5 Common Pests Found in Hotels

5 Common Pests Found in Hotels and What You Can Do to Prevent them

Here is a list of the common pests found in hotels along with some helpful pest control tips to protect your your company’s reputation and brand.


German cockroaches will most commonly be found where there is moisture and heat in kitchen and service areas. They may also come in on employee personnel belongings and be associated with break rooms and locker rooms. Other species of cockroaches may be found in atriums and pool areas.

Prevention Tips for German Cockroaches

  • Inspect incoming shipments to prevent introductions of the pest into the facility. This not only includes food shipments but other items like linens. Quick removal from cardboard cartons can be helpful in finding stowaway cockroaches and limited harborage. Minimize the use of corrugated cardboard for long term storage of items.
  • Use clear plastic totes or bins instead of boxes. German cockroaches like the corrugations and folds that a cardboard box provides and is not cleanable. The clear plastic will allow you to see inside and the lid and help prevent pest access.
  • German cockroaches can be introduced by employees. Employees should store personal items in a designated area to confine any hitchhiking pests brought into the hotel.
  • Exclusion is the first step in trying to prevent cockroaches from even entering your hotel. Seal around pipe and wall junctures to prevent Cockroaches to enter from neighboring units.
  • Seal cracks and crevices in food service and preparation areas to reduce shelter. The less available harborage, the fewer cockroaches. However, if you can’t effectively seal them out of an area, keep the area open and allow for easy inspection and treatment.
  • Repair leaks right away. Cockroaches prefer areas with high humidity and moisture. Reducing moisture and water can be helpful in reducing their ability to survive.



Small flies (small fruit, dark-eyed fruit fly, phorid fly) are found where there is wet organic material. Areas may include: spaces with poor sanitation, drains, grease traps, deteriorating tile or epoxy floors, garbage disposal units, poorly sealed counter tops, dumpster compactors, and beverage serving areas.

Prevention Tips for Small Flies

  • Place floor drains on a regular cleaning schedule to remove organic debris which may support small flies like phorid flies and drain flies.
  • Use specially designed caps for drains which allow water movement down the drain but do not permit insects to emerge from the drains. These types of devices are especially useful in areas like restrooms where floor drains may not receive large volumes of water and drains may go dry, permitting pests to easily move from deeper in the drain system up through open drains.
  • Use fans to help dry floors in kitchens and food serving areas where moisture may accumulate. Flies can breed in organic material deposits in floor cracks. High pressure washing and caustic cleaners can deteriorate tile grout and epoxy floors providing areas where organic material and moisture can sit. Floor repair is ultimately the required fix but drying floors can be helpful in the interim.
  • Pick up floor mats in kitchens to help permit drying after cleaning.
  • Empty recycling containers frequently to prevent small fly development in containers containing juice residue or other sweet liquids.
  • Keep floors clean and pay particular attention to areas underneath prep tables and counters where it may be difficult to access for proper cleaning, but food debris may accumulate.
  • Clean garbage disposal units thoroughly including screens which may be present.
  • Check elevator pits at least once per year to make sure they are clean and not supporting flies.
  • Keep refuse containers clean, including underneath the liners. Have a program in place for the cleaning of dumpster carts which may be used to move garbage from the kitchen and food service areas to the dumpster. These carts can get dirty when bags leak or are torn. Make sure they are placed on a cleaning schedule.
  • Clean beverage dispenser trays and drain lines on a regular basis. This includes beer tap trays in bars and lounges.
  • Regularly clean underneath tray conveyors when present. These can be challenging areas to clean due to typical construction practices.
  • Clean and wring out mops prior to storage on wall mounted racks. Dirty, souring maps can attract and support small flies.
Cluster Fly Image


Filth flies like House and Bottle flies are most commonly coming in from outside and may be attracted to facility by garbage dumpsters and trash receptacles. Frequently opened doors can contribute to interior issues.

Prevention Tips for Filth Flies

  • Keep doors closed when not in use. Make sure doors are properly sealed around the sides and base. If it is desirable to keep doors open for ventilation purposes, they should be fitted with screens.
  • Keep dumpster and dumpster pads clean. Ask the waste hauler to clean dumpsters, especially during the warm months of the year. If they do not provide this service, make arrangements for facility staff to perform the cleaning.
  • Make sure vents are properly screened to exclude flies and other insects.
  • Utilize insect light traps (ILTs) in the interior to intercept flies which may have gained access.

house mouse


Rodents can be found indoors or around the exterior of the building. It is important to check false ceilings as well as ground level areas for rodent signs and activity. Mice will prefer undisturbed areas where there is warmth. Norway rats will prefer a ground connection, when possible. Roof rats prefer ceiling and attic areas.

Prevention Tips for Rodents

  • Mice can enter a structure through openings as small as ¼” or approximately the diameter of a pencil. Seal the structure to make sure all openings are less than these measurements to exclude mice or rats.
  • Keep dumpster areas as tidy as possible. Keep lids on dumpsters and other exterior trash receptacles.
  • Manage exterior eating areas appropriately to quickly remove food crumbs and spills. Promptly take dirty dishes and food service items away for cleaning or disposal. These procedures will also help minimize issues with another vertebrate pest, birds.


Bed bugs may be brought into a hotel by guests, employees or even laundry carts. Guest rooms are the most common area for bed bugs to be found but dining areas, bars and lounges can also be infested. Proper management of these insects is critical to a hotel’s reputation.

Prevention Tips for Bed Bugs

  • Train staff to recognize and properly respond to bed bug sightings. As mentioned earlier, this applies to everyone from housekeeping to the front desk.
  • Key areas for guest room inspection include areas behind the headboard, around mattresses and box springs and dust ruffles. Approximately 70% of the time, bed bugs will be found around the bed near where the host is located. Staff should be alert to other areas as well including sofas, chairs and night stands.
  • If linen or other items are found to be infested, they should be bagged or wrapped prior to transporting them out of the room. This step is important in preventing transferring bed bugs to other areas of the hotel.
  • Some hotels will opt for discarding mattresses. If so, the mattress should be marked or cut to help prevent individuals from taking them out of the dumpster for use elsewhere. Hotels should consider mattress and box spring encasements and/or treatment as an alternative to discarding the mattress. A proper mattress encasement when used properly will entomb the bed bug inside the encasement. Bed bugs cannot feed through the covering. They also make the inspection for bed bugs easier via the light color and reduced harborage points.
  • Have a pest management professional confirm the identification of the pest.
  • Establish a policy regarding how guest complaints will be handled such as moving the guest to another room, whether the room will be left out of service and for how long, etc. This information should be used during staff training.
  • Consider room design in initial building plans and remodels. Large, ornate headboards can be difficult to remove for inspection. Bed bugs prefer rough surfaces to smooth. Headboards made of wood and fabric will be preferred over metal. Try to provide as few cracks and crevices as possible for bed bugs to harbor in during the design process.
  • Vacuuming and or steam cleaners can be used to remove and kill bed bugs as part of the control process. If a vacuum is used, the contents of the vacuum should be placed immediately into a sealed bag after use. Steam cleaners designed specifically for bed bug control should be used and only used with proper training. Special training is required to use steam cleaners for bed bugs.
  • Monitoring traps can be used to help detect and/or determine program effectiveness. There are several different monitoring traps on the market which can be installed by the pest management company.