According to the Rockford Register Star, the Winnebago County Health Department in Rockford, Illinois shut down 56 of 108 rooms in a Red Roof Inn in Rockford, due to bed bugs. The Health Department came to inspect after a customer collected samples of bed bugs from the bed in a room he stayed in:
Health department inspectors were called to the East State Street and Bell School Road hotel after a guest found the tiny bugs crawling in the sheets of his bed. The inspectors closed 56 out of 108 rooms.
Dixon resident Robert McLean said he first spotted the little brown bugs on his sheets when he woke up Friday. Initially, he saw three or four bugs, but he said a search of the mattress revealed countless more, some of which he collected on pieces of clear tape.
“It was like a Halloween nightmare,” McLean said. “You almost want to bring your own bedding from now on.”
Unfortunately, bringing your own bedding will not prevent bed bugs. You’d have to bring your own building, frankly, and set it up over there, away from the hotel.
McLean said he reported the bugs to the hotel’s front desk, who sent a maintenance crew to look at the bugs. They took pictures, McLean said.
The hotel shut down the 56-room wing for 48 hours, during treatment, and will keep the room the guest was in closed for 5 days. However, we know that one traditional bed bug treatment is rarely enough. I hope the Red Roof Inn is being very aggressive with treatments. I would love to hear from PCOs as to what protocol they would follow in a hotel. After all, when individuals have bed bugs at home, we have to sleep in the room to draw the bed bugs out to cross the pesticides. If hotels are using traditional spray treatments, won’t customers be forced to sleep with bed bugs?!?
One also has to wonder how many other people were bitten in this hotel, and reported the bed bug bites. Or did not realize it and took them home. Could this much of a hotel be affected and the hotel be completely unaware of it?
Winnebago County appears to be inviting anyone with bed bugs in that area to call and report them to the Health Department:
[Winnebago County Health Department spokeswoman Sue] Fuller said anyone who finds bed bugs are asked to call the Winnebago County Health Department at 815-720-4100 to file a complaint.
This is interesting — I have not heard many city health departments invite such calls.
This story reinforces my idea that those who find bed bugs in hotel rooms should not simply tell the management, and then post a review on tripadvisor.com to warn others. They should also call the local health department (a number they can get via the room’s phone book, before they flee). Health departments may not consider bed bugs a health risk, but they should. And if enough people call, they may take action.
Update (11/2): the Rockford Register Star now reports the rooms are now reopened–except for the one where the bed bugs are found.