save not spend

So, one of the worst things that can happen to you as a resort owner/manager has happened: a guest has complained about a pest (or pests) in their room or suite. Perhaps the ‘invaders’ appeared in one of your cabins or a chalet; maybe in the changing rooms at the pool or in a lounge area; conceivably in a dining room or bar area; maybe even your golf carts or the shuttles you use to ferry guests around the resort. At this point, however, it really doesn’t really matter if you’re dealing with getting rid of bed bugs, mice, or silverfish. What is important is that you tackle the problem immediately.

Fumigation options

Let’s assume that your infestation problem is serious enough that you have to fumigate, rather than manage the problem yourself (more about that later). Keep in mind, however, that fumigation, even on a small scale, can be costly and time-consuming. However, it is very effective, which is why so many resort owners go for this option.

The (usually licensed1) specialists of a reputable company will be able to make a more accurate assessment of the problem than you can ̶ and take the appropriate steps. You may think that, depending on the pest (or pests) involved, the problem may be relatively easy to address. But don’t count on it! Especially since your business and your reputation is on the line here.

Be aware that the type of pests you’re dealing with will have a direct impact on the cost of your fumigation efforts. For instance, cockroach or ant infestations will generally be easier to deal with than, say, a bed bug infestation or a termite invasion. So, be sure that the PMC you hire properly identifies all the pests involved (there may be others you didn’t know about).

Last, but by no means least, fumigation is a labor-intensive and time-consuming operation that takes time. Don’t expect a PMC to do the job in a couple of hours and then declare the infested areas fit for habitation. It doesn’t work like that—and no reputable operator will tell you that. Beware if they do! The chemicals used during the fumigation process are extremely toxic, so neither you, your staff, nor your guests should be allowed anywhere near a site that’s being treated.

Finally, keep in mind that the fumigated areas will not be safe for occupancy for several days; you’ll have to quarantine the area(s) involved until your contractor gives you the ‘all clear’.

Cost considerations

Obviously, you should have your PMC explain the costs of fumigation, in detail. Fumigation prices depend on the type of pest (or pests) and the square footage of the site involved. For instance, eliminating termites is far costlier (and labor-intensive) than eradicating bed bugs, so should expect a PMC to adjust its prices accordingly.

Generally speaking, costs can be anywhere from $1 to $3 per square foot. So, a room that is roughly the size of the average studio apartment (500 square feet) may cost between $500 and $1,500. Larger rooms, say between 1,000-1,200-square feet apartment, might cost $1,000 to $3,000 to fumigate. If you have suites ̶ anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet, you could be looking at costs between $2,000 and $5,000.

To keep costs within reason and your budget you might keep some of the following items in mind:

  • Make sure that your PMC is targeting only the pests that have been identified. Remember that ants and bedbugs require less time and work than termites, and your costs should reflect that.
  • If your PMC elects to ‘tent’ a building or facility to accomplish the fumigation process, this will certainly increase your costs. Have your PMC explain why they are electing to ‘tent,’ and whether or not the number of affected rooms/areas is justified.
  • If you are considering doing the fumigation yourself, be aware that most states regulate who can undertake fumigations (certification is often required) and control access to the kinds of chemicals required.
  • While you can certainly save money by using aerosol ‘bombs’ to treat infested areas, keep in mind that they are a.) Not especially effective, or b.) Cannot prevent insects from migrating to other location when they are employed.

It is only by scrutinizing every aspect of the fumigation project can you ensure that you’re being charged correctly. Spend what is required and no more. The cost differentials can be daunting.

Going it alone

As we said, taking the DIY approach can certainly save you money. If you elect this route there are a number of very effective pesticides on the market, including Sterifab, which is one of the most versatile and effective insecticides and disinfectants available. In any event, awhatever you select should not only be able to kill bed bugs, ticks, scabies, fleas, mites, roaches and a wide variety of other pests but it also clean and deodorize easily.


1. According to the EPA, “Each company must have at least one certified, licensed commercial pesticide applicator in the proper service category. Other company applicators must be certified applicators or licensed technicians under the direct supervision of a certified applicator.”
“Tips for Selecting a Pest Control Service”, United States Environmental Protection Agency, June 13, 2017.

Noel McCarthy has worked as a writer and editor throughout his career. A former director for Thomson Reuters, Noel also worked for PwC for 17 years. A staff writer for Sterifab, Noel’s expertise in bed bugs is a newfound hobby of sorts. He has enjoyed learning about these pesky little pests, and their entourage of friends including lice, mites and more.