Seven prominent casino resort hotels on the Las Vegas Strip have been identified in a new report as having incidents with bed bugs over the past 18 months.
The presence of the invasive bugs will raise alarm among many guests. That’s even though evidence says infestations remain an infrequent occurrence that are not directly related to cleanliness or hygiene.
A new report from the Southern Nevada Health District, obtained by local Las Vegas news outlet KLAS, revealed the details of each complaint.
The hotels identified with bed bug issues include Circus Circus, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, The Palazzo, Tropicana Las Vegas, MGM Grand, and the Sahara Las Vegas.
Specific incidents include a guest at the Tropicana Las Vegas spotting bed bugs in February, while another visitor was bitten at Caesars Palace in January. Last year, a guest at the Sahara found and killed a bed bug in their room in October. Similarly, bed bugs were discovered in rooms at Circus Circus and the MGM Grand in June and January 2022, respectively.
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While the presence of bed bugs in hotels is relatively rare, especially in high- end properties like most of those on the Las Vegas Strip, the affected hotels are also proactive in getting rid of the pests when they do show up.
“While highly unlikely, in the event of a complaint, we immediately isolate the affected room and its surrounding areas,” said Arik Knowles, vice president and general manager, at The Tropicana.
“At that point, a third-party service will evaluate the situation and provide a recommendation on appropriate next steps, including professional treatment should anything be found.”
Bed Bugs Bite
Bed bugs, scientifically known as ciimex lectularius are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed exclusively on the blood of humans and animals while they sleep. They are often reddish-brown and can range in size from 1mm to 7mm. These pests often reside in cracks, crevices, and the seams of soft furnishings.
Contrary to popular belief, the cleanliness of a room doesn’t necessarily correlate with the presence of bed bugs. The risk is more often associated with visitors coming from regions where these pests are prevalent. With the surge in international visitors to Las Vegas over the past two years showing no signs of slowing down, bed bug infestations have been on the rise.
The discovery of bed bugs in such high-profile hotels underscores the challenges the hospitality industry faces in maintaining impeccable standards. Hotels, because of their high occupancy turnover, are particularly susceptible to bed bug infestations. Guests can unknowingly introduce these pests into rooms via infested luggage, clothing, or other personal items.
Little That Can Be Done
While obviously a little off-putting for guests, there really isn’t much more casino resorts can do to address the issue when travelers can inadvertently bring the pests in with them.
Luxury hotels across the U.S. all occasionally suffer from the blood-sucking bugs, including those in New York. The Big Apple’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted a study that concluded there aren’t many effective countermeasures other than proactive response.
“There is little that can be done to prevent guests from bringing in bed bugs,” the agency concluded. “No hotel is immune to a bed bug infestation.”
It may also be worth noting that one 2019 study of the 50 cities with the most bed bugs did not feature Las Vegas. Maybe that will help you sleep tight, next time you’re in Sin City.