Hotels beginning to be “certified by” bed bug dogs

by nobugsonme on September 27, 2007 · 3 comments

in bed bug dogs, bed bugs, bed bugs and travel, bed bugs in hotels, best practices, new york, usa

We knew this was coming, but this is the first actual report I’ve heard of a hotel displaying a sign saying they were bed bug-free. The Blue Moon Hotel in the Lower East Side of New York City is a boutique hotel where, Tripadvisor tells us, the average room costs $637 a night. According to a blogger known as fishouttawater, they proudly display a sign certifying the establishment as bed bug-free, pointed out by the staff of the hotel:

So he is trying to sell the place to us, and he leads off with THIS gem/tidbit of marketing info: “The Blue Moon Hotel is CERTIFIED BED BUG FREE.” And he points to a framed certificate on the wall- I’m not making this up- it was nicely framed and had a drawing of a nasty bed bug with a big red “zero/slash” around it. GNARLY.

Then the lady at the reception chimes in, and she starts bragging about how a real beagle dog came and did the sniff-inspection, and that was supposed to really impress us, to show us exactly how bed-bug-free this newly-opened hotel was.

Well, fishouttawater was jolted out of a blissful, no-knowledge-of-bedbugs’-existence state. But many people who travel to NYC are aware that most NYC hotels are infested with bed bugs.

What I want to know is who did the certification, and how often does that bed bug dog walk through the rooms and corridors and inspect for bed bugs? Because as we all know, they can be brought in any time. If the inspections are very regular, it certainly would be a comforting feature.

All I can say is, when someone is able to offer this service regularly in lower-priced accommodations, I am going to sleep a lot easier while traveling.

Or will I? A google search for “certified bed bug free” brought up this website for K-9 Bed Bug Detection Services, where a bed bug dog inspection service offers to certify accommodation as such:

How do you get Certified Bed Bug-Free?

We will customize an inspection program for your property – either monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly. Once you property is inspected and any areas alerted to are treated, we will issue you a framed certificate indicating your bed bug-free status. This can be displayed to show your guests and residents that your facility meets the highest standard in bed bug-free properties.

I assume that this company was not the one that certified the Blue Moon, since the picture of the certificate on their website does not match fishouttawater’s description.

I am sure that bed bug inspections at either monthly, bimonthly or quarterly intervals are much better than no bed bug inspections. However, I feel that monthly inspections are the minimum. No one wants to stay in a hotel room where bed bugs have been feeding on people and breeding for two or even four months. Yes, I realize that hotel room prices are going to go up based on this additional cost.

Certified Bed Bug-Free announces that you have taken every possible precaution to ensure that your property is free from these elusive pests. In turn, this could limit your liability in the event of a lawsuit.

Note to travelers: like so much in this “Bed Bug Gold Rush” period, a Certified Bed Bug Free sign does not mean anything in particular. (Neither does “bed bug dog,” for that matter: they’re not all the same, and have varied skills and levels of effectiveness.)

If you find this sign, well, obviously, it’s a good sign. But you should realize it can mean the hotel was checked once, is checked yearly, quarterly, bimonthly, monthly, weekly, or after every guest walks out the door. Hopefully hoteliers will be honest when you enquire about that.

Thanks to Hopelessnomo for the fishouttawater tip!

1 persona-non-bugga September 27, 2007 at 11:05 pm

I used to LOVE traveling. Unfortunately, lingering anxiety about bedbugs has put a damper on the passion. I still take trips, and I enjoy myself, more or less, but my carefree, unbridled, spontaneous days of travel are gone. (I don’t mean to get all “woe is me.” I know there are a lot bigger problems than losing your enthusiasm for travel.)

In any case, I’m not rich, but I’d pay a premium to stay in a hotel that was known to have a pro-active strategy about bedbugs. Definitely not $637 per night – but I’d stretch my usual budget by a hefty percentage. Please pay attention, hospitality industry.

I guess, by itself, a one-time dog inspection really wouldn’t ensure much of anything. But it’s a start. I’ve seen so many appalling stories of bedbug negligence on fodors and tripadvisor. It’s heartening to read that not all hotels are putting on blinders and denying or ignoring these pests. Something hopeful.

2 nobugsonme September 28, 2007 at 2:25 am

You sound a lot like me, persona.

Nothing will keep me from traveling, but I miss those days of not worrying about where I was staying. I used to stay in some real budget accommodations, too, and never gave it a second thought! (My only worry was whether it would be clean, and have a secure lock– not whether there would be actual vermin, let alone these blood-sucking monsters…)

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