Bed Bug Infestations Increase As Travel Takes Off
When travelers are on the move, so are the bed bugs. Vacation and travel are supposed to be exciting and fun, and as a business owner all you want is for guests and customers to have a five-star experience. But these small pests have once again become a big problem for both homes and businesses as holiday and vacation travel increases.
With reported bed bug infestations on the rise around the country in recent years, this is particularly troublesome for professionals in the hospitality industry. Because of the significant foot traffic and carrying of personal belongings, these industries are considered high-risk places where bed bug populations thrive, proliferate, and go on to impact staff and guests.
So the question is, should you be concerned about a bed bug infestation? Let's talk — according to a recent survey by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), 80% of Americans are concerned about encountering bed bugs in hotel rooms, and one in five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in his or her home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at their home or in a hotel. How common is it for pest professionals to treat the problem? The 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey conducted by NPMA and the University of Kentucky, found that 97% of pest professionals reported treating bed bugs in that past year.
These parasitic insects feed on the blood of humans, typically while they're resting or sleeping, so they tend to favor locations near areas where humans spend extended periods of time, like mattresses, bed frames, nights stands etc. — hence the term “bed" bug. But bed bugs don't just live in or near beds. While almost bed bugs are found in beds and upholstered furniture, it should be noted that bed bugs can also take up residence in places like desks or in the cracks of furniture, chairs or movie theater seats, carpets, baseboards, around mattress buttons, within bedding, and inside box springs. In some instances, bed bugs can even come from inside electrical switch plates, picture frames, and damaged wallpaper. And once they find a home, they don't always stay put. Bed bugs spread using people, their clothing, or belongings that were contaminated in another home, hotel, or public place and usually enter a new location from there, making them a frequent traveler's nightmare. These hitchhiking pests can also gain entry through openings from adjacent infested areas, which means it's important to treat these areas as well, not just the infested areas.
In a time where consumer reviews and opinions are more influential than ever, bed bug problems are widely visible, and word of a pest problem can quickly spread and damage your reputation. Research shows that the majority of consumers read online reviews when searching for local businesses and that dissatisfied customers are more likely to tell others about their experience than satisfied customers (Qualtrics, 2020).
There's a long list of potential impacts to your business if you let a bed bug problem get out of hand:
- Bad reviews and reputation damage
- Unhappy clients and loss of repeat business
- Extensive cleaning and extermination costs
- Replacement of infested furniture
- Loss of income due to a damaged reputation
- Interruption or discontinuation of normal business operations
- And the list goes on...
The monetary consequences can be concerning, but there are also potential health consequences that raise an eyebrow. On its website, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designates bed bugs as a public health issue. The agency points out that while bed bugs haven't been shown to transmit disease, they do have negative health consequences, as bed bug bites can cause discomfort, allergic reactions, and potential secondary infections, and people who experience a bed bug infestation often experience emotional distress and mental health ramifications, including anxiety and insomnia. Because bed bugs can be difficult for the untrained eye to identify and multiply very quickly, the best measure you can take to avoid an infestation is by catching it early. If an actual infestation occurs or gets out of hand, the damage can be costly. Don't let these unwanted travelers ruin your reputation. Early detection can protect public health and significantly reduce the negative impacts and potential long-term effects caused by guests discovering bed bugs in your place of business.
If you have bed bugs, it has to be from unsanitary or dirty conditions, right? Not necessarily. While bed bugs and their subsequent infestations conjure up images of uncleanliness, they don't actually result from sanitation problems. Bed bugs can travel and live anywhere humans are, but clutter does make it easier for bed bugs to hide, which may fuel this misconception. The truth is, you could be facing a bed bug problem in your business and not even know it. What do bed bugs even look like? This is one of the biggest questions from guests or employees who may not be able to see or identify bed bugs. They may also be too embarrassed or ashamed to report them. And without complaints, your staff may not know that bed bugs are present until infestations become severe. Regular bed bug inspections from Terminix Commercial are a proactive way to detect problems early and prevent infestations from getting out of hand.
The Terminix guarantee ensures that we will customize a bed bug treatment plan for your needs to help effectively eliminate bed bugs from the infested room or area.
Our comprehensive treatment and monitoring methods don't rely exclusively on pesticides. We'll evaluate the true nature of an infestation and make site specific recommendations, then use innovative strategies to exterminate bed bugs and their eggs. We've not only implemented proactive approaches to help spot infestations early; we've also developed advanced and effective lines of defense to remove bed bugs quickly and discreetly - with minimal interruption to your business. Terminix Commercial's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methodology addresses the reasons pests may be present and helps prevent future infestations.
Our IPM program consists of:
- Inspections of facility interior and exterior
- Identification of pests and analysis of activity
- Treatment of affected areas and implementation of methods for controlling pests
- Recommendations for limiting and preventing pest activity
- Continuous evaluation of treatment effectiveness and any necessary modifications.
- Education, upon request, of the facility's staff, addressing actions and conditions that affect pest activity.
A bed bug infestation could have serious repercussions for your business. Our advice? We can implement customized bed bug treatment and monitoring solutions to ensure that no pest, big or small, gets in the way of your success.