A reporter in this video from WRAL News “5 on Your Side” in Raleigh, North Carolina says that in a study of 700 hotel rooms done from 2002-2006, 25% had bed bugs.
This article from NBC 5 in Dallas / Ft. Worth cited a similar statistic:
First, know that high-end hotels are not immune to bed bugs. Steritech, a pest control company, studied 700 hotels and 24 percent of them had bed bug activity.
But Steritech’s results were not quite so drastic.
Business Week reported in its article “The Cost of Bed Bugs” last November (one we discussed here) that,
A study by the Steritech Group, a commercial and institutional pest management company, found that nearly 25% of the 700 hotels it tracked over a three-and-a-half year period between November, 2002, and April, 2006, required treatment for bedbugs, though of the 76,000 hotel rooms in the study, fewer than 1% were found to be infested.
Got that? 25% of the hotels required bed bug treatment, in a three-and-a-half year period. But fewer than 1% of the rooms were found to be infested. Since those 700 hotels had an average of 108 rooms, that’s about one infested room per hotel. And we can assume some hotels would have had multiple infested rooms, and others none.
(Incidentally, USA Today got the Steritech data right in this 2006 article, and, bless them, they chose not to round up, citing the number of infested rooms at a comforting 0.6%.)
Bed bugs are spreading, and we can assume that the numbers may be even higher in 2008, but there is no need to panic. Even if 5% of rooms were now infested (400% more infested rooms), you would still have a good shot at avoiding bed bugs, especially if you search your room carefully and take precautions as described in our travel FAQs.
I do think we need more publicity for the bed bug problem, and this WRAL story is not a bad piece otherwise, but there is no need for panic.