My biggest nightmare has happened... bed bugs!!!!

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MountainMystery's picture
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My husband and I just began managing this place 3 months ago... Things have been going really well. We even got a 100% on our health department inspection, and we've been working hard to make sure the place was even cleaner than it was with the previous managers.. and this place has the reputation of being one of the cleanest around! Tonight, after we lock up and make a run to the store for some essentials, we get a call from a guest that booked several nights through TA- he's got a major problem and needs us there right away. His wife has hives and they have to check out immediately.

When we get back, she shows us her arms and legs and my mouth drops open. Then, to reinforce my fears further, the husband hands me the cup with a great crawling big bed bug, as well as two more tiny ones. The sheets on both queen beds in the room have several bloody spots and smears where the bugs have obviously been biting the guests. I'm speechless... We give a complete refund, apologize as best as we can and watch them drive away.

I called the housekeeper- who happens to be family- and discuss the situation. She has never found bloody spots like these on the sheets in this room before. We've never had any other guests with concerns or complaints- and the majority of our business is return guests. I flip up the corners of the sheets and mattress pads and look around the mattress and box spring edges for tell-tale signs and see none! I take the headboards off the walls and found one small, living bed bug crawling behind each.

We go and check the other room the guests had been in (When they first checked in, we had them in another room but since we had some issues come up with the refrigerator, we had to move them after their first night. Seriously... this guest was doomed from the start!). I figure, if the guest had brought the bugs with them, perhaps we would see something in their original room too. We have not had any other guests in there, since the room is blocked for repairs. The beds have been stripped of sheets, but they have not been made back up yet. I see no blood stains on the mattress pads. Nothing behind the headboards. Nothing on the mattresses or box springs.

 

I'm freaking out and don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight... Terminix was just here yesterday doing his monthly preventative treatment for ants and spiders and such... I can't wait to call him back first thing in the morning for this!! We've actually talked about it before because it's truly my biggest fear in this business. I know the treatment will be a major PITA and will cost a fortune (he told me before that they usually have to treat more than just the one that's affected...). But this weekend we've got a full-house and we're in a really busy period in general. And I'm really worried about how this is going to affect our online reputation especially! We've got an excellent TA reviews and I'm afraid this will change everything! Have any of you been through this?? Is there any words of encouragement or advice you can share?? 

 

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That sounds awfully stressful... Not your fault though, everyone knows that even the fanciest places can get bedbugs if one guest brings them in. Good luck getting rid of every last one! yes

swirt's picture
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Hi All,

This fear of the use of terms has gotten a bit much. As near as I can tell, everyone that has admitted to having grappled with bedbugs is anonymous.  Any that aren't anonymous are wise enough to steer clear of commenting on this thread.  

The notion of potential guests finding it is a concern for anyone non-anon.  

The notion of don't speak it or we'll attract spammers...  for that logic we should stop mentioning the words soap, sink, robes, spammers, spam, carpet, stains, water, wine, credit cards.....  we can't be afraid of using real words.  Spammers get dealt with pretty cleanly and rapidly.  That should not contribute to a fear to stop communicating in meaningful ways.

The longevity of this site requires attracting new members as well as just people in need of solutions (not everyone in need of a solution joins and participates).  The truth is, the little bit of advertising revenue this site generates (not enough to pay its bills), comes more from the drive-bys in need of a solution than it does from the active membership.   Offering a solution for an infestation of 'voldemorts' or 'thorns-in-our-sides'  isn't going to help anyone.

Arks's picture
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swirt wrote:

Offering a solution for an infestation of 'voldemorts' or 'thorns-in-our-sides'  isn't going to help anyone.

Isn't going to help anyone? I just disagree. Of course, topics on "code words" won't attract or  help people who aren't already frequenting this forum, but certainly it can help those of us already here who know the subject of the conversation.

We've offered many times to help with the expenses of this forum, and the offer stands. 

This is a forum for innkeepers, and I will always work, through what I say and do not say, to keep it a place potential guests won't find.

I don't think guests are likely to recognize any particular anonymous inn participating here, but for the profession in general, it's better, I feel, for the guest to not happen onto this site and read what we're discussing here (all the topics covered here, not just the voldemorts).

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Arks wrote:

swirt wrote:

Offering a solution for an infestation of 'voldemorts' or 'thorns-in-our-sides'  isn't going to help anyone.

Isn't going to help anyone? I just disagree. Of course, topics on "code words" won't attract or  help people who aren't already frequenting this forum, but certainly it can help those of us already here who know the subject of the conversation.

We've offered many times to help with the expenses of this forum, and the offer stands. 

This is a forum for innkeepers, and I will always work, through what I say and do not say, to keep it a place potential guests won't find.

I don't think guests are likely to recognize any particular anonymous inn participating here, but for the profession in general, it's better, I feel, for the guest to not happen onto this site and read what we're discussing here (all the topics covered here, not just the voldemorts).

You mean like the fruten glee bashing? er yeah... If nothing else, let this be a reminder to us all, instead of griping about the little issues that "bug" us, perhaps share great guest stories, and only major issues that bug us. 

When I see the word BB with a pack of exclamation marks in a Google search page that is what I am concerned about, association. Especially when it is NOT a B&B, it is a motel with under $100 rates from what I recall, and 20 rooms. I am sorry if that is a bit harsh, but it is not a small family owned bed and breakfast. Yes, innkeeping is innkeeping, but a motel is a motel. Just wanted to clarify that point.

From the their first post here "My hubby and I just became the new managers for a 20-room motel down south"

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dumitru's picture
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In regards to bites and itches, why someone has them and someone not.

This August has been terribly hot in my city, for 2 weeks straight we have over 33-35 degrees Celsius. 
Because of this, fleas started spreading across the city, especially in the shade of older houses.

Somehow it happened that we brought back from somewhere a couple of fleas, directly to our bedroom.

For about 5-7 days I was waking up in the morning with a couple of new bites, nasty ones, around my ankles and on my torso. The wife? None. Not a single bite.
The same thing with mosquitoes - I always get bitten wherever I go, no matter the season. My wife? Never.

So the same thing with Voldemorts - they might roam in the same bed with 2 people, but one can be completely safe.

Go wonder... 

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Arks's picture
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dumitru wrote:

So the same thing with Voldemorts - they might roam in the same bed with 2 people, but one can be completely safe.

Excellent pseudonym for BBs: they that shall not be named...except on this thread Sad

 

TheBeachHouse's picture
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This whole thread is giving me nightmares.

How do you prevent?  

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

This whole thread is giving me nightmares.

How do you prevent?  

Put a closed sign on the front door, that is the only way to prevent it. The more traveled your guests the more likely you will get it. It is the opposite to what most people think. It has nothing to do with being dirty. It happens in the best establishments.

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You can't prevent.. you just have to be aware and on guard.

people will drag them into your place with suitcases etc. Use encasements on your mattress and box springs and just be vigilant to check when cleaning.

Arks's picture
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Wish y'all would call them BBs rather than spelling it out!

Spelling it out means potential guests Googling the subject might arrive at this website!

happykeeper's picture
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yes let's get that changed. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw the post.

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Anon Inn's picture
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I refrained from replying too, hoping a language change would occur before someone replied and editing no longer possible.  I live in fear of this too and am on constant guard.  Have taken all recommended precautions.  If it happens, don't know if any local company does the heat treatment.  May have to send to the big city.   Almost, Almost, makes you nostalgic for DDT.

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Arks wrote:

Wish y'all would call them BBs rather than spelling it out!

Spelling it out means potential guests Googling the subject might arrive at this website!

Sorry this happened to you, it is a nightmare.

Can you please remove the term and exclamation marks in the subject line?

Those who provide services for this type of thing will also find us and spam... I don't want the term spelled out and googled to be found with inns or B&B's. Especially us smaller 5 or 6 rooms inns, as now it will be associated.

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My son worked for a bed bug termination company for awhile.  They would get the owners to vacate for a day, go into the house and dump out ALL drawers and cupboards, closets etc. from every room,  expose all mattresses, put any chocolate in fridge, take out batteries from smoke detectors---in other words, tear the house apart.  Then bring in the heaters and heat the house up  to 140 degrees.  Leave it at that temperature for at least half an hour.  When the family came back they had to strip their clothes off and put on clean clothes.  Put their used clothes in a plastic bag.  On and on it went!  Then the sniffer dog came back after 2 weeks to make sure.  Son brought two live ones home for me to see in a sealed jar.  One lived for 2 weeks, the other one for a month after eating the first one.    UGH is all I can say.   Those sniffer dogs are awesome and can be just mutts from the pound and then given many hours of training along with the new owner of the dog.

 

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I don't have any suggestions to add - just wanted you to know that I feel for you, and hope that the problem is confined to one room.  It sounds as though you caught it early enough that hopefully the expense and inconvenience will be minimal.   I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with this.  Thank you for reminding all of us how vigilant we have to be with this issue. 

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I had a bed bug situation a few years back.  Never had them before until guests from New York arrived here.   I got a  call at 2am in the morning and they were covered in bites.  Sure enough they had the bugs and they are the size of an apple seed.   Had to have a pest company come in and treat the room twice. We turned over the box spring and they were inside there crawling around. The room was out of service for a long time.  Quarantined with a bomb and the door taped shut all the way around.   All fabric including curtains has to be washed and dried on hot.   

 

They come in on luggage and the worst thing a guest can do it throw their luggage on the bed.  I now have mattress encasements on the box spring and mattress and have not had a problem since.

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Thanks for sharing your experience Scrambled! Our pest guy will be here this afternoon, so I'm anxious to find out what he says. While he's here, I'm going to ask him to help us check every room just to be safe. I'm really hoping he says that it's just an isolated incident that's limited to the single room.

And I'm going to be telling the owners to cough up the money for the bed bug bags and encasements for the mattresses!! We already do what I thought was a fairly decent job of looking for the critters. Each time we clean a room, the mattress covers get pulled back and the mattresses are checked and then sprayed with disinfectant. Although I know the disinfectant isn't going to prevent the bugs, I had hoped that just the fact that we do pay fairly close attention to the beds on a regular basis would be enough to catch problems early before guests do. Guess I was wrong.. they hide too well! 

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You must have containment / encasements..just mattress pad won't cut it. And inspection needs to be in all rooms. If you have a bb detection dog company near you they are great!

MountainMystery's picture
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ooohhh! A bb detection dog! I'm going to start looking into this... That sounds awesome (expensive, but awesome)! smiley

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expensive to own or train your dog...but not that expensive for their service.

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Even better if they do the whole house heating rather than the chemical spray, because it clears everything and you don't have to throw things out.

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seashanty's picture
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 this site has descriptions and pictures. size of an apple seed is definitely big enough to see.  did you save the cup so you can find out for sure what it is? 

there is no way to place blame here about how they got in etc. could've come in on luggage or clothing, who knows?  you're dealing with it the best you can.

sorry i can't offer first hand advice, just links to what to do. 

happykeeper's picture
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... a really helpful post ...

happykeeper's picture
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My first thought is to check and confirm that you know what you are dealing with, before you panic.

MountainMystery's picture
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Unfortunately guys, I know for sure that this is indeed a bed bug problem. I've seen the bugs already myself, and they are absolutely bed bugs. 

Joey Camb's picture
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I may be wrong - but I thought bed bugs were so small you could barely see them ie big one in his hand is not a bed bug - not saying its not something else equally nasty

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MountainMystery's picture
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No, that is a bed bug. The vary in size, depending on what stage they are. Just like ticks, as they feed, they grow bigger and bigger.

I found a couple of varying size in the room. One is large- almost as big as the flat end of a Bic pen. It's definitely big enough to easily see. The others were much smaller, maybe the size of bits of dirt of fuzz. They would be very difficult to see unless you were really looking closely and specifically for them.

Flower's picture
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Take your vacuum to your beds. Vacuum them really hard. Then take a plastic fully incase mattress pad. One that zips up all the way around. Put your mattress in the fully incased mattress cover .Oh yes put a very clean bag in your vac. that way you should see if any bugs have gone into the bag. Our bags have a clear flim so I can see a bit inside  Then get rid of the bag

Then put another pad over the fully incase one then your sheets.  Check all your clocks by the bed. AS they love the heat from the clock radios. I think that was a very nasty thing for them to do. It makes me wonder . Why did he not have the bites?? maybe she was allergic to your sheets and by scratching her hives this caused blood to mark the sheets.

 Also in case your pillows  twice. then your regular  pillow cases Make sure you call the right people to come and take a look to see if you do have bed bugs. All the encasements of mattress and pillows will protect the people you are having till you can get someone out to take a look. Also do some checking on the internet. There is a lot of information there for you.

 If you don't see any bugs then this is a nasty way of getting free stay!!!

There was a case where a guy was scratching his sores and it left blood on the sheets. Some thing just does not sound right.

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MountainMystery's picture
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Flower wrote:

Why did he not have the bites?? maybe she was allergic to your sheets and by scratching her hives this caused blood to mark the sheets.

 

From my research, I have read that the bites are often in a line, unlike mosquito or flea bites which are more random and spread around. With some people, bites can take many hours to show up and get itchy, but others can have an allergic reaction to them and the bites can show and itch immediately, and can also get very big and red. The bites I saw on this lady was textbook bed bug bites... no doubt. I'm sure her husband and kids will also be itching soon. Sad

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