Management

Good Night, Sleep Tight

Don’t let the bed bugs bite…. Never before has the age old adage had more meaning than in the Australian accommodation industry right now.

Bed bugs are on the rise in Australia for two main reasons:

Increase in ideal breeding conditions

Increase in both international and domestic travel (over the past several years)

The Department of Medical Entomology has reported a 5000% increase in bed bug infestations in Australia since 1999. Overnight accommodation properties are at the highest risk of bed bug infestations, primarily due to the number of people entering and leaving the property. Re-infestations are on the rise also, especially now as bed bugs have started developing a resistance to the chemical methods currently employed to eradicate them.

It’s all a bit scary. Let’s be honest – nobody likes the idea of a blood sucking bug feeding on them at night. But that’s exactly what the bed bug does.

Typically a bed bug will bite at night primarily in the back and shoulder areas. Most victims report feeling an itching discomfort, and may develop welts or red marks on their skin in the days after an attack. During an attack the bed bug releases an anti-coagulant into a person’s bloodstream through the saliva that it injects into you. A feed typically takes up to ten minutes at which time they will retreat back to their hiding place for the daylight hours to digest their meal.

There are methods available to eradicate the bed bug. There is even a Code of Practice) for the hospitality industry and pest control companies to follow as a minimum standard. The most popular method of treating a bed bug infestation right now is to complete a chemical treatment to the infested room and furnishings. This chemical treatment needs to be repeated 3-4 times, with a week or two between applications. Unfortunately for the accommodation industry this can mean thousands in lost revenue, let alone an unpleasant experience for a customer. And after all of that, there is no guarantee it will be successful.

There is an emerging technology for the eradication of bed bugs now available on the market – the bed bug heat treatment. Research has discovered that the thermal death point for a bed bug is 46° Celsius. Our own treatment (patent pending), effectively heats the room to a temperature above this to kill all life stages of the bed bug (including eggs). For the accommodation industry this means that in 98% of cases, the room can be reoccupied within 24 to 48 hours.

Nathan Whiteside, our operations manager claims, “The new bed bug heat treatment technology is a huge advancement in what is already a massive problem for the accommodation industry. With bed bugs now capable of chemical resistance, it was imperative that the pest control industry develop a new method of treatment and all reports to date have shown the heat treatment to be successful.”

Bed bugs, or rather the eradication of them, is serious business in the accommodation industry right now. Some accommodation chains even have dedicated bed bug staff to ensure that the problem is managed efficiently and effectively. We’re all aware of the negative impact one unhappy customer can have on the reputation of a business, that’s why it is so important that the bed bug problem is taken seriously.

So, to all you travellers and holiday makers out there… Good night, sleep tight and let’s hope the bed bugs don’t bite!

Hayley Brownrigg
Elders Pest Control

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