Phila. hotels fight back against bed bugs

CENTER CITY; March 25, 2010

However, there are isolated infestations.

And today, members of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association met in center city to learn the latest about detecting and elimination the biting bugs.

The seminar was led by BedBug Central, an arm of Cooper Pest Solutions of Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

They service clients, including hotels, nationwide.

Robert DiJoseph, of BedBug Central, says the problem is actually bigger OUTSIDE hotels.

"Definitely apartments, apartment buildings, universities, and definitely in New York and New Jersey, office buildings, healthcare."

Despite the "bed" bug name, the quarter-inch insects also live in carpeting, and upholstery.

They can come in with travelers on luggage or clothing, so hotels are vulnerable.

Today, managers learned about the latest ways to detect and destroy the unwanted guests.

John Cochie, innkeeper of the Alexander Inn in center city says he's taken preventive steps, such as regular inspections with a bug-detecting dog, encasing beds in protective coverings, training housekeepers on detection, and replacing fabric upholstery with leather.

Cochie and his partner also put the luggage rack out and open in the room, so guests won't be tempted to put a potentially-infested suitcase on a chair or bed.

"Let's not give these bugs a place to hide," Cochie says.

He feels ALL business operators need to be more open about the problems.

"Whether it's the hotel industry, the cruise line industry, the multi-family apartment industry, even the people that live in the mansions on the Main Line, need to understand this is something that won't just go away, " Cochie told Action News.

He went on, "This is something that the more we talk about, the easier it's going to be for all of us to do our part to minimize the problem."

Experts say bed bugs have been around for thousands of years, and are likely to be around for thousands more.

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