In this article, Tatjana Ahmed, Housekeeping Manager, Grand Hyatt Dubai, talks about bed bugs and their impact on hotel rooms.
Bed bugs - we all know and fear them! Almost nothing else can run down the reputation of a hotel faster than the presence of these little creatures. Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. They are reddishbrown in colour, wingless, range from 1 mm to 7 mm and can live several months without a blood meal. These insects are not known to spread disease. But, they can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can increase chances of a secondary skin infection.
Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. They are usually transported from place to place as people travel. These bugs usually travel in suitcases - in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they are transporting stow-away bed bugs as they travel from location to location, infecting areas as they travel. Bed bugs are found across the globe.
Their presence has traditionally been seen as a problem in developing countries but has recently been spreading rapidly in parts of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe. They have been found in five-star hotels and resorts, and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found.
Bed bug infestation usually occurs around or near areas where people sleep. This can be anywhere including apartments, shelters, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, air planes and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as mattress seams, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed.
When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea -- a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites. Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site.
Bed bug bites usually do not pose a serious medical threat. The best way to treat a bite is to avoid scratching the area and apply antiseptic creams or lotions and take an antihistamine. Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs.
The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation. You can train you staff on this. When making the bed, your staff must look out for small blood smears, which usually occur when they leave their feeding place. They also leave behind small black droppings when moving around. Use mattress encasings to ensure the Bed Bugs do not hide in the folds of your mattresses! Because Bed Bugs are able to travel over 100 feet in a night, you must ensure to check and treat adjoining rooms as well.