Understandably, the traveling public has become concerned about bed bugs in light of recent media reports around the world. That said, travelers rarely encounter bed bugs and most members of the general public have never even seen a bed bug. This increased public awareness has helped travelers to be aware and, if necessary, modify their behaviors to minimize the risk of a bed bug infestation.
Bed bugs have been household pests for over 3,000 years, however, were all but eradicated in the developed world in the 1950’s, through new pest management controls, widespread use of vacuum cleaners and washing machines. The resurgence largely began in the late 1990’s with more targeted pest control products and methods, increased international travel and a lack of public awareness.
According to a recent University of Kentucky study, a person is almost one-third more likely to encounter bed bugs at home rather than at a lodging property. Additionally, bed bugs should not be equated with filth or sanitation problems – bed bugs are not known to carry any diseases to humans and are only a nuisance.
One benefit to the increased media reports is also increased prevention. Especially in the hotel industry, prevention and control is a top priority – the satisfaction of our guests is of paramount importance. Finally, just because someone anonymously reported bed bugs at a particular hotel, does not mean there are bed bugs at the hotel. Many of these reports have been linked to disgruntled guests and even competitive hotels, and shown to be false claims. Even if it says on the internet that a hotel has bed bugs and a hotel has unfortunately had bed bugs, most likely by the time this information was posted on the internet, the bed bugs have been eradicated.
Below are several useful resources for basic bed bug information, frequently asked questions and prevention tips, as well as information on what the hotel industry is doing to educate hoteliers and prevent infestations at lodging properties.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CHLA) work hard to inform their members about bed bug prevention. AHLA partnered with the National Pest Management Association and created a series of workshop to educate hoteliers across the country on how to effectively respond to bed bugs - including inspection techniques and prevention tips. There have also been numerous educational webinars and symposiums for California hoteliers.