Health Dept. reveals local hotel bed bug complaints

By: Aaron Dimick Email
By: Aaron Dimick Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It’s a story you saw first on WEAU 13 News, bed bugs showing up in local hotels.

Now the Eau Claire City-County Health Department reveals which Eau Claire hotels have had complaints about the bugs.

The Health Department said it has gotten bed bug complains about the Rodeway Inn on Hastings Way and the Days Inn on Craig Road.

These reports show how both hotels took quick action to control their bed bug problems.

But the Health Department said it’s important to remember that just because a hotel has the bugs, it doesn’t mean they’re dirty.

“They can get into small cracks and crevasses and crawl out in the place they stop at and quite frequently that is a hotel,” said Courtenay Johnson, the Director of Environmental Health.

A complaint about the Rodeway Inn, filed with the Health Department by a guest claims they found six bed bugs on their bed.

Another complaint about the Days Inn on Craig Road showed bed big sniffing dogs looking for the blood sucking pests.

Both documents show the hotels took swift action.

“I haven’t seen a hotel or heard of one anywhere else that's allowed a bed bug infestation to persist,” Johnson said.

The Rodeway Inn’s manager, Sally Jo Birtzer said in a statement:

"Although the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) estimates there has been an increase in bed bugs in America over the last several years, the increase has had a minimal impact on the vast majority of hotels. Bed bugs are brought into hotels by guests; it is not a hotel sanitation issue. Education, awareness, and vigilance are critical. A trained and knowledgeable housekeeping staff is one of the best lines of defense, along with having regular pest control inspections as we have in place at the Rodeway Inn and Suites."

The Director of Environmental Health said there’s no link between bed bugs and hotel cleanliness and an infestation can pop up anywhere.

“Bed bugs hitch a ride on luggage, clothing; anything that people travel with,” Johnson said.

She said they can multiply very rapidly and as long as a room is being occupied they can take their blood meals and continue to reproduce.

“Bed bugs can live from anywhere from 9 months to a year without a blood meal,” Johnson said.

Days Inn management said they’re working on a statement.


EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- After invading houses and apartment buildings in other states, bed bugs are hitting up hotels in the Chippewa Valley.

The owner of the Baymont Inn & Suites in Eau Claire said they’re looking into a case where a customer complained about seeing bed bugs Thursday night.

On Friday, WEAU 13 News talked with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department about our area’s bed bug problem.

Courtenay Johnson, the Director of Environmental Health, said bed bugs in hotels are nothing new.

“We have received a couple of complaints on hotels in this past year,” Johnson said.

Although the Health Department has authority to shut a building down if it’s infested with the creepy crawlies, Johnson said it’s up to a business to contact them if they have bed bugs.

“They’re required to take care of them if they find them but there is no reporting requirement,” Johnson said.

Bed bugs are a parasitic insect about the size of an apple seed.

While the bugs do pose a public health concern, Johnson said there’s no evidence they carry disease.

She said bites can cause allergic reactions and secondary infections.

Dax Patel, the owner of the Baymont Inn said management is taking the matter very seriously and have contacted the Health Department.

“We don’t know if it’s bed bugs yet. She complained last night. We’re investigating whether it was bed bugs or something else,” Patel said.

Johnson said you can keep the blood-sucking bugs out of your house by checking out the hotels you rest your head at.

“Check the mattresses, cracks and crevasses. Protect luggage; launder everything using hot water and high heat dryer settings. You can take care of it before it infests your home,” Johnson said.

WEAU 13 News called several different hotels in Eau Claire and didn’t find any other bed bug problems.

Paperwork detailing which hotels in the area have had bed bug complaints should be available next week.

Count on and WEAU 13 News for continuing coverage of this Consumer Alert.

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