Health Dept. Reveals Local Hotel Bed Bug Complaints

WEAU-TV (Eau Claire, WI)
Monday, October 17, 2011

EAU CLAIRE, WI -- It's a story you saw first on WEAU 13 News, bed bugs showing up in local hotels.

Now the Eau Claire City-County Health Department reveals which Eau Claire hotels have had complaints about the bugs.

The Health Department said it has gotten bed bug complains about the Rodeway Inn on Hastings Way and the Days Inn on Craig Road.

These reports show how both hotels took quick action to control their bed bug problems.

But the Health Department said it's important to remember that just because a hotel has the bugs, it doesn't mean they're dirty.

"They can get into small cracks and crevasses and crawl out in the place they stop at and quite frequently that is a hotel," said Courtenay Johnson, the Director of Environmental Health.

A complaint about the Rodeway Inn, filed with the Health Department by a guest claims they found six bed bugs on their bed.

Another complaint about the Days Inn on Craig Road showed bed big sniffing dogs looking for the blood sucking pests.

Both documents show the hotels took swift action.

"I haven't seen a hotel or heard of one anywhere else that's allowed a bed bug infestation to persist," Johnson said.

The Rodeway Inn's manager, Sally Jo Birtzer said in a statement:

"Although the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) estimates there has been an increase in bed bugs in America over the last several years, the increase has had a minimal impact on the vast majority of hotels. Bed bugs are brought into hotels by guests; it is not a hotel sanitation issue. Education, awareness, and vigilance are critical. A trained and knowledgeable housekeeping staff is one of the best lines of defense, along with having regular pest control inspections as we have in place at the Rodeway Inn and Suites."

The Director of Environmental Health said there's no link between bed bugs and hotel cleanliness and an infestation can pop up anywhere.

"Bed bugs hitch a ride on luggage, clothing; anything that people travel with," Johnson said.

She said they can multiply very rapidly and as long as a room is being occupied they can take their blood meals and continue to reproduce.

"Bed bugs can live from anywhere from 9 months to a year without a blood meal," Johnson said.

Days Inn management said they're working on a statement.