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Bed bugs – A growing problem in holiday homes

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No matter if you’re at home or on holiday, your bedroom should be a safe haven. Somewhere you can relax and recuperate after a long day at the beach, with the kids or simply going about your daily tasks.  Imagine how comfortable you’d feel if you knew that as soon as you slipped between your sheets, ready to enjoy some well-deserved shut-eye, you’d be surrounded by thousands of bugs eager to bite!

Let us introduce you to the ever-growing problem of bed bugs!

What exactly are bed bugs?

We’ve all heard of them, but contrary to their name and popular opinion, you won’t just find these little critters in your bed! They are often found in areas that people spend prolonged periods of time.  The sofa, aeroplanes and hotels or holiday homes are all potential destinations for a bed bug. 

Whilst they’re innocuous in size, the squeamish part of the bed bug comes from its diet.  They’re able to feed on the blood of any warm-blooded animal but have a particular liking for humans as we’re not quite a furry as the cats and dogs you’ll find in 44% of British homes.

When it’s time for dinner they inject the skin with their saliva in order to keep the blood from clotting, before adding anaesthetic to prevent the host from feeling the bite and moving.  All very well planned out!

The growth in bed bugs and the problems it poses

Unfortunately, there has been a massive growth in global bed bug levels since 2006, due in part to the fact that a female bug is able to lay as many as 500 eggs in a lifetime, but also because of increases in air travel and tourism which have made it easier for them to reach far flung places with relative ease.

British Airways reported problems in 2017 when passengers on a long-haul flight became infested by the bugs, with cabin crew refusing to work on the aeroplane causing a number of cancellations at the time.

Another reason we’ve experienced such a peak in numbers is also due to the use of insecticides. Continued usage within our homes has meant that they’ve been increasingly resistant to chemical treatments and we have instead created a type of ‘super bed bug’, unaffected by many more things than the original.

The sectors most effected by bed bugs

It’s not surprising that holiday homes, hotels and other tourism accommodation providers are often bearing the brunt of an increase in the population of bed bugs.  A high turnover of people throughout the year combined with many hours spent in a property can lead to something of a perfect storm for an infestation.  The key to success in term of dealing with bed bugs is early identification or even better, preventative measures. 

You can find out more about what you can do to avoid bed bugs becoming a part of your holiday home here:

The holiday home insurance implications

Some individuals have made personal injury insurance claims as the result of bed bug bites, with package holiday providers Tui and Thomas Cook both seeing a rise in claims. Although bites are usually painless, they will often cause skin irritation and inflammation, as well as severe itching, and produce an allergic reaction in some unlucky victims or children. Compensation has also been sought for associated losses, such as the enjoyment of the holiday itself which can increase the level of any claim. The best policy here is to prevent the issue before it arises by undertaking as many preventative procedures within your maintenance and cleaning policies, particularly in a time when negative online reviews can spread as quickly as those bed bugs.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

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