Terminex recently released the top 10 bed bug infested
cities. Congratulations NYC, you are no
longer the number one infested city, Philadelphia has earned the top spot! (New York city now ranks number 3 in most Bed
Bug infested cities). Should the rest of
us relax? Absolutely not! If you have experienced bed bugs in your
business, you already know the drama it brings. If you have not yet had the pleasure, now is the time to have a plan in
place so you will be ready when that call comes.
Bed bugs are not going away. Itís nobodyís fault, itís a perfect storm of
nature, increased world travel, and pest control. Bed bugs were nearly extinct in the United
States through the use of DDT which effectively killed bed bugs and their
eggs. Unfortunately, it also killed
other things in our environment which we valued. After the ban on DDT, chemical treatment has
been effective in killing the bug, but not their eggs, which makes it more complicated
to eliminate bed bug infestations.
Increased travel helped reintroduce bedbugs back into our country and
the prolific nature of bed bug reproduction has created almost an epidemic of
infestation in many areas.
What can Corporate Housing Professionals do to be
prepared for a complaint about a mysterious bug bite? Here are some suggestions:
- Train your housekeeping staff to identify
the signs of bed bugs. Because they are
nocturnal and hide in small dark places, in most cases you will not actually
see the bug. Look for small blood spots
on the sheets- a result of the bite.
Also look for small black spots (that look like ink spots) on the
mattress, box, nightstand, or baseboards (bed bug excrement) Proactively finding an infestation will help
reduce the growth and spread.
- If your guest complains that they are being
bitten by bed bugs, have a professional confirm the presence of bed bugs. Many itchy welts look the same. Bed bug bites have been confused with chicken
pox, flea bites, jigger bites etc.
- Once an infestation has been identified in
an apartment, it is a good idea to do a 360 degree check of surrounding
units. Bed bugs easily move through
outlets and baseboards into surrounding units.
It is not unusual for the infestation to originate in a surrounding
unit. If the original ďnestĒ is not
eliminated, the problem will return.
- Have a Customer Care plan in place for how
to help your guest. If your plan
involves moving the guest to a new unit, be sure they are not moving bed bugs
with them! Temperatures over 113 degrees
kill bedbugs and their eggs. Anything a
guest can safely heat in a dryer for 15 minutes will eliminate the possibility
of taking the infestation with them.
Other items (such as luggage) should be treated by a professional.
- Know your options for pest control in your
cities. If you are renting apartments,
you will need to work together with property management to treat according to
- If bed bug sniffing canines are available
in your area, they can be very effective in helping you to know when the
apartment is pest free. These
extensively trained dogs, while not 100% accurate, are very effective in
identifying even the most minor infestation!
Bed bugs are no joke and not a bedtime nursery rhyme
anymore! They can be very disruptive to
your business and your guest. You canít
prevent bed bugs from biting, but you can be prepared when they do!