Five Knoxville hotels have been listed on a website that tracks alleged bed bug encounters.
The site, www.bedbugregistry.com, allows customers to read about and report bed bug sightings. It launched in 2006 and since has collected about 20,000 reports covering 12,000 locations in the United States and Canada.
The environmental manager for the Knox County Health Department Scott Bryan said he was not surprised.
"The number is not shocking and I can almost guarantee that most hotels in this area have had experiences with bed bugs," said Bryan.
According to Bryan, bed bug reports have been on the rise. There are two to three unverified reports a week, compared to the average one verified report a month in 2007.
On the site, one customer reported receiving bites during a five night stay at the Residence Inn Knoxville Cedar Bluff. Director of Public Relations for McKibbon Hotel Management Paula MacDonald released this statement about the report on The Bed Bug Registry.
"In this instance, after being contacted by the concerned guest, we, promptly responded by bringing in a third-party professional pest control company to inspect the room and surrounding rooms. The rooms were inspected on three separate occasions and at no time was any evidence of infestation detected by the pest control experts."
Bryan said that the presence of bed bugs is not a reflection on a hotel's cleanliness, the bugs can be brought in by anyone.
"Bed bugs are an equal opportunity pest. They're not going to discriminate. We've had them in five star hotels to down to the one star hotels," said Bryan.
The Knox County Health Department suggested that hotel guests check their rooms before paying for them.
The Bed Bug Registry does not promise that the reports are accurate, but they "remind our readers to take things with a grain of salt."
You can access the website's search page by clicking here.