Bed bugs at the Ritz-Carlton in NYC: housekeeper says she wasn’t warned

by nobugsonme on January 26, 2012 · 7 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in hotels, bed bugs in the workplace, new york city

This New York Times article references a case of bed bugs at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City — but that’s not the story. Bed bugs can be present in any hotel, any time.  They arrive and depart with all kinds of people, after all.

The issue here is that while the hotel apparently responded promptly to a guest’s complaint about bed bugs, a member of the housekeeping staff claims that in this instance, she was not notified of the problem promptly.

As the NY Times reports,

The worker, Rosanna Polanco, a room attendant, said she was asked on Monday to service the room next to 1005 but was not told about the bedbugs. She found out only when she encountered a worker from Ecolab Inc., a company that supplies cleaning products and pest elimination services.

“He was the one who told me: ‘Be careful. There’s a lot of bedbugs in there,’ ” Ms. Polanco said, referring to Room 1005. “Management didn’t tell me. I found out myself.”

“A lot of bedbugs” does not sound good.

I can almost hear the sound of hundreds of pest control firm reps running for their phones to call the hotel and pitch their monitoring and prevention programs, and  I predict that within two weeks, we see an article about how a canine team has inspected the building and given the all clear.

The good news is that a few days later, the hotel workers were given training on how to recognize signs of bed bugs, as all hospitality staff everywhere should be, in my opinion.

The article also notes the hotel also apologized for the delay in notifying workers, and offered to have Ms. Polanco’s home inspected for bed bugs.  If it were me, I would take them up on the offer.

1 sam bryks January 27, 2012 at 1:32 am

How did this become a national story?
I am amazed that this even made the news.
The hotel has the premier bed bug management program -and it appears this was handled appropriately for guest, and ultimately for the worker as well.
Someone forgot to notify the worker.. OK… but this could have been handled quietly without it needing to make mainstream news..
Just shows how media can take a story to extreme… would this have made the news if it was the Riverside Motel? somewhere in the Bronx?
I doubt it.

2 jessinchicago January 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Maybe not, but it’s good that it did, in any case. It is a matter of prevention and knowledge at this point, and I think it’s beneficial for people to be aware that bed bugs are as likely to be present at the Ritz-Carlton as they are to be present at the Riverside Motel.

3 susan jones January 27, 2012 at 11:20 pm

I don’t know if this is a national story –election 2013 and the Giants are all over NY1, but hey, that’s local. Look any story that tells the bb. story without bs. is ok with me. Yes it’s true, the press isn’t about to fly all over a story about bites in Bushwick but nuthin’ new about that. Any factually accurate news is good news as far as the bedbug epidemic is concerned. Get a grip.

4 VictoryIsMine January 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I don’t see a problem with the media reporting bed bug cases at fancy hotels. There are a lot of misconceptions about bed bugs and I believe this helps to bring some of them down. Even a friend of mine, who’s supposedly at least aware about bed bugs since she’s been following my case, recently told me, “but it’s a clean place!” when I told her to check her room at a place she was going to spend the holidays, prior to settling in.

5 nobugsonme January 30, 2012 at 3:43 am

Hi sam,

You said,

“The hotel has the premier bed bug management program…”

Are you sure they did, prior to this?

The room attendant told the Times the PCO said, “Be careful. There’s a lot of bedbugs in there.”

If that’s true, that there were a lot of bed bugs, then it suggests maybe the bed bug monitoring plan in place, if there was one, could possibly have been improved.

That the staff do not seem to have all been previously trained to detect bed bugs (again, if the story is correct), also suggests that the bed bug management plan could have been improved, does it not?

I agree that it’s odd that some local stories are picked up by non-local papers (though I note that we heard about this in a local paper). A posh hotel with a bed bug problem is going to turn a few heads.

On the other hand, I think people in other places like the “New York has bed bugs” story a little too much.

Bed bugs at an Abercrombie and Finch store in SoHo, or bed bugs at the Met/Lincoln Center, seem to be a lot more interesting to press outlets in the US and abroad than bed bugs in some store or theater in Cleveland, unfortunately.

It’s always perplexing why some stories come to prominence and others don’t. However, I think the more the public sees bed bug stories about their own area, the more they likely they are to educate themselves about the problem and learn how to deal with it or prevent it.

6 nobugsonme January 30, 2012 at 3:44 am


That’s a hug for one long-lost Bedbugger, who was one of the very first users of this site.

Welcome back! (I say this knowing you don’t have bed bugs right now, in case anyone else is worried.)

7 blargg February 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Hi, nobugs. Are you going to make a post about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln? I feel awful for the students, but I’m kind of pleased with the fact that it’s helping to spread awareness…. Hope they eradicate the pests.

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