This week, Nashville was named as the 18th most bed bug infested city in the U.S., according to a study by Terminix. Couple that with the growing shortage of housekeeping staff in Music City and it sounds like the perfect storm for the hotel and lodging industry. But not for Michael Verner, the housekeeping manager for El Limón Nashville, a new boutique hotel downtown.
Verner, who holds a degree in entomology, has successful piloted a program that trains resident bed bugs to help housekeeping staff change bed linen and other light cleaning duties. So far the program has been an unprecedented success. Verner told reporters, "People don't realize how incredibly smart the Cimex lectularius really are. I believe we will one day be able to in-source all of our housekeeping functions to them, not to mention other areas of hotel operations." He went on to say that he believes the species could assist in kitchens, dish rooms, and even luggage services.
When asked about health concerns associated with bed bugs, Verner said, "Well, there are some opportunities with the program that we are currently working through. In the meantime, they are here anyway, might as well make the best of it." Owners of El Limón are reportedly fielding offers by other hotel companies for access to Verner's proprietary training methods.
The Nashville Board of Health is currently investigating the program, but were not ready to make comment.
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