As kids we were told not to let the bed bugs bite, but in reality the chances of that happening whereabout the same as being attacked by the monster in the closet. But experts say that has now changed, partly because pesticides that were once used against them have now been banned. In Houston, there have been reports of the blood sucking insects, although not as many as other cities. Stephanie Haynes is president of the Houston Hotel and Lodging Association.
“The bugs are looking for dark areas. And it’s just a misconception when you say bed bugs. Yes, beds can have them, but that’s where you lay down, but it’s basically any place where people congregate and it’s dark.
While some say hotels and apartments are more vulnerable to bed bug infestations, Haynes disagrees. She points to the recent outbreaks in New York as proof. A Niketown store there had to shut down for four days after bugs were found.
Haynes says it’s not about cleanliness.
“Bed bugs are really not a sanitation issue. It’s more of an easy access issue and the number of travelers passing through. You’ve seen in New York stores like Abercrombie and Fitch have had infestations. Hotels across the board in New York from the smaller select service hotels all the way way to luxury hotels have had that experience.”
Reports of bed bugs in the U.S have been on the rise for the past few years. In 2002, there were no reports of them in New York City, but in 2005 there were almost 2000. And a year later there were four thousand reports. Haynes says for whatever reason Houston hasn’t been affected as much. Still hotels here are always on the lookout.
“They train their housekeeping staff to check the beds, the linens and the rooms for any signs of bugs and they take it very seriously when they receive reports. They work with pest control companies to treat for bedbugs. It’s very focused. We treat the issue very seriously.”
Since bed bugs don’t transmit any diseases, no records are kept on the number of reports made. Local exterminators say they have received calls about the bugs, but not that many. Currently there’s nothing on the market you can buy to spray in your house, because it costs too much to do all the testing required. But if this trend continues, experts say some sort of beg bug repellent will eventually be developed.