From: Entomological Society of America
Published June 13, 2017 11:03 AM

Bed Bugs Are the Last Thing Travelers Want to See in a Hotel Room, Even Though Most Can't ID Them

Most business and leisure travelers in the United States can’t identify a bed bug, and yet the tiny pest evokes a stronger response in hotel guests than any other potential room deficiency—putting the hospitality industry in a difficult spot.

In a survey of U.S. travelers conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky, 60 percent said they would switch hotels if they found evidence of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) in a guest room. Meanwhile, no more than a quarter said they would switch hotels for factors such as signs of smoking or dirty towels or linens. In the same survey, however, just 35 percent of business travelers and 28 percent of leisure travelers correctly identified a bed bug in a lineup of other common insects. The results of the research are published today in American Entomologist, the quarterly magazine of the Entomological Society of America.

“Considering all the media attention paid to bed bugs in recent years, the fact that most travelers still have a poor understanding of them is troubling,” says Michael Potter, Ph.D., extension professor in UK’s Department of Entomology and co-author of the study.

It is particularly problematic given the central role that online reviews play in travelers’ selection of where to stay. More than half of survey respondents said they would be very unlikely to choose a hotel with a single online report of bed bugs.

Read more at Entomological Society of America

Image: Which of these common insect pests is a bed bug? In a survey conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky, just 35 percent of US business travelers and 28 percent of leisure travelers could correctly identify the bed bug. Poor awareness of bed bugs enables their spread and causes problems for the hotel and lodging industry. The answers: 1-Ant, 2-Termite, 3-Louse, 4-Bed Bug, 5-Tick. (Credit: Entomological Society of America)

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