Bed bugs are the scourge of mass sleeping establishments, from hotels and motels to hostels and campgrounds.
Their travel ability is annoyingly high: Visitors can bring them in their luggage and clothing without the slightest awareness. Bed bugs breed at advanced rates of speed and volume that, quite frankly, would be embarrassing to almost any other species. They’re hard to find and hard to exterminate without professional help.
But they can be stopped, or at least can have their lives made much more difficult. Here are seven tips on how to prevent bed bugs from taking over your guests’ comfort during their stay—and to keep your housekeeping services at least somewhat sane.
Follow a mattress check routine
The most basic of all bed bug prevention tips, of course, is to be ever vigilant about finding them. That means inspecting every bed regularly, as well as making that inspection an inescapable part of your daily job. Check all the blankets, sheets, pillowcases, and any additional bedding materials around you. Pay special attention to corners and seams that provide places for bed bugs to live and breed. Look specifically for signs of infestation, like streams of waste products.
Clean anything and everything in the room
Bed bugs don’t set up exclusive residences in the bed. They’re likely to find suitable housing in virtually any item in the general area: furniture, chairs, behind other objects, or underneath mounds of clutter. As often as you can do a deep cleaning of your whole premises, do it—even if it’s as often as once every 24 hours or even more, and definitely after a guest departs.
Pay special attention to furniture and walls, and any parts of the room that are susceptible to piles of various materials. Bed bugs can hide anywhere, so you may need to focus on typically hard-to-reach places. If your bedding area is carpeted, make an extra effort while vacuuming, and do it as often as you clean the rest of the room.
Use light-colored furnishing and encasements
Bed bugs are hard enough to spot as it is, but much more so when they’re living on dark-colored surfaces. Wherever possible, get furniture that’s lighter in color, so it’ll be easier to spot bed bugs and their respective families where they lay. If you already have dark furniture, consider getting light-colored covers or sheets to put around them.
Get bed and furnishings with metal frames
Bed bugs have a definite preference for softer construction materials—especially wood. Even the hardest wood is more comfortable for bed bugs: It’s more conducive to cozier temperatures and often has cracks or small indentations for bed bugs to live happily in.
Metal, on the other hand, is cold and unforgiving toward bed bugs. Its hardness and sturdiness give them no places to live adequately. That’s why metal frames are becoming more popular with hotels, hostels, and other sleeping places that are trying to eliminate bed bug infestations. [Check out Bed Bug Resistant Beds for Camps, Hostels, & More]
Kill them with portable heat
Bed bugs die in hotter environments—specifically, any place where the temperature exceeds 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Treating infested areas with a non-flammable, portable heat source, like an electric heater or hot rock, is a great way to eliminate them in the spots they inhabit.
Set limits on your sleepover customers
Imposing rules isn’t a fun thing for anybody, including managers of bunk areas. But when coming up with ideas of how to prevent bed bugs, it’s worth setting some reasonable limits in your bedding area to prevent their growth and spread. Restricting the use of customer-provided bed covers or linens is one guideline you can instill, along with a no-pets policy. Make sure customers know about these requirements before they book.
Use bed bug proof covers
Mattress encasements that wrap around the entire bunk bed—mattress and box springs or any other supportive structures—are great defenses against bed bugs and may even allow you to keep mattresses that are already infested. Encasements can trap bed bug colonies inside the structure, preventing them from feeding and eventually starving them out.
But make sure you get the right kind of encasements. New ones should specifically mention their effectiveness against bed bugs in accompanying product information. Also look for specific features like zippers, bug-resistant seams, or added protection against allergies. [Check out our bed bug resistant waterproof foam mattresses]
Other helpful bed bug resources
- How Long Can Bed Bugs Live in a Plastic Bag?
- Do Bed Bugs Go Dormant in Winter?
- Bed Bugs vs. Ticks: The Differences Between Ticks & Bed Bugs
- 4 Early Signs of Bed Bugs on Mattresses
- Do Bed Bugs Hide in Metal Bed Frames?
- How to Find Bed Bugs During the Day
ESS Universal manufactures and supplies high-quality, cost-effective commercial grade beds, mattresses, and furniture to camps, hostels, shelters, dorms and more. View our entire line of furniture products including our popular waterproof foam mattress for institutional use, single metal bed frames, single over single bunk beds, single over double bunk beds, and triple bunk beds. Download our catalog for detailed information on our complete product line.