Bed Bug Awareness
Housekeepers are the front lines of bed bug infestation prevention. It is very important to be observant on a daily basis so as to detect a potential problem before it becomes a very costly issue. The following signs and steps need to be observed each time we change the sheets or clean a room as Bed Bugs travel with tourists from establishment to establishment.
What is a Bed Bug and what do they do?
Bed Bugs are parasitic insects that feed exclusively on blood. The reason they get the name “bed bug” is due to their most common feeding ground which is upon humans as they sleep. The bugs are somewhat nocturnal, and come out only between certain hours to prey upon sleeping hosts. The insects are not typically dangerous to their human hosts, but they are certainly dangerous to us as an establishment. When the bugs bite they feed on the blood until full and then they return to their hiding places. The resulting bites are red and raised and typically slightly painful or irritated but ultimately not life threatening. However, word of such an infestation can spread very quickly over review sites, social media and word of mouth thus causing a loss of business and bad reputation for the lodge.
Bed bugs travel between locations with their hosts. They can be hiding in the folds of a duffle bag or suitcase and when the traveler leaves the place where they picked up the little hitchhiker and moves to the next the bugs will seek out a food source again and get left behind as the traveler continues on.
An adult Bed Bug strongly resembles the shape and size of an apple seed. Juveniles look similar in color and shape but are smaller than an average apple seed.
What to look for
When stripping beds you need to look at the sheets and the pillow cases for small fresh blood spots. They are no larger than the tip of a felt marker (as if someone took the marker tip and just pushed it onto the sheet and let it bleed). If you find spots you feel are suspicious take the following steps to investigate further.
Check the folds of the mattress, under tags, corners of mattress and box spring, flip the box spring up and use a flashlight to check in the cracks between the wood and under the sheer covering over the bottom. Also, check the trim beneath the bed along the walls in the room, around outlets or any cracks or openings there may in the room. You are looking for little black spots (as if someone took a black gel ink pen and pressed it against the surface of the mattress, wall, and carpet etc.). These black spots are fecal stains and is an indicator of the bugs being present, vs someone having a razor nick on their leg from shaving. If you have questions or are unsure report to the Housekeeping Manager for further inspection. DO NOT REMOVE ANY LINEN FROM THE ROOM IF YOU ARE UNSURE. Removing the linens and mixing them with other linens raises the potential of cross contamination considerably. Vacuuming a potentially infested room and moving the vacuum to the next room is another very common means of cross contamination. Rooms that have been infested or are possibly should have a separate vacuum designated for use in that room only until treatment and after treatment until all signs are cleared. Our goal here is to Locate, Identify, neutralize.