How Bed Bugs Affect Vacation Rentals and Guests
d Bed bugs are not a topic people enjoy discussing, but they are a genuine concern for travelers. Those unfamiliar with these pests and processes may want to learn how bed bugs affect vacation rentals and how to handle them.
Stay Informed: How Bed Bugs Affect Vacation Rentals
What are bed bugs? Bed bugs are small, flat crawling insects that range in color from a clear/translucent to reddish-brown depending on their stage of life and are about the size of an apple seed when full grown.
Where to Find Them
These nocturnal pests are experts at hiding and prefer to nest in soft materials that are not frequently disturbed, like mattress seams, upholstered headboards, cushions, or carpet but have also been known to squeeze in behind baseboards, box springs, or within wall cavities.
How They Behave
Beg bugs come out at night and bite guests while they sleep. They usually feed once a week, but that depends on how many there are and how long it has been since their last meal.
They can live for weeks or even months without eating, nesting away undetected in the smallest of hidey-holes only to resurface later looking for a bloodmeal, making them extremely difficult to eradicate.
In addition, these bugs most often get into a home from an infested area by hitching a ride in luggage, backpacks, or even on purses and clothing or moving through wall voids in multi-unit buildings.
Are They Dangerous?
Travelers are especially susceptible to encountering these pests. While not known to spread diseases as some other biting insects, like mosquitos, bed bugs carry with them a definite “ick” factor, and guest encounters can be quite traumatic. Some guests can have an allergic reaction to the bites, leading to doctor visits and medication.
How to Prevent Beg Bugs in Short-term and Vacation Rentals
Due to the rate they reproduce and ease of transportation, it is best to leave prevention up to professionals. Specialized pest professionals have the right tools and resources to effectively penetrate through surfaces even within those hiding places.
Treatments come in the form of chemical applications, heat treatments and fumigation. Services can be costly, especially when factoring in the down time needed to fully resolve the problem. Often, a full inspection requires 7 to 10 days or more after treatment and before re-opening a unit to rentals. Depending on the severity of the infestation and type of treatment, multiple applications may be needed.
What Managers and Cleaners Should Do
The best defense is a good offense. iTrip’s rental managers keep prevention training and monitoring programs top of mind to ensure everyone can have a good night.
Early detection is the key to preventing a problem. With the frequency of visits from cleaning crews, actively exchanging bed linens, and carefully watching for the tell-tale signs of the pests at every turn, true infestations can be prevented.
In addition, laundry staff, unit inspectors, and maintenance crews all play a role and act as an additional layer of protection for with detection training and strict protocols in place to mollify guest concerns and minimize how bed bugs affect vacation rentals.
Learn more about iTrip’s property management services and feel free to ask for advice.
Article by: Valerie Goodman, iTrip Operations Account Manager