Bed bug fear or bedbug worry concept as a cast shadow of a a parasitic insect pest resting on a pillow and sheets as a symbol and metaphor for the anxiety as a 3D illustration.

Contributed By Rollins, LLC

As hoteliers prepare for re-opening, properties that experienced increased vacancy during the pandemic may have a long list of action items before welcoming guests back. Prioritizing these steps can be overwhelming, but they are important. The last thing a hotelier needs is to overlook an important action item in the rush to re-open. 

In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, your guests are more focused on their surroundings and more likely to notice issues, including the presence of pests. Consider these important steps to ensure you re-open your doors to satisfied guests and not pests.

1. Check your hotel’s exterior

Overgrown trees or shrubbery touching the building offer an attractive shelter for pests. Trim plants back to avoid letting insects such as ants use them to access your hotel. Seal large cracks or gaps in your building’s façade to avoid providing further points of entry. A hole just a quarter-inch wide is big enough for a rodent to squeeze through.

2. Inspect plumbing

Check plumbing throughout your hotel, especially in bathrooms and kitchen areas, to make sure no leaks occurred. And don’t forget about the roof. Make sure rooftop air conditioning units are not leaking or delivering excess condensation. Removing moisture and standing water sources can help avoid a pest problem. Just a thimble full of water is enough for mosquitoes to breed and multiply.

3. Pay attention to drains

Any additional infrastructure issues that arose during quarantine, especially with drains, can also create pest entry points. Without frequent use, sink water pipes and floor drains can run dry, creating an open pathway for pests to enter from sewage lines below. Flush the floor drains with water to refill p-traps and remove any issues that may be inside them. Remember to check for any signs of pest activity surrounding drain tops and grates.

4. Practice proper sanitation

A build-up in waste is not only an eyesore but also a pest haven. Inspect all trash cans to ensure they’ve been emptied. If not, bag, seal and remove the contents immediately, checking for cockroach and fly activity. Resume regular trash pickup if you previously put the service on hold or if garbage accumulated while your hotel operations paused.

5. Examine offices, lockers and break rooms

Ask employees to look through desks, lockers and other personal drawers for food left behind and any evidence of pests or pest damage. Where food was left behind, scan for signs of cockroach activity using a flashlight with the lights off. Be sure to check abandoned indoor plants, which may have provided a food source for pests whose regular food sources weren’t available. 

With these tasks at the forefront of your reopening efforts, you can reduce those unwanted guests. And don’t forget to call on your pest management professional. They can provide a comprehensive inspection to help find any issues you may have missed. To start preparing your hotel for guests, check out this checklist.

Frank Meek is a technical services manager for Rollins. As a board-certified entomologist and 30-year industry veteran, he is an acknowledged leader in the field of pest management.