Bed bug infestations have increased greatly over the last decade. There are many possible reasons for this including greater international travel, immigration, the economy forcing many people to purchase preowned infested furniture and the changes in pest control procedures used for other insects.
Bed bug bites vary in degree of skin manifestations. There may be no evidence of a bite or there could be prominent blisters, bites or rashes. Many people show no signs of bites. Symptoms may not appear until some days have passed from the day of the bite. Reactions often become more severe after multiple bites.
We offer treatment of bed bugs in residential and commercial (hotel, apartment) settings. Bed bug treatment is unique and extensive. Bed bugs are extremely difficult to eliminate and do-it-yourself measures do not work at all. Please contact our office to discuss your individual situation.
The Today show ran another segment this morning about “bedbug stigma”. It was very interesting to see how debilitating bedbug infestation can be from the consumer standpoint. We know how it affects our own customers and the woman featured in the segment had really been through a lot. So to look at it bedbug infestation as a stigma, it really piqued my interest. The Today Show segment is titled “How Bedbugs Give People the Blues”.
I haven’t thought much on the stigma standpoint because I’m so confident in our ability to treat bedbug infestation. As I’ve stressed before, it’s not a sanitation issue on your part and you’ve done nothing wrong if you have them in your home. Bedbugs travel very easily and you may never suspect that you might get them.
As with anything, education is key and we are glad to answer any questions you have about prevention, infestation or treatment. I want to talk about two of the most common places that you can get bed bugs and ways to limit exposure. Finally, I will talk about what to do if you do happen to bring bedbugs home.
We are coming off the busy summer travel season and probably many of you stayed in a hotel. Since hotel rooms are one of the most likely places to pick up bedbugs you should perform a check ideally before even setting your luggage down. Of course when traveling alone this might be impossible but is certainly ideal. First of all, check all areas around and in the bed(s). You should check the mattress itself for blood spots (red from rolling over and crushing the bugs), defecation markings (black) and the actual bug itself. An adult bed bug that has recently fed is usually dark red in color. Nymphs can be quite small and almost clear in color which makes detection difficult.
You should also check along the frame and box spring for any signs of bugs. Also check behind the head board and the adjoining nightstands and dressers in the room along the cracks and crevices that act as a highway for the bugs to travel along. For good measure, it’s also a good idea to check the luggage rack before you put your luggage on there or to be cautious just not use the luggage rack at all or at least pull it away from the wall.
Another area of concern is during moving. There are quite a few moving vans that contain bedbugs. Not a surprise here as most companies gladly remove your old mattress or couch with the purchase of a new one. If you use a delivery van whether for moving or for new furniture delivery ask the company about their bedbug policy. If they don’t have systems in place (wrapping discarded mattresses and/or periodic chemical treatment of the trucks) then I would think twice before having them deliver new furniture or moving all of your family’s possession (potentially along with bed bugs) to your new home. Also, I want to mention to be careful when purchasing used items from a flea market, Goodwill, antique or thrift store. It’s important to have an awareness that these bugs can be almost anywhere but especially be considerate of them when traveling and acquiring new (being delivered by a third party) or used furniture.
How do I know I have them?
Do you wake up with bites in the morning (usually in a line along a vein)? Do you have any blood spots or defecation markings on your mattress? Have you seen any reddish brown bugs in your home (particularly in the aforementioned harborage areas)? More than likely, the first thing you’ll notice are the bites. Typically you can exclude other biting insects when you notice new bites appearing each morning.
What to do?
Bed bugs are one of the few pests that I can truly say are impossible to eradicate without the help of a professional. Trying to battle them with over the counter products is hopeless. There are very few products that are labeled for bedbugs and very few people who know how to treat them effectively. If you need to have a treatment for bedbugs make sure and ask questions before you hire a professional. If someone tells you something that sounds too good to be true about their ability to eliminate bedbugs it probably is not true. Bedbug treatments are time consuming, labor intensive, and usually expensive. However, expensive is a relative term, what is your peace of mind worth? What is it worth for you or your family to be able to sleep at night without the fear of being bitten? In the long run it is usually more cost effective to hire a qualified professional that may cost more initially than to hire someone that doesn’t have the experience and knowledge to get the job done as quickly and effectively as possible.