No one wants to find a family of tiny bugs, roughly the size of apple seeds, in his/her bed. Unfortunately, bed bug infestations have been on the rise since about 2000. One of the reasons for this sudden uptick is the increase in air travel that started in the 1980s; these bugs began to move more as humans did. Now, as there are no signs of travel slowing down and these vermin develop resistance to pesticides, it is important for businesses and other buildings to have a prevention plan in place.
How Common Are They?
In 2015, the National Pest Management Association surveyed pest management professionals to see where they were called to address bed bug problems the most. While multi-residential and family homes topped the list, the following facilities were the next most frequent:
- 75% in hotels and motels
- 58% in nursing homes
- 46% in college dormitories
- 45% in office buildings
- 43% in schools
- 33% in hospitals
When They Get In…
Signs of a bed bug infestation are:
- Rust/reddish-colored stains in affected area
- Dark spots bled into fabric
- Eggs and skin castings
- Live bugs
They are commonly found in beds, though they can be found in other pieces of furniture, electrical appliances and outlets, and the corners where the wall and ceiling meet. Bed bugs spread easily, as they are masters of hitching rides in clothing, bags, sheets of paper, and any other kind of clutter. Their small size and flat shape (about as thick as a credit card) allow them to crawl into the thinnest of crevices. Once inside, bed bugs live comfortably in conditions that are suitable to people.
The Cost of an Infestation
Eradicating an infestation can easily cost thousands of dollars; however, bed bugs cost businesses more than just the time and labor of pest professionals. Depending on the severity of the infestation, furniture or other items may need to be replaced, business may need to be closed for several days during treatment, and reputations can be ruined. Loss of consumer trust is especially likely with social media and review websites being a part of daily life.
Infestations are especially difficult for the hospitality industry. Not only can hotels and motels lose money from having rooms closed off for treatments, they can also lose their value. A report estimated that rooms have a $21-38 cheaper rate if bed bugs have been present.
Potential Health Threat
Some people do experience any symptoms from bed bug bites, but they can still be harmful to humans. Most of the time, the bites cause itchy, red patches, which could lead to infections if people scratch them enough. In more extreme cases, individuals may experience intense allergic reactions that require medical attention. While bed bugs are not known for spreading diseases, they are capable. Scientists at University of Pennsylvania found that bed bugs are able to harbor parasites and transfer them to mice. There was also a study conducted in Canada that found bed bugs could harbor (MRSA) and (VRE) after they were discovered in a Vancouver hospital. There is no evidence of bed bugs transmitting any diseases to humans, but they are not completely harmless either.
By implementing a pest prevention plan, business owners and managers can keep infestations from occurring and save themselves form the excess costs associated with remediation. Integrated Pest Management is an environmentally responsible solution that focuses on prevention and making host buildings unappealing to pests, and only uses pesticides when necessary. Citron Hygiene’s Pest Management Professionals can create a customized pest plan for your business; call us today to book yours!