Hotel owners are being warned to deal with bed bugs effectively after an increase in reported problems linked to the blood-feeding insects.
Basis Prompt, a register of pest controllers, has received a spate of reports about health problems caused by not dealing with the insects swiftly and efficiently.
Last month a guest had to be treated with antibiotics after bites she received from bed bugs while staying at Travelodge's London Central Kings Cross Royal Scot hotel become infected. The budget hotel company immediately called in a pest control company to deal with the problem.
Hotels and guest houses are especially vulnerable to infestations because of the high turnover of occupants. According to Basis Prompt, the potential for harm to the business is made worse because of the largely false perception that bed bug problems are the result of poor cleanliness.
Rob Simpson, managing director at Basis Prompt said: "We've been hearing about more cases recently where failing to tackle a bed bug infestation has led to the problem spreading and to people suffering quite serious allergic reactions.
"In the age of social media and online review sites, the potential for bed bug incidents to harm hotels and guest houses is greater than ever.
"People still associate bed bugs with poor hygiene, even though it is the rise in international travel and mobility in general that has caused increasing incidents.
Simpson urged hotels to only use properly qualified pest controllers to deal with any infestation as bed bugs are extremely hardy and difficult to get rid of.
"The bed bug nymphs are small and difficult to see with the naked eye, making it hard to identify an infestation before biting occurs," he added. "The adult is about 6mm long and resembles a brown disc, with well-developed legs allowing it to crawl up vertical objects such as bed legs.They live close to their human hosts in crevices in furniture, in cracks in the wall or behind skirting boards or wallpaper and are active mainly at night."
To find a registered pest controller, visit www.basispestcontrol.co.uk -
By Janet Harmer
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