August 6, 2014 5:23 pm

Bed bugs in Calgary hotel serve as warning for travellers

CALGARY- The discovery of bed bugs in a south Calgary hotel has led to an investigation from health inspectors, and prompted some reminders for anyone who travels.

Over the weekend, Marjorie Mallard and her mother checked in to the Days Inn Calgary South. Mallare says she started feeling itchy when she went to bed, and both she and her mother were covered in bug bites when they woke up the next morning.

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“At first I thought I was allergic to something, and in the morning when my mom woke up—we were sharing a bed—she ended up having some bites as well.”

She’s not impressed with how the hotel handled the problem.

“I don’t think they realize the seriousness of the situation, and they just kept passing us off on to people that weren’t capable of handling it,” Mallare complains. “It’s not the hotel’s fault that bed bugs travel with people, it was the service and the response that we got that really ticked me off.”

Alberta Health Services confirms bed bugs were found, and a pest control contractor was called in to clear out the bugs. Experts say they’ve been getting more calls than usual this year.

“We have done a lot more commercial properties where they are also doing proactive things to be ahead of the game, to make sure there properties are bed bug free,” explains Susan Stilling from Certified Detection Dogs Inc., whose dog Princess helps find bugs.

“Her nose is a thousand times what ours is, and bed bugs have a distinct smell.”

Princess sniffs out bed bugs.

Tracy Nagai/Global News

Stilling says there are measures travellers can take to protect themselves from bed bugs, including never putting baggage on the bed.

“Always use the suitcase stand. You open your suitcase, take what you need out, zip it back up right away,” she suggests. “Store your suitcase after you’ve zipped it up in the bathroom…in the bath tub is the safest place.”

The Days Inn is in good standing with Alberta Health Services.

-With files from Tracy Nagai

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