It's hard to believe that the tiny bed bug, only about the size of an apple seed, can damage the U.S. hotel industry worth $176 billion a year, but such is the case. All it takes is for a guest to mention bed bugs in a travel website review. A recent survey discovered that 56 percent of respondents would be very unlikely to choose that hotel, a serious problem in a business that relies heavily upon online reviews and word of mouth.
By including New Orleans pest control in a program of integrated pest management, hotels can reduce the odds that bed bugs will become a serious problem. The four steps to effective integrated pest management are prevention, identification, implementation, and monitoring.
Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers. They enter hotels attached to guests' clothing and suitcases. These insects can also arrive uninvited with employees and contract workers, or as stowaways on delivery boxes. This means vigilance is key to preventing a bed bug outbreak. Hotels can take the following precautions:
A survey from the University of Kentucky found that only 30 percent of respondents could correctly identify a bed bug silhouette. This has two implications. One is that hotel guests might see a different bug and mistake it for a bed bug, thus raising a false alarm that nevertheless affects hotel business. The other is that hotel employees might not recognize that a room has a bed bug problem.
For proper identification, it's a good idea to hire professional New Orleans pest control. Not only will experts check for signs of current infestation, but they can also train hotel staff in various bed bug warning signs to watch for, such as excrement stains and pheromone odors. Housekeeping should perform a thorough room inspection with each cleaning.
The regular implementation of bed bug control methods is a crucial component of integrated pest management. There is a great deal of debate about how long bed bugs can live without feeding, with estimates ranging from 20 to 400 days depending upon room temperature and other factors. The potential length of this lifespan indicates the need for consistent control methods once a bed bug infestation has been confirmed.
While bed bugs can be tough to beat, there are some successful elimination methods that can be applied:
Once hotels have eradicated bed bugs, careful monitoring is a must to ensure they don’t return. Continuing inspections by hotel staff as well as regular visits from pest control experts should be a part of every hotelier's maintenance routine. Include these areas in a bed bug check-up plan:
By finding signs of infestation before it spreads to adjacent rooms, hotels can control an outbreak and the negative publicity associated with it.
The Impact of an Infestation
Bed bugs have a bad reputation that can tarnish a brand very quickly. The previously mentioned survey from the University of Kentucky asked respondents about their response if they found bed bugs in their room. 73 percent reported they would leave the hotel, while 38 percent said they would avoid lodging with that brand in the future. Clearly these are numbers that can't be ignored.
Of even greater concern was the survey finding that 47 percent of respondents would publish their experience on social media. In this way reports of bed bugs spread like wildfire and do a great deal of damage. Hotel management needs to develop an appropriate response to customers' bed bug complaints and queries.
Listening to customers' concerns and adequately addressing them goes a long way towards mitigating negative bed bug publicity. The survey revealed that 80 percent of hotel guests would like management to disclose previous bed bug occurrences. This indicates that clientele want to be informed that measures have been taken to prevent a repeat incident.
The Assistance of Professional Services
Hotels can rely upon New Orleans pest control to help them maintain an environment free of bed bugs. Depending upon the nature of the problem, the professionals may recommend one of several methods to eliminate these pests:
When it comes to the hospitality industry, bed bugs are bad for business. With New Orleans pest control, hotels can prevent outbreaks that lead to negative publicity, a tarnished brand, and reduced business.
I really enjoy researching and writing about pests. The more we know about bugs, the easier it becomes to control them.