Tag Archives: Atlanta bed bugs control

Bed Bug Legal Considerations for Hospitality

Bed Bug Standard of Care and Legal Considerations for Hospitality

The experts agree, if you don’t have a proactive bed bug prevention program, you won’t have a good defense in court.  After all, in our litigious society, it is only a matter of time before a situation arises and a guest files a bed bug complaint.  To manage it well, a few key items must be in place prior to the occurrence:

  • Well trained front desk staff on how to handle the situation
  • A relationship with a pest control company, that are experts in bed bugs and their removal, to get rid of them fast and effectively

However, if a problem does escalate to a lawsuit or formal claim it is imperative that the following was established BEFORE the incident in question:

  • The hotel has a proactive program in place that includes:
    1. Regular inspections of all rooms for bed bugs
    2. Written protocol that employees are trained on, tested on and it is followed
    3. Formal training for housekeeping on what to look for, where to look for evidence, and a reporting process of rooms of concern. Documentation that training and testing has all occurred for every employee.  The same applies for all maintenance, front desk and management staff.  Training needs to occur for all current and future staff.
  • Management must be fully aware of the status of their rooms. The hotel must keep excellent pest control records outlining every inspection and treatment performed in every room.
  • The hotel defines “infested room” as 1 live bed bug or 1 live bed bug egg. Rooms with known active issues are NEVER released to sales for booking.
  • Bed bug infestations are handled swiftly – no longer than 24 hours to inspect and 1 week to treat (generally accepted, not code). All active rooms have a full 360 degree inspection of the adjacent rooms to confirm that the infestation has not spread.
  • A chronic bed bug problem in a room calls for different treatment methods, than previously employed, to fully exterminate the infestation.
  • Rooms are re-inspected following treatment to confirm eradication of bed bugs
  • Treatments are performed by a fully trained and licensed professional pest control company. There is too much documented evidence that bed bugs are not a do-it-yourself pest. In-house treatments will represent an inadequate effort to exterminate.

The plaintiff’s lawyer will focus on the following areas in a bed bug lawsuit:

  • Negligence – Lack of Compliance to the International Property Maintenance Code (Section 309)
    1. Property kept free from pests
    2. Pests promptly removed
    3. Precautions put in place to prevent future infestations (proactive inspections)
  • Consumer Protection
    1. Misrepresentation/Fraud– property not fit for habitation
    2. Non-disclosure of a known problem
  • Battery – the hotel put something into motion that caused harm to a person’s body or neglected to stop something that caused physical harm to a guest.

Georgia Law contains the following ruling established in 1961:

The innkeeper has a duty to inspect and is liable for such injuries caused by defects as would be disclosed by a reasonable inspection. Johnson v. John Deere Plow Co., 214 Ga. 645, 647 (106 SE2d 901) Hillinghorst v. Heart of Atlanta Motel, 104 Ga. App. 731, 1961 Ga. App. LEXIS 784 (Ga. Ct. App., October 4, 1961, Decided ).

  • Because a massive infestation present in a hotel room can be disclosed if there is a reasonable inspection by hotel staff, Georgia law finds hotels liable for bedbug injuries to their hotel guests. By Williams Oinonen, LLC.

Once a guest has filed a claim, many hotels try to fight them.  However, the following are defenses that don’t typically protect the hotel:

  1. Ignorance – willful ignorance is usually considered knowledge of the problem, commonly referred to as the “Ostrich” defense (head in the sand)
    1. A subset of this defense is to “wash hands of the issue” and move blame to the pest control provider who did not fix the problem – “I hired a professional, it is his responsibility. I don’t know anything about pest control.”  The counter to this is: “You don’t know anything about plumbing either but you know when a faucet is leaking.” Management must have oversight over their pest control company.
  • Blame of consumer for problem – “they brought it in” – if there is ANY evidence in the room or adjacent rooms of an infestation or any of the rooms have a history of being infested, then consumer blame will be hard to prove
    1. However detailed records of past inspections will provide the needed history and proof of due diligence for a good defense

In the end, the challenge we face in the hospitality industry is that the “Standard of Care” for a hotel will ultimately be defined by a jury.  So in any bed bug case the Jury will ask the following:

“Bed bugs are a known issue in hotels, did this hotel do everything in its power (what was reasonable) to protect the consumer or did they cut corners?  If so, was it intentional or unintended?  Did the consumer suffer needlessly?”  The answers to these questions will determine the multiplier for punitive damages.

The best defense is to be proactive and detailed in your inspections, training, documentation and follow through.  If you would like to know more on how Red Coat can assist your property or ownership company with a proactive bed bug prevention program, please contact John Marratt at 404-665-3985 or jmarratt@redcoatservices.com.

DISCLOSURE: I am NOT an attorney nor do I position myself as such.  Our knowledge of bed bug law is through formal pest control training and the guidance of other vested parties.  We share this information with you as a professional courtesy, all information should be reviewed with your own legal advisers prior to acting upon it.

 

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

 

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Bed Bug Success Stories – Episode 1

Our company, Red Coat Services, has been working with a variety of multifamily clients over the years.  They come to us exasperated by a constantly expanding bed bug problem.  Through frequent visibility and vigilance we have conquered the problem.  Here are their stories….(names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty)

CLIENT XYZ

The client owned a 175 unit high end apartment complex with college student and young professional residents.  Property Management knew of 7 units that had bed bug problems in the past and had already been treated by another company.  When those treatments were not successful, management contracted with Red Coat to perform full property quarterly canine inspections and whole unit heat remediation for active infestations.

Red Coat’s initial canine inspection identified 27 of 175 (15%) units infested which was a significant increase over the 7 known units.  Whole unit heat treatments were completed for all active units.

The second quarterly inspection identified 5 new units infested (3%). The third quarterly inspection identified 1 unit infested (1%).  The fourth quarterly inspection identified ZERO infested units.

Management promptly sold the property following resolution of bed bug problem.

I hope this gives you inspiration.  A big problem is not the end of your reputation or your property.  Red Coat can fix it for you!

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

 

Hotels Receive Free Treatments for Bed Bugs with RED COAT COVERAGE!

TheBedBugAnswer-ShieldOnlyBeginning this month Red Coat Services launches RED COAT COVERAGE for the hospitality industry!  Just think, you get a proactive inspection program, all the savings of non-pesticide heat treatments, and no more surprise expenses.  Rooms are back on-line faster so you can put heads in beds!

Here are the details…

  • Markets: Georgia and South Carolina
  • Type of Properties: Hotels
  • Program:   Purchase quarterly bed bug K9 inspections for your whole hotel for the year and Red Coat will perform any and all your bed bug treatments for Free!
  • Payments: Pay across the 12 months – so you can make bed bug costs a P&L expense rather than a non-budgeted capital expense!

If you would like a RED COAT COVERAGE quote for your hotel, contact John at 404-665-3985 x333 or jmarratt@redcoatservices.com.  Don’t wait till your guests get bit.  Get ahead with RED COAT COVERAGE!

Killing Bed Bugs with A Washer and Dryer

If you are trying to treat your home or your belongings  that are infested with bed bugs, the dryer is your new best friend.  I always recommend drying the items first to kill the bed bugs, then washing and drying them as normal to get the dead bugs off the clothes.  Here is a bit of research provided by Pest West Environmental  on the effectiveness of washing and drying.  Note: always treat your clothing at temps high enough to kill eggs

May The Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

 

Treatment Method Temperature & Duration Control Level
Washing machine(non-biological detergent)3.2kg – 7lb Cool – 30oC / 86oF – 30 minute wash Did not kill egg stages
Hot – 60oC / 140oF – 30 minute wash Killed all life stages
Tumble Dry3.2kg – 7lb Cool dry – 30 minutes Did not kill all stages
Hot dry – 30 minutes – 40/45oC / 104/113oF Killed all stages
Cold Soak3.2kg – 7lb Cold water – 30 minutes Killed adults/nymphs only
Cold soak – 24 hours Killed adults/nymphs only
Dry cleaning (perchloroethylene) Killed all life stages
Freezing2.5kg – 5.5lb 2 hours at -17oC / -62.6oF (8 hours to get clothes and items to -17oC / -62.6oF, takes total 10 hours of treatment) Killed all life stages

The 3 Biggest Bed Bug Mistakes Made by Property Managers Today!

If you work in multifamily housing bed bugs are an old subject by now.  But as we have all come to realize, there are ways to win this war and then there is the slow financial drain that seems never ending.  I frequently get the question…”how do we stop this!?!”  So without pointing fingers or naming names I will give you the top three reasons your bed bug problem is never-ending:

1. You did not hit it hard enough and fast enough at its on-set

Do you remember the first time you got that bed bug call?  You did not know what they were, maybe even your pest guy couldn’t identify them.  So he “put something down to kill them” and went about his merry way.  Then a month later, you got the second call and then the rest is history.

Bed bugs require an expert that fully understands the insect and is dedicated to extermination, not just control.  An expert will not be inexpensive, but they will get the job done correctly the first time and will take every precaution to prevent spreading.  Think of it like your car, if you invest in a reliable car, you save money in the long run on maintenance.  If you go with the cheap option on the front end, you will pay much more in the long run to fix it.

Time is your enemy with bed bugs.  They reproduce exponentially and they love to travel for a good meal.  A fertilized female can create a 700 bug and 1000+ egg colony in under 90 days.  You have to be looking for bed bugs to catch them early enough to protect your other units.  Frequent bed bug K9 inspections are essential to staying in-front of the issue.  Then once you find it, treat the unit ASAP.

2. You are letting your pest control provider spread the insects with pesticide

EVERY pest control provider knows that bed bugs run from pesticides.  It is not a disputed fact anymore, it is common knowledge (that is why they recommend treating surrounding units that are not infested).  This is especially important in multifamily when every unit adjoins with others on either side or above and below.  If you want to stop the spreading find a provider that treats with heat and ONLY heat.

3. You are assuming your residents will comply with their part of the bargain.

Every resident must have a vested interest in the success of their bed bug treatment.  It is critical that they understand that an active infestation in their unit will cause others to suffer.  We always recommend the following:

  1. Have the resident physically SIGN OFF stating that they have received their treatment preparation sheet, they understand what to do, and that they agree to do it by the stated treatment date. Have financial penalties for non-compliance.
  2. Always include a bed bug addendum in your lease outlining penalties for lack of notification or self-treatment of bed bugs.

So what to do now?  You may be thinking…”I do some of these, but not all”.  Then get on it!  Hit it hard and fast with an expert who won’t spread bed bugs with pesticide and institute methods with your residents to ensure the success of the treatments.  It will cost you more up front, but not in the long run.  Think about it this way: If you won’t spend the funds to do it right the first time, what makes you think you will want to spend them for the second and a third time, and a fourth, (you get the picture).

 

May the Heat be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

What a Year!

I really had no idea how long ago I last posted here.  Our followers must of thought we disappeared!  Quite the opposite, we have been sooo busy!

Our company has experienced significant growth over the last two years.  We started from scratch in 2010 and have built an organization that supports 6 families (through employment) and helps thousands of people annually with their bed bug problems.

Now, I have more people to support the effort so hopefully more time to write.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Dangerous Bed Bug Sprays

By now most of us know about the negative effects of ingesting or absorbing chemicals through our skin and the havoc it can wreck on the ecosystem. But did anyone see this coming? The residents sure didn’t.  She used a lighter after spraying the house with bed bug spray and it caught fire!

Just one more reason to call an expert at the first sign of an infestation!

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Bed Bug Epidemic Survey

NPMA Bed Bug

NPMA Bed Bug

Forget the Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List, it only tells you where a certain, specific pest control company is doing the most bed bug treatments and since any bed bug’s favorite hangout is at the buffet (ie. any place where humans spend a significant amount of time) it should come as no surprise that cities with high population and travel rates would also have more issues with bed bugs.

If you really want to learn about this epidemic, check out this survey from NPMA (National Pest Management Association).

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Scent Detection Dogs vs Service Dogs

“Is he/she your service dog?” This is a question I hear surprisingly often while I’m out on a property working with Bed Bug Detection Canine, Sade. While I’m out working with Sade, at home, a rescued golden/labrador retriever mix named Dusty, is well on her way to becoming a Certified Service dog. With experience in both sides, I can personally speak to some of the similarities and differences between the two.

Service Dogs are a type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people with physical disabilities including visual or hearing impairment, mental disabilities such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and medical alert for those suffering with diabetes, seizures, narcolepsy and even cancer.

Detection Dogs, or sniffer dogs, are trained to detect substances such as drugs, firearms, mold, currency and of course, bed bugs! Some prisons even have dogs trained to detect illicit cell phones in prisons.

Obviously, the main differences lay in their specific functions, what they’re looking for, actions they must perform and behavior (service dogs must be laid back and calm while you want to see a strong working drive in detection dogs), but little else differs.

Either dog can be bred for their specific purpose by organizations, private breeders or even selected from shelters and rescues. The training it takes to get them there is quite similar, taking six to twelve months either way for a completely certified working dog but the end result is the same, helping humans. Is it really any wonder they’re considered man’s best friend?

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

$800K Bed Bug Suit!

Attention all Managers, Landlords, and Property Owners!

If you haven’t read this article already, you need to. The jury really nailed this guy and likely set a precedent for other cases similar in nature. The situation could EASILY have been avoided had he just called a bed bug specialist to begin with. At the very least, he would have saved a ton of money and a massive headache! Not to mention the fact that he could have very easily burned the entire place down performing his own “home heat treatment.”

One of the things we at Red Coat Services constantly harp on with those who manage/own properties is liability! It is critical to educate yourself as well as your staff on bed bug biology so you at least know what you’re dealing with. Additionally, work with your local bed bug specialist to get a plan in place, so when a problem does arise (and it will eventually), they can take care of it as soon as possible. Because as we all know, the longer an infestation sits, the worse it gets and the chance of spreading grows astronomically.

However, the responsibility doesn’t sit on the shoulders of managers/owners alone. It is also crucial for tenants to learn about these vicious little blood suckers and how to look for signs of an infestation. If there is any indication whatsoever, call your local bed bug specialist K9 team to come out and take a look so they may determine the severity and extent of an infestation, or just simply give you peace of mind.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist