As the capital city, Toronto is the number one tourist destination in Ontario. From the clear shores of Lake Ontario to the rich culture of museums and art galleries, it is a prime location for any hotel to set up shop. The central location in the middle of the Greater Toronto Area is a hotbed of tourist activity, attracting visitors from all over Canada, the US, and beyond.
Unfortunately, the high influx of people comes with its own problems when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness. With a high turnover of people, it makes it hard to keep beds occupied whilst still being reliably cleaned. Especially difficult to keep on top of is one problem that occurs more frequently than people like to admit – bed bugs.
Tourists, especially those coming from the US and other warmer regions where bed bugs naturally live, are prime carriers of these creepy crawlies, and the nature of a hotel means that if pests do get in, they spread fast! While not all that mobile by themselves (they can climb walls but are slow and don’t fly) they can be unwittingly shifted around by the number of people inside your hotel, whether that be staff or guests.
The nature of a hotel being somewhere private, with staff not being able to just walk in anywhere at any time (at least, not if you want to keep your customers), means that bed bug outbreaks can be hard to manage. If you don’t get rid of them all, they keep coming back. They can also hide in people’s luggage, which isn’t something that you can just inspect or sterilize.
Bed bugs aren’t that dangerous to humans in small numbers, but they can be a killer to your hotel’s reputation – after all, nobody wants to stay in a hotel where they’ll get bitten and scratched every night. There’s also a small chance of anaphylactic shock if someone is allergic to them, which could potentially be grounds to sue! Needless to say, that’s best avoided.
While there are general tips for how to get rid of bed bugs, let’s focus on the more specific ones for places such as hotels and hostels, in order to help you manage things better. The easiest way to deal with an outbreak is to not let it happen in the first place, so here’s some things you can do to prevent a bed bug infestation:
- Wash, wash, wash
Nobody likes dirty laundry, especially not laundry that someone else has slept on! Washing is of course something you’ll want to do after every guest leaves, but the nature of hotels means that clean laundry and dirty laundry are sometimes rolled around side by side on a room service cart. You should ensure that this does not happen as it can cause bugs to spread from one set to another and quickly multiply the problem.
There’s also the matter of heat – it’s obviously more cost efficient to wash laundry at lower temperatures, especially in environments where you’re consistently doing a large amount over a regular period of time. However, bed bugs can survive in the wash at up to 50 degrees °C! Washing at 60 ensures your fresh laundry will be bed bug free, even if it does cost a bit more.
- Clean, clean, clean
Everybody knows that hotels clean rooms thoroughly after every use. What you might not realize is that because of time constraints some areas might be skipped by staff in a hurry – that’s a big no-no! From under the bed to the very back of the wardrobe, your staff should ensure that every square meter is covered when hoovering/mopping (where appropriate).
There are a few places that you might not think are important such as the tops of wardrobes (assuming they are not fitted) or under the bathroom sink, but these are just as vital and should be treated with care.
- Paint, seal and make pretty
Bed bugs live inside wood, only really coming out at night when a host is available to feed from. If you take away their ability to hide in wood they’ll be easily spotted and dealt with, so make sure to paint your surfaces wherever possible – furniture such as the beds and any chairs are key for this, but walls and skirting boards are possible nesting sites too, so go ahead and pretty them up. Be sure to keep an eye out for any scuff marks or scratches in the paintwork, as these can thwart your efforts to keep the bed bugs out.
Pay attention to any cracks in the walls, and especially skirting boards – you should seal these up as soon as you notice them to ensure nothing gets through. If there’s a crack in one room then odds are there are cracks in nearby rooms too, and this is an easy way for the bed bugs to slip from one room to another, compounding your problem.
Bed bugs are nasty, and nobody wants them. There are not many things you can do in a busy commercial environment to get rid of them yourself, as it’s hard to keep on top of things like cracks that they might slip into, and their small size can make them hard to spot for even the most observant of people.
While you can hoover them up and attempt to control them with some insecticides there really is no substitute for a professional pest control service in this case. Remember, there’s no shame in having bed bugs in your hotel – someone else brought them there after all! – only in not doing anything about the problem. Our professional exterminators will deal with your issues quickly and quietly so you can get your business back on track.
Contact Provincial Pest Control for a free pest control inspection in the Toronto Area!