Bed bugs found in ‘five star’ hotels across Spain – how to avoid an infestation | Travel News | Travel
Bed bugs may not be something you think of when checking into a five-star hotel, however, travel is one of the most common ways these parasitic insects spread. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Paul Blackhurst, Head of Technical Academy at Rentokil Pest Control said: “While sunscreen and flip flops may be high on the priority list, holidaymakers should probably also consider a rather undesirable side effect of some hotel stays – bed bugs.
“The National Association of Environmental Health Companies (ANECPLA) has issued a warning to holidaymakers due to bedbugs living in five-star hotels in popular areas such as Mallorca, Alicante and the Canary Islands.
“In recent years, the bedbug population has increased by more than 500% in Spain.
Although people may think that bed bugs are only attracted to dirty environments, it’s “misconceptions” like this that Mr Blackhurst says can put people at risk.
ANECPLA Director General, Jorge Galván, explained: “We are concerned about the impact of the reactivation of tourism on a scourge closely linked to the hotel sector and tourist residences: the bed bug.
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“This parasitic insect between five millimeters and six millimeters long generally nests in beds, the folds of sheets, furniture or armchairs and feeds mainly on human blood.
“Its sting causes discomfort and even various allergic reactions, insomnia or stress.
“Due to their small size, they often stash between clothing or suitcases, causing new infestations in homes, hotels or apartments.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Blackhurst shared some common bedbug ‘myths’ that holidaymakers should be aware of to reduce their risk of waking up with unwanted bites.
He said: “It’s important that holidaymakers and hoteliers are alert to these tiny pests and armed with the knowledge to combat them effectively.”
Myth 1: Bed bugs can jump or fly
Mr Blackhurst explained: “Some people confuse bedbugs with parasites such as fleas.
“Bed bugs can’t jump or fly, but they can run quite quickly, about four feet per minute, which makes them hard to spot.”
Myth 2: Bed bugs can only be found on or around beds
Although their name might suggest that they only reside in beds, the expert explained that they can also hide in other cracks and crevices around the bedroom, such as closets and carpets.
He said: “They will also take refuge in soft furnishings like sofas, curtains, chairs and even in and around the seats of planes, trains and coaches.
“These pests are clever hitchhikers and will happily take an easy ride with humans, as they like to be close to body heat and will inevitably seek out their next meal.”
Myth 3: Bed bugs prefer unsanitary conditions
While you might expect to only find these creatures in unwashed bedding and dirty environments, Rentokil’s expert says that’s not the case.
He said: “Bedbugs prefer lots of people to a dirty environment, which means luxury facilities can also become easy targets.”
Myth 4: Bedbugs can’t be seen with the naked eye
Bedbugs are small, but they’re not so small that you can’t see them.
Mr Blackhurst said: “Adult bed bugs can be around four to five millimeters long, about the size of an apple seed, and grow bigger after a meal, but it’s often much easier to find them. traces than to see a living insect.
“They can be identified from small, dark specks of blood, which can look like mold on the edges of mattresses, for example, dark fecal pellets and a distinctive sweet, sickly smell.”
Fifth Myth: Bed Bugs Can’t Survive in Luggage
Mr Blackhurst said: “It’s very possible to carry these pests home in your luggage, particularly if you throw your suitcase on your hotel bed.
“A simple solution is to place your suitcase or bag in the tub or shower, while you check the bed and mattress for any signs of bed bugs.
“You can also hang your clothes instead of using the drawers.”
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Sixth myth: bed bugs are afraid of light
Bed bugs may be more active at night, but that doesn’t mean they’ll disperse as soon as you turn on the light.
Mr Blackhurst told Express.co.uk: ‘Bed bugs are not afraid of light, but they thrive best at night when they can easily feed on their sleeping host.
Myth Seven: Bed bugs need a host to stay alive
Mr Blackhurst explained: “Bed bugs can survive up to a year without feeding on blood, but female bed bugs feed more frequently because they need blood to develop their eggs.”
Myth 8: Bed bug bites will wake you up at night
Although you may notice a bedbug bite in the morning, you may not necessarily realize you are getting bitten.
Mr Blackhurst explained: “Bedbugs inject an anesthetic when they feed to reduce sensation, preventing sleepers from feeling the initial bite when they start feeding.”