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Touched by a bug

by Tom Allen
March 16, 2018

One out of five Americans have been touched by bed bugs. 80% of all hotels were treated for bed bugs last year (2017)

The bed bug heat treatment field guide.I hear many stories from people all across the country and other parts of the world. Everyone wants to tell me their experience with bed bugs. Sharing some highlights is worth volumes to open the eyes of many who have no clue about the mysterious bed bug.

How about the man that placed a few portable stoves in the middle of the room. He thought all you have to do is heat up the place. He almost killed himself with toxic gas build up. Not recommended. How about the other man that used matches and disposable lighters to go after bed bugs. His house and belongings are clear of bed bugs, and unfortunately, reduced to charcoal crumbs.

I bought a case of bug spray and foggers. My house smells like fresh laundry soaked in pesticides. I had to get a hotel room for a week and discovered bed bugs in the hotel room. Is there a place on Earth that doesn’t have bed bugs? According to the NPMA’s 2015 Bugs without Borders survey, pest management professionals report that residences top the list of places where bed bug infestations are found, with 95 percent of pest professionals treating bed bug infestations in apartments/condominiums and 95 percent treating bed bug infestations in single-family homes. Respondents also reported other common areas, with 75 percent treating bed bug infestations in hotels/motels, 46 percent in college dormitories, 58 percent in nursing homes, 45 percent in office buildings, 43 percent in schools, 33 percent in hospitals and 29 percent on various modes of transportation.



Bedbugs get around

Today, bed bugs can be found throughout almost every region of the world and in all 50 U.S. states. Specifically, the pests were encountered by 17 percent of 2011 Bed Bugs in America survey respondents in the Northeast; 20 percent in the Midwest; 20 percent in the South; and 19 percent in the West.

I killed a lot of bed bugs but they are still here.

I find it interesting sometimes today with all the news about bed bugs that some folks think only other people, dirty people or dirty housing businesses will get bed bugs. They even have a bit of an attitude that “Not us! We run professional quality apartments.” I think to myself, So naive. And I want to help.

It’s not how clean or the quality or how many rating stars you have... bed bugs just don’t care.

I stayed in one of the finest suites in Las Vegas and had bed bug bites! How dare that hotel!

Some hotels have large room inventory. So large that you might never know that they are dealing with the bed bug problem daily. They simply block rooms and areas until it is controlled. And so on.

Bed bugs have been a household pest issue for more than 3,300 years, dating back to ancient Egypt. They were first brought to the United States by early colonists, where they thrived for many decades. However, by the 1950s, bed bugs had been all but eradicated in the developed world, thanks to the availability of new pest control products like DDT, a wicked pesticide that can cause cancer in humans, maybe getting them to grow a tail or a third eyeball—just kidding about the tail and eyeball.

DDT effectively killed bed bugs.DDT (From Wikipedia): Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, commonly known as DDT, is colorless, tasteless, and almost odorless. A crystalline chemical compound, an organochlorine, originally developed as an insecticide, and ultimately becoming infamous for its environmental impacts. It questioned the logic of broadcasting potentially dangerous chemicals into the environment with little prior investigation of their environment and health effects. DDT and other pesticides had been shown to cause cancer and that their agricultural use was a threat to wildlife...

Several factors led to the explosion of bed bugs beginning again in the late 1990s; increased international travel, and a lack of public awareness about pest prevention methods.



Common Myth: Bed bugs live in dirty places.

Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth and seek blood and carbon dioxide from breathing to find their blood meal.

Fact:

Bed bug populations in different areas of the country have developed resistance to many pesticides.

Pesticide-based indoor bed bug control methods raise concern over the safety of occupants.

Heat treatment systems offer you the ability to perform bed bug control work without relying on toxic chemicals. Heat can be used to kill every type of bed bug and their eggs. Additionally heat can kill bacteria and viruses. No chemicals required.

Michael Linford, PhD



The NPMA recommends the following tips for bed bug prevention when traveling:

At hotels, pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots.  If you see anything suspect, notify management and change rooms/establishments immediately.

Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs.  If any pests are spotted, change rooms/establishments immediately.

If you do need to change rooms, be sure that you do not move to a room adjacent and/or directly above/below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through wall sockets. If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.

Consider placing your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.

Remember: bed bugs travel by hitching rides. After your trip, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house. Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing away. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which will kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have hitched a ride home.

Wash all of your clothes—even those that have not been worn—in hot water to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers/closet.

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