use trap requires no special training so allowing cleaning and maintenance staff to check and monitor as part of their everyday room maintenance routine. Nattaro Scouts simple slide in/out volcano design and white background for easy identification would add less than 1 minute to a cleaning routine for a twin bed room.

Relying on cleaning and maintenance staff to carry out detailed visual inspections of potential bed bug hiding places during tight room servicing timelines between departing and arriving guests can be a challenge. Properties can have success when staff training is implemented to teach how to look for signs of bed bugs, however because bed bugs are active at night cleaning staff can only look for signs of activity (black spots and shed exoskeletons which can be easily mistaken for dirt) rather than the bed bugs themselves


Advantages of including Nattaro Scout in room cleaning service protocol:
  • Constant monitoring for early detection
  • Easy to use, no extra training/knowledge required by cleaning staff
  • Bed bug specific traps needs no detailed knowledge of what a bed bug looks like by maintenance staff
  • Minimal time cost for inspection
  • Removes risk of visual clues (blood spots, shed exoskeletons) being missed

Typical signs of bed bug activity within a hotel room are small (1-5mm) black posts excreted by the bed bugs in and around their resting areas. During the day and between feeds bed bugs prefer to hide in small spaces such as folds in fabric and seems in mattresses or joins in bedframes and other furniture near to the head of the bed. It is also possible to find shed exoskeletons which are shed by the bed bugs as they grow. Both of these signs can however be easy to over-looked or mistaken for general dirt. A bed bug trap is therefore recommended as the most reliable method of constant bed bug monitoring.

Bed bugs are not active in a room unless they need to feed and if there is a host to feed on in the room. If there is no host using a room (releasing attractive cues such as heat and carbon dioxide) the bed bugs will remain hidden. In addition, bed bug do not need to feed every day which, especially at low infestation levels when bed bugs are first introduced to a bedroom, can result in days or even weeks between feeding events. In a hotel room infested with bed bugs this could mean that not every guest staying within that room is exposed to bed bugs as during their stay the bed bugs may be resting between meals. This can make it difficult for a hotel to identify and link bed bug issues reported by guests.

Whilst bed bugs can be a problem year round, the peak of bed bug problems occurs in late summer (September and October) which can coincide with peak tourism periods. This is a result of more site to site movement from tourists increasing the risk of introduction to a hotel, and warmer weather speeding up the lifecycle and therefore population growth of the bed bugs.

The hospitality sector is particularly vulnerable and the ramifications of a bed bug infestation extend beyond the immediate discomfort of guests, to impact the operational and financial aspects of the business. The closure of a few rooms whilst the extend of the infestation is investigated can be costly as can the treatment of confirmed cases. Beyond this still is the cost future booking and lower occupancy rates as a result of a hotels reputation and guest satisfaction which, with the help of social media and algorithms of third party accommodation listing websites, is increasingly important. Reviews on the rental website such as Airbnb or on third party accommodation review websites such as Expedia or TripAdvisor where potential venues for staying are researched, even if not used to make the actual reservation or booking.


Why should I proactively monitor for bed bugs in my hotel?

Bed bugs are significantly easier to treat and control the earlier they are identified and treatment made. Treating as soon after introduction to a room is best with fewer individual bed bugs to kill and lower risk they have spread out to their rooms within the property. Having a constant proactive bed bug monitoring program setup in your hotel or accommodation using Nattaro Scout detection traps is a cost effective way to achieve this.


What is the best proactive approach for monitoring for bed bugs in my hotel?

Best practice is to monitor constantly because accommodation is always at risk of bed bugs being introduced, and the earlier they are detected the easy control will be. Detailed checks by knowledgeable staff around cracks and crevices where bedbugs could be hiding during tight quest change around times is however unrealistic. High quality bed bug detector traps such as Nattaro Scout can be used as a cost-effective way to provide continuous bed bug monitoring.    


Why is it important to monitor for bed bugs in my Air bnb?

Accommodation reviews are incredibly important for rented out properties. Proactive monitoring of bed bugs, for example with Nattaro Scout, will allow early identification of introduction of the pest and action to be taken to control it before the bed bug population increases and guests start to leave negative reviews.  


Are Nattaro Scout traps safe to my guests?

Yes. There is no liquid or glue that guests are exposed to. The bed bug attractant for the Nattaro Scout detection trap is contained within a small sealed plastic pot. The lure gradually evaporates through the plastic of the pot.


Should I tell my guests I monitor for bed bugs?

This is up to you. Bed bugs are becoming an increasing problem for accommodation around the world, and travellers are increasingly aware of them. Whilst Nattaro Scout can be placed out of sight under a mattress and should not be noticeable by a guest laying on a bed, but at 35mm tall and dark grey it could be seen if a guest lifts the mattress. 


How do I find and deal with bed bugs before my guests get bitten?

It is impossible to prevent bed bug introduction. The strategy hotels and other accommodation should therefore take is constant monitoring to identify when an infestation has occurred to allow a quick response before the problem gets bigger. Nattaro Scout bed bug detection traps are ideally suited for this purpose, to identify bed bugs when they are at low populations.  


What are bud bugs?      

Bed bug are small red-brown insects. They are active at night and both males and females, young juveniles and old adult feed on blood. People will vary in the degree to which they react to a bed bug bite from no reaction, to large red swellings. The bites most often appear as small red marks and can often be seen in a line created by the bed bug as the moves.


How do you prevent bed bugs?

It is impossible to prevent bed bugs being introduced to a hotel room. What can be controlled is how quickly they are identified and acted upon. Nattaro Scout bed bug detection traps offer accommodation owners ongoing monitoring with the most accurate detection trap on the UK market to allow a fast reaction once bed bugs have been introduced.


What is the action threshold for a bed bug infestation?

An action threshold is the point at which a pest population passes a level at which something should be done. The simple answer for bed bugs is that 1 bed bug is too many. Bed bugs are rarely found as individuals, catching one is a sign others are around. When trapping for bed bugs it is therefore important to use a trap, such as Nattaro Scout, which reliably catches bed bugs at low levels and gives very high hit rates.