Hotel Staff Can Help Send Bed Bugs Packing
“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” is a hard mantra to follow when you work in the hospitality industry. Hotels know that bed bugs are a problem, and these bloodsucking pests can check in to any hotel – from a roadside motel to a five-star resort. So, if you can’t keep these pests from getting inside, how do you stop an infestation?
When it comes to managing bed bugs, new research shows that hotels prefer preventive measures rather than reactively treating bed bug incidents. To do it, most hotels train their staff to aid in the prevention efforts. Because the members of your staff visit guest rooms every day, they are essential to a successful bed bug management program. To effectively activate your staff in bed bug prevention efforts, you should:
Incorporate bed bug inspection into daily responsibilities. When turning over a room between guests, housekeeping staff should inspect for bed bugs. This will help catch a bed bug problem early, before a new guest checks in.
Create a protocol for responding to bed bug activity. If your staff spots a bed bug during their regular inspections, they need to know what to do next. In the event of a bed bug sighting, the affected room – and surrounding rooms – should be put out of service immediately. Leave everything in place inside the affected rooms so that a pest control professional can identify the source of the problem.
Report bed bug activity. If bed bug activity is spotted, staff should report the sighting, and you should contact your pest management professional immediately. Even with the room out of service, the situation needs to be assessed and treated as soon as possible to contain an introduction or keep the infestation from spreading. (Find out more about the difference between an introduction and an infestation.) Bed bugs reproduce quickly, so you don’t want them extending their stay!
According to a study by the University of Kentucky, two-thirds of people can’t distinguish a bed bug from other insects. That’s why it’s important that you train your staff to correctly identify bed bugs and other signs of their presence. A pest management professional can work with you to coordinate a training session and teach your staff how to effectively spot, respond to and report bed bug activity. They also can provide educational materials – like tip sheets – to help your staff stay vigilant.