3 Steps to a Bed Bug Plan

The last phone call any owner wants to receive is the one that lets you know there are bed bugs in the property.  Unfortunately these are all too common as the media regularly raises the issue with all the accompanying scaremongering.  Guests become instant experts on bed-bug recognition and even the most unassuming mild-mannered bug can be identified as the celebrity insect along with the drama and commotion that celebrity spotting produces.

Being prepared for the possibility of a bed bug issue, either real or imagined, is an important part of your start-up plan so here’s how to gear up to face the problem should it arise.

1. Prevention
Bed bugs can arrive and take up residence in the cleanest property.  They can be brought in on guests' luggage, on used furniture such as bed frames, mattresses, box springs, sofas, chairs, electronics and even old books, so take care not to purchase from yard sales or home sales without checking the items thoroughly.  Even better - buy new, quality furniture.  Just because the place will be rented out doesn’t mean it needs to be equipped with sub-standard furnishings.
Bed bugs like to hide in cracks and crevices so before getting started with rental, clean up all clutter, check bed side tables and drawers as well as the base/skirting board.  Vacuum thoroughly then do it again.

2. Identification
Get familiar with what bed bugs look like.  That way, when a guest sends you a photo of what they have identified as one, you can compare with what you know.  This happened to one owner who got a photo of a winged insect looking remarkably similar to the bed bug image on Google, but was able to accurately determine it was not a bed bug, because she knew they do not have wings. Bed bugs are small and brown insects - about the size of an apple seed at the adult stage.  They are wingless and cannot fly or jump and are generally nocturnal.
Tell tale signs are dark, reddish brown stains on mattresses, black droppings and live or dead bugs. 

3. Action
There are many home remedies for getting rid of bed bugs, but in our business the only really effective method of making sure future guests are not impacted is to get a pest controller in immediately.  If you do have an infestation you will have no choice but to refund your guests and close the property down until the property gets the ‘all clear’.  All linens will require heat treatment; mattresses may have to be replaced and furniture thrown out.  To get a better idea of what an infestation may entail, call your local pest control company and discuss the treatment program they would advise.  Forewarned is forearmed!