How do you prevent bed bugs in your Airbnb rental?
Bed bugs are an Airbnb host’s worst nightmare.
They’re the hitchhikers of the insect world. Bed bugs can travel in your guests’ clothing, suitcases, shoes, and more. If your rental develops an infestation, you’re in trouble.
According to Pest World, once bed bugs find their way into a home, they can hide in a number of places: “behind baseboards and in cracks, crevices, and folded areas of beds, bedding and adjacent furniture, especially mattresses and box springs.” They can even take cover inside of electrical outlets. They’re unusually tricky pests to eradicate. Adult bed bugs can go months without feeding, so it isn’t a problem that’s likely to go away on its own.
Before you know it, Airbnb will shut down your rental, refund your customers, and force you to hire a professional exterminator before you can put your place back on the market. Then, even if you do manage to get re-listed, you’ll have to work even harder to recover from a negative review.
Thus, the best way to get rid of bed bugs is to prevent an infestation from ever developing in the first place.
In our “Complete Guide on How to Prevent Bed Bugs in Airbnb,” we’ve got you covered. Follow this guide and you’ll probably never have to deal with an actual bed bug infestation.
Adult bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, are not unlike mosquitoes: they cause itchy bites by feeding on the blood of other animals. The biggest difference, luckily, is that bed bugs don’t fly.
Still, they’re considered a public health nuisance – and for good reason. If found in hotels, nursing homes, public transportation, or other similar places (like your Airbnb rental), they must be reported to a local county health department or state health department.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, bed bugs are:
As we mentioned before, bed bugs can go months without feeding – although, in warmer conditions, they’ll typically look for blood every five to seven days. They’re reddish-brown, but they appear bright red after feeding.
Now that you know what they look like, how can you tell if your Airbnb is infested?
There are two ways you can tell if you have bed bugs: 1) looking for bed bug bites, and 2) examining your living space for signs of bed bugs.
Bed bugs feed at night, while you or your guests are asleep. They’ll pop out for from their hiding space for anywhere from three to ten minutes and suck away until they’re fully engorged.
How can you tell the difference between bed bug bites and say, mosquito or flea bites? Here are some indications that specific to bed bug bites:
Before becoming fully matured, a bed bug molts five times, which means – just like a snake – it sheds its skin to make way for new growth. Naturally, that means:
How do you make sure you never develop a bed bug infestation?
Keep these guys away from your guests – and keep your Airbnb rental safe and operational.
If you regularly monitor signs for a bed bug infestation and equip yourself with the best anti-bed bug products and practices, you’ll probably never have to worry about an actual infestation:
Unfortunately, Airbnb doesn’t have a clear policy on bed bugs.
As a responsible Airbnb owner, if you want to keep your rating high (and avoid any lawsuits), if an Airbnb guest brings bed bugs, you’ll probably have to shut down your rental and hire an exterminator.
If you can prove that your Airbnb guest brought the bed bugs with them, document everything, and then you can contact support and likely be fully reimbursed for the costs — just like this guy did.
Whether you’re a host or guest, no one wants bed bugs.
By making sure you have all the necessary equipment to fend off bed bugs, you’ll also be making sure you’re protected. As a host, that’s what your guests like to see.
Hopefully now you’ll know exactly how to prevent bed bugs in your Airbnb. And, if you do have an issue, be sure to take care of it immediately!
Originally from Connecticut, Kevin moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and worked his way up to becoming an editor on award-winning reality TV shows. Kevin owns 4 short term rentals in Southern California and founded AirHost Academy to help other hosts improve their business.
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