Bed bug outbreaks have soared over the past six years, with pest controllers reporting a 108 per cent increase in call-outs.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood. The name “bed bug” derives from their preferred habitat: warm houses and especially nearby or inside of beds and bedding or other sleep areas. They can lay 200 to 500 eggs over a two-month period, and are often difficult to spot.
Bed bugs are mainly active at night, but are not exclusively noctural. A DNA study at Sheffield University showed that just one pregnant pest is enough to create an infestation within weeks!
Even the best run and cleanliness-conscious establishments can suffer from infestations. Indeed, bed bugs are easily transportable in luggage and can be easily introduced into your premises by one of your guests.
Any establishment should take bed bugs seriously as an infestation can contribute to:
– the loss of customers
– the loss of repeat bookings
– the loss of hard-earned reputation
How to identify bed bugs?
Bed bugs are most commonly found in mattresses, pillows and duvets but they can also live in carpets, behind peeling wallpaper, inside electric fittings and skirting boards.
The major tell-tale signs to look for include:
To reduce the risk of bed bugs you can:
– Train staff on how to identify signs of bed bugs –consider simulations to test vigilance amongst your team (washable red food dye applied to bedding using the end of a cocktail stick replicates blood spotting)
– Encourage staff to report infestations to management at the earliest opportunity
– Do not remove anything from the room where activity identified – you may transfer the bed bugs elsewhere
– Establish an exclusion zone around the affected areas
– Contact a reputable pest control company to treat mattresses, carpets, underlays, behind peeling wallpaper etc.
– Thoroughly check any pieces of equipment that had been used in that room prior notification of the problem for any signs of infestation. e.g. vacuum cleaners and other cleaning equipment