Bed Bugs: Minimize Your Risks

In order to prevent high costs for bed bug eradication, hotels must know how to consistently inspect rooms for signs of infestations.

One in five Americans has had bed bugs or knows someone who has encountered them, according to a survey by the National Pest Management Association. Moreover, 80 percent of Americans are afraid of encountering them in hotels, the survey says. And, they have reason.


While last summer’s coverage of bed bugs exploded to the point of creating a public health panic, this summer is actually worse, despite less coverage. Unfortunately, bed bugs are still around and aren’t going anywhere in the near future.

Recently, in Lincoln, Neb., reported on the epidemic in government-run housing. A CBS new affiliate in New York recently reported on how New York offices are taking precautions against the pesky critters. And, a Staten Island jail recently found itself making headlines for its bed bug problems on the website gothamist. But, hotels and the travel remain front and center in the news media and the public’s mind, despite the fact that bed bugs are a problem in many walks of life.

Meanwhile bloggers, such as at Forbes, are still actively alerting travelers on how to protect themselves and cities such as Cincinnati, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., are consistently making lists of trouble spots.

Such bad publicity can lead to hotels being targeted for lawsuits and negligence claims. But there are ways to avoid costly litigation. “In essence, you have to establish that you were ‘reasonable’ under the circumstances—reasonable in your inspections, reasonable in your response plan, reasonable in how you address treatment options, etc.,” writes Christian E. Hardigree, a licensed attorney and department chair for the Hotel Management Department in the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Hardigree will further discuss how hotels can protect themselves from bed bug litigation at The Bed Bug & Pest Control Conference presented by Lodging, Aug. 22-24 in Chicago.

“The more proactive, reasonable steps you take and carefully document, the further and further away from a lawsuit you will be,” Hardigree writes. For hoteliers, it’s simply a matter of learning proper checks and damage control methods.

About The Bed Bug & Pest Control Conference presented by Lodging 

The Bed Bug & Pest Control Conference presented by Lodging is a one-of-a-kind conference that will assemble the best experts representing government agencies, national associations, university educators, entomologists and leading suppliers specifically to educate hoteliers on ways to detect, eradicate and prevent bed bug and other pest infestations. The conference will feature sessions focusing on what hoteliers need to know and providing best practice solutions. Some topics will include:

▪                Best methodologies to eradicate

▪                Understanding detection

▪                Understanding costs

▪                Creating and implementing preventative measures

▪                Educating and training staff

▪                Developing an effective crisis management plan

▪                Work with guests as well as potentially adverse media attention

▪                State and federal guidelines