Bed bugs! There we said it. They seem to be a topic that no one wants to discuss. In fact, when we said we were going to write this blog we got a few uneasy looks. So are we nuts for talking about them? While the jury is still out on that, pretending that they don’t exist isn’t helping anyone. What will help is educating, because we all know that it’s human nature to be scared of things we don’t understand. So let’s tackle a few common myths to better educate you, and tell you what TMI does to keep these pests from getting between you and a good night’s sleep.
First, a little background on our practices. We use Ecolab in all of our hotels to actively prevent bed bugs from becoming a problem in the first place. We have routine, scheduled appointments where an Ecolab technician comes and thoroughly checks our rooms on a rotating basis to ensure there is no activity. If by chance a confirmed case is found, the room is immediately shut down and treated by an Ecolab technician. Depending on the severity, new furniture may be ordered for the room. That room is then monitored to ensure all activity was removed. An Ecolab technician returns approximately two weeks later to conduct one last inspection just to be sure...extra sure.
It’s TMI’s standard practice to have a room inspected anytime a guest reports that they think they may have encountered bed bugs. The good news is that the majority of the time when a room is inspected, no activity is found.
So what are the most common myths we hear?
Myth 1: They’re in one room, therefore they’re in all rooms.
We for one are glad this is just a myth! Can you imagine trying to treat an entire hotel?! When treated properly and quickly, professional pest elimination services are able to contain bed bugs to the affected room. Technicians automatically check each room next to the affected room, as well as the rooms above and below to ensure bugs are stopped before they spread.
Myth 2: Bed bugs prefer unsanitary conditions.
Bed bugs don’t discriminate and can be found anywhere like public transportation and even five star hotels. They are hitchhikers who move around by catching rides on people and their personal belongings.
Myth 3: Bed bugs travel on our bodies.
Bed bugs don’t like heat. In fact, heat is one method used to get rid of them, so they don’t stick in your hair or on skin like ticks and lice. They prefer to travel on backpacks, luggage and shoes. Bed bugs were actually nearly eradicated in the U.S. after World War II, but have made a comeback in the last decade due to increased international travel, pesticide resistance, and lack of public awareness.
Myth 4: Bed bugs transmit disease.
No one wants to think about being bitten by a bed bug, luckily there have been no reported cases of bed bugs transmitting disease to humans. The itching might cause a small irritation or minor allergic reaction, but generally speaking they are harmless to humans.
Myth 5: Waking up with bug bites means you have bed bugs.
If you wake up to find you have small, red bumps on your body you might assume you were bitten by bed bugs. Don’t automatically jump to any conclusions! Other common creepy crawlies like spiders could have caused the bumps. Bed bug bites can sometimes take days to show up, which means if you stayed in different hotels back-to-back nights, the bites may have been from a previous hotel and not the one you woke up in.
Are you thoroughly uncomfortable yet? Don’t worry. The last thing we want to do is make you dislike traveling. If you know what to look for, you can cut down your risk for transporting them back home with you. Look for these signs the next time you are feeling uneasy:
1. Dark spots on the mattress from blood and from their excrement.
2. Adult bed bugs are visible with the naked eye and are about the size of an apple seed, after they have just fed and are skinnier when they haven’t fed.
3. Bed bug eggs which are about the size and color of a small grain of rice.
4. Shed bed bug skins.
5. Thoroughly check the seams of your mattress and box spring. This is where they typically like to hide. Also, check the bed frame, headboard, pillows, and nearby walls.
Well there you have it! As uneasy as a topic that bed bugs are, there’s no reason to let them scare you into not experiencing the world. While we don’t want to pretend that they aren’t a real problem, we do want to assure you that we take them seriously and are always working diligently to prevent them from becoming your problem. Peace of mind here we come!
*Photos courtesy of Ecolab
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