Is the Self Storage Industry Crying Wolf (or Bed Bug)?

Posted on Jun 27 2011 - 1:58pm by John Stevens

Everyone has heard and has probably said the old saying,” Good night; sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Anyone wonder when Mom and Dad told you that when you were little if bed bugs were actually real? Has anyone ever jumped up and asked how to stop those pesky bed bugs from biting (just in case they start to do so)?

Well, in case you have not already figured it out, bed bugs are real and can be really annoying little pests, especially if they are allowed to get out of control. Over the last couple years there was hardly a week that would go by where the news did not carry a story about some hotel getting overrun with the little creatures forcing them into drastic measures in order to remain in business.

Due to the nature of what self storage facilities are used for, storing things like clothes, beds, blankets—common breeding grounds for bed bugs—among other things, there has been concern in the self storage industry about a break out or infestation of the little buggers at some facilities.

The concern has some self storage facility operators taking a pro-active stance by releasing statements to the press that they have already done whatever they can to prevent bed bugs at their facility. This move is generally done because of sites on the web that now act as a form of directory for self storage facilities that have had issues with bed bugs.

The logic on such a move is understandable. Tell people your being proactive and they will likely thing you’re safe. However, what that could also tell consumers is that you have had issues and maybe they should be concerned.

Before overreacting to bed bugs, it may help to understand a little bit more about them.

“A few people have allergic reactions, and scratching can lead to secondary infection, but bed bugs are not known to transmit infectious diseases to humans,” says Richard J. Pollack, PhD, a research associate with the Harvard School of Public Health.

This is not to say that you should not think about using any counter measures like an exterminator. However, one should be careful about overreacting and going overboard with said measures and creating another issue due to chemical exposure.

In actuality, a self storage facility—in the long term—can actually be the best place for your stuff if it has been infected by bed bugs. It may take about a year, but eventually the little buggers die if they do not have anything to feed off of. Sealing your infected items in plastic and storing them might be the best way to actually get rid of them.

So does this mean self storage facilities should start advertising special “bed bug removal” rates? Absolutely not, but before you start talking about everything you are doing for a problem you may or may not have, you may want to know a little more about the enemy your dealing with.

Sources Used:

“Bed Bugs…Everyone Remain Calm.” SSA Globe; June 2011.

“Decluttering and Storage: All Natural Solutions to Getting Rid of Bedbugs.” Self Storage Industry News; 21 September 2010.