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Archive for November, 2010

Bed Bug Infestation

Bedbugs usually cluster together in favorable harborage areas.  However, some bedbugs will live by themselves, away from the majority of the infestation.  The best way to see if you have an infestation is to look for bedbugs where you rest and where you usually set down luggage (or bags) when you enter the house.  Your luggage and places where your luggage may be stored are also some of the first areas to look.  In bedrooms, look especially around boxsprings, mattresses, bed frames, tufts, folds, and buttons on mattresses, furniture, such as desks and chairs, behind wall paper, clocks and pictures, cracks in wood floors, and under the edge of carpet. While bedbugs are most usually found in bedrooms, infestations can also occur in other rooms, including: bathrooms; living rooms; and laundry rooms.  Dark blood spots on sheets and bedding may indicate bedbug feeding.  Bedbugs will often excrete while they are feeding.  This results in darker (reddish or brownish) spots or smears placed on bedding, pillowcases and mattresses, or in nearby areas.  This material is mostly composed of digested blood and the stains care very typical.

Take into account these insects are small (1/16” to 1/4”) and very flat, so they can move into very tight corners and cracks.  In some infestations, they were found under picture frames, in between the glass and the frame!  Be prepared to do some close inspection and when in question, think about having the inspection done by a pest control professional.

In severe infestations, bedbugs may be more visible.  The accumulation of bugs, cast skins and fecal spots will be very obvious upon close inspection.

How Can I Control A Bedbug Infestation?

Controlling a bedbug infestation requires very detailed work and a lot of moving (and disassembly) of furniture. Careful inspections must be completed in conjunction with non-chemical controls (such as vacuuming, and steam treatments) and insecticide treatments.  The commercial insecticide products that are available require special equipment and training.   It is highly recommended suggest that you seek assistance from a professional pest control company.

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Bedbugs In Your Home

The resurgence of bedbugs has become a very important pest of the 21st century as they attack many urban areas, including hotels and homes.   Our society has had a 30+ year “vacation” from this pest, when bedbugs were more or less removed from North America due to mass treatments with older types of insecticides (DDT, Chlordane, Lindane).   Recently although, bedbugs have found sufficient opportunity to increase in number and spread through society.  Their success is a result of:

  • Increased travel of people
  • Superior treatment methods that particularly target other insect pests
  • The lack of public awareness

What Do Bedbugs Look Like?

Bedbugs are oval, flattened, brown, and wingless insects approximately 1/4″ to 3/8″ long (5-9 mm). They look like a wood tick.  After the bug has taken a blood meal, its color will change from brown to purplish-red.  Also after feeding, it is bigger and more cigar-shaped making it appear like a different insect.  Young bedbugs are much smaller (1/16” or 1.6 mm when they first hatch) and nearly colorless except after feeding, but look like the adult in general shape.  You might also find cast skins, which are empty shells of bugs as they grow from one stage to the next.  After a blood meal, bedbugs deposit fecal spots (composed of digested blood) in areas adjacent to the feeding site or back at their hiding places.

How Can I Control A Bedbug Infestation?

Controlling a bedbug infestation requires very detailed work and a lot of moving (and disassembly) of furniture. Careful inspections must be completed in conjunction with non-chemical controls (such as vacuuming, and steam treatments) and insecticide treatments.  The commercial insecticide products that are available require special equipment and training.   It is highly recommended suggest that you seek assistance from a professional pest control company.

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Do Bed Bugs Pose a Public Health Threat?

Although bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, the EPA and CDC joint statement still called them “a pest of significant public health importance.” Bed bugs fit into a category of blood-sucking ectoparasites (external parasites) similar to head lice, and feed on the blood of humans. According to the statement, bed bugs cause a variety of negative physical health, mental health and economic consequences.

Many people have mild to severe allergic reactions to bed bug bites with effects ranging from no reaction to a small bite mark to, in rare cases, anaphylaxis. Bed bug bites can lead to secondary infections of the skin such as impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphanigitis. Bed bugs may also affect the mental health of people living in infested homes. Reported effects include anxiety, insomnia and systemic reactions. It is probably a bigger problem in areas where there are multiple residents together.

Economically, bed bug infestations are also a burden on society. Although the exact dollar amount is not known, the economic losses from health care, lost wages, lost revenue and reduced productivity can be significant.

Avoiding bed bug encounters will be the only reliable way to ensure they don’t spread into your own home.  If you are planning on traveling, it might be a good idea to check out any recent reports.  If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation in your home, it is recommended you contact a Minnesota pest control expert as soon as possible.

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Bed Bug Infestations

Once nearly eliminated in the US, bed bug complaints are now escalating. The bed bug problem has become so bad that in August 2010, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a joint statement on bed bug control. The purpose of the statement was to highlight emerging public health issues associated with bed bugs in communities throughout the country.

Though the exact cause is not known, experts suspect the resurgence of bed bugs is associated with increased resistance of bed bugs to available pesticides, greater international and domestic travel, and lack of knowledge regarding control of bed bugs, and the continuing decline or elimination of effective pest control programs at state and local public health agencies.

Bed bugs can be hidden deep in mattress seams, box springs and baseboard crevices, behind wallpaper and in clutter around beds, making it hard to spray them. And they travel easily from person to person, hotel to home, apartment to apartment, city to city.

How bad has the bed bug problem become?

Consider these statistics from a September 2010 Washington Post report:

  • In Baltimore, calls about bed bugs to the city’s 311 line jumped from two in December 2008 to 92 last month in August 2010.
  • As of August 2010, Washington D.C.’s 311 line had fielded 257 bed bug complaints, on pace to more than double the previous year’s total.
  • In Ohio, infestations are so severe that the state’s governor made two special appeals to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

The Bed Bug Registry exists to give travelers and renters a reliable and neutral platform for reporting their encounters with bed bugs.  Though most Americans have still never come across one, these retro pests are spreading extremely quickly across American and Canadian cities.

Avoiding bed bug encounters will be the only reliable way to ensure they don’t spread into your own home.  If you are planning on traveling, it might be a good idea to check out any recent reports.  If you suspect you have a bed bug problem in your home, it is important that you contact a Minnesota pest control expert as soon as possible.

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Why Are Bed Bugs Resurging?

Bed bugs are common in many parts of the world. International travel and changes in modern pest control are believed to be responsible for the resurgence. These pests were common in the 1940’s and 1950’s. DDT was commonly used in the 1940’s and 1950’s for many insects and was quite effective against bed bugs, almost eliminating them within the U.S. Since then, not a lot of research has been done. In the 1970’s DDT was banned, and pest control has evolved into less frequent applications of more targeted products, often pest specific, such as cockroach baits. Many products since the 1950’s have not been tested on bed bugs and do not list them on the label, and worse yet, they don’t allow the treatment sites where bed bugs harbor, like the mattress and box spring. Only since 2000 have researchers and manufacturers been researching, testing, and training on these difficult pests.

One of the major concerns of bed bug infestations is their capability to spread. As you may have heard, bed bugs are skilled hitchhikes on clothing, furniture, suitcases, seats of public transportation means, etc. Again, knowing about bed bugs and their habits will minimize the risk of their spread from one area to another, which is key to a successful bed bug management/eradication.

Avoiding bed bug encounters will be the only reliable way to ensure they don’t spread into your own home.  If you are planning on traveling, it might be a good idea to check out any recent reports.  If you suspect you have a bed bug problem in your home, it is recommended you contact a Minnesota pest control expert as soon as possible!

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