The elephant in the (hotel) room
We all read the headlines about an unprecedented resurgence of bedbugs, with some hotels becoming infested with these blood-sucking insects.
Hotels weren’t the only bedbug hotspots. Some airplanes and movie theaters were also riddled. Because these insects are called “bed” bugs it has created the misconception they are only found in beds. In reality, bedbugs are found anywhere they can find a warm body with a blood supply.
Bedbugs are attracted by body warmth and carbon dioxide, and are typically transferred from one hotel to another in travelers’ luggage. They are more than a nuisance. A single or group of bed bugs can cause a number of health effects, including skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms.
Why the bedbug resurgence? Health and pest experts are not sure, though they suspect that more foreign travel and the higher frequency of used furnishings changing hands among homeowners have contributed. There has also been a greater focus on control of other pests, resulting in neglect of bedbug countermeasures. Resistance to pesticides is another issue.
Though their spread has been fueled, in part, by modern travel and lifestyle habits, bedbugs have been known human parasites for thousands of years.
Fortunately, The Rose Hotel and its guests came away unscathed by the surge in bedbug population because of proactive, systematic procedures the hotel observes. Those efforts are spearheaded by Executive Housekeeper Grace Mora and pest inspector and exterminator Ed Rice, proprietor of History Pest Elimination in San Jose, Calif.
Rice has worked with the hotel for three years, making monthly visits during which he inspects the hotel’s rooms in search of any evidence that bedbugs have found their way onto the premises.
Identifying and eliminating bedbugs as soon as they’re discovered is critical. That’s where Grace Mora and her team of housekeepers play an indispensible role.
Mora says, “Although we are confident that our hotel is clean, we are still taking preventive measures to avoid bed bugs.”
Those preventive measures include inspecting mattresses every time sheets, pillow cases and blankets are changed. Headboards are also inspected and cleaned regularly. Mora and her crew even inspect sheets and pillow cases for any telltale bedbug tracks.
While The Rose Hotel has always been free of bedbugs, Rice points out that if any were found he would eliminate the pest with steam rather than chemical agents. Steam kills them instantly, Rice says, and doesn’t expose hotel guests to chemicals they might be sensitive to.
Mora also stays on top of the issue by reading articles to stay current on the latest information. She also attends seminars on the topic to further her understanding and knowledge. That information is shared with her housekeeping staff and results in updated procedures that ensure the hotel stays free of bedbugs.
“We care a lot about The Rose Hotel,” Mora says. “We consider it our second home, and we don’t want any bed bugs in our home.”
We are proud to say that Rice recently said the following to a third party that contacted him about the bedbug issue: “Their (The Rose Hotel’s) housekeepers are awesome. They know exactly what to look for and they look for them every day. They do more than any other client. If all my hotels took the preventive measures The Rose Hotel staff does, my life would be a lot of easier.”
Rice’s own professional experience confirms that bedbugs have become a growing problem. During his first eight years in the pest elimination business, Rice recalls only two jobs that involved bedbugs. In the last two years he’s done about 20 bedbug jobs.
Given the potential that travelers might pick up bedbugs from an airplane, movie theater, or another hotel, we advise our guests during check-in to use the luggage rack instead of setting their luggage on the bed. Unpacking luggage atop a bed is a common habit that can transfer bedbugs from the traveler’s luggage and personal effects onto the bedding where problems can occur and multiply.
We hope this report has helped assure you that The Rose Hotel is doing everything it can to prevent bedbugs from ever checking into our property and becoming a nuisance to you.
Written by Mike Consol