Bed Bugs On The Rise, Despite Covid-19, New Study Suggests

FORBES – by Alex Ledsom, Senior Contributor – August 1, 2020

Bed bug feeding on human skin.

A new study concluded this week that bed bugs were such a problem in France that they now pose a national health hazard.

The creatures have been on the rise globally but in the past decade, bed bugs have proliferated–they are now found in every U.S. state and countries across Europe have seen huge infestations, notably Paris (which is the number one visited capital in the world).

At the beginning of 2020, the French Union for Pest Control stated that, “France’s bed bug problem has seen the number of cases go from 180,000 to 400,000 in just two years”.

The French government website states that they arrived in France in the 1950s with the advent of international travel and have proliferated because of their increasing resistance to insecticide. It says that bedrooms and living rooms are predominantly more affected.

New York Times article suggested that 1 in 5 Americans have been plagued by bed bugs or know someone who has. Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles were the most plagued.

Two Upstate Cities Make “Top Bed Bug Cities” List

NY_CitiesHudson Valley Post | January 26, 2020

Talk about a dubious distinction. For a second year in a row, a couple of New York state cities made Orkin pest control’s top 50 list for bed bug cities. Yuck. Well, at least in both cases, both cities aren’t as high up the list as last year.

Syracuse and Buffalo were both ranked in the top fifty in the country for bed bug cases. According to Orkin’s website, Buffalo ranked 24, and Syracuse 39th respectively. New York City was 6th, which is not surprising for a city that size.

So what city has the most bed bugs in the U.S.? according to Orkin, Washington D.C. The nation’s capitol is now also the bed bug capitol. Orkin has a number of helpful reminders on their home page that could help you spot the pests before they potentially spread, and also ways to treat and infestation. This is not one of them.

The Odor You Smelled May Be Warning You Of Bed Bugs Infestation

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES | January 8, 2020 |By Snow Digon 

  • Bed bugs are a problem that  confronts thousands of homes all over the world
  • There are certain signs that will tell you of an ongoing infestation
  • You might have already “smelled” the distinct odor that denotes the existence of bed bugs

Sometimes, you can tell what room you are in just by its smell. Kitchens normally emit the scent of food, while bathrooms usually take on the smell of soap. Smelling a musty odor in your bedroom, however, is something else and should cause you to worry.

One of the biggest problems a home could have is the proliferation of bed bugs. While you may keep your rooms clean at all times, the parasites which may have stuck to your clothes as you sat on the train could spread in your house. In fact, bed bugs that can invade your house may come not only from train seats but also from planes, hotels, and many other places.

In general, bed bugs would take seven weeks to grow from an egg into an adult. This means that if you discover a bed bug infestation in one of the rooms in your house, it may have been there for over seven weeks.

To make matters worse, studies have shown that these tiny parasites have developed resistance to several chemical treatments. This makes their eradication or elimination a bit difficult.

Since the late 1990s, the spread of bed bugs has been increasing at a rapid pace. Today, there is practically no country on the planet that does not have a bed bug problem.bed bugs, signs, odorbed bugs, signs, odor Photo: danydory – Pixabay

Households in the UK report an unabated increase in bed bug infestation since the year 2006. Compounding the problem is the failure of many residents to report bed bug infestation in their homes because of shame.
What these residents do instead is to buy do-it-yourself chemical treatments and make an attempt to get rid of the parasites themselves. While there may have been a few that became successful at this effort, most have failed.

A Rapid Increase

Bed bug infestations start when a mated female managed to sneak inside your home. They then lay eggs at a pace of around three per day. If there is sufficient food available, that is, the blood on your body, they may be able to lay over 300 eggs in the female bug’s lifetime. According to Colonial Pest Control, their tiny white eggs oftentimes are stuck to isolated surfaces and usually near a host. They hatch within ten days.

They need approximately a month and a half to two months to transform from an egg to an adult bed bug that can mate. They then live for approximately ten months to more than a year, even without a host.

A Telltale Smell

You can always tell if there’s a bed bug infestation in one of the rooms in your house. Like many other bug species, these tiny parasites emit odors referred to as alarm pheromones. When they get disturbed, you may start noticing a sweet or musty odor; in some instances, it may smell like coriander. This odor may also be coming from the bugs’ fecal material. Bed bugs have been found to be very sociable, and oftentimes, male adults want to mate with females constantly.

Getting Rid Of the Parasites

It is highly recommended to regularly clean linens, beddings, curtains, clothing, and similar materials in hot water. You also need to set your dryer setting to maximum when drying the clothes and other materials.

For mattresses, you need to use a stiff brush to remove bed eggs and bugs off the seams before vacuuming them. You also need to vacuum the bed and its surrounding area frequently. If there are cracks in plaster around the bed, try to immediately repair them so they will not serve as hiding places for the parasites.

OUCH! Actress, husband sue Princess Cruises over alleged bedbug incident

foxBy Janine Puhak | January 16, 2020

Ouch!

An actress who appeared in the film “Marriage Story” and her husband have filed a lawsuit against Princess Cruises, alleging that they suffered such “horrific” exposure to bedbugs during a recent cruise that the woman had to be hospitalized for treatment.

“Marriage Story” actor Connie Flores and her husband Alvin Flores have claimed that they were attacked by the pesky critters during a November cruise from Los Angeles to Mexico, NBC San Diego reports. The couple were traveling on the Emerald Princess ship to celebrate their anniversary over Thanksgiving weekend.

Connie Marie Flores arrives at the Premiere Of Netflix's

Connie Marie Flores arrives at the Premiere Of Netflix’s “Marriage Story” at DGA Theater on November 5, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)

The Flores’ said in a recent statement that the bugs “feasted” on them while they slept in an “infested” stateroom, sharing photos of their heads, arms and legs covered in red bumps.

“Imagine yourself on a cruise at sea with your stateroom infested with bedbugs. There was nowhere to go. We were trapped. We felt helpless. There were bedbugs coming out of the pillows and the mattress, we felt betrayed,” Connie claimed.

An image the aftermath from of the alleged bedbug attack.

An image the aftermath from of the alleged bedbug attack. (My Bed Bug Lawyer)

The couple said that they notified the on-board medical staff of the bedbug issue and demanded a relocation to a new room, but the Princess Cruises employees delayed their urgent request.

“They simply were negligent in providing safe premises,” said attorney Brian Virag, founder of the law firm My Bed Bug Lawyer, which is representing the couple in court.

Now, the Flores’ complaint seeks $75,000 in damages for financial loss and personal injury as well as emotional and mental distress in a jury trial, according to NBC.

An image of the aftermath from the alleged bedbug attack.

An image of the aftermath from the alleged bedbug attack. (My Bed Bug Lawyer)

“This was a horrific experience, and no one should ever go through such pain and trauma,” Connie said. “This ordeal has prompted us to be advocates and bring awareness to people who have been exposed to bed bugs.”

A spokesperson for Princess Cruises told Fox News that the cruise line is “limited” regarding what information can be shared about the open suit, but maintained that their employees are “highly trained to identify bedbugs” in staterooms, which are “ALL thoroughly inspected” each month.

An image of the aftermath from the alleged bedbug attack.

An image of the aftermath from the alleged bedbug attack. (My Bed Bug Lawyer)

“We were very sorry to hear about Ms. Flores concerns,” said a cruise line representative. “Princess Cruises is committed to following and often exceed stringent sanitation and health guidelines. Given that this is an open lawsuit, we are limited in what information we can share right now, however it is worth noting, our room attendants are highly trained to identify bedbugs and ALL staterooms are thoroughly inspected each month as a preventative measure.”

“By virtue of how the cruise vacation experience is designed our staterooms receive considerably more cleaning attention by our room attendants than a hotel room on land (twice a day, including evening turn-down service along with a thorough cleaning – including changing linen at the end of each cruise),” they said.

“It would be highly unusual for the presence of bedbugs to go un-noticed for more than the length of one cruise.”

Virag said in the statement that roughly one in every five Americans has either personally experienced bedbugs or knows someone who has.

‘You’re better off sleeping in your car’: How Paris is plagued by scourge of bed bugs

THE LOCAL | January 10, 2020

The bed bug infestation that is worsening across France has left hoteliers and residents in Paris struggling to find a remedy to a problem that leaves them often out of pocket and out of home.

If the last thing on your mind when staying at a glitzy Paris hotel is having to worry about getting bitten by critters, think again.

A Paris hotel group head has admitted that even high-end hotels in the French capital are affected by a pest infestation that’s getting worse across France.

France’s bed bug problem has seen the number of cases go from 180,000 to 400,000 in just two years.

In 2018 alone, there were 100,000 bed bug infestations in Paris, according to the French Union for Pest Control (CS3D), a scourge that is now also affecting the capital’s hotel industry.

As one TripAdvisor user commented about their stay in a Paris hotel last November: “Bed bugs, no handling of the matter and no treatment. You’re better off sleeping in your car”.

“It’s traumatizing hotel managers, we talk about it among ourselves, but timidly” Jean-Marc D’Orx, general president of Ile-de-France’s Hotel Union, told Le Parisien.

“The hotelier is a victim in this kind of case. It’s not that the hotel is dirty, but it has welcomed people who have brought the bed bugs with them.

“When a room is infested, you have to change all the bedding, the mattress, the bed frame, it can cost anywhere from €300 to €10,000 depending on the category of the hotel.

Aside from these big financial losses (not fully covered by insurance according to D’Orx) and the effect bed bugs can have on a hotel’s reputation, hotel managers also have to close their establishment until new beds have been delivered and pest controls carried out.

In fact, since 2018 any landlord with a rental property in France that’s found to have bed bugs or any other parasite infestation (cockroaches, rats etc), has to cease letting it out, or face a fine of €50,000 to €100,000 for not doing so.

“In Canada, pest control treatments are mandatory when a tenant departs, but unfortunately this is not the case in France,” French housing and social inclusion group Si Toit Lien told Le Monde.

This has resulted in countless unwitting tenants in France having to deal with a serious health and housing problem from the moment they move into their new home.

According to the French Union for Pest Control, 92 percent of French people have at some point found pests in their homes.

But bed bugs – called ‘punaises de lit’ in French – aren’t just being found in beds.

“It’s horrible, even when you’re sure they’re gone you see them everywhere,” a north American reader in Paris who asked to remain anonymous told The Local.

“The cinemas have a problem with them so you start avoiding places.

“You throw out everything that’s part of your bed including the mattress, even though they say all you need to do is wash beddings at 90degrees and it should be fine.

“The pest control guy I got was great. It cost €450 for him to come three times to fumigate. The main problem at my place was the carpet.

“So on top of the cost of fumigation there’s also the expense of staying a night or several nights at a hotel, which often has to happen.

“The fumigator told me bed bugs were by far his biggest business, way above cockroaches and mites, and that he couldn’t keep up with demand despite not advertising.

“The French blame Americans for bringing them over…I got them from an American friend who travels a lot. Bastard.”

The Local’s Paris based editor Ben McPartland said: “A neighbour in my block just dumper their mattress in the street after realising it was teaming with bed bugs. They were everywhere. It was stomach-churning.”

Bed bugs are 7mm-long insects that feed on human blood, usually at night. Their bites can result in skin rashes, allergic reactions and psychological trauma for the person trying to sleep.

After having almost disappeared in the 1950s, bed bugs (Latin name Cimex lectularius) have proliferated in France in recent years.

 

 

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Pill bottles full of bedbugs found in Walmart jacket, men’s department prompt investigation

USA TODAY | by Jordan Culver | January 7, 2019

It’s not uncommon to have an occasional influx of bedbugs at a motel. But at a Walmart?

That’s exactly what police in northwestern Pennsylvania are investigating after several of the creepy critters were found crawling around a Walmart men’s fitting room. Pill bottles containing the bugs were also found in the store.

Law enforcement officers believe the bugs were deliberately released into the Walmart near Erie. The motive isn’t known.

An employee at the Walmart in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, first found a closed pill bottle containing live bed bugs on Thursday, police said. The bottle was found inside a boy’s jacket, which was for sale.

The jacket was “disposed of” according to police, and Ecolab, a company focused on “clean water, safe food and healthy environments,” according to its website, came to the Walmart the next day. An Ecolab employee found and identified the bed begs in the men’s fitting room.

Police were alerted after a second closed pill bottle was found on Saturday. The second bottle contained several dead bed bugs and was found in the men’s department, near the belts, according to police.

“Our third-party pest management service has visited the store, and after conducting a thorough review found no evidence of an infestation,” a Walmart spokesperson said in an email to USA TODAY.

“We believe this to be an isolated incident and are taking all the necessary steps to help ensure a safe environment for customers and associates. We will continue working with law enforcement as they conduct their investigation.”

The second bottle found at the store has been submitted for forensic analysis, according to police. Surveillance video from the store is also under review. Police said Walmart verified the incident was “isolated” after reaching out to other stores in the area.

Bed bugs can be found worldwide, according to the CDC. They don’t spread disease, can live for “several months” without feeding and aren’t considered dangerous, but can infest areas where people sleep and their bites can trigger serious allergic reactions, the CDC says.

Bed Bugs Infuriate Residents At Arlington Heights Complex With ‘World Class Amenities’

CBS 2 CHICAGO | by Tim Nicholas | December 17, 2019

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS (CBS) — An apartment complex boasts of its “world class amenities” on its website, but it doesn’t mention the bed bugs crawling around.

Tenants say it’s been a problem for months, but management hasn’t fixed it at the Residences at Arlington Heights.

Joseph Garnhart showed the CBS 2 Morning Insiders the bed bugs crawling around his bedroom walls.

“Here’s one of them. Two. Three,” he counted. “Four. Five.”

“How many have you seen in here?” a reporter asked.

“Oh, I couldn’t tell you. Oh is that one? That is one.”

Garnhart said he first noticed the uninvited guests more than two weeks ago. They even bit his partner.

He said he let management know right away.

“We’re coming up on three weeks now of living in here [with bed bugs[, and they’re not moving us. We just don’t want to be living in a health hazard,” Garnhart said.

It’s gotten so bad he cleared out his bedroom and is sleeping in the living room. His living situation is a far cry from the “most charming apartments in Arlington Heights” and the “world class amenities” described on the property’s website.

Alicja Mrugala, who lives in the same building as Garnhart, said she moved in Oct. 18 and started finding bed bugs within days.

“It’s just ridiculous,” Mrugala said.

She said she told management right away, and an exterminator treated her apartment two weeks later on Nov 4.

Now she’s worried the bugs could come crawling back upstairs–if they haven’t already.

“In all honesty, what they should do is put everybody in a hotel and fumigate the entire building,” Mrugala said.

It’s the same complex where management called the police on a CBS 2 Morning Insiders reporter back in October when he tried to ask the staff about the gnats and worms another woman found in her apartment, which is located in a separate building from Garnhart and Mrugala’s apartments.

Last week, the staff refused to answer CBS 2’s questions again, and directed a reporter to the company’s corporate office–JRK Property Holdings–based in Los Angeles.

“There’s no comment. You have to deal with corporate,” an employee said at the Arlington Heights office.

JRK owns properties across the country.

The Morning Insiders emailed and called them but the company has not responded.

On the Better Business Bureau’s website, JRK has 54 reviews and every single one has just one star out of five.

One person wrote “…at least they finally got rid of the bed bugs.” But that’s in Portland, Oregon–not Arlington Heights.

“It makes me very angry, especially because this place sells this whole like, luxurious feel and they charge a good price for a one bedroom apartment,” Mrugala said. “You think you’re getting something and then you get bed bugs.”

Another neighbor who lives below Mrugala and across the hall from Garnhart tells CBS 2 she has also seen bed bugs in her apartment.

The Arlington Heights office of Health and Human Services is aware of the problems and will be following up to make sure the complex gets rid of the bugs, a village health officer said.

The health officer said an exterminator is scheduled to return to the building and treat at least two apartments.

The tenants are hoping that works for good this time.

How I got even with the 5-Star Hotel that gave me Bed Bugs

brokelyn.png by Erin Scottberg | November 7, 2017

brokelyn1.jpg

I kept a folder in my phone called #BiteThings before I knew what it was. All photos by Erin Scottberg

Of all the questionable places I’ve spent the night — dingy apartments in Bushwick, shady hostels in Cambodia, cut-rate motels on cross-country road trips — the last place I expected to pick up bed bugs was from a luxury hotel in the Bay Area. But lo and behold, that’s what happened: I brought home one of New York’s biggest nightmares on a cross-country flight from SFO, not on a cross-borough ride on the G train.

On the mildly bright side, I figured getting bed bugs from a fancy, five-star hotel chain that was known for their excellent customer service was at least the best way to get them. There’s no way I’d be responsible for treating my apartment, which I knew could be super expensive. It was their fault, end of story. Sure, they may not have a legal responsibility — a few states have laws protecting hotel guests from bed bugs, though they usually aren’t very effective — but anything else would be bad business.

Turns out, it wasn’t that simple.

This all happened two years ago during a business trip to San Francisco. I was enjoying happy hour with a friend at Rickhouse, a trendy cocktail bar in the Financial District filled with lots of dark wood and tech-engineer types crowded around whiskey barrel tables, when I noticed a small cluster of itchy pink bumps on my foot. As the bartender handed us our drinks, I joked, “The mosquitoes out here just love me!”

“That’s weird,” my friend replied with a confused look. “I don’t think I’ve been bitten once in the seven years I’ve lived here.”

I was so used to being the one who gets eaten alive while everyone else remains unscathed that I thought nothing of it. Having never lived there, I had no idea that the Bay Area has basically zero mosquitoes.

That night, I tucked myself once again into my fancy, king-sized hotel bed. Two days later I flew back to Brooklyn and crawled into my own bed for a daytime nap.

__________

A victim of ‘Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner’ bites, I wasn’t about to give up.

brokelyn2.jpg

Once I saw ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner’ bites, I knew it was bedbugs.

I woke up a few hours later with three big, itchy red bumps on my thigh. The next morning, there were a few more. When the same thing happened a third time, I assumed a mosquito had gotten into my apartment when I was out of town so I Googled “How to catch a mosquito” and started taking advice from internet commenters.

I’m no fool. Of course I’d suspected bed bugs, but I had no evidence — no physical bugs, no reddish-brown marks where I might have squashed one after it bit me, not even any “brown, coffee-grind like residue” I’d been told to look for (it’s their poop). And I’d been searching hard. Plus, I couldn’t come up with a source. I hadn’t had any house guests, hadn’t lugged home sidewalk furniture, hadn’t seen a movie at The Pavilion. The only possibility was that fancy hotel. But surely they’d have that stuff on lock to keep their reputation pristine?

After nearly two weeks of dotting each bite with a marker before bed to keep track of new bites, I woke up to three in a row on the side of my left shin — breakfast, lunch and dinner, as it’s called in bedbug-savvy circles. I was disgusted and freaking out. I tore apart my bed more thoroughly than ever, flipping over the box spring and prying the fabric from the frame with a butter knife while peaking in with a flashlight. Finally, after half an hour of hunting, there they were: two tiny, slightly reddish bed bugs tucked underneath a staple on the bottom side of my box spring.

Redemption. Success. An intense feeling of violation. Terror. Fears of bankruptcy and social ostracization and having to throw out everything I owned and start from scratch. The irony of having travelled to the opposite coast only to come face to face with New York’s public enemy number one was not lost on me. For a hot minute (ok, probably about 15 minutes), I lost it. I sat on my floor in the middle of my basic metal bed frame and cried.

But then, I started handling shit. And I was going to go after that fucking hotel.

___________

brokelyn3

I lived out of bags I kept in my kitchen, which was declared bed bug free.

First, I went to the hardware store for construction grade trash bags, mattress bags (like the kind you use for moving) and duct tape and sealed up pretty much everything in my bedroom — bedding, books, the actual luggage I’d used in SF. Anything that could went straight to the laundromat for a high-temp wash and dry. When the exterminators came later, they complimented my work.

Next, I called the hotel.

The manager listened calmly, then he explained that they couldn’t inspect the room because it was currently occupied.

I was incredulous. “Well, get them out of there! It has bed bugs!” He took down my contact info and said he’d get back to me. They didn’t seem to be taking things seriously.

The next day I got an email thanking me “for reaching out to us regarding any bed bug concerns that you have” and explaining that “after the inspection conducted today we did find minimal bed bug activity in the room.”

Minimal. Ha. The email then went on to explain how bed bugs aren’t a reflection of a hotel’s cleanliness (true) and are just a result of travelers (also true) and I should probably do my laundry and call a professional (obviously), and oh, won’t you please stay with us again?

I wasn’t about to spend thousands of dollars on professional extermination brought on by the hotel’s own negligence, so I asked about their plan to cover my fumigation costs. After a few days of general corporate non-answers, they explained that they had to follow the appropriate process and get their insurance company involved. Sounded good to me — they’d already said, in writing, that my room had bed bugs. Of course they were going to take responsibility for the situation.

_________

brokelyn4.jpg

I became BFFs with the crew at the laundromat.

Encouraged by the hotel’s management to “accelerate the process” at my personal cost (“keeping my receipts to be reimbursed”), I hired a pest control company. They decided to “bomb” my closet (where I’d hung unworn clothes from the trip and stored my luggage) and bookshelves (where I’d replaced paperwork and other books) with Nuvan strips and treat other potentially affected areas with Cryonite, a rapidly freezing carbon dioxide snow-like compound that goes by the tagline “The chill that kills”. Both treatments would require the items be out of commision for about a month. The total cost was just shy of $3,000.

Meanwhile, my battle ground had moved from the hotel to their insurance company. I was required to give a recorded statement to a claims specialists describing the ordeal. During our conversation, the specialist asked multiple times whether I’d turned down cleaning services at all during my stay. Luckily, I hadn’t. Turns out this is because checking for bed bugs is part of the cleaning checklist. If I’d told them to stay out of the room, then they wouldn’t have had a chance to inspect (however poorly) for bed bugs. This gave me leverage. (Ever since, I always accept the cleaning service — you can still tell them not to replace your sheets for environmental reasons, but at least allow them to come in and remake the bed.)

On top of all this, I’d learned via the public bedbug registry (it’s a thing!) that other guests had had the same problem around the same time. Given that irrefutable evidence, it’s understandable how livid I was that when the insurance company called a couple weeks later to let me know they determined the hotel not at fault.

A vendetta was born. I became a woman with a single mission: Make. Them. Pay.

___________

My apartment has a few recessed areas like this which are easy to seal off and treat.

brokelyn5.jpg

Luckily, my apartment has a few recessed areas like this which are easy to seal off and treat.

I’ve spent most of my career in online publishing in some form or another. I fully understand the power of SEO. And as a hotel — or anyone in the service industry — you reputation is everything. I started searching and found that there were multiple variations of “HOTELNAMEhasbedbugs.com” available. Two minutes later, I was the proud owner of a new URL. It was incredibly cathartic. I started dreaming of how I would detail every story, every photo and every dollar of my ordeal — all due to this hotel — to the world. I had mentally psyched myself up for my inevitable appearance on The Today Show during which my chyron would read “’Crazy Bed Bug Lady’ publically shames hotel into taking responsibility for their mistake”.

I sent word of my plans to the hotel, making it clear that I, too, could be a pest who wouldn’t go away.

After a month of continual phone calls, strongly worded emails and more conversations with their insurance company, I finally received an email from the hotel manager stating that “due to the nature of our business as well as our understanding of your frustration with this situation we would like as a hotel, regardless of fault, [to] reimburse you for the expenses you submitted.” Save your receipts, kids! I signed some papers — hence why I haven’t mentioned the chain’s name — and got my check. Blood had been shed (well, more like feasted on) but the battle had been won.

A few weeks later, I was able to remove the plastic sealing off my bookshelves and closet, and I no longer needed to pick my clothes out of trash bags. I was able to stop going to the laundromat every other day and I felt comfortable, kind of, replacing my duvet and bringing things into my house. Roscoe, the bed bug detecting beagle, did a complete sniff-test and cleared my apartment. I was happier to receive that piece of paper than I was my college degree.

__________

I recently found this guy crawling on my floor and I freaked out. I sent pics to the exterminators I used but it was just a beetle. Phew!

brokelyn6.jpg

I found this guy crawling on my floor and I freaked out, sent pics to the exterminators. But it was just a beetle.

But there are still times when I’m not convinced. I find a random, itchy bump on my elbow and tense up. I wake up to a red spot on the back of my shin and I’m flipping over the mattress. Earlier this summer, I was at a wedding in the Catskills where all of the guests stayed in cabins and when I got back to New York, I noticed my back looked like a game of connect the dots. I sent a text to the group asking “What’s everyone’s bug bite situation? I have so many it’s unreal. I’m nervous…” I wasn’t the only one.

A few hours later, we figured out we were dealing with chiggers, not bed bugs. While the others slept soundly that night, I dug out my markers and dotted each bite I could reach before going to bed and woke up early to do my laundry before work. Just in case.

That’s the thing with bed bugs. They’re not going to make you sick, or cause you any actual harm. But they can slowly drive you crazy, cost you more than twice your rent money, and make you fear for every bite, itch and bump you’ll ever have, for the rest of your life.

And while a business can’t possibly return your sense of security, they absolutely can — and should — take responsibility for their errors and make sure you don’t drain your savings (or go into debt) trying to recover from their mistake. If it comes down to it, just take a cue from our blood-sucking friends and keep at it for as long as you need to (and maybe register a domain name or two). Eventually, they’ll do whatever it takes to make you go away.

Gross! What you need to know and do if your hotel room has bedbugs

USA TODAY | David Oliver | October 30, 2019

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites.

Bedbugs are tiny insects approximately the size of an apple seed. Adult bedbugs are oval, reddish-brown and flat. Younger ones can be difficult to see because they’re so small.

And there’s a reason they’re called bedbugs: They like to lurk during the daytime where people sleep and feed on them at night (bed bugs feed on both human and animal blood). The insects can be found in a host of places from mattresses to bedding to cracks in furniture to under carpeting and more.

Bedbugs can be found worldwide, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are not a reflection on the cleanliness of any accommodation (so, yes, even a five-star hotel can have bedbugs). They don’t spread disease nor are they seen as dangerous, but allergic reactions to bites could require a doctor visit.

The bites look like mosquito or flea bites, with a swollen, red spot that could itch or hurt. They could present randomly as well as in a straight line. Some people might not have any adverse reaction to the bites, but others could see swelling.

AP-Bedbug-Insecticide-Risk

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites.
How do I look for bedbugs in my hotel room?
Make this a priority.

The University of Minnesota recommends looking at the edging and seams of mattresses and box springs, as well as a bed’s headboard. You should also check out the furniture near the bed, cracks in night stands as well as behind picture frames, where bedbugs can hide.

“If you think your hotel bed has bedbugs, you can either check your bed yourself, looking for small blood spots or small blood smears on the sheets and strip the bed and check under the mattress seams or ask the manager to organize for the housekeeper to do it for you,” Maureen Spencer, travel blogger, told USA TODAY. “Take photos of any evidence you find and ask for a room change.”

There’s no federal bedbug law, but 21 states do have bedbug-related legislation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, like ensuring hotels are maintaining cleanliness and that hotels must exterminate bedbugs before housing different guests.

What should I do if I find bedbugs in my hotel room?
Step one: Panic! (Just kidding.)

“The very first thing that you should do if you encounter bedbugs in your hotel room, or even if you have a suspicion that there might be bedbugs in your room, is to pack up your stuff and place it as far away from the bedbug-infested places as possible,” Kristiana Kripena, digital and content marketing director for InsectCop tells USA TODAY. You want to avoid the bugs coming with you to your own house, she says.

You should also obviously notify hotel staff, but do your best to stay calm.

“Remember – this is never going to be something that hotel staff wants to hear,” Becca Siegel of travel blog and Instagram @halfhalftravel tells USA TODAY. “Actually, it’s the last thing they want to hear because it’s going to affect everyone staying in the hotel, their staff, their efforts in eradicating bedbugs and also their ratings online. Try to remain calm and empathetic.”

Also remember that what you think is a bedbug might not be one at all.

“I can’t tell you the number of times that a guest just sees a bug near a bed or on a bed and makes an assumption,” Victoria Agredo, a hospitality industry veteran, tells USA TODAY. “An untrained eye checking a room for themselves really isn’t that helpful. They may find something or they may create a panic over nothing.”

If they are indeed bedbugs, make sure you ask to be moved to a different room (and not one next to the one where you stayed).

Jordan Bishop, founder of consumer watchdog and travel website Yore Oyster, recommends sealing your clothes and other belongings in plastic bags and running them through a hot laundry cycle ASAP.

You can also use a garbage bag, and place that in a freezer overnight to get rid of bedbugs. For non-washable items, enlist a pest-management professional.

 

Books Are Being Returned to the Hampton (NH) Library With Bed Bugs

Books_Bedbugs 
WOKQ | by Chio Acosta | October 28, 2019

Bed Bugs in Books, YIKES, Hampton Library May Ban Users.  What’s a librarian to do?  Well, first they disinfect and make sure the pests do not spread, then the books are discarded and a pest control agency is brought in to determine that the library is safe, but the broader question is how do they stop it from happening.  Seacoastonline reports on the issue that all libraries are facing and the steps the Hampton Library is taking to prevent the problem.

While bed bugs are not known to carry disease, they are creepy crawlies that leave bed bug poop everywhere, have an annoying little bite that looks like a rash and can trigger severe allergies.  None of those are good things.  Amanda Reynolds Cooper, the Lane Memorial Library director, says the library trustees will now be given a policy to approve that would require those that return books with bed bugs to obtain documentation that their homes are safe and bed bug-free before gaining admittance to the library.  This seems like a commonsense procedure but there are a lot of issues in play with this proposed policy.

Libraries are open to the public for good reasons and it’s a First Amendment issue to deny someone access.  Many people use the library for research into job opportunities, research into healthcare issues and these community hubs are not just for the storage of ideas.  Free public access makes libraries a safe space for learning.  What if you are homeless and looking for resources?  How can you claim your living space is “pest-free?”  It will be interesting to see how this debate plays out if the policy is approved.  Stay tuned, the trustees will meet to approve or not allow the policy on November 13 per reporting from seacoastonline.

 

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Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety