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Preventing bed bugs at holiday homes & cottages

Accommodation establishments with a high rate of occupant turnover such as self catering holiday cottages and apartments, should be on the look out for bed bugs, as infestations are most frequently found in these types of dwellings.

According to the BBC there has been a massive increase in the number of bed bug infestations. Statistics from councils in London and the Midlands show the rate increased three-fold in the last decade.

Holiday rentals are particularly vulnerable due to the high turnover of guests, from both the UK and overseas. Bedbugs are effective hitchhikers and holidaymakers could infest your property by coming into contact with bugs on their travels. Once at your holiday home, the bed bugs disembark from luggage or clothes and set up home, breeding at a phenomenal rate.

Contrary to belief, infestations are not usually a reflection of cleanliness.

Signs that bed bugs have crept in

The fist sign of bed bugs could be an itchy swelling following being bitten, although many people don’t react to bites and don’t realise they have a problem until they find a bug. Bed bugs commonly hide in mattresses, carpets and in the crevices of furniture. They are a reddish-brown colour, oval-shaped, flattened and about 3mm – 5mm in size.

Other telltale signs of an infestation are black dots (bed bug faeces) on beds/furniture and bloodstains on sheets from crushed bugs.

Preventing infestations

It is important that housekeeping staff and cleaners in holiday lets carefully inspect properties for telltale signs of bed bugs. Thorough cleaning and sanitation can help prevent infestations, although the main risk is that they are transported from a host site.

Although they are not considered a major health risk, they can be unpleasant to live with. The worry is that your holidaymakers could come into contact with them and report this at review sites. This could damage your reputation and affect future bookings.

If you discover an infestation, call a professional extermination firm. For further information on prevention and treatments visit http://www.bed-bugs.co.uk/

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