Bed Bugs Are a Matter of When
By William May
Published: 09/11/12 Topics: Comments: 0
The secret to avoid bed bugs in a lodging establishment is that you cannot. The elimination of the pesticide DDT has allowed once negligible numbers of bed bugs to sky rocket.
The increase in sightings is not limited to lodging. Bugs in private homes are also a problem because people travel more and seem to take bed bugs with them.
If you see a bed bug in your establishment, you should be ever vigilant and have a plan ready to execute if the little buggers show up.
Strangely, bed bugs do not require a lack of cleanliness because they feed only on human blood! And every human has plenty of that.
Bed bugs arrive in hotels on the luggage of travelers. The more affluent the guests, the further they have traveled and the more frequently they stay in hotels, the greater the chance of infecting a hotel. That means that bed bugs are more common in up-scale lodging establishments.
Housekeepers must take the time to inspect mattresses (with the pad removed), seams and underneath everytime they clean a room. Bed bugs leave behind blood and feces (sorry) that are brown or black making them easy to see.
There are a number of products on the market that seek to prohibit bed bugs from climbing up on beds. Some of these are plastic cups or holders for the bed legs, While others focus on non-permeable plasticized cases for mattresses.
While these provide some degree of help they are mostly valuable for areas where bed bugs are the norm. However, in most geographic locations bugs are not common and use of those devices may be unsightly and difficult. Plus they are not fool proof.
Taking Action Against Bed Bugs
We'll use the words "when you detect bed bugs" because this is almost a foregone possibility even for the highest quality, cleanest lodging establishments.
If and when bed bugs are detected, housekeepers must immediately vacate the room and cause rooms on either side to be vacated. An exterminator is called to inspect the property to determine how far the bugs have migrated. If the exterminator can not arrive swiftly, it may be necessary to cancel bookings and future reservations and move all guests out of the property.
The exterminator may use a number of methods to eliminate the pests including power drying agents that kill the insects through skin contact, or certain chemical sprays, or by pumping super hot air into the air tight property.
Great care must be taken with the linens, and towels from the infected room. Those should be put in strong airtight plastic bags and labeled as "Special Laundry". If cleaned onsite, those textiles must be put in a very hot dryer for at least one hour to kill the bugs. If using an off site laundry, call ahead to notify them of the problem and do not transport the linens to the laundry - instead call ahead for instructions.
Extermination methods can kill adult bed bugs and their larvae, but no method will prevent new bugs from moving in on the luggage of future guests. So the best plan is constant inspection and immediate action.
Recently a new treatment has been devised for bed bugs and which is chemical free. In short, bed bugs and their eggs cannot survive high temperatures.
So some exterminators have invested in large heating fans that bump hot air into a room or building for a period of time and it destroys the pests. A temperature of 118 degrees or higher is recommended and for at least 90 minutes.
This method does eliminate the need to thoroughly re-clean all linens, towels and other textiles such as mattresses and furniture. Doing so, of course, can also eliminate any stains or evidence.
Not all exterminators have the newer heat technology equipment so conventional methods from exterminators are still good solutions in most cases.
Author: William May – Volunteer, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0328 – 09/11/12
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