CNN Says San Francisco is Infested with Bedbugs

  |   Urban Wildlife, Visitors   |   6 Comments

CNN Says San Francisco is Infested With Bedbugs

Without naming the actual hotel involved, CNN opens this article on urban pests with an anecdote about the creator of a website called getting bitten in San Francisco.

We’re aware of at least one egregious bedbug mating/feeding zone here in the city, but is it fair to highlight SF in the lede that way? Maybe.

There are 497 San Francisco hotels listed on Yahoo Travel, and 64 in The Bedbug Registry‘s database. There are 85 New York hotels found in the registry, but that’s out of 794 total on Yahoo Travel. That gives NYC an infestation rate of 10.7% and SF a rate of nearly 13%.

Now, I realize my method is less than totally scientific. There may be any number of reasons that cause more bug reports in one city than another, and it’s impossible to know the accuracy rate of the reports that are made. For instance, here’s an entry for the Hotel Verona in SF:

Friend seems to have a number of bedbug bites. Other hotel residents had reported them.

Such diagnoses are not exactly confidence-inspiring. Other considerations: There may be hotels in either city not listed on Yahoo Travel, though that effect probably cancels itself out. And, the math is cumulative, so it doesn’t necessarily represent conditions at any given time.

In any case, WTF? The fact that approximately 13% of SF hotels have had bedbug reports is not good. And NYC shouldn’t be bragging about their rate either.

Go ahead and rip apart my math/logic in the comments.

  • Jim | Apr 9, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    SFist has the story about the $71k settlement for a former hotel guest at the Ramada Plaza (now called Hotel Whitcomb) on Market. That’s the highest dollar amount for bed bugs on record, apparently, so score another one for SF.

    Dude who started that site stayed at a Travelodge, it seems.

  • Eric Fischer | Apr 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    What might throw off the numbers off is that there are two things that are called hotels: “tourist hotels”, like Yahoo lists, and “residential hotels”, meaning SROs. The cluster in the Tenderloin makes it seem likely that most of the San Francisco reports are in SROs.

  • David Etherington | Apr 11, 2010 at 4:22 am

    13% thats quite high and it seems things will only get worse until hotels start taking bed bugs more seriously.

  • BBJonny | Apr 11, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Actually, the 13% rate is probably way LOWER than reality … think about it this way … what percentage of people who have gotten bitten actually bother to go BedbugRegistry and report it?
    Probably 10% max.
    The problem is way way underreported – the rate is probably closer to 25-30% – maybe more.
    And it’s NOT just hotels – it’s offices, hospitals, movie theaters …

  • Maciej Ceglowski | Sep 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I run the Bed Bug Registry. Eric is right that the most-reported hotels are the Tenderloin SROs that don’t really serve a tourist population. You can see how concentrated reports are in the Tenderloin on this map:

    The issue of what city is most infested is almost moot to me, since I think the real story is how fast bedbugs will spread now that they have established a foothold. It’s going to be a rough few years.

    Incidentally, the hotel I got bitten at was the Travelodge on Valencia at Market. I don’t know why the reporters are so coy about naming it.

  • Dave | Oct 14, 2010 at 3:10 am

    Anyone heard of or seen evidence of getting bedbugs from a movie theater? How about BART? Are people bringing these bugs home in large numbers – just from hanging out in SF? I’d like to hear stories if any.