The NY Daily News and  New York’s WCBS2 reported that bed bug reports in New York City hotels increased significantly last year.  How high an increase? The Bed Bug Registry reported that incidents are up 44% from a year before.  Eighteen hotels had a combined 363 complaints, representing 42 percent of all bedbug complaints. It’s not just low end hotels, but also some of New York’s finest dwellings (such as the Waldorf Astoria, the Millennium Hilton, and the New York Marriott Marquis)  that had a rise in problems.

While news coverage of the city’s bed bug problems has declined these insects are as widespread as ever.  We agree with the spokeswoman for the Hotel Association of New York City that “Bedbugs are a global issue that extend beyond hotels.”  However, in our and more importantly their guests’ experiences many hotels’ actions are not sufficient to get rid of their bed bug problems.

The problem of bed bugs in hotels doesn’t just affect the local visitors, out of town tourists, and business travelers who try to enjoy NYC’s hospitality.  The hotels’ reputations, revenue, and employees are all affected! Undetected and untreated bed bug problems will spread these pests throughout the hotels thereby infesting more rooms and leading to more victims.

Hotels are particularly vulnerable to (re)infestations from transient clients. Hotels need to take the issue of bed bugs seriously. Any potential guest or employee can bring in bed bugs and create new problems at any time. As in apartment buildings, problems can easily spread between rooms.

Bell Environmental specializes in developing and delivering bed bug detection and control programs for NYC hotels. What should a hotel do to detect, solve, and prevent bed bug issues?

1- They should regularly educate staff to identify and report signs of bed bugs in a room. Bed bugs are not a sign of a hotel maid’s failure to clean, rather these insects travel and hitchhike to new rooms and hide in places that ofen aren’t seen as part of a normal hotel cleaning.
2- Take guest reports seriously. Encourage guests to report any suspected issues at once so the hotel can detect any issues as early as possible before they become greater problems for the hotel.
3- Have regular canine inspections by certified and skilled inspection teams. At minimum, check above, below, left, right, and across the hall from any room that has a reported bed bug issues. Even better are periodic checks of all guest rooms.
4- Use a pest control company that has physical methods that are throrough, effective on bed bugs, safe and odor free to allow guests to reoccupy rooms without interruptions, and do not damage furniture and electronics that need to be treated as part of a bed bug solution. Recent research shows that bed bugs are immune to most pesticides used against them.

We’ll have more to say on how Bell Environmental helps hotels with bed bug problems soon.