By Doreen Allison. Bedding. Published at Saturday, May 12th, 2018 - 01:42:03 AM.
The financial impact of a bed bug suit can be substantial. In the 2003 landmark case (Matthias v. Accor Economy Lodging); Toronto siblings who stayed in a bed bug-infested motel room received a jury award of $382,000 in their suit against Motel 6. In 2006, a Chicago couple sued a Catskills resort for $20 million, saying they were physically and mentally scarred after suffering 500 bed bug bites. "I was horrified to see all of those bites all over my body," said plaintiff Leslie Fox. "I was miserable. My skin felt as if it was on fire and I wanted to tear it off." In 2007, New York opera star Allison Trainer sued the Hilton hotel chain for $6 million claiming she suffered more than 100 bed bug bites at a Hilton Suites in Phoenix. Her story was widely reported in the press: "They were all over the bed and the comforter and the pillows and I pulled the sheets off and they were just everywhere." Her attorney documented 150 bites and 23 scars. Just last month a New York Supreme Court judge ruled that two Maryland tourists bitten by bed bugs during a 2003 stay at the Milford Plaza could proceed with their $2 million negligence suit, though punitive damages were denied.
What you don‘t see is hotels suing guests who bring bed bugs with them. Adept hitchhikers, they enter hotel rooms in guests‘ luggage or on their clothing. Most won‘t leave with the guest; they‘ll nest in and near the bed awaiting the next occupant and their next meal. Bed bugs are not a sanitation issue. About the size of an apple seed, the tiny nocturnal pests are nuisance parasites that feed on human blood. They do not transmit disease but can cause considerable emotional distress. In about 50% of their victims, bed bug bites produce itchy red welts that may take two days to develop, complicating detection. Many hotel guests check out before an infestation is discovered. Prolific breeders, females can produce up to 500 eggs during their one-year lifespan.
If you‘re in the hospitality industry, this is one website you don‘t want to find yourself on. BedbugRegistry.com is a free public database that encourages people to report bed bug experiences, specifically at hotels. There‘s a quick reporting form for listing the hotel name and street address which is translated into a dot-covered map of the U.S. showing the locations of each reported infestation. A list of the hotels and other infestation sites is provided to warn travelers. What the site doesn‘t do is verify reports, nor does it indicate when a hotel has successfully remedied the problem. The old adage there‘s no such thing as bad publicity doesn‘t carry any credence with hoteliers. They know that even a whispered rumor can have a disastrous effect on business. Websites that detail horror-laced reports of being eaten alive by bed bugs during an overnight stay in a hotel or motel play on growing public hysteria about these blood-sucking parasites. Fanned by a blitz of media attention, an accusation can instantly damage a hotel‘s hard-earned reputation and frighten away guests.
Experts on bed bugs suggest that the speed of the bed bug‘s development rely on the right temperature, about 70 - 90° F. At that rate they can complete their transition from eggs to adult bed bug in a month. Cool temperatures and limited access to a prey can delay the full maturity of the bed bugs. However, this does not mean that they die easily. Bed bugs have been compared to cockroaches in resilience. Bed bugs can survive months at a time not feeding. The adults can even stay alive for a year or more without a blood meal. Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures. As parasites, they move unnoticeably within our homes, furniture, carpets, bed, etc... Although they can‘t fly, they are very quick insects and can move with ease through almost every surface.
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