Updated February 25th, 2023: Roaches in hotels are a serious concern. Not only do these pests annoy your guests, but they can also tarnish your business’s good name. In the worst-case scenario, cockroaches can contribute to several health issues in your tenants, which may even result in you getting sued.
Cockroaches In Hotels
In this article, we look at everything about eliminating roaches from hotels, including where they can be found, what you can do, and ways to prevent a cockroach infestation in the future.
We’ll also discuss some common FAQs that you may have regarding cockroaches in hotel.
Why Are Hotels So Prone to Roach Infestation?
Research shows that cockroaches and bed bugs are the most common pests in hotel rooms. The biggest reason for this is the foot traffic in hotels; roaches like living in areas with humans where they can steal food and get shelter, and there are plenty of both in hotels.
Here is a more detailed overview of the things that make cockroaches common in hotel rooms:
Hotels cater to a lot of people at once. Furthermore, not every guest wants to eat in the dining areas and will want food delivered to their rooms, giving roaches an opportunity to spread.
In addition, even after eating, dirty dishes may be left out for relatively longer periods before being collected by the cleaners. This gives the bugs more time to steal the crumb and leftovers.
With so many places to shelter and reproduce, we could say that hotels are like havens for cockroaches. Hotels tend to have large areas, meaning that they can fit more populations of these ugly pests. Moreover, roaches become hard to find and have more places to run.
These days, hotels need to offer many facilities to the guests to remain competitive. This includes bathrooms with hot tubs, multiple sinks, jacuzzis, and hi-fi electronic devices. Unfortunately, these are all places where cockroaches can stay and lay eggs.
3. Foot Traffic
Sometimes, cockroaches can tag along with guests. Especially when traveling, people may have dirty and sweaty dresses in their luggage, and cockroaches are also known to feed on bodily fluids and even stained fabric.
The situation is still favorable to roaches when the guests bathe. These crawlers are hydrophilic, meaning they love moist places, and the wet bathroom floor and sinks give them an environment where they can thrive.
The Early Signs of Roaches in Hotel
Remember, there’s a reason that roaches have been able to survive for 140 million years and have quite the history. Find out why a cockroach is called a cockroach. They’re good at disguising themselves, and sometimes, you may not even be able to notice cockroaches in your hotel until the problem becomes significant.
The idea is to get rid of them as soon as possible, and for that, you’ll need to know how you can spot roach signs in your facility:
Presence of Cockroach Eggs
Cockroach eggs are enclosed in a biological casing called ootheca. After producing these shells, the females hide them to protect them from predators and even other cockroaches.
Especially if you find ootheca in the open, it means that the infestation problem is very big since the cockroach couldn’t even find proper hiding areas for it. If they are hiding, here’s our guide on getting roaches out of their hiding spots!
What Do Cockroach Egg Casings Look Like?
The ootheca is shaped like a small pill or a purse (say like a kidney bean or pumpkin seed).
The size can vary depending on the species- palmetto bugs and german cockroaches lay smaller eggs about 8mm long. In contrast, the ones of oriental and smoky brown cockroaches can even reach the length of 12 mm. Brown-banded cockroaches have the smallest oothecae, which may not even be 5 mm.
In terms of color, most cockroach egg shells are either black or dark brown, but german cockroaches have tan-colored shells.
Cockroaches defecate as they walk. Hence, their poops spread everywhere. In addition, their cockroach droppings are used by other roaches to navigate safe routes, and again, these other roaches will also poop in the same area, causing the dirt to build up.
Cockroach feces look like specks of pepper or coffee grounds. They’re like small oval-shaped grains that can be black or dark brown.
As cockroaches become adults and grow in size, they’ll need to shed their skin about 5 to 8 times in their lives. As they do so, they will leave behind an exoskeleton that is light brown and cockroach shaped. Some may even mistake the shed skin for a dead roach.
Cockroaches give off a musty and oily smell like rotten soy sauce. This smell is generally not detectable in a single roach, but you’ll definitely notice it if there are many of these buggers in the hotel room.
There are many reasons cockroaches have a bad smell. This includes the pheromones their bodies secrete to communicate with other roaches, the chemical odor they leave when they die, and the dirt clinging to their bodies as they live in unsanitary conditions.
Damage to Property
This one is uncommon in hotels where food is abundant, but cockroaches can eat about everything when the situation arises. Of course, given their size, they won’t chomp away stuff but can leave tiny bite marks on cloth fabric, paper, and even your guest’s hair.
Cockroaches make a hissing sound, which is like a very disturbing chirp. However, they don’t do so to communicate; these insects only make noises when they feel threatened, are fighting, or when attracting mates.
Places Where Cockroaches Can Hide in a Hotel Room
Before moving to the next part, let’s discuss the places where you are more likely to find roaches inside a hotel:
Bathrooms tend to have a lot of moisture and shadows. Bathroom sinks, tubs, and toilets are perfect hiding spots for cockroaches since these places are also great water sources. Always check your bathroom for cockroaches first!
Laundry rooms give cockroaches warmth, moisture, and even food. They can eat the stains on the clothes, and the insides of washing machines are also perfect hiding places for them.
This doesn’t really need to be explained much. There’s food and water in the kitchen, and there are also holes. Especially if your kitchen has a lot of roaches, you’ll need to be very careful since you may end up serving diseases to your guests.
Best Ways to Get Rid of Roach Infestation in a Hotel
Now that you know why most hotels struggle with roach problems, we will discuss the actual prevention methods.
1. Call a Pest Management Professional
Did you know that cockroaches are getting harder to kill day by day? There’s a reason these insects are one of the oldest species in the world; their bodies are known to create cross-resistance to multiple types of pesticides, and they can adapt to any kind of situation.
No food? They’ll eat their own vomits. Cut their head off? They’ll still live for up to seven days. Furthermore, roaches are known to reproduce very quickly; their average lifespan is twenty to thirty weeks, but a single female can birth more than 200 offspring during this time.
Hence, removing cockroaches from large area like a hotel is easier said than done. If the infestation is already serious, you must call a pest professional who can help you strategically eliminate pests using the latest removal techniques.
2. Glue Strips
Glue strips are long thin sheets that are covered in a sticky substance. You put food in them and place them near the places you’ve seen cockroaches. And as the roaches try to eat the food, they’ll be trapped in the strips.
Glue strips are generally recommended for a smaller infestation since a single strip can’t hold a lot of roaches. Furthermore, placing them in every hotel room isn’t possible. Anyway, you can still use them to get a clue about the extent of your cockroach problems.
3. Cockroach Gel Bait
Gel bait is a special pesticide that can attract and kill cockroaches when consumed. Moreover, the bait can also kill other roaches that ingest the feces or sputum of the affected ones.
As per experts, if used correctly, the effect of cockroach gel bait can be compared to professional extermination.
These baits are especially effective in places with cockroaches but less food, such as bathrooms and laundry areas.
4. Cockroach Chalks
If you think placing cockroach gels or strips in a hotel room gives a negative message, you can consider using cockroach chalks. These chalks contain certain chemicals that can stick to the body of roaches and choke them.
You can draw lines in the main entrance of the rooms and every bathroom door. Pests like ants and cockroaches will die if they step on the line.
You can also use food-grade diatomaceous earth for cockroaches.. But make sure that you draw thin lines; otherwise, the insects may see the line and just walk around it.
5. Cockroach Sprays
Cockroach sprays are easy to get, but you should only use them after testing other methods. They release many toxins that can not only degrade the indoor air quality but also contribute to adverse health effects like headache, dizziness, eye irritation, and even an increased risk of cancer.
While using sprays, ensure you only spray on crevices and open holes where roaches reside. Avoid spraying on the floor, walls, or baseboard since the pests don’t spend much time on these places.
How to Avoid Cockroach Infestation in a Hotel Room?
Here are some things that you can do to avoid cockroaches in a hotel room:
1. Clean Regularly
Messy rooms attract roaches, so the hotel management should put extra emphasis on cleaning. This includes making the bed for tenants daily, dusting the windows, removing every crumb of food from the floor, etc.
Tip: After cleaning the rooms, you can mix essential oils such as peppermint oil with water and spray the mixture around beds and other areas where you don’t want roaches.
2. Keep Food Away from the Roaches
At the end of the day, the abundance of food is one of the biggest reasons roaches invade hotels. Hence, you’ll have to follow some guidelines to isolate cockroaches from the food as much as possible:
- Clean and sanitize the kitchen regularly
- Block any crevices or holes from where the roaches can get into the food storage
- Remove the plates immediately after the guests eat
- Create ‘designated dining areas’ or tables in the guest rooms
- Wipe off any spilled food and drinks as soon as possible
3. Block Leaked Pipes
The areas under leaky pipes are moist and can attract roaches. Thus, checking for leaky pipes should be your priority when chasing roaches from your hotel.
After fixing the pipes, don’t forget to wipe off the water that has dripped on the floor or the walls. Pay special attention to mold or mildew; as said before, the musty smell attracts cockroaches.
4. Remove Hiding Areas
Sealing holes in the floor and walls can work wonders for removing cockroaches from your hotel. Furthermore, avoid putting items such as unneeded furniture, electronics, and cardboard boxes in the rooms since cockroaches can hide in these things.
Other things to limit include baseboards and trims, table or wall clocks, picture frames, etc.
5. Inspect and Clean Every Bathroom
As said before, the bathroom and the toilet offer many hiding spots for cockroaches. Hence, it’s crucial to ensure that your hotel bathrooms are clean and shiny at all times.
Specially check the areas underneath sinks and taps where there’s a lot of moisture. You’ll also have to seal crevices around your drain pipes with plaster cement or even duct tape.
Finally, you’ll need to clean fabrics like towels and robes rightaway after use because they can propagate a bad smell.
6. Collaborate With the Guests
One way to do this is asking the guests to call the front desk immediately when they see a pest.
Of course, you don’t need to tell every person coming in that you have cockroaches, but just make people aware that you are serious about the sanitization in your hotel and would always appreciate feedback.
At the same time, it may be a good idea to offer laundry services and build bathrooms with good facilities that would make your customers want to bathe as soon as they come in.
7. Kill Roaches as Soon as You See Them
Yucky, but this is really important. Cockroaches multiply fast if given a chance, so it’s a good idea to stop them as soon as you see them.
Also, we’re not saying you should carry an insecticide with you all the time. Despite the many chemicals and gels, a good old smack is the best way to kill a roach and ensure that it’s dead.
Remember to dispose of the body outside your hotel since it can attract other of its friends who are still alive. Wear rubber gloves and wash your hands after doing the dirty work.
Don’t forget to clean and wipe the floor where the remains of the roach are, including its exoskeleton or bodily fluids.
Can I Get Rid of Roaches Completely From My Hotel?
Yes, you can. Even if the problem is huge, you can exterminate roaches to the point that they no longer contaminate food or disturb your guests.
But do remember that even with professional help, it may take a few months depending on factors like the extent of the problem, your location, if the hotel can be closed down for a while, etc.
But as said before, roaches are one of the most extant animals, and you may see one or two of them every now and then, even after removing them. However, if you follow the preventive measures correctly, they aren’t very likely to multiply.
Along with this many times with cockroaches in hotels it is a multi faceted solution, it will generally involve perimeter treatments, interior treatments, a new cleaning regiment, as well as something such as cockroach IGR which ensures they can’t reproduce.
Can Your Hotel Get Sued for Having Roaches?
Recently, there was news of a person suing a hotel because he claimed that a cockroach crawled into his ears to cause hearing loss.
Since there aren’t specific laws regarding this, chances are that you won’t be sued as long as the pests don’t cause significant damage to your guests.
However, you will have to remember how a cockroach infestation can get you negative reviews from your customers and ruin the brand standing of your hotel.
Along with this, there are reports that roaches can crawl in your mouth when you sleep, which could potentially lead to an emotion distress lawsuit towards your hotel!
Final Thoughts On Cockroaches In Hotels
Cockroaches are a nuisance for any hotel, and contrary to popular belief, they aren’t only caused by uncleanliness. In fact, they will get into any place where they’ll find food and shadows. Hence, the key to chasing them away includes limiting their food supply and minimizing their hiding places.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on cockroaches in hotels and it’s given you some tips and tricks to keep your hotel cockroach free!