Training for Hotel Housekeeping Staff

Looking for Bed Bugs in Central Ohio

Do you know what to do if bed bugs are found on your property?

Looking for Bed Bugs

Why Bother?

In the past 10 years, bed bugs have begun making a comeback across the United States. Their diet consists only of blood. Bed Bugs feed like mosquitoes by extracting blood from their meal source whether it is humans, animals or birds. They are totally incapable of eating food like other insects or mammals. Ant and roach baits have no impact. Aerosol bombs for fleas or other insects don’t work either other than making the bugs scatter to different areas of the same room or to adjacent rooms. International travel and commerce have facilitated the spread of these insect hitchhikers that have been found on airplanes, ships, trains and buses.

Bed bugs are most frequently found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnover. Hotels and motels certainly fall into that category along with college dormitories and apartment complexes to just mention a few.

Beginning the Search

Bed bug infestation can be recognized by

  • blood stains from crushed bugs or
  • rusty (sometimes dark) spots of excrement on sheets and mattresses and walls.
  • fecal spots, eggshells and shed skin may be found near their hiding places.
  • an offensive, sweet, musty odor from the bed bug scent glands may be detected when infestations are severe.

They’re Great at Hiding

Bed bugs do a great job of hiding so closely examine many areas of a room. Daily inspections for bed bugs by the housekeeping staff and/or maintenance staff are strongly recommended. A member of the management should also conduct additional spot inspections of random rooms. Concentrate on:

  • mattresses and box springs. Look around the mattress seams and undersides of box springs.
  • bedding, including sheets, a comforter and blanket can show evidence.
  • upholstered furniture around seams, edges of cushions and undersides of chairs.
  • wood furniture on the undersides and interiors of chests where drawers slide.
  • bed frames around metal joints and lips.
Also, frequently check:

  • Window and door frames
  • Crevices
  • Carpet tack strips at the wall
  • Baseboards
  • Electrical boxes
  • Pictures and other wall hangings
  • Drapery pleats
  • Loosened wallpaper
  • Cracks in plaster
  • Ceiling moldings
If bed bugs are found in one lodging room, it is advisable to also inspect adjoining units since bed bugs can travel long distances. Better safe than sorry!

Identify and Seek Professional Help

This is one problem that cannot be overlooked. To ignore the signs of bed bugs in a hotel property will not only be costly mistake but it could result in a large number of rooms being closed to the public until professional eradication has been accomplished. If the problem is ignored, thousands of dollars will quickly disappear from the hotel’s income, possibly impacting jobs.

The presence of bed bugs is not an indication that a room has not been cleaned properly. A bed bug doesn’t care where it lives as long as there is a blood source.

Professional assistance is required to rid a property of bed bugs. Be sure the company you select is experienced in bed bug eradication or hire a pest control company recommended by a fellow hotel owner or manager. A single chemical treatment is seldom effective. Multiple chemical treatments by a professional should be considered. Bed bugs are treated with chemicals and some companies are working with cryogenics, a new experimental technology using liquid nitrogen. Freezing will kill eggs and bugs. You should speak with your exterminator and decide which is best for your particular problem. A single chemical treatment may cost as much as $300 and normally three treatments during a 6-8 week period are necessary. If the problem is ignored, that cost could reach thousands for each room.

Don’t forget to inspect each adjacent room on the same floor and the room directly above. If there is a crack in the ceiling, bed bugs will find a way to get into the crack and move into new quarters in the room directly above.

Bed Bugs Discovered; Now What?

With a significant infestation, immediate action is required. According to health officials, “significant” means the discovery of bed bugs in any number in a single room. The following actions are necessary to protect your property.

Slash or spray paint the mattress, box spring and any upholstered furniture. Place each item in plastic and tightly seal all areas of the plastic while the items are in the room. If you don’t do this, bed bugs or the eggs could fall out or dislodge onto the hallway floor and potentially infect another room. Slashing or spray painting the mattress, box spring and any upholstered furniture should prevent dumpster divers from taking the discarded items for personal use or sale in used furniture stores. Never treat a mattress or box spring with chemicals.
It is not necessary to dispose of bed linen or the comforter. These items should also be placed in a plastic bag and sealed and immediately taken to the laundry room. Remove the linen and comforter directly into the washer not allowing them to come in contact with any other linen. Wash these items separately in hot soapy water and dry using a hot temperature. Immediately dispose of the plastic bag in an outside disposal area.
Closing the room is required and
critical. To do otherwise risks the potential for making the problem worse. Depending
on the problem, the room could be out of service for 6-8 weeks.
Thoroughly clean the room. It is advisable the person cleaning wear
disposable shoe covers while in the room. Every piece of non-upholstered furniture left in the room must be cleaned from top to bottom. Plain soap and hot water will do the trick. Remove the covers on smoke detectors, electrical outlets, around heating and cooling units or vents and other similar areas where bugs may hide. Anywhere bugs are found, look for eggs. Vacuum not only the floor but also vacuum the edges of the carpet, a popular hiding place. Bed bugs like to climb so don’t forget to look for them on ceiling fans and light fixtures.
Over the counter chemicals are available to treat bed bugs but hotel proprietors are prohibited from using those chemicals unless the employee is a licensed pest exterminator. Hotel management who try to treat the problem without a licensed pest exterminator face serious liability issues. Never spray chemicals on clothing or shoes.

Bed Bugs Not Public Health Hazard

Bed bugs are considered pests but they are not a public health hazard because they do not transmit disease. However, a bite can cause a secondary infection. (Bed bugs don’t actually bite they puncture the skin. However, for conversation purposes, we’ve continued with the familiar word “bite” through this training session.)

Points you should know

  • are most active at dawn with a peak feeding time about an hour before sunrise.
  • feed about five minutes then return to a hiding place.
  • can go unnoticed for minutes or even hours.
  • will itch at the site on the skin.
  • frequently appear in a circular pattern; this is breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Preventative Treatment

Unfortunately, prevention is not an option at this time. Being vigilant in your inspection process is vital to protect your investment and your reputation. There are no chemical treatments at this time that can prevent bed bugs from invading your property.

Identify the Pest

  • Adult bed bugs are brown to reddish-brown, oval-shaped and about 3/16 to 1/5 inch long; the size of an apple seed.
  • The body becomes more elongated, swollen and dark red after a blood meal.
  • Bed bugs have a beaklike piercing-sucking mouthpart system like a mosquito.
  • The adults have small, stubby nonfunctional wing pads.
  • Eggs are white and about 1/32 inch long about the size of a grain of salt.
  • Eggs have a sticky coating and can easily adhere to clothing, sweepers.
  • Eggs can easily be transported from room to room.
  • Newly hatched nymphs are nearly colorless and become brownish as they mature.
  • Nymphs have the general appearance of adults.

Public Misconception

Most people believe bed bugs thrive in unsanitary conditions. As stated earlier this is the furthest from the truth. That reaction is imbedded in the minds of so many that it will be difficult to change. Keeping your property free of bed bugs will not be easy and you must take affirmative action. Keep in mind the potential negative media attention you get if you have an infestation in your hotel that you allowed to exist without the proper treatment.

Complaint by Hotel Guest

Act quickly on any bed bug complaint by a hotel guest. If you move a person to another room during a stay, close off the room they left until it can be completely inspected. Don’t overlook the fact that if you relocate your guest to another room, that room should also be left vacant after checkout because they easily could have carried the bed bugs to their new room.

Questions?

Further questions should be directed to the local Board of Health serving your community. They are prepared to deal with issues such as these.

The Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force is composed of a group of industry, education, public safety and health professionals in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Who Should I Contact?

If a suspected bed bug or infestation is found, immediately contact the hotel manager.
Obtain contact information from your general manager.
Hotel Manager ________________________________________
Cell Phone ________________________________________
Other Hotel Contact ________________________________________
Cell Phone ________________________________________
Room Number ___________________
Location in Room ________________________________________

Hotel-Motel Lodging Sub-Committee
Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force

Print Friendly