Managing Bed Bugs in Airbnb: Essential Tips for Hosts [2024]

Bed bugs are never a welcome guest in any Airbnb. Find out how to deal with them and if getting bed bug insurance coverage is worth it.

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If you’ve ever dealt with bed bugs in your own home, you know how nasty they can get. But for vacation and short-term rental owners and managers, this can be a nightmare on a whole other level.

In this article, find out what to do if you see bed bugs in Airbnb and why it’s imperative to have Airbnb bed bug insurance to help you deal with these pesky creatures.

How Airbnb Protects You From Bed Bug Liability

The short answer is, they don’t. A few Airbnb hosts have voiced their disappointment over Airbnb’s lack of action regarding bed bugs.

Some hosts have also aired frustration about the lack of assistance from Airbnb in dealing with booking adjustments, cancellations, and refunds brought about by bed bug issues. 

What to Do If You See a Bed Bug in Your Vacation Rental

Consider the issue urgent if you or your guests see a bed bug. Here are some measures you should take immediately when you spot a bed bug in your Airbnb vacation rental.

Relocate Guests

Your first course of action, aside from making the necessary apologies, is to relocate your guests immediately.

Whether it’s changing to another room within your property, transferring them to a whole different property, or even going as far as assisting them in booking another hotel or short-term rental, the crucial thing is that you need to relocate them to a location away from where the bed bugs were sighted.

Check for a Bed Bug Infestation

Never leave it up to chance. If a guest reported seeing a lone bed bug, or you saw one yourself, consider the whole room and property compromised.

Check for the early signs of infestation:

  • Bloody or reddish-rust stains on curtains, bed sheets, or pillowcases
  • Bed bug droppings
  • An overwhelming musty, rusty smell
  • Egg shells and skin sheddings

Advanced infestations will be easy to spot: these creepy crawlers will be crawling all over your room or property. 

Immediately Remove Beddings

If you see the above signs, you or your cleaning service provider should immediately remove the bedding, curtains, and pillowcases.

Wash them with hot water and dry them using the maximum dryer settings.

Call Your Cleaning Service Provider

Your cleaning service provider should be familiar with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protocol for treatment against bed bugs. They should be able to help you deal with this problem.

In fact, it should be one of the things they should also be looking out for and preventing when they clean your vacation rental up. But in the case of an advanced infestation…

Call An Exterminator

You’re better off calling an exterminator to handle the situation for you. It would also be a great opportunity to scour the rest of your short-term rental property for any other infestation problems.

This can be quite an expensive option, but, as they say, better safe than sorry. 

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Immediately come clean to your insurance provider and explain the issue.

If you don’t have a dedicated bed bug insurance coverage like the one offered by Proper Insurance (hang on, we’ll talk about that in a second), the costs of dealing with the pesky crawlers can be recouped through a Loss of Income coverage (which should come with a standard short-term or vacation rental insurance policy).

The issue qualifies under said coverage, especially when you have to cancel subsequent bookings after the bed bug sighting in order to deal with getting rid of them. 

Proper Insurance Bed Bug Insurance Coverage

It’s a good thing that our friends over at Proper Insurance had the foresight to see that this is a serious issue—that they tailor-penned a coverage that can be tacked on to your Proper Insurance short-term or vacation rental insurance.

How Proper Insurance Protects You From Bed Bugs Liability

Up to $1M Commercial Liability Coverage

In the event that a guest files a claim against you over bed bug bites and other bed bug-related issues, Proper’s $1M Commercial Liability coverage can go toward legal fees and court costs as well as settlements.

Up to $15K Extermination and Loss of Income Coverage

Bed bug extermination costs can rack up to over a whopping $2,000 to get rid of these unwelcome guests. That’s before accounting for lost income from canceled bookings when you’re in the process of exterminating.

With Proper Insurance Bed Bug Insurance coverage, you’re covered for up to $15K for extermination fees and lost income. 

Do You Need To Have Airbnb Bed Bug Liability Coverage?

While bed bugs don’t carry or transmit diseases, it’d be a mortal sin in the hospitality industry to have even one in your Airbnb or short-term vacation rental, let alone not deal with them appropriately. 

Simply put, it’s worth investing more to include bed bug liability coverage in your Proper Insurance vacation rental insurance.

Costs can rack up, and it’s better to be prepared in the event that you find yourself facing this problem.

Preventing A Bed Bug Infestation in Your Vacation Rental Property

Here, the old saying ‘prevention is always better than cure’ holds true.

If you hire a cleaning crew to help tidy up your Airbnb vacation rental between guests, then you should have little to worry about in making sure you’re not actually welcoming the troublesome bugs in your property.

Here are some ways you can make sure that bed bugs aren’t cozying up in your place:

Get a bed bug-proof mattress protector

A mattress protector is a worthy investment for your Airbnb, especially one that is bedbug-proof, like the SafeRest Mattress Protector. They go over the mattress and prevent bed bugs from living in the crevices of your bed and thriving.

Use Neem Essential Oil

Neem oil is a great bed bug deterrent. This naturally-occurring pesticide is a main ingredient in many pesticides and insecticides.

You can prepare a neem oil spray to apply to the crevices of your property to prevent a full-on bed bug infestation from ever happening.

Final Thoughts

Bed bugs are never a pleasant surprise in any Airbnb or vacation rental. While we can’t guarantee you full prevention, you at least now know how to deal with them.

First and foremost, we recommend adding to your arsenal the Bed Bug Insurance policy tailor-penned by Proper Insurance in the event that you or your guest finds creepy crawlies in your property.

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