Bedbugs: Stop Bugging Me uses Estes Park Super 8's dirty-hotel ranking to sell bug spray

Bedbugs are the stuff of horror movies -- an army of bloodsuckers that sup on your flesh when you're most vulnerable. But they can be good for sales: The fear of getting eaten whilst sleeping is enough to convince most people to buy a product that claims to kill them. Combine that with people's fear of nasty, not-as-advertised hotels and you've got marketing gold -- which is good news for bug spray Stop Bugging Me, but bad news for the Super 8 Estes Park.

The hotel made TripAdvisor's 2011 list of the Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels in the country. Clocking in at #8, some of the comments that contributed to the dishonor include this one, from February:

The room had a musty smell but nothing like the lobby. The bed was so worn out I couldn't sleep. The floor had a weak spot that flexed under the carpet. The tub faucet was broken. The front door was worn out and hard to close. Looking out our balcony we could see the wood roof shakes coming off the lower rooms. Our balcony had screws and nails coming out of the wood.

That comment doesn't mention bedbugs -- and neither do many others. One, from May 2010, claims that the author "encountered a bedbug," but it doesn't give many details.

Even so, that didn't stop Massachusetts-based Stop Bugging Me, "a new, environmentally-friendly insecticide proven 100% effective in an independent laboratory," from sending out a press release about the spray -- and invoking the Super 8 Estes Park's ranking.

"We were just looking for the ten most bedbug-infested U.S. cities and then taking a look at the top infested hotels, pretty much to help educate people," says Anneka Ranpuria, the author of the press release and a Stop Bugging Me spokeswoman.

And in Colorado, she found both. As explained in the recent Westword cover story, "Bug Bedlam," Denver's bedbug problem has been called one of the worst in the nation. Coupled with Colorado's entry on TripAdvisor's dirty-hotels list, it would seem that the Centennial State is a great place to peddle bedbug spray. From Stop Bugging Me's press release:

More than half of Americans are concerned about bed bug exposure and over 25 percent have had anxiety about staying at a hotel because of bed bugs* -- and their concerns are legitimate. According to TripAdvisor's list of the Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels, many customers complained about the lack of cleanliness, including a bed bug infestation in the #8 dirtiest hotel: Super 8 Estes Park in Estes Park, CO.

We attempted to contact the owners of the Super 8 Estes Park, but didn't have any luck. No one answered the phone: We were repeatedly routed to an automated message with no option to leave a voicemail -- and an e-mail sent to the address listed on the hotel's website bounced back to us. But in January, one of the hotel's owners told the Denver Post that the ranking was her "worst nightmare" and promised to make repairs. So... sleep tight?

More from our News archive: "Bedbugs: See a map of the addresses of all bedbug complaints made to the city in 2010."

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