Bed bug pest control is no small matter for business owners in the hospitality industry. Hotel, hostel and B&B operators alike, are all at risk of huge damages to reputation, loss of revenue and costly room refurbishments if they don’t take bed bug pest control seriously – and if an infestation attracts media attention, the business consequences can be absolutely dire.
Bed bugs are proving to be an increasing problem for hotel and hospitality businesses in the UK. The tiny creatures manage to hit the headlines every few months or so, with some communities even resigning to the fact that they will have to live alongside them, as their numbers simply cannot be controlled.
This of course is not an option for a business owner, meaning a robust bed bug pest control program is the only option to ensure both you and your guests get a good night’s sleep.
The Costs of a Bed Bug Infestation
In the age of social media, be sure that any news of a bed bug infestation will quickly spread far and wide, tarnishing your hard-earned reputation perhaps for good – the internet, of course, having an extremely long memory. Travelers like to share their experiences online, both on travel sites as well as across all the usual social networks – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Today, more people than ever consider online reviews before booking in with a hotel, hostel, or B&B, and news of a bed bug infestation will not endear your establishment to anyone.
Value of Accommodation Dropping
With a damaged reputation comes damage to the value of the rooms you are offering. Reports of pests of any nature very quickly drive people away, and you may well have to lower your asking price to fill your rooms if your establishment has been known to have a bed bug problem.
If you operate a chain establishment, a localised problem can rapidly turn into an organisation-wide one, as it will be your brand name that becomes associated with bed bugs.
Loss of Revenue
Reputation damage will inevitably lead to fewer people making bookings with you, and if you’ve had to lower your prices as a result of a bed bug infestation as well, your income could take a serious hit. The worrying thing is that this could turn into a long-term problem if you fail to take proper pest control action, allowing the problem to persist.
Guests taking hotels to court over bed bugs is not unheard of, and there are solicitors that specialise in bed bug compensation cases. This is the last thing that you want to happen.
Cost of Replacing Your Inventory
Bed bugs can cause serious damage to mattresses, sheets, towels, carpets and furniture. Anything that bed bugs ruin will need to be replaced, to ensure your guests have a pleasant stay. This will not be cheap and the more rooms you have, the higher the potential cost for replacements.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
Bed bugs are experts in spreading and multiplying, and are a particular concern for the travel and hospitality industry due to their ability to “hitch-hike” from place to place on clothes and inside suitcases.
Bed bugs will hide away during the day, emerging at night to bite your guests while they are sleeping and feed off their blood. Though these bites are only tiny – a bed bug is just 3.5mm in length – they can nonetheless cause quite severe irritation and itching, and will leave a wound that is at risk of secondary infection. Some people may have an allergic reaction to a bed bug bite, in which case the symptoms will be even more severe. In addition, with bed bugs nipping and biting your guests all night long, they can be a cause of great mental and emotional distress, which doesn’t bode well for your online reviews.
Bed bugs breed extraordinarily fast – females can produce 2-3 eggs per day throughout their entire lifespan of several months – meaning an infestation can take hold in no time at all. This makes it essential for you to be aware of the warning signs so you can call in the pest control experts before a small problem becomes a much larger one that’s out of your control.
Guests Being Bitten
Ideally, you will have managed to identify an infestation before your guests start reporting that they are being bitten at night. However, if you do start receiving reports of this nature, you should start a more thorough investigation immediately.
Living Bugs and Eggs
Due to the fact that bed bugs usually only emerge from their hidey-holes at night, the likelihood of anyone spotting a living bug by chance is quite small. And this is why you should make a point of regularly checking for them.
Bed bugs are about the size of a lentil, light brown in colour, and very flat – about the width of a credit card. Use a torch to inspect mattresses, linen, towels and furniture for any signs of the creatures or their eggs, which are less than half a millimetre long and pale cream in colour.
Blood Stains on Bedding
Bed bugs can get squashed by guests turning in their sleep. When this happens, and as they are full of blood, tiny blood stains will be left on the sheets. Though there are other reasons why blood spots may appear in this manner, if combined with other major signs, they may indicate an infestation.
Other Dark/Black Stains
Like all creatures, bed bugs need to excrete faecal matter. This will appear as tiny spots, but will be darker than blood stains, verging on black. Collections of faecal pellets can often be found in concentrated areas on mattresses and bed frames.
As they grow, bed bugs shed their skins about once a week, leaving behind a bed-bug-shaped translucent shell. If you spot any of these during your inspection, it’s almost certain that bed bugs will be present in a greater number and you should call in the pest control experts immediately.
Bed Bug Pest Control with Safeguard
Don’t let the presence of tiny insects no bigger than apple seeds ruin your business or its reputation. However, please be aware that controlling bed bugs is not easy. DIY options rarely work and therefore should not be relied upon when your business is at stake.
The best solution is always to get in touch with pest control experts. At Safeguard Pest Control, we have over 30 years’ experience designing and executing bespoke pest control solutions for commercial clients. Contact us today to arrange a free site survey