Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bed Bug Assurance

Blake Newton, UK Extension Entomology

I just saw a commercial for a national hotel chain. In the commercial, a person was getting ready for bed, but she decided not to climb into the hotel bed because she was worried that the bed was dirty. So she changed into a yellow hazmat-style suit and then prepared to tuck herself in. The commercial went on to say that in Our Brand (I can't remember which brand!) of hotels, the bed linens are always freshly cleaned for each customer. The commercial did not mention bed bugs, but that was the first thing that came to my mind. I wonder if they were trying to imply that their beds were less likely to have bed bugs than other hotels? Probably not--I think I am reading too much into it.

But I wonder if hotels will ever begin to promote some kind of a bed-bug-free guarantee? I can't find anything like this on the net, and I can't predict whether this will happen in the future or not. On the one hand, it might be a good idea: if you can convince customers that YOUR hotel is bed bug free, and that other hotels are infested, you might get some customers. On the other hand, hotels probably don't want people to think about bed bugs AT ALL. We'll see.

In the meantime, you can take a look at the Bed Bug Registry. This is an online resource that purports to track bed bug infestations in hotels across the U.S. and Canada. It is based on user-submitted data. Please note: I do not know much about this site, and I cannot validate the accuracy of the info presented there. In fairness, though, the site doesn't guarantee accuracy either. Here is a statement from their FAQ:

How can you be sure these reports are true?
We can't - this is the Internet! All our bedbug reports are submitted through the site, and have not been vetted for accuracy. We do our best to flag posts that have been disputed, but we remind our readers to take things with a grain of salt.

Some reports are posted by malicious tenants. Some are posted by evil competitors. Some are posted by hypochondriacs.

So, if you use that site, be aware that just because a hotel appears on the list, that doesn't mean that it EVER had bed bugs. Also, a hotel may have treated the infestation since being flagged on the site. And, of course, just because a hotel isn't on the list, that does not mean that it is bed bug free.

Read more about Bed Bugs in our online factsheet.

No comments:

Post a Comment