Case Study – Hotel Bed Bug Control

A hotel approached us to tackle their bed bug issue. The hotel had been struggling to control a bed bug infestation and were of the opinion that the existing programme was not working.

Due to continued complaints the hotel had lost a lucrative contract and was facing action from the local environmental health department.

We were engaged to clear the site of bed bugs and monitor for re-emergence and re-infestation.

History

Over a two year period the hotel had engaged a succession of pest control companies, starting with local companies, moving to national service providers then seeking our help.

During the first year three local companies were used relying on chemical treatment. The first two companies sprayed only rooms with complaints, the third sprayed source and surrounding rooms.

During the second year two national companies were used. The first sprayed all rooms 3 times over a six week period and required all furniture in the rooms to be destroyed. When this failed, a full building thermal remediation was carried out by the same company. After approximately 3 months the infestation re-emerged in multiple isolated locations.

At this stage the hotel engaged a national facilities management company, who undertook an intensive programme of spraying and cleaning.

Survey Findings

It became clear that successive treatment failure had dispersed the infestation from the source rooms into service runs and floor cavities. The initial enquiry was to treat 5 rooms for bed bugs, but following a canine screening of the hotel 16 rooms were found to be infested with bed bugs.

Control Programme

As the site had been repeatedly treated the first stage was to take swabs from the hotel rooms to assess the insecticide residues. Swabs were sent to our testing facility for High Pressure Liquid Chromatography testing. Interestingly the HPLC data showed residues of most UK registered active ingredients in varying states of degradation. It also showed localised under and overdosing of insecticides.

Due to the nature and extent of the chemical contamination we undertook a decontamination clean of the effected rooms. This was predominantly to make it safe to continue with the proposed treatment strategy but also the sporadic nature of the previous treatment had caused wide spread chemical avoidance, this had spread the bed bugs into unusual and diverse harbourages.

We followed a true integrated pest management programme using all appropriate techniques. To quickly reduce the overall biomass of bed bugs in the hotel a physical control programme was used comprising vacuum removal of all located bed bugs and removal or destruction of eggs. A cuticle abrasive was injected into voids and cavities to accelerate uptake of chemical insecticides into remaining insects.  Following the physical control programme chemical insecticide was applied to all harbourages and alighting surfaces. The choice of insecticide was governed by the substrate being treated and the tolerance profile of this bed bug colony. In 2 rooms activity of bed bugs was detected 14 days after treatment so these rooms were retreated using an amended programme based on the same principals.

A period of intensive monitoring was entered into for the next 8 weeks.  Hotel housekeeping staff were trained in the detection of bedbugs and monitoring devices were installed in all rooms. All rooms were inspected daily by hotel staff and weekly by our bed bug specialists.

As an on-going bed bug monitoring system the hotel commenced a programme of education and inspection. We provided monitoring devices, training and awareness material to support their in-house bed bug monitoring as well as quarterly canine inspections of the site.

Results

Treated rooms were returned to inventory after initial treatment. Two of the heaviest infested rooms showed new bed bug activity at day 14. In both of these rooms the activity was 1st and 2nd Instar bed bugs. At the end of the 8 week intensive monitoring phase no reoccurrence of bed bugs was noted beyond day 14 anywhere in the hotel. In total the Hotel lost 18 room nights during this control programme compared to over 120 room night over the past two years.

Update

The hotel has now been free of bed bugs for 12 months and continues to follow the programme of inspection and awareness we set up. We visit them quarterly to carry out a quality control canine inspection and to train new staff.

Get rid of Bed Bugs Call 0207 965 7543
  • Get Rid of Bed Bugs

    If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation in your business or home, call Merlin today on 0207 965 7543.

  • Call 0207 965 7543