de Blasio: Kids have lice, bed bugs, chickenpox

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says he met with workers at a foster care center in New York, where 239 migrant children who were separated from their families are experiencing mental and physical health issues.

Hundreds of migrant children separated from their families at the southern border are in New York City. And Mayor Bill de Blasio says nobody told him they were there.

De Blasio said Wednesday that he just learned that 239 migrant children are in the care of Cayuga Centers in Harlem, which contracts with the federal government to help unaccompanied minors. The children include a 9-month-old, he said.

“How is it possible that none of us knew there were 239 kids right here in our own city?” the Democratic mayor said.

“How is the federal government holding back that information from the people of this city?”

‘Stop this right now’

De Blasio said a total of 350 children have been in the care of the center since President Donald Trump’s administration implemented its “zero tolerance” policy calling for the prosecution of adults caught crossing the border illegally.

At least 239 currently remain at the center, the mayor said. Cayuga Centers is not a residential facility, and runs programs for the children, some of whom are in foster care.

“And this is just one of the centers in New York City,” De Blasio said. It’s unclear how many separated children are in the city, and the mayor urged the federal government to “come clean” with that information so they can get the help they need.

Some of the children who come to the center daily for classes and social services have bed bugs, lice, chicken pox and other contagious diseases, he said. Some are too young to communicate and need significant mental health services.

De Blasio said the children should be with their parents.

“Stop this right now,” he said. “Stop this broken, inhumane policy right now.”

Night transfers

A group of girls separated from their families after crossing the border was brought to the facility early Tuesday, according to a federal source briefed on the matter. CNN affiliate NY1 shot video of the 12:45 a.m. transfer at Cayuga Centers.

A woman escorting the girls told the affiliate they had not been separated from their parents, the station said. Cayuga Centers has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.

In recent weeks, federal authorities have asked Cayuga Centers to prepare for more arrivals, as the administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy began to take effect, according to the source.

On its website, the organization says it receives funding through the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is under the US Department of Health and Human Services.

“These children are placed in Spanish-speaking foster homes as they await reunification with a family member or sponsor, or return to the country of origin,” Cayuga Centers says. The facility also provides long-term care for “unaccompanied youth that do not have sponsors” but are kept in the United States because their home countries are too dangerous, it says.

Cayuga has two other facilities in New York and others in Delaware and Florida.

De Blasio urged people not to direct their frustration at the children or facilities, saying the police department will be deployed to ensure they are protected.

The children who come to Cayuga live in foster homes, he said.

They were treated well there, he said, but they should be with their parents.

On Wednesday the President signed an executive order to prevent undocumented immigrant families from being separated at the US-Mexico border.

Houston woman died from bedbug extermination that warmed apartment to 139 degrees, suit says

The family of a Houston woman who died last year is suing her former landlord and a pest control company, claiming that a bedbug-killing heat treatment used in the woman’s apartment killed her.

In a wrongful death suit filed in Harris County on Tuesday, the family of Elizabeth Ashbaugh accuses the owners of the Laure Point Senior Apartments and Certified Termite and Pest Control of negligence that resulted in her death.

Laure Point declined to comment on the suit Tuesday. Requests for comment from CTPC were not returned.

Ashbaugh, 82, died from hyperthermia – a condition that results when the body absorbs more heat than it can dissipate –  on July 28, 2017 after returning to the apartment she’d lived in with her husband for 13 years, the suits says.

In their suit, Ashbaugh’s family accuses the two companies of acting “with malice and/or conscious disregard for human safety.”


“Defendants failed to instruct (the Ashbaughs) on when it was safe to return to safe, failed to use a treatment for those in senior community and failed to communicate to (the Ashbaughs) that the home was unsafe to enter,” the suit says.

Everything you never wanted to know about bed bugs, and more

by Romain Garrouste, The Conversation
Cimex lectularius. Credit: CDC/Wikimedia

If some insects could save the world, others do their best to seriously complicate life on earth. Among them the prize perhaps goes to the bed bug, which after decades of absence has returned to our homes, hotels and public facilities to seriously disturb us.

These intrepid little insects aren’t picky about where they set up shop – luxury suites and hospitals, public housing and rich neighbourhoods are all equally attractive to them. Given that bed bugs like to hang out where people congregate in the largest numbers, however, they prefer the city over the country.

So why have bed bugs returned, why are they so successful and what solutions exist to help us get rid of them? And beyond our fears and phobias, what is the true impact of these little demons?

What do they want?

The bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is a small insect, generally 6mm in length (about a quarter inch). It feeds exclusively on and has great sensory capabilities that allow it to detect its prey even in complete darkness. The insect’s biology reflects its role as an external parasite: high fertility (a single female can lay up to 500 eggs), the ability to resist deprivation (it can go three months or more without feeding) and high mobility. While the bed bug long ago lost its wings, it’s perfectly adapted to be transported by its hosts and their belongings – it can hitch a ride on clothing, furniture, luggage and more.

Another peculiarity that may explain the bed bug’s success is its curious mode of reproduction – males inject their sperm directly into the abdomen of females using a syringe-like organ, a process called traumatic insemination. To locate others of its species, and thus regroup, bed bugs have an effective chemical ecology, including an odour that humans can smell.

Traumatic copulation by a male Cimex lectularius. The ventral shell of the female (above) is pierced by the male’s syringe-like organ. Credit: Rickard Ignell/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Blood meals are needed for the adults to lay eggs and for the larvae to complete their development. The insect’s bite and its saliva causes itching and allergies, as well as social phobias and even outsized fears. But rest assured: even in the most highly infested setting, the bed bugs’ small size means that they only withdrawn a tiny quantity of blood – there’s no risk of anaemia, even if our discomfort remains.

Because of its age-old companionship with humans, bed bugs are one of the most widely distributed insects in the world. They can live in polar latitudes, high altitudes, deserts and… everywhere else. In the tropics, a second species proliferates, Cimex hemipterus, now also present in Europe (in south of France). It has same way of life and the same appetite for human blood.

Nice and warm, in the cave…

But why does this darn bug “love” us so much? Part of the family Cimicidae, this strict hematophagous – meaning “blood eating” – insect can only survive thanks to hot-blooded hosts. Some specialize in bats, others on birds. Two are particularly fond of humans, C. lectularius and C. hemipterus. All bed bugs are equipped with mouthpieces that have been transformed to bite through the integumentary system of its host – the skin, fur or feathers that protect it. All the species of this family (there are about a hundred in the world) live at the expense of their hosts, and feed on them in their nests or special habitats such as caves.

This is where climate change comes in. Not today, but tens of thousands of years ago. The first modern human populations had to deal with several glaciations – the previous one in Europe lasted from the period -115,000 to -10,000. Given the cold climate in formerly temperate areas, humans sheltered themselves in caves when possible. Unfortunately, Cimicidae and other parasites already lived there, taking advantage of the presence of birds, bats and other hot-blooded mammals.

It is thought that bed bugs’ developed their fondness for humans and their blood during this time. They then hitched a ride with us on our migrations during warmer weather, and a true domestication – known as commensalism, to be precise – was established. While still theoretical, this hypothesis is supported by genetic analysis of two lineages of bed bugs: one feeds off bats, the other off humans. There is also archaeological evidence of the presence of Cimicidae in early human settlements. And looking farther back, the first known Cimicidae, found in Burmese amber dating about 99 million years ago, had wings.

Bites from Cimex lectularius. Credit: Hermann Luyken/Wikimedia

This relative long history is perhaps only the beginning, because it seems that there has not yet been an adaptation of human pathogens to take advantage of this “new” vector. While the bites of bed bugs are unpleasant, they’re not particularly dangerous. This is a crucial problem: if the viruses bacteria that infect humans could be transmitted through bed-bug bites, what does the future hold for us?

Why have they returned?

While bed bugs had followed humankind and lived off our blood for millennia, beginning in the 1950s we got the upper hand through improved living conditions and the use of synthetic insecticides. The bed bugs simply bided their time, and were able to make a comeback thanks to a phenomenon known as pesticide resistance. This has allowed them to progressively rebuild their populations and reconquer territories from which they’d been banished. Any new pesticides would inevitably fall victim to the same process.

Our increased ability to travel has also played a role in the bed bugs’ return, as well as the psychological and social stigma associated with infestations. For example, if bed bugs move into your town’s luxury hotel, are its owners likely to want big red pest-control van out front? Not particularly.

Sniffing them out

When it comes to fighting bed bugs, detection is the first step. Given that these insects have millions of years of experience hiding from their annoyed hosts, specially trained dogs can sometimes be used.

On your nice clean sheets, an unwanted guest. Credit: Romain Garrouste, CC BY

If bed bugs have one weakness, it’s that they’re intolerant of extremely high or . Washing clothes and bedding at the highest possible setting followed by drying for at least 30 minutes at high heat should do the trick. You can also freeze clothing or other objects you suspect of being infested. There are also traditional methods: for example, the sticky leaves of some plants can be used to trap them, and it is known that powdery substances repel them. A bed with its four feet placed in low dishes filled with flour or diatomaceous earth is thus protected. But remember that bed bugs can also drop from the ceiling…

A combination of early detection, careful hygiene and continuous control afterward (to prevent any remaining bed bugs from feeding, and thus causing them to eventually die of hunger) is essential. But remember that the bed bug is devious: in the absence of food or at low temperatures, adults can enter a state of dormancy called diapause that allows them to wait for a better tomorrow.

While bed bugs themselves are preyed on by spiders and centipedes, any kind of biological control would be complex to implement. Indeed, despite such predators’ proven effectiveness, it seems counter-intuitive to release even more insects in your house to fight bed bugs.

The scene of the crime

Thus while bed bugs aren’t particularly nice companions to have, there are ways to fight back, and for now at least they don’t spread serious diseases. But this situation could change and it’s worth considering improving how we control these unwanted guests. But there’s one aspect – albeit a slightly gruesome one – where bed bugs could remain useful: Because human DNA can persist for up to 90 days after a blood meal, police investigators could potentially use them in criminal investigations. The bed bug could thus help found a new branch of police science, “forensic hematophagy.”

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Provided by The Conversation

Bed Bugs Infest Government Office That Deals With Disasters

By Scott Gordon

A federal government office in Fort Worth, Texas that helps people during disasters is dealing with a crisis itself – bed bugs.

Inside a sprawling facility near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the Small Business Administration’s Disaster Processing and Disbursement Center gears up after hurricanes and other disasters, assisting victims getting low-interest loans.

But in December, bed bugs turned up inside the office.

The SBA closed the facility for two days and brought in an exterminator, but now, more bed bugs have turned up in another part of the building.

The SBA “takes seriously all concerns related to the health, safety and welfare of our employees,” center director Roger Garland said in a statement. “We are again providing an immediate and aggressive response for the safety of our employees and their families.”

Exterminators will be on site Friday night and the office will remain closed over the weekend, Garland said.

Bed bugs are easy to spot but difficult to stop, according to experts

“It’s one of the most challenging pests we run into,” said Greg Miller, an entomologist for Ideal Pest Control in Fort Worth.

“Office buildings, hospitals, dentist’s offices, doctor’s offices, they can be anywhere,” Miller said. “Bed bugs are hitchhikers. Anywhere people go and congregate, it’s possible to have a bed bug infestation.”

He said exterminators use several techniques to get rid of them.

“It’s really all about being able to identify where they are, where the infestation is, and go in there and treat those areas,” Miller said. “We use vacuums, we use heat, we use all of the above.”

Left untreated, bed bugs will multiply exponentially, he said.

But it’s not all bad news.

“People really freak out about it, but they’re not dangerous,” Miller said. “They have been proven, they do not spread disease like mosquitoes do.”

Pesticide bans raise question: Can we manage garden pests without chemicals?


It’s more than just swapping out a chemical for an organic compound, experts say. You need to develop healthy soil – and to change your thinking.

If you squeeze the trigger on a bottle of Roundup in South Portland this summer, you’ll be breaking the law. An ordinance severely restricting synthetic pesticides on private property took effect in May. The law has been in effect for public property for a year. But advocates and city officials aren’t attacking pesticide use as if it’s a crime. In fact, no fines are attached to the ordinance. Instead, the rollout of the new ordinance is being used as a teachable moment.

The city’s sustainability director, as well as organic lawn and garden advocates, are using the new ordinance to educate people about ways to manage weeds and pests in lawns and gardens without the potential harm of chemicals.

The goal is to get people to think about lawn and garden care in new ways. Managing pests organically is not a product-for-product swap – replacing Roundup with some organic compound, say. It’s more about creating healthier soil, where grass and plants can flourish, and conditions where pests will not.

“The basic thing is you really need to go back to nature, and nature will take care of everything,” said Cathy Chapman, a member of South Portland’s Pest Management Advisory Committee and a certified Master Gardener. “You have to feed the soil and help maintain all the organisms in it that sustain life. With a healthy lawn, the grass will outgrow the weeds.”

The South Portland ordinance prohibits synthetic pesticides unless listed as “allowed” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or for certain purposes, such as commercial agriculture, pet tick and flea treatments, or insect repellents. Portland also passed an ordinance similar to South Portland’s, which goes into effect for private property in July, 2019. The Portland law allows fines of $100 to $500. Other Maine towns have some restrictions on pesticide use, but the ones in Portland and South Portland are broader than most, said Garrett Corbin, legislative advocate for the Maine Municipal Association. To see how your town restricts pesticides, go to and search for “pesticide ordinances.”

In announcing the ordinances, officials in both Portland and South Portland talked about widely reported health hazards associated with pesticide use on lawns and gardens. Studies have linked many commonly used pesticides to cancer, birth defects, and other ailments, said Heather Spalding, deputy director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. They are also considered dangerous to wildlife and water resources, Spalding said.

So even people who live where pesticides are not against the law might want to consider alternative methods.

Here, then, are some tips and resources that can help you manage weeds and pests in your yard without synthetic pesticides.


Since managing pests and weeds organically starts with healthy soil, experts recommend you start with a soil test. South Portland, as part of the ordinance rollout, has test kits available at the city’s sustainability office. But people anywhere in Maine can get a soil testing kit from a University of Maine Cooperative Extension office (the Cumberland County office is in Falmouth) or by ordering one online at the extension’s website. Once you have a kit, you need to dig up soil slices for every area you want tested. Follow the instructions on the test, then send them to the UMaine soil testing lab in Orono. The cost is generally $15 per sample.

The test will tell you what nutrients your soil may need and whether it’s acidic or not. With that information, you can start figuring out what you need to do to make your soil healthier. It might be adding lime, or compost, or organic materials with “good” bacteria that make it tough for grubs or pests to survive.

“In the traditional chemical program, you’re just feeding the top quarter-inch of the grass, but with organic you’re looking to improve the soil biology, which in turn feeds your grass and makes it more insect resistant and drought resistant,” said David Melevsky, owner of Go Green Landscaping in Saco.


Besides nutrients, an organic, weed-free lawn needs loose soil. Soil can become compacted over time, and weeds thrive in compacted soil, said Julie Rosenbach, South Portland’s sustainability director. One way to test for compacted soil is to try to stick a screwdriver in it. If you have to push hard, it’s compacted.

To aerate your lawn, you can rent a machine at most big-box stores or buy strap-on aerator shoes and just walk around in your yard. Walmart sells them for about $16. The best time to aerate, experts say, is either in early spring or in the fall. Once your soil is good and loose, plant grass seed where you need it, and fertilize it with compost for nutrition. The best time to do that is in the fall, says Chapman, the Master Gardener.

And just because you are going organic doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. You can still hire a lawn service to take care of things for you organically, such as Go Green Landscaping in Saco, Maine Organic Lawn Care in Richmond, Shaw & Son in Augusta and Peak Landscapes in South Portland.


What you plant in your yard can help control pests, too, experts say. When planting grass, one way to curb grubs is to add white clover seed to your grass seed, says John Bochert, organic gardening specialist at Eldredge Lumber & Hardware in York. Just add a small amount, maybe about 10 percent of your overall seed mix, Bochert said. Grubs don’t like it and will stay away, he said. You can also prevent pests from making homes in your garden by planting different things from year to year, Bochert and others say. If you plant the same things year after year, you provide a reliable food source for pests who like that plant. Take it away, and the pests will likely go too.


Letting your grass grow longer will help keep weeds out, experts say. While many people think short grass is the epitome of a neat and desirable lawn, that idea needs revisiting. Melevsky says the rule of thumb is to leave your lawn at about 3 inches. The roots will be stronger and the grass will “shade out” the weeds, making it harder for them to grow.

If you have a big patch of weeds, you might consider vinegar-based herbicides, which you can buy at garden supply stores. But be aware that vinegar, with the active ingredient acetic acid, will basically kill whatever it touches, said Eric Sideman, organic crop specialist with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.


Sometimes the best organic solution to a lackluster lawn is no lawn at all. It may be better to plant ground cover in some areas of your lawn – moss or wildflowers, for instance. Grass will struggle to grow in any area of your yard that gets fewer than six hours of sunlight a day, Chapman said. Ground cover can help your yard in other ways, she said, like attracting pollinators or the “good bugs” who eat the bugs that munch on plants. In her South Portland yard, she has Solomon’s seal, a graceful plant with small, white bell-shaped flowers that attracts bees. She also grows sweet alyssum, with little white daisy-shaped flowers that attract bugs who eat aphids. Bonus for you? Less mowing time.


Some of the ways to keep pests out of your garden without pesticides are just common sense, like physically taking them out. That means pulling weeds by hands and also removing beetles or other bugs from plants.

Clay Kirby, an insect diagnostician with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, recommends going out in the morning when bugs (like many of us) are sluggish. He suggests holding a coffee can under the leaf the bug is on, then moving your hand toward the bug. Often the bug, especially if it’s a beetle, will drop from the leaf when it senses your hand and fall into the can. He’s also used a hand-held vacuum cleaner to suck bugs off leaves, though that method takes a little practice, to avoid sucking in the whole leaf.

“Hand-picking bugs can be great therapy after a long day at the office,” Kirby said. To keep bugs off of flowering plants or vegetables, consider row covers, swaths of fabric sold at nurseries and meant to fit over plants, Kirby said. Also, garden sanitation is an important way to stop bugs. When the plants die, chop up any debris and remove it. If you don’t, pests will find it and use it for their new home, Kirby said.

But if you want the ease of spraying an organic solution to kill pests, Bochert at Eldredge Lumber recommends products with red cedar oil for killing ticks, grubs and mosquitoes. One brand he likes is called Tick Killz, which can be sprayed on shrubs, mulch and lawns.


Here are a few online resources that can give you more information on how to manage pesticide-free gardens and lawns:

Beyond Pesticides – A Washington, D.C. -based nonprofit group that works toward eliminating toxic pesticides. The website has tips and links to information on weed management, encouraging native plants, the use of things like vinegar or herbicidal soaps to kill weeds, as well as information the management of pests like mosquitoes and other insects.

 Grow Healthy South Portland – This page on the city’s website has tips and links to information on managing specific bugs and weeds, healthy soil, and questions to ask if you’re hiring an organic landscaper. There’s also a Top Ten list of practices for organic lawn management, including soil testing, mowing, aerating, watering and choosing fertilizers. – Search for Grow Healthy South Portland.

 Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides – An Oregon-based group that posts helpful fact sheets on pests, weeds and the treatments or actions that might work on each. The aphid fact sheet, for instance, has pictures and facts to help you identify them, as well as tips for controlling and preventing them. Among the tips? Don’t plant birch trees, because while you may love them, aphids do, too.

 Organic Materials Review Institute – The major certifier for organic land care products, this website lists thousands of products and materials. Search by category (such as fertilizer), by company, or look for products certified in the last three months.

 The University of Maine Cooperative Extension – The website and staff have reams of information on understanding your soil and what lives there, which organic proponents say is key to managing a lawn and garden without pesticides. On the website you can sign up for soil test, ask a gardening question, and get information on how to identify pests., search for “gardening.”

 Wild Seed Project – The website of this Portland-based organization offers guidelines and advice on how to create an organic/ecological landscape. It also sells seeds for native plants and offers other resources and reading on the subject. There’s a list of frequently asked questions, plus one of upcoming workshops and talks on landscape-related topics around Maine.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

Twitter: @RayRouthier

How Long Does It Take For A Bed Bug Infestation To Develop?

By Chris Williams on February 6, 2012.

I was recently sent to a job to inspect for Bed Bugs.  Previous tenants had been treated for bed bugs and have moved out.  Management wanted to know two things:  How long has the unit been infested, and were there any live beg bugs.  Inspection for bed bugs can be difficult as most units are full of furniture and belongings, this unit was vacant and empty.  With full access to all areas of the unit the extent of the infestation was more clearly defined.

Bed bugs, the scourge of the rental industry, are small insects that feed exclusively on human blood.  Long lived and easily spread, bed bugs secretive lifestyle makes detection difficult. Relatively few bed bugs start an infestation.  In fact, if a male bed bug is the only hitchhiker, no infestation will develop.  Only female bed bugs are able to lay eggs.  A mated female can lay around 3 eggs a day if feeding is available, laying more than 300 eggs in her lifetime.  Small white eggs are cemented to discrete surfaces, near a host, and hatch in about 10 days.  Nymphs resemble adults but are much smaller.  In order to grow, or molt, nymphs must acquire a blood meal.  Depending on the temperature, it takes nymphs about 100 days for the five molts to occur before mating can take place.  Roughly 1.5-2 months are required for a complete cycle from egg to mated adult bed bug.  Adult bed bugs live about 10 months, although without a host, bed bugs may live over a year.

Bed bug infestations develop slowly.  At first very few insects are present, feeding intermittently on the host and may not be noticed. Bites are sometimes overlooked or blamed on some other pest species like spiders.  Secretive adults may not be noticed as they feed on sleeping hosts.  Over time though, evidence builds up.  Bed bugs are gregarious, and can be found living side by side in harborage sites.  Great numbers of nymphs and adults can be found together.  As these sites become more active, females will migrate to areas of less activity to lay eggs.  Male bed bugs want to mate constantly with females, driving them away.  This behavior is believed to be what makes  bed bugs “spread out” into new areas.   Large populations also use up more and more of the hiding spaces near the host, and are forced to seek shelter farther from the feeding site.  All the while the bed bugs are pooping.  Bed bug feces is little more that partially digested human blood.  Fecal spots form as the bed bugs move about and accumulate in and around the harborage sites.  Fecal spots are usually clustered, and may have a small “smear” at one side, indicating the direction of the bed bug’s travel.  In heavy infestations there may even be a discernable, almost sweet odor, due to large amounts of feces and aggregation secretions.  As bed bugs molt during the growth process, the smaller old skin is shed and a new larger skin forms.  These skins are also left where they fall and may accumulate over time.  In heavy infestations, there may be considerable numbers of these cast skins.

bed-bugs (2)Now, back in the unit to be inspected, I am looking for evidence.   I begin with a cursory look around.  With a bright flashlight, pliers, and a screwdriver in hand I start with the ceiling edges and walls.  As harborage sites become full, bed bugs will end up in corners and on walls.  Right away I begin to notice some fecal spots on door frames and at lower closet edges.  No activity behind outlet covers, or under carpet in the 2 bedrooms, 12-25 dead bed bugs noted on the bed room floors, some fecal spots on lower closet door and door frames, no live activity.  Bases of  all 3 hall closet door frames also had fecal spots, dead bed bugs, no live activity.  As I began to examine the living room, there seemed to be more and more dead bed bugs, and fecal spotting, increasing as I got over to the baseboard radiator.  Fecal spotting all over the metal housing and adjacent molding told me I was getting warm.  When I dismantled the housing and pulled the carpet out from under it I hit pay dirt.  1000’s of cast skins, large pockets of blood stained carpet(major harborage site), and hundreds of dead bed bugs were deposited under the carpet and heating unit.  There must have been a couch or bed right there.  As the infestation grew, the bed bugs spread out along the floor edge and eventually found the bed rooms, where there was much less fecal spotting etc.  In my opinion, the focal point of the infestation was the living room.  As far as a time table is concerned, based on the life cycle,  amount of fecal spotting, and the number of cast skins noted, the infestation was more than a year old, maybe older.  2 live bed bugs were found, although upside down, on the kitchen floor.  This indicates that the treatment was working, and that bed bug control is almost complete. My recommendation was to re-treat the unit prior to new tenants moving in to ensure that the infestation is gone completely.

Just A Nuisance? Research Says Bedbugs Could Cause Serious Health Effects


Wendy Clark has known since 2007 that she’s allergic to bedbug bites.

While living in Nashville she got a bite, and had to go straight to the emergency room. These days, she takes a prescription antihistamine as a preventative measure, because last June, she and her husband Jimmy moved to Dosker Manor.

Like many of their neighbors in the sprawling public housing complex in downtown Louisville, their apartment is under constant threat of bedbug infestation.

Until recently, Clark and her husband Jimmy would often have friends over to their apartment to play cards or visit their new puppy. Bedbugs changed that.

“We invited some friends over and were playing cards. Her boyfriend decided to sit on the bed, and it was not even 20 seconds that Jimmy said, ‘Get up off that bed,’” Clark said.
“And two days later there was a bedbug on the bed. And that’s when I got the bite.”

Wendy Clark shows a photo on her phone of her reaction from her bedbug bite back in February of this year.

After that bite, Wendy Clark developed a rash that went all the way around from her stomach to her back, and the couple slept on the floor for weeks. Now, they haven’t seen a bedbug in the apartment for awhile, but they know their neighbors have them.

Jimmy Clark said the couple is limiting their social life to the outdoor hallways that lead to each apartment.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t want anyone over here,” he said. “I’m afraid they’re going to bring bedbugs with them.”

An investigation by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting found bedbug complaints are frequent among Dosker Manor residents. And though people complain to both the housing authority and the city, little coordination exists between the two to address the problem. In the past two and a half years, nearly 1,200 bedbug complaints have been filed by residents living in more than half of Dosker Manor’s units.

A Harmless Nuisance?

For most people who aren’t allergic to bedbug bites, the pests are mostly considered a nuisance bug. Luz Fernandez, a doctor at a University of Louisville primary care clinic, said most studies show that bedbugs are ultimately harmless and are not known to cause disease.

“Certainly if they were a vector of a more severe disease there’d be an outcry for eradication,” Fernandez said. “But since at this point, they fall more into the category of nuisances, maybe that’s why it hasn’t gotten the attention that other things have.”

But research is beginning to show there might be more to bedbugs than just an inconvenience. North Carolina State researcher Zach DeVries’ hypothesis is that bedbugs either cause asthma or make other household allergens that trigger asthma even worse.

He conducted a recent study in Raleigh that found histamine levels in homes with bedbug infestations were about 20 times higher than histamine levels in homes with no history of bedbugs.

A mattress researcher Zach DeVries found while collecting dust in apartments infested with bedbugs in Raleigh, N.C.


“We found that histamine is there and in high quantities,” DeVries said. “Even after getting rid of bedbugs it sticks around for at least three months.”

Humans usually release histamines as part of an immune response, but they can cause allergic reactions, too. This is why antihistamines help with symptoms of allergies.

DeVries found there were also high levels of histamines in bedbug feces. His team is now expanding the study to include even more homes. He’s hoping to study related issues in the future, like whether there’s a correlation between bedbugs and asthmatic attacks, missed work due to respiratory disease, or visits to the emergency room.

“The one saving grace that we always tell people with bedbugs is that they’re not transmitting diseases and they’re not a harm to you like cockroaches and other things that are involved in allergic disease,” DeVries said. “We potentially may have to change that and modify what we’re telling people.”

Continued Research

There’s also research into whether bedbugs could potentially carry parasites and infect humans with diseases. Scientists know that a similar bug carries Chagas disease — an infectious disease caused by a parasite found in the feces of the triatomine bug — and has infected humans in Peru.

Now, University of Pennsylvania researcher Michael Levy is studying whether bedbugs can also be vectors for disease.

“We took the feces from bedbugs, put it on the mice, and were able to show that the parasite in bedbugs can transmit the usual way, through feces,” Levy said.

Levy’s current research focuses on whether bedbugs are actually transmitting disease in the real world, outside a lab.

“We’re currently trying to test bedbugs in the houses of people with Chagas disease to see if they’re picking up the parasite in the wild, i.e. in people’s bedrooms,” he said.

Levy cautions that his research is still in early stages. But he said public agencies not dealing with bedbugs is an issue nationwide, and the only way that’ll change is when they’re pressured to do so.

Wendy and Jimmy have been living in their apartment since June of 2017. Jimmy said he hates living at Dosker Manor and wants to move out once the two have enough money to buy a vehicle. “We’re just biding our time here,” Jimmy said.

Meanwhile, Jimmy and Wendy Clark live with constant worry that bedbugs are going to show up again in their apartment. They have nowhere else to go but where they are now. Jimmy Clark said he’s been homeless before and lived in shelters and on the street – he doesn’t want to do that again.

Dosker Manor has provided a home for the newlyweds to start a life together – for Jimmy to watch “This Old House” and upholster thrown-away chairs, a place to feel safe. But the bedbugs threaten that safety.

“It ain’t gonna stop in this place until the buildings are on the ground. Because they’re living in the walls,” Jimmy Clark said.

Guest ‘scarred for life’ by alleged bed bug invasion at boutique hotel in Paris

By Julie Gordon
Guest ‘scarred for life’ by alleged bed bug invasion at boutique hotel in Paris

A well-heeled traveler was “eaten alive” by bed bugs during a recent stay at a chic boutique hotel in Paris, the itchy globetrotter told Page Six.

During a trip to the Hotel Thoumieux — part of the Costes brothers’ Beaumarly group, which also includes Hotel Amour, Grand Hotel Amour and restaurants Café Francais and Café Marly — the weary jetsetter alleges to have gotten an unwelcome 4:30 a.m. wakeup call after feeling an “incredible itching and burning.”

“I’ve traveled from one end of the world to the other, and I have never seen anything like it,” the traveler said. “Bed bugs were everywhere. I feel like I’m scarred for life.”

Thinking at first that mosquitoes were the culprit, the guest called the front desk and switched rooms for the duration of the vacation.

But while on the flight home to the United States it was clear, “I had been eaten alive.” Two doctors later confirmed the bites came from bed bugs over several days, the traveler said.

In an email viewed by Page Six, the hotel apologized and told the guest, “We are so sorry for what happened.” The traveler said the charge for the first night of the trip was removed.

The hotel didn’t respond to requests for comment.

What’s the No. 1 spot for bed bugs in your hotel?

By: Melanie Michael

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – You’ve heard the saying, “sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite?” Well, they’re biting. And, they’re doing a lot of damage in the Sunshine State.

In honor of Bed Bug Awareness Week, 8 On Your Side spoke with experts on the matter.

“Personally, what comes to mind is my skin getting a little crawly, like ewww,” said Matthew Miller from Arrow Environmental Services.

Miller tells us bed bugs are becoming an increasingly large problem in Florida due to tourism.

He advises travelers to be extra vigilant, especially in hotels, where tourists are most likely to spot the teeny, tiny insects.

According to Miller, there’s one spot in particular where bed bugs seem to live, thrive and multiply.

“When you get into that hotel room, one of the things you want to do is inspect the mattress,” said Miller. “Particularly the cracks and the crevices in the mattresses. I very commonly find them in the labels on the mattress, as well.”

Miller says the bugs are often hard to spot, as many of them are as small as a match head and thin as a credit card.

“So, it’s a good thing to pull off the sheets and look there to see if you have any type of activity,” Miller added.

Pest control business Orkin actually tracks data on residential and commercial bed bug treatments performed in metro areas across the country.

Below are the cities that made Orkin’s 2018 list of top 50 cities with the highest bed bug concentrations. The Tampa-St. Petersburg area is included in this year’s list. A city’s increase or decrease from the previous year’s rankings is listed in parenthesis:

1. Baltimore
2. Washington, D.C.
3. Chicago
4. Los Angeles (+2)
5. Columbus, Ohio
6. Cincinnati (+2)
7. Detroit
8. New York (-4)
9. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
10. Dallas-Fort Worth (+5)
11. Indianapolis
12. Philadelphia
13. Atlanta (+3)
14. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio (-1)
15. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (-3)
16. Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (-5)
17. Houston
18. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va. (+2)
19. Charlotte, N.C. (-3)
20. Buffalo, N.Y. (-2)
21. Knoxville, Tenn.
22. Nashville, Tenn. (+1)
23. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich. (+4)
24. Pittsburgh
25. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C.
26. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (+4)
27. Phoenix (-1)
28. Denver (-6)
29. Milwaukee
30. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (+1)
31. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (+5)
32. Boston (-4)
33. Syracuse, N.Y. (+7)
34. Dayton, Ohio (-2)
35. St. Louis (+2)
36. Seattle (-2)
37. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (+9)
38. Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, M.I. (new to list)
39. Omaha, N.E. (-6)
40. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa (-2)
41. San Diego (new to list)
42. Lexington, Ky. (+1)
43. Honolulu, Hawaii (+5)
44. Louisville, Ky. (-3)
45. Las Vegas (+4)
46. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C. (-4)
47. New Orleans (new to list)
48. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (-9)
49. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (-14)
50. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (new to list)

Bed bugs are not necessarily a sign of uncleanliness. They have been found in upscale homes and hotels, movie theaters, schools and on public transit.

Orkin recommends homeowners, tenants and travelers all over the world should take the following precautions to help prevent bed bugs:

Bed bug tips for home:

  • Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check locations where bed bugs hide during the day, including furniture, mattress seams and bed sheets, as well as behind baseboards, electrical outlets and picture frames.
  • Decrease clutter around your home to make bed bug inspections and detection much easier.
  • Inspect and quarantine all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home.
  • Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.

During travel, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P to inspect for bed bugs:

  • Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for red or brown spots on sheets.
  • Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, sheets and furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate luggage on a rack away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.
  • Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.
  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.
  • While bed bugs are not known to spread human diseases like many other pests and some people have no reaction to bed bug bites, others may experience itchy red welts and swelling.

Rodent and Bed Bug infestations on the Rise Throughout California

Ants top list of most frequently reported pest problems, according to pest control Operators of California Survey


While ants continue to be California’s most frequently reported pest problem, the state is experiencing a significant upward trend in reports of rodent and bed bug infestations, according to a survey released today by the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC).

The findings are contained in “What’s Bugging California Survey, 2018,” the first annual industry survey of the state’s licensed pest control operators.

Just over half (51.25%) of the respondents said the most rapidly growing reason for commercial and residential customer calls were to eliminate infestations of rat and other rodents. The second fastest growing problem was for bed bugs (25.62%), according to the survey.

“The results confirmed what we have been hearing anecdotally for the past year – that rodents are thriving and becoming more difficult to control throughout the state,” said Chris Reardon, PCOC’s executive director. “Our customers are also reporting greater problems with bed bugs.”

The survey results were taken from responses of 160 representatives from major pest control companies located in every region of California, said Reardon.

According to the survey, the following represent California’s Top 6 Problematic Pests for consumers and businesses:

2.Rats & Rodents
3.Wasps & Hornets
5.Bed Bugs

Reardon noted that controlling these and other pests is essential to protecting public health because they can spread a wide range of diseases, including salmonella, West Nile and Zika viruses, bubonic plague and other fatal illnesses.

“The ability to effectively manage pests is a key advantage that differentiates our society from Third World countries,” he said. “Our industry believes access to pest control should be a fundamental right for Californians, who need to be able to protect their families, homes and businesses.”

“California’s pest control professionals are among the most heavily trained and regulated in the United States,” Reardon said. “Because of this, PCOC members employ a wide range of integrated pest management strategies that incorporate both chemical and non-chemical approaches. The industry goal is to minimize pesticides while still maximizing pest eradication.”

About the Pest Control Operators of California
The Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC) is a non-profit trade association who’s prime objective is to encourage interest and participation in the Pest Control Industry. The association is broadly involved in educational and training programs to both the consumer and trade industry level, and offers educational resources, referral services, scholarships, and insurance to the pest control industry.


Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

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Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Bed Bug Blog

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety