1800-212-212-5 Call us toll free Contact us

How to prevent the top 5 pests annoy hotel guests

An encounter with a pest in a hotel can ruin a guest’s stay and result in negative comments on social media spreading a bad reputation for the hotel, seriously affecting business. An infestation of pests can also result in authorities taking legal action to ensure public safety, especially if the kitchens, restaurants and bars are affected.

Pests can enter any class of hotel — some are brought in by the guests themselves — so it is essential for every hotel to have effective procedures for preventing, monitoring and controlling pests.

Five of the most common pests that guests encounter in hotels are:

  • bed bugs
  • cockroaches
  • flies
  • rodents

Bed bugs


In the last two decades bed bugs have become more common with the increase in international travel. Bed bugs are the most difficult pest to prevent from entering a hotel because they are mainly brought onto the premises by guests themselves — even the best hotels can suffer from an infestation.

Bed bugs can survive for several months without feeding so can easily be taken from hotel to hotel in luggage over several trips.

No guest wants to return from a hotel with a set of irritating bites that can last for days. A lingering reminder of a bad experience is far more likely to lead to a complaint on social media.

The key to preventing bed bugs attacking the guests is to identify the problem as early as possible and take steps to eliminate them.

Bed bug feeding

Bed bugs are attracted to a feeding host by warmth, carbon dioxide and various body chemicals. They need to stay near potential hosts to be successful at getting a blood meal. If they are starved, however, they will crawl some distance and spread from room to room, both horizontally and vertically to other floors.

Bed bugs are mainly nocturnal feeders, crawling out of their shelters in the dark and using their sensors to find a warm, breathing body. They crawl on the bedding and feed where bare skin touches the bedding, which is usually face, neck, hands and arms, leaving a distinctive line of bites on the skin. Bed bugs need only 5-10 minutes of undisturbed feeding to be full.

With an adequate supply of blood, a female bed bug can lay 200-500 eggs per month. The eggs hatch and the young mature into adults over about 5 weeks, which can lead to a rapid increase in population if not checked.

Bed bug prevention

Prevention of bed bugs requires an integrated approach to detect and eliminate them economically, with minimal danger to guests and staff, property, and the environment.

An effective bed bug prevention strategy requires a system of:

  • inspection, identification and quantification
  • implementing control measures
  • monitoring the effectiveness of controls

The best strategy is to implement suitable measures to prevent an infestation taking hold:

  • good maintenance practices to remove access to harbourage in the building structure and fittings
  • use of bed bug traps to detect their presence
  • train staff how to detect signs of bed bugs
  • include checking for bed bugs in your room cleaning procedures
  • set up an effective policy for dealing with a bed bug infestation
  • have a procedure in place for handling bed bug complaints from guests

Find out more information on bed bug control.



Cockroaches are a pest where there are readily available food sources. In hotels, cockroaches can infest kitchens, restaurants, bars, public washrooms in the lobby or bathrooms in the guest rooms. They are primarily nocturnal, preferring to stay in a shelter during daytime and searching for food at night. They take shelter in small dark places in furniture, equipment, food packaging, cracks and crevices in the building structure, and in hidden places such as along pipework and cables and inside drain pipes and sewers.

There are several species of cockroach with slightly differing habitat preferences, but generally they prefer warm and humid places.

Apart from a negative reaction customers and staff may have on encountering this insect, cockroaches are a health hazard due to their habits of:

  • feeding on foul contaminated matter such as mould, rotting food, faecal matter in sewers, from rodents and birds, and animal carcasses
  • contaminating their environment by defecating where they run, frequently expelling saliva on surfaces to ‘taste’ their environment, and discarding cast skins and egg cases
  • carrying pathogenic microorganisms, such as SalmonellaStaphylococcusListeriaE. coli and parasitic worms
  • producing allergens from their droppings and shed skins

Cockroach prevention

Cockroaches can feed on almost anything organic, including cardboard, and on tiny amounts of foods and liquids, therefore good sanitation is the key to prevention. This includes:

  • good cleaning practices in food storage and preparation areas to eliminate any residues on surfaces, including floors
  • store food in cockroach-proof containers
  • maintain drainage system in good condition
  • implement waste handling processes to remove waste to suitable containers in a well maintained waste storage area
  • good building design and maintenance to deny access and shelter
  • implement a good inspection regime to quickly identify the presence of cockroaches eg in deliveries

Find out more information on cockroaches.

Rentokil’s cockroach treatment

Rentokil technicians know the best solutions to control cockroach infestations and reduce the risk of re-infestation. Our highly trained and experienced technicians will provide:

  • safe, targeted treatments: we use products that are non-toxic to humans and pets, which are highly targeted at the places where cockroaches hide
  • expert knowledge: after identifying the type of cockroach, we will use the most appropriate treatment (sprays, gel baits, dusting powders) to eliminate the problem safely and effectively
  • professional prevention advice: our technician will highlight areas of cockroach infestation and where proofing is needed to prevent further problems with useful prevention tips.
  • long-term support: our technician will arrange follow up visits if needed to re-treat the infestation — such as to eliminate newly hatched cockroaches — until your problem is fully resolved



number of species of fly that are attracted to food products, including food waste, are pests in hotels. House flies, fruit flies, drain flies and blow flies are attracted to the food odours from kitchens and food preparation areas. The main pest species are the housefly and the fruit fly.

House fly

house fly

House flies are not just a nuisance to guests, they are also a health hazard from their habit of feeding and breeding on animal faeces, garbage and rotting food.

House flies are attracted to almost any food, which they will contaminate on landing on it, with matter picked up on their body, from regurgitating digestive juices and from defecating on the food.

Microorganisms that flies carry include: E. coliCampylobacterCryptosporidium, fungi and parasitic worms.

House flies can be a problem in restaurants, bars, kitchens, lobby areas and food delivery areas. Also, where food waste is stored outside flies can become a nuisance and enter rooms nearby via open windows and doors.

Fruit fly

Fruit flies are attracted to fermenting and sugary liquids. Sources of these include food waste, overripe and damaged fruit and some types of vegetable, old drinks bottles, liquid spills, kitchen drains.

Fruit flies can contaminate food because they will pick up microorganisms from wherever they feed, including faeces, which contains both spoilage microorganisms and diseases.

Fruit flies can be a pest in bars and restaurants, where many sweet and fermented drinks are served, kitchens and near food waste storage areas. The eggs are laid in semi-liquid material in rotting fruit and vegetables. The life cycle from egg to adult is completed in 14 days at 20℃ or just 8 days at 30℃.

Find out more information about pest flies that can infest hotels.

Fly prevention

The most important way to control flies is by using standard food hygiene practices to deny them access to food sources, including food waste. These include:

  • adequate cleaning in food preparation, storage and serving areas
  • checking the state of food supplies as they are delivered and in storage
  • hygienic management of food waste, including use of fly-proof containers
  • keep drains clean and free of organic matter
  • maintain barriers to flies, by using screens on windows and vents and keeping doors closed
  • use UV light traps to eliminate flies in food handling and storage areas — see the Rentokil Lumnia range of LED fly killers can catch flies efficiently while reducing energy consumptions
  • apply appropriate pesticides using trained personnel — only use as a last resort

See how professional fly treatments can protect against flies


Rats and mice are attracted to hotels by the food supplies in kitchens, restaurants and waste storage areas. Populations can quickly build up if there are poor food and waste handling practices.

It is not just guests’ reactions to rodents that can damage a hotel business; rodents can contaminate food and surfaces they run along with a range of diseases, including SalmonellaE. coliLeptospirosis. They cause stock loss and can also damage packaging, fixtures, equipment and even wiring.

Staff should be trained how to spot the signs of rodents and implement procedures for their control. Distinctive signs of rats and mice include:

  • droppings
  • distinctive noises: gnawing, scurrying, squeeks
  • smudge marks along walls, piping and electrical cables
  • gnaw marks around holes in the building and on food and packaging

Rodent prevention

The most important means of preventing rodents, as with the other pests that are attracted to food, is eliminating their access to food, water and shelter inside and outside the hotel. Standard food hygiene practices in the food delivery, storage, preparation, serving and disposal areas area essential to deny rats and mice access to food.

Doorways, vents, windows and entry points for pipes and cables, should be designed to have no gaps and maintained to prevent holes forming around them. Rats and mice, especially the young, can squeeze through tiny gaps — a pencil-sized gap under a door is enough for a small mouse to get in.

Traps and poisons can be used to control rodents, but these are governed by various pieces of legislation, including food law and also environmental, wildlife, health and safety laws. Hotel operators should use professional pest controllers to ensure legal compliance and effective control, helping to protect brand reputation.

Rentokil’s PestConnect system provides a humane, safe and hygienic way to eliminate, monitor and prevent mice and rats from infesting your property.

Rentokil’s rodent control solutions

Rentokil offers industry-leading rodent control expertise and technology.The  myRentokil customer portal can be used as part of an effective Integrated Pest Management service that provides:

  • continuous automated monitoring and protection against pests
  • effective and immediate treatment to control and minimise negative business impacts
  • fast response from skilled technicians who will identify sources of infestations and any further action needed
  • easy-to-access, real-time reporting gives immediate status of incidents online
  • improved audit compliance provides additional assurance to third-party auditors.


Pest control for the hospitality sector

Rentokil has over 85 years of experience in providing pest management solutions for the hospitality sector

Pest awareness programs

Pest Awareness Program for customer workforce.