Bed bugs – a growing problem in the hotel industry

During the last decade, the number of bed bug infestations has exploded in the hospitality industry. We take a look at the different reasons behind these bed bug infestations and what can be done to prevent them.

Growing tourism increases the bed bug risk

According to the World Tourist Organization, 4 million tourists arrived daily at their destination in 2019. In the same year, Europe had a total of 745 million tourists, which corresponded to 51% of world tourism measured in the number of arrivals that year1.

Of course, the current pandemic situation has altered these numbers, but the fact remains that tourism is huge and in demand, with a corresponding number of hotel beds needed to meet this. In Sweden, there were almost 340,000 hotel beds in 20182. The cities in the world with the most hotels are Beijing followed by Las Vegas and New York. There were 700,000 hotels and resorts in the world in 2018 that together could offer 16.4 million hotel rooms3. And with every hotel bed comes the risk of bed bugs. From backpacker to five-star hotels, bed bugs make no distinction.

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The reasons behind bed bug infestations

During the last decade, the number of bed bug infestations has exploded in the hospitality industry much due to the increase in travelling. Lack of knowledge and protocols on how to act in the event of an infestation are contributing factors to the growing problem. Also, bed bugs themselves are developing resistance to insecticides making it harder to eliminate them.

Hitchhiking and dormant bed bugs

As bed bugs often hitchhike with hotel guests’ belongings, from one sleeping place to another, as well as the fact that it’s not possible to starve a bed bug infestation, poses a major challenge to the hospitality industry. This pest can go dormant and survive for several months without food, in some circumstances up to 18 months. As the problem has grown in society at large and attracted media attention, more and more travelers have begun to worry about getting bed bugs when staying in hotels

Hoteliers are worried

Orkin, a major pest control company, conducted a survey of 100 hotels in the United States where it was found that 90% of the hotels in the survey had been treated for bed bugs at some point and 91% of hotel owners and similar hotel businesses from the survey were worried about bed bugs4.

Preventive solutions for hotel beds

Implementing special cleaning routines and having protocols in place for how to act when discovering a bed bug can help in tackling the problem before it becomes an epidemic infestation. Nattaro Safe® bed bug tape placed on hotel beds, behind headboards and other fixed furnishings is a proactive measure that also functions as a long-lasting treatment. And for continuous monitoring, use Nattaro Scout® detection traps. These are easy to place in a suspected hotel room and offer a clear proof of whether there is a problem or not.


Learn more about bed bugs in the hotel industry




  1. UNWTO, World Tourist Organization, January 2020 on Twitter och Visita
  2. Tillväxtverket och SCB 2018 antalet hotellbäddar (stugor, vandrarhem och hotell)
  3. Hotel industry Statistics 2019