Hotels and other businesses are increasingly seeking technological solutions to detect and prevent bedbug outbreaks, as reported incidents rise in France and the UK. Pest control company Rentokil saw a 65% increase in bedbug cases in the UK in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the previous year. Luton Council also issued guidance to local residents on handling bedbug infestations, having received a high number of calls on the matter.
To tackle this issue, firms are turning to technology, including both established and emerging solutions, to identify outbreaks early and prevent their spread. Bedbugs can multiply rapidly, making early detection crucial.
One example of technology being used is Spotta, a UK startup that has developed monitoring devices to detect bedbugs early. These small plastic boxes contain pheromones designed to attract bedbugs and are placed between mattresses and bedframes. If a bedbug enters the device, a camera captures an image and sends it to a central database. Artificial intelligence and human verification confirm the presence of bedbugs, and alerts are sent to relevant managers, allowing for swift pest control measures.
Similarly, Finland’s Valpas has created digitally-connected bug traps integrated into the custom legs it makes for beds. When bedbugs are caught in the traps, they trigger an internet signal to alert hotel owners.
These technologies aim to catch outbreaks before they spread, helping businesses avoid negative customer experiences and social media backlash. However, they also face the challenge of overcoming the stigma associated with needing pest control measures in the first place.