Bed bugs. These small, wingless insects have consistently caused problems to mankind for thousands of years. While a real pest in the home, they can have widespread and detrimental effects in the hotel industry.
First recorded in the time of Ancient Egypt, 3500 years ago, bed bugs target humans as their ‘hosts’, alongside other animals. These insects are introduced to buildings on people and their belongings. Once established they can spread through a building on guests, from vacuum cleaners and through small gaps in walls. With the increased footfall from guests in the hotel industry, it’s not surprising that bed bug infestations are common.
Bed bugs alone are a challenge to identify. However, bed bug eggs are even more elusive. They are almost clear, and aren’t much larger than a grain of salt. Their presence indicates that the bed bug reproductive cycle has taken effect, and swift action is needed to prevent further infestation.
So: how do you identify bed bug eggs in a hotel room? The answer is that with the naked eye, they are very challenging to spot. The key is to look out for an increased amount of adult bed bugs, and this should give you a good indicator of the extent of the infestation, and just how long they have been around.
Once a bed bug infestation has begun, it can be somewhat difficult to remove. Bed bugs survive by biting and feeding off humans at night whilst they sleep. This results in them laying eggs, multiplying the issue over and over. If you can identify an outbreak early on, you can limit the damage.
Identifying Bed Bug Eggs and Effects of Bed Bugs
The spread of bed bugs is usually through difficult to control avenues. They can be found in schools, hotels, Airbnbs, luggage, or through buying used furniture. Clearly, bed bugs are a universal issue that can befall any establishment.
In mild cases, bed bug bites will cause mild irritation or swelling. However, some people can have severe allergic reactions to bites. And of course, having bed bugs in the home can be very detrimental to the mental health of a person. Most notably causing insomnia and increased anxiety over the issue.
While there are no explicit federal laws in the US dealing with bed bugs in hotels, there are local rules and regulations and an outbreak can spell the end of a hotel due to bad online reviews, or the cost of legal fees and settlements with guests.
To combat this, hotel staff will usually undertake basic practices when searching for bed bugs. These usually include inspection of beds, mattresses, areas where the carpet meets the wall, and other furnishings such as sofas and lamps. You might think that this is all you can do to identify bed bugs and bed bug eggs.
While these basic methods, if done properly, will allow you to find bed bugs, there is a high chance that bed bug eggs go unnoticed as they are so challenging to spot, causing the problem to exacerbate.
A useful method is to search for stains on bedding, caused by the excrement of bed bugs. This is a surefire way of confirming the presence of the insects, but at this point, it is often too late. By the time you can see this evidence so clearly, you are likely to have a full-scale outbreak that may have spread beyond just one room.
The reality is that if bed bugs or proof of their presence is found, there will inevitably be eggs, which continues the reproductive cycle and extends the issue. At this point, the common practice is to hire the services of an exterminator. However, this can be costly and time-consuming and results in several rooms being put out of service.
Dealing With Bed Bugs
In most cases, the most effective method of removal is the use of heat treatment or chemical treatments.
Using insecticides can be much more effective, however, they can be harmful to a person if used incorrectly. This is an important risk to consider in the hotel industry, with new visitors arriving every day.
There are many extermination services available that can solve the issue. They all claim to eradicate bed bugs completely but, ultimately, early detection to minimize the chance of bed bugs reproducing is better than risking ineffective eradication.
But what if you didn’t have to identify them?
While professional treatments are tried, tested, and effective. They cost money, they are time-consuming, manual, and outdated.
In the case of an establishment such as a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb, reputation means everything. Ultimately, a reputation for being home to bed bugs, however briefly, is still a reputation for being home to bed bugs.
Customer reviews are paramount to the continued success of an establishment or organization. Therefore, surely the best approach to the threat of bed bugs is to identify them early, and prevent infestation in the first place?
An establishment with effective protection from bed bugs would be protected from repeated extermination fees with every new infestation. Costly poor reviews would not exist. Moreover, the stress endured by an operations manager of a hotel or other establishment would be greatly reduced, with peace of mind regarding the subject increased.
Alongside these benefits, the more serious consequences of bed bugs would be avoided. Lawsuits, if lost, can be extremely financially damaging in the hospitality industry. In the US, the average bed bug settlement can pay out up to $50,000. And, while costs within the lawsuit alone are quite extensive, it’s also worth noting the loss in revenue due to reputational damage.
State of the Art Connected Objects
Connected objects or IoT (internet of things) devices are everywhere. Smart homes, cars, and even medical devices are more and more common.
New IoT devices can recognize bed bugs and alert hotel management in real-time. Services, like those provided by Spotta, allow for preventative measures to be implemented before a guest is affected and before the outbreak gets out of hand.
Spotta’s BedPod™ system alerts hotels to the presence of bed bugs before a full-blown infestation. This allows for smoother operations, less concern over compensation, and a reduction in the number of poor reviews by customers.
This solution works through the placement of a single pod under each mattress. When the attracted bed bugs enter the device, the internal sensors will be triggered and an analysis of the insect is launched. If the presence of a bed bug is confirmed, the hotel is alerted.
The major advantage of proactive tech is that any infestation is caught in the early stages. This allows hotel management to deal with the problem before guests complain, and the introduction of bed bugs becomes an infestation.
At Spotta, we understand the damage that bed bugs can cause in the hotel industry. That’s why we’ve used the best compact technology to offer a proactive solution to bed bug infestations.
We want to improve the running of your establishment, increase room availability and increase revenue by working with you to limit the damage that bed bugs can do to your business. Visit our contact page on our website, and we will be happy to speak with you!