Marked down for nature

My place is in the woods. My listing makes it clear that there are insects, I’ve now had three reviews that mark me at 3 for cleanliness due to insects. One guy said it was more rustic than he expected. I’m an RN, I know about hygiene. Insects are a fact of life in the woods.

Despite my listing stating the following: This is a cottage in a rural setting. I don’t use pesticides other than insect repellent applied to the skin. The only time of the year that there are no insects in and around the cottage is during the winter. There are screens on all the windows, but the little chaps are clever and sneak in when the doors open. Before each guest’s stay the rooms are swept, and damp mopped, carpets vacuumed, bedding changed. Despite this effort, there is no way to exclude all insects without using toxic chemicals. Garbage must kept protected from animals, I will show you where excess trash is kept.

Oh, th slightly battered old toaster works, it’s not shiny stainless steel, one person said I need a new one. I wasted hours buying a new one and returning it. The new one did only one side of the bread.

Had to rant. The place is spotless, it’s not fancy, but it’s clean. How can I be more explicit and make folks understand. In can’t seem to embed my listing url as I’m only on my iPad, laptop needs repair.


What is your listing number? [quote=“Louise, post:1, topic:7625”]
can’t seem to embed my listing url

Not sure if this will help

That worked. Maybe move some description of the rural/rustic nature of it up a bit, keeping in mind that people don’t read carefully if at all. Even the title could be Rustic Riverside Retreat or something a bit more descriptive of the rugged nature of parts of it. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver.


I found this cleanliness mark sheet.

1 – Dirty: Heavy and obvious buildup of dirt, dust, marks and stains, odors are present, rotting food and garbage overflow
2 –Moderately grimy: Visible dirt, dust, marks and stains, somewhat smelly, some food and garbage
3 – Just getting by: Dirt, dust, marks and stains in ‘hidden’ places (out of direct line of sight) occasional piece of garbage lying around
4 – Mom approved: The dirt and dust is mostly under control, the occasional spot or stain stays behind and someone could peek in unexpectedly and you wouldn’t flinch.
5 – Eat off the floors: The space is so clean that you can literally eat off the floors, no visible dust, dirt, stains or marks, pleasant smell.


1 – Extremely cluttered: hard to find things and move freely in the space, no organizational systems established, too many items without a home
2 – Messy: scattered, disorganized, several items without a home or in the wrong space
3 – Somewhat tidy: although several piles exist and some things are out of place, there is some semblance of an organizational system present
4 – Neat: occasional pile or item out of place, space requires some attention but is rooted in a strong organizational system
5- Organized: everything has a place and everything is in its place, this space is ready for a photo shoot

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Bugs are in their own category. It’s tricky. They want nature but not the bugs. I remember being somewhere—girl scout camp? and girls were freaked out by daddy long legs spiders in the outhouse. It’s an outhouse!

That stream is gorgeous!

Where? It doesn’t make much sense really.

@Louise – beautiful place! Perhaps you have too much verbiage and not enough photos? My place is much smaller but I have 36 photos. If you are more concise in your detailed description, perhaps they will actually read it. Just a suggestion. I would totally book you place :slight_smile:


We’re rural, in the woods, and right on the ocean, so I understand the bug situation. Yes it’s a given that they will be there…to an extent. Guests are going to draw the line at things crawling around in the kitchen or in their bed. If this is what’s happening at your place, you may have to work a bit harder at controlling the offending insects and as @KKC mentioned, tweak your description. I also have a poster in my suite outlining how NOT to attract insects and the consequences of not following those instructions.

Good luck!

More photos!. As mentioned change the name to Rustic xxxx, and move the rustic description up in the description. Rustic is a better word that “rural”. BTW, if I can get “a… marina boat lunch for $5” I’d be REALLY happy. But a boat launch for $5 is a good deal too! .

How about – We’re in the woods. By a creek. There are insects outside which can get inside. Bring your own insect repellent!


First , Thanks all for your feedback. I need to get a friend to read and edit, it’s just been mad crazy since I started in August, booked every weekend plus my day job and chronic pain issues. At one point I was also trying to sell the house. Then my laptop hard drive failed. I didn’t expect it to be so busy.

In all that text I did say bring bug spray.

Yup, had a guest here once while I was showing her the room, almost have a heart attack because there was ONE mosquito in the room. Which btw, got in here cause she was 3 hours late, so I had to have the porch light on for her, and the bugs were just all around that light, and one of them followed her in as I opened the door to welcome her to a mountainous rural area!
In any case, somehow make the wording honest, but yet playful at the same time. Kinda make a joke about the insects that are natural to the habitat of your rental property. It’s part of the experience after all!

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I’m in Hawaii. Talk to me about bugs. I mention that we are in the tropics and to keep doors closed or things will fly in. They may see some bugs. Some are big but most are harmless.

Try getting a few hoy hoy sticky traps. Place them under furniture . They seem to be irrestible to bugs.


@konacoconutz what about mosquito coils??? I kid I kid!!!


I hear ya! I’ve had 2 or 3 guests point out that I had ants. I’m not in the woods, but I am surrounded with tress, shrubbery and semi wild areas that I just let go. I will not use poisons because they are highly toxic for every living thing, including us. Like your place, my house is super clean. I go through a couple of times a day with a rag and a spray bottle of vinegar. But even with that there are still some of those little guys plus a spider or 2 that creep in.

Now I warn the guests about the possibility of there being some bugs and that it’s best to put trash outside immediately and not eat in bed. Most guests are fine with that. My Super B…ch Crown is probably going to get snatched off my head this month because of a couple of whiners. But maybe not since I’ve subsequently had some super nice guests.

This time of the year we have daddy-long-leg spiders. You can sweep all the webs and spiders away and two hours later they are back. But not on counters, they like the ceiling corners. The last three days, a chipmunk has come in from my upper deck. Cute, but I don’t want him moving in.
When I worked in the CCU at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami, we had bugs despite regular spraying. That’s the reality of the tropics. It’s the bugs you can’t see that are the problem.
I’d like to see an objective set of standards for clean bathroom, bedroom, kitchen just like they have for reponse time. Bedbugs are a whole different issue. Two things that I would mark a house down for would be bug swatters left on counters and tables and cats on counters or tables. Cats do clean their paws,but dont want paws that have been in kitty litter or outside on food prep or serving areas. Bug swatters yuck.

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Same here Louise! When I don’t have guests I leave the daddy long legs. They are good fly and mosquito catchers, plus I just like looking at them. I sometimes have a little family of them in the corners of the shower.

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My sister would absolutely love your place – she specifically asks hosts if they spray insecticides and pesticides and she won’t stay at hotels and resorts because they all spray regularly.

Your place looks great and the river is amazing – with a few tweaks in the description, you will filter out guests who freak out about bugs. I can also send you some of my sister’s non-toxic insecticide rec’s (she gives seminars on this) if you tell me what your bug issues are.


People visiting Hawaii who stay in hotels may not realize that the rooms and areas are sterile because they are sprayed. No centipedes, geckos, bugs, cockaroaches or any other creature. It’s not natural Hawaii. It’s sprayed Hawaii.

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