Asheville Citizen Times | by Brian Gordon and Joel Burgess | Aug. 29, 2019
An apartment complex for the city’s low-income and disabled seniors is struggling with a bedbug infestation.
About 50 of the 248 units at the Asheville Terrace public housing development have been infested with bedbugs in recent weeks, according to the Asheville Housing Authority. This infestation represents a growing prevalence of bedbugs infestations across public housing in Asheville.
“Bedbugs have become something we deal with on a regular basis, all around our properties,” said David Nash, executive director at the Asheville Housing Authority. “It’s a trend.”
Asheville Terrace, off Tunnel Road, is designed specifically for tenants age 55 and older. Pest control costs at Asheville Terrace, which includes bedbug exterminations, have risen from nearly $14,000 in 2016 to over $30,000 last year. So far in 2019, the housing authority has dedicated $27,815 to pest control at the development.
“We have a full-time staff member dedicated to it,” Nash said. The housing authority contracts with Orkin Pest and Termite Control to handle bedbug situations.
While bedbugs are gently inserted into night-time nursery rhymes, infestations are serious matters.
The tiny, round insects sustain themselves on the blood of humans and animals. They seek out crevices that provide easy access to their food source, and their bites leave red marks on exposed skin. According to WebMD, female bedbugs can lay hundreds of eggs over a lifespan.
Nash said bedbugs are often carried into units on used furniture. Tenants with impacted apartments must exit the room as spray is applied. Infested clothes must be washed, and any furniture exposed to bedbugs must be thrown away. Tenants are not financially compensated for any furniture lost to bedbugs, including any chairs or beds with special features for disabled tenants.
The housing authority provides tenants tips on how to avoid bringing bedbugs into apartments after each infestation, but not before.
Several tenants at Asheville Terrace expressed concern about voicing their complaints over bedbugs or other facility issues, saying they feared eviction. Asheville Terrace is categorized as a project-based property, meaning the public voucher that subsidizes rent stays with the apartment if a tenant were to leave. To relocate to another public housing development, tenants would have to reapply and be put on a waiting list. The main waiting list for the housing authority has 1,518 applicants.
Nash said tenants are not evicted for voicing concerns. “Speaking with the press is not a lease violation,” Nash stated in an email. “They just need to be sure they pay their rent and comply with the other terms of their lease.”
Be wary of drinking glasses, and don’t put your luggage on the bed if you want to avoid bed bugs
Don’t assume that just because hotel is super posh it won’t have bed bugs. Image: iStock
Irish Times |by Geoffrey Morrison | August 14, 2019
I’ve lost count how many hotels I’ve stayed in. Hundreds, for sure, and on every continent except Antarctica. From beach-side resorts in St Kitts in the Caribbean, to a grand, soaring high-rise in Tokyo, to a castle-adjacent treehouse on the north coast of Scotland, I’ve stayed in some truly lovely places. I’ve also stayed at dilapidated dives in Vegas with rusty taps and rugs so thin you could see the concrete underneath. The memory of the latter still makes me itch.
Over the years I’ve come up with a set of tips and tricks I use in every hotel, from 5-star to wear-your-shoes-in-the-bathroom-star. They range from a little peace of mind and a reduction of annoyance to maintaining a bit of safety and health while travelling. Starting with …
1. The remote is gross
What is touched by everyone but rarely cleaned? A quick swipe with some baby wipes or a damp (not wet) hand towel should help a bit.
2. 20°C is 68°F
Need to set the thermostat in your room? Twenty degrees Celsius is equal to 68°F – a good place to start.
3. Be skeptical of drinking glasses, especially if the hotel lacks a restaurant
Generally, drinking glasses are cleaned after every guest. Generally. If there’s no on-site restaurant, though, how are they cleaned? By hand presumably, but how well? Give them a rinse and a sniff, at least.
4. Don’t put your luggage on the bed
Bed bugs are gross little vampires. Like mosquitoes, but worse. Putting your luggage on the bed can give them a free ride to your next location … like your house. The luggage rack might not be a good option either, since it’s usually close to the bed. Your best bet is to put your luggage in the bathroom and then give the bed, rack, and chair/sofa a close look. Also, don’t assume that just because hotel is super posh it won’t have bed bugs. They might have more means to get rid of the problem, but it can happen anywhere.
5. Bring long cables for your phone
As the number of devices needing to charge increases, the number of outlets available in hotel rooms … stays the same. I’ve stayed in new hotels with zero easily-accessible plugs. Mind blowing. In most airports you can pick up long USB cables so you can plug in and still, hopefully, use your phone from the bed. Travel power strips are handy for plugging multiple devices into that one outlet you found behind the bed.
6. Yes, you can take the little shampoo bottles. No, you can’t take the robe
Some hotels give the remaining soaps to charities like Clean the World. It’s worth checking if they do, as perhaps that’s a better use of the remaining soap than getting lost in your luggage or forgotten in your home medicine cabinet. Many hotels are moving toward large-bottle dispensers, both as a cost- and Earth-saving measure.
7. Lock, latch, and put out the do not disturb sign
Housekeeping comes early. Exactly 100 per cent of the time I’ve wanted to sleep in and forgot to put out the sign, housekeeping wakes me up. In how many languages do you know how to say “come back later, please?” For me, when woken from a deep slumber, a croaky none.
Enabling the safety latch also lets you open the door to see if it really is management knocking while preventing said knocker from unexpectedly opening the door fully. Exceptionally unlikely, sure, but why take the chance?
8. Take a picture of the safe code
Even if you just use your birthday or something memorable in the moment, take a picture of the number you program into the safe.
9. Laundry is expensive
I travel for months at a time. I do laundry about once a week. At an expensive laundromat in Paris I paid €7 for a load of all my clothes. While trapped at a hotel in Fiji during a typhoon I paid $10 for each pair of underwear.
You should definitely pack light enough that you’ll need to do laundry on any trip longer than a week. Some hotels, and nearly all hostels, have inexpensive laundry facilities on-site or nearby. The staff will usually help you find a place. There’s always washing in the sink too, which is free if you have the time.
10. And lastly … Stay in a hostel instead
I’ve spent the majority of nights during my extended travels of the last five years in hostels. Hotels can be great, but they’re invariably expensive. Hostels probably aren’t what you think, and can be a great way to save money and meet new people.
Plus, some tips to make sure your stay is free of any creepy-crawlies
PHILLY VOICE by Bailey King – August 14, 2019
Airbnb has taken the world by storm since its 2008 launch, providing travelers a more home-y and authentic experience at costs often lower than hotels.
While the user experience with Airbnb is generally regarded as seamless, one irritating problem has bothered some travelers: bed bugs.
A quick Google search of “Airbnb bed bugs” brings up pages and pages of reports of the discovery of reddish brown bug infestations or clustered itchy bites on the skin.
A CNET story published Tuesday about Airbnb’s problem included one woman’s report of bed bugs at an Airbnb here in Philadelphia. (Perhaps this is no surprise since Philly topped one list of cities most infested by the pests.)
The woman, Dariele Blain, told CNET she found a bug crawling on the bed of a six-bedroom townhome she rented for a birthday party in July. She sent photos to Airbnb, which confirmed her suspicion that it was a bed bug, but the company said it could not relocate her 20-guest party to another Airbnb, to prevent spreading the bugs. Instead, the group was told to book a hotel, which Airbnb reimbursed – plus the original rental fee – within a few days, Blain said.
Blain told CNET:
“There’s nothing in there [about] what to do if the house is not clean or if there’s bedbugs. They need to be more proactive with stuff like that because it’s a public health issue.”
(This appears to be common protocol, as friends of mine had the same experience in Montreal and had to move to a hotel.)
While this is Airbnb’s unofficial protocol, there is no official one. The company claims to handle bed bug cases on a case-by-case basis and, in one such instance, reportedly asked a renter to sign a nondisclosure after an incident.
Bed bugs are a type of insect that feed on human blood, usually during nighttime hours. While they do not transmit disease, their bites can result in skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, bed bugs are, indeed, a public health issue.
While hotels primarily have a handle on the little critters, no place is truly safe from an infestation.
The New York Times has an all-inclusive tip guide for to make sure you don’t bring any bed bugs home with you. These tips include looking out for the telltale brown-black stains on sheets, mattresses and boxsprings, avoiding putting your luggage on the bed and use a lint roller to test luggage for bugs after travel.
And read the full story from CNET, “Bedbugs are giving Airbnb users headaches… and itchy bites.”
The woman said the flames from her stove lit up rubbing alcohol that she had poured to try to kill the bedbugs
NBC10 Philadelphia | by Randy Gyllenhaal and Rudy Chinchilla | August 1, 2019
A fire that consumed an Upper Darby apartment and caused evacuations in the rest of the complex may have been sparked by a woman’s misguided attempt to get rid of bedbugs.
An elderly woman living on the fourth floor of the Elizabeth Manor Apartments complex told firefighters and NBC10 that it was she who accidentally caused the Thursday morning blaze after the flames from her stove set alight rubbing alcohol that she had poured as a way of getting rid of bedbugs.
Because the fire station is only a few blocks from the complex, firefighters were able to respond quickly, going door to door to tell people to evacuate as they extinguished the blaze, Upper Darby Township Fire Company Deputy Chief Peter Huf said.
“First-arriving companies were met with heavy fire showing out the top floor and window of the apartment and a report of people trapped,” he said.
Dozens of residents were temporarily displaced, but there were no reports of injuries. The fire was also contained mostly to just the woman’s unit, with some minor smoke damage to neighboring units, and residents were allowed back inside.
Fire investigators, however, were still working to determine whether or not the blaze really was caused by a bedbug extermination attempt gone wrong, Huf said.
Orkin declared Baltimore the number one bed bug infested city in the country in January.
It was the second year in a row that Baltimore topped the list of the Top 50 “Bed Bug Cities” in the United States.
“The number of bed bug infestations in the United States is still rising. They continue to invade our homes and businesses on a regular basis because they are not seasonal pests, and only need blood to survive,” Dr. Tim Husen, an entomologist who works for Orkin, one of the nation’s leading pest control companies, said in a statement released by the company that accompanied the announcement that Baltimore was once again the bed bug capital of the United States.
“The list is based on treatment data from the metro areas where Orkin performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2016 – November 30, 2017,” the Orkin statement said.
The Top Ten cities for bed bug infestation for this one year period were:
New York City
San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland
Baltimore was also in Orkin’s list of Top Ten “Rattiest Cities” announced in 2018, along with Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, and New York City.
All six of these pest “double-threat” Top Ten cities are currently run by Democrats, as Breitbart News reported earlier.
Two cities on Orkin’s Top Ten list of “Bed Bug Cities” ranked just below the Top Ten “Rattiest Cities.”
Columbus, Ohio, fifth on the “Bed Bug Cities” list, was the 25th “Rattiest City.”
Cincinnati, sixth on the “Bed Bug Cities” list, was the 20th “Rattiest City.”
One metropolitan area–Dallas-Fort Worth–was ranked tenth on the “Bed Bug Cities” list and 12th on the “Rattiest Cities” list.
The San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland metropolitan area was ninth on the “Bed Bug Cities” list, while the city of San Francisco, part of that metropolitan area, was the 5th “Rattiest City.”
“Bed bugs cannot be completely prevented so early detection is critical,” Orkin advised in its statement.
Bed bugs are always in motion. They travel from place to place with ease, including luggage, clothing and other belongings. In addition to single family homes, bed bugs can be found in apartments, hotels, hospitals and public places like daycare centers, public transit, schools and offices.
According to a 2015 “Bugs without Borders Survey” by the National Pest Management Association, the top three places where pest professionals report finding bed bugs are apartments/condominiums (95 percent), single-family homes (93 percent) and hotels/motels (75 percent).
Orkin noted that “Bed bugs are capable of rapid population growth with an adult female laying two to five eggs per day (up to 500 in her lifetime), often making treatment challenging.”
A recent reported outbreak of bed bugs at public housing units in Fort Simpson earlier this month has many in the village raising the alarm about an ongoing problem with the invasive pests, despite claims by the NWT Housing Corporation that the issue has largely been resolved by recently purchased heating equipment.
Tom Williams, CEO and president of the NWT Housing Corporation (NWTHC) admitted this week that bed bug infestation has been a growing problem in public housing, mostly in the southern NWT over the last few years. The corporation was able to respond and treat reports of bed bugs in the Fort Simpson “nine-plex,” where individual tenants rent, and in “the clusters,” where seniors stay.
“Because (bed bugs were) starting to become more frequent, we managed to purchase our own equipment,” said Williams, adding that the July outbreak at the Stanley Isaiah Seniors Home was the second such incident there this year. “We got people trained, including the local maintenance staff to be able to use our equipment.”
Williams said a report that came back from his staff earlier this week showed that the problem at the two largest public housing units in Fort Simpson was rectified.
“A report I got late last week stated that everything seems to be back to normal,” he said. “So I think we resolved the issue.”
Williams said the reason he’s confident about the corporation’s ability to address the issue is because of the efficiency of the treatment process itself. Rather than scheduling time for an exterminator like Edmonton-based Orkin Canada to come North, extreme heating equipment purchased over the last year has meant shorter treatment times and less disruption to tenants.
“The word or rumours that have been put out in the public is that we have to relocate people (tenants) for six to eight weeks, but that is not the case,” Williams said. “It is a four-hour treatment. You ask (the tenants) to leave the premises for four hours and ask them to move everything away from the walls and (our trained people) go in and treat it.
“The next day they get a vacuum and vacuumed up any of the dead bed bugs and then it is monitored on a regular basis to see if they come back.”
Local Housing Authority disbanded
Last week the corporation disbanded the Fort Simpson Local Housing Authority. More than one of the sources that News/North reached this week insisted that the corporation is under-stating the severity of the bed bug problem.
“The NWTHC is trying to cover up a public health issue that is affecting elderly/disabled Metis/First Nations residents in the two largest public housing complexes in Fort Simpson (nine-plex and clusters),” stated an email from one individual.
According to the source, the most recent bed bug problem stretches back to last fall when there were “some” units heat treated by the housing corporation due to the presence of the parasite. However, between January and March, “several sightings were reported, with some units deemed infested due to 1,000s of bedbugs,” the source stated.
According to the source, the Fort Simpson Housing Authority (FSHA) manager ordered all public housing units to be heat treated between April and May, but this was done one unit at a time.
“In June, bed bugs were reported again in the clusters, so the FSHA manager called an emergency inter-agency meeting,” the source stated, noting that this meeting included representatives from the Health and Social Services Authority, Liidlii Kue First Nation, Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, Dehcho First Nation, Metis Nation, a seniors’ advocate, Nahendeh MLA Shane Thompson, and department officials from the GNWT Department of Health and Social Services. “This was to inform the community of this impending disaster. Neither minister (Alfred Moses nor Glen Abernethy) attended or sent a representative.”
The source stated that at this meeting, a decision was made by the FSHA that the best course of action was to evacuate all 40 residents occupying the nine-plex and clusters buildings “to heat treat, clean and discard of all mattresses/couches.
In an email response from the Department of Health and Social Services (HSS), department officials denied the minister had been invited to any meeting. The email also stated HSS “hasn’t received any complaints regarding bed bugs in the Fort Simpson area.” However, in an email obtained by News/North dated July 12, 2019, addressed to HSS minister Glen Abernethy and housing minister Alfred Moses, Nahendeh MLA Shane Thompson wrote: “Please be advised the bedbugs issue is very much alive and well unfortunately.”
“The NWTHC was approached for assistance in funding/co-ordinating this effort, which was supposed to occur in July,” the source stated, adding that this would have involved moving the residents to another location as well as providing clean clothes, cots, meals and new mattresses or couches until they were able to return to the units.
“The whole process (was) estimated to take four to eight weeks for both locations. NWTHC has not provided any assistance in this matter and their senior staff … even publicly deny there is a problem.”
More bed bugs discovered in other units
Yet another public housing complex on Antoine Drive was discovered to have bed bugs in mid-July, the source wrote. “Since July 17, 2019 bed bugs have been confirmed in several units in the clusters with at least three being infested,” the source stated.
Yet, as of early July, the corporation was taking the stand that all bed bug issues were dealt with in Fort Simpson, that all units in the seniors complex were treated and that there was no need to evacuate any of the units for longer than the four hours because of the effectiveness of the treatment.
Muaz Hassan, a board member with the Fort Simpson Housing Authority, who was among those the local housing authority board disbanded last week, said it’s well known in the community that the bed bug issue is more pervasive than what the corporation is saying.
“It’s a big issue,” Hassan said. “The corporation denies that we have a bed bug issue.”
Thompson said he has spent weeks corresponding with both Abernethy and Moses. Thompson was informed earlier last week that the problem was rectified. He said he realizes that some in the community, including the recently dismissed local housing manager and housing authority board members, dispute this point.
“My understanding is when I talked to the manager when we had the (June) meeting, I was advised that bed bugs were still an issue and that (the housing authority) were working on a plan and reached out to organizations like the NWT Senior Society,” Thompson said. “All I know is that as of (early this week) I received an email from the minister that the bed bug issue has been addressed.”
Thompson said the GNWT Department of Health and Social Services has begun providing communications about the health implications of bedbugs. According to a document on the department’s web page called Bedbugs the red-brown, oval-shaped insect does not carry disease, but does feed off of human blood. They can easily be transferred through clothing and furniture and tend to bite at night while hiding during the day.
Trenton police headquarters on North Clinton Avenue. TRENTONIAN FILE PHOTO
TRENTON — By Isaac Avilucea — July 25, 2019
Prisoners at police lockup were given a cruel and unusual punishment.
They endured a bedbug infestation, according to sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The city said it has made efforts to eliminate the creepy crawlers which had reportedly taken up residence in some of the cells at Trenton Police lockup, feasting on detainees and city workers.
Employees in lockup brought their concerns to the police administration and the union.
Mayor Reed Gusciora was unaware of the infestation until The Trentonian reached him for comment Thursday.
He reached out to police director Sheilah Coley and then called the newspaper back to assure that the bedbug problem was being handled and under control.
“It’s an unfortunate occurrence of city life,” he said.
The mayor’s spokesman, Connor Ilchert, released a statement later in the day saying, “TPD has been looked over by exterminators and inspectors, and has been sprayed twice to satisfy any complaints. The issue is continuing to be monitored to ensure that city employees are operating in a safe working environment.”
Ilchert said exterminators treated the lockup area July 5 and again July 11. Bedbug infestations can be difficult to eliminate and sometimes require several treatments.
Workers complained to brass and union officials fearing the creepy crawlers might tag along on their clothes, causing an infestation at their homes.
City police union president Michael Schiaretti declined to comment on the infestation saying the city appeared to be taking care of the problem. He planned to monitor the issue.
Bedbugs are just one of the issues that have recently hampered deteriorating Trenton infrastructure. Engine 8 firehouse on Stuyvesant Avenue was temporary shuttered due to safety concerns.
Firefighters were relocated to another firehouse for a few days until the city corrected the structural issues with the floor. The firehouse has since reopened.
As far as the critters, the city is hardly alone in dealing with them. They’ve been discovered at several buildings in the Trenton area over the years.
In 2016, the Mercer County Board of Social Services dealt with them in 2016. Officials there fell victim to an urban legend recommending employees use Bounce dryer sheets to wipe down clothing to eradicate the pests.
That prompted Proctor and Gamble, the maker of the Bounce dryer sheets, to release a statement to The Trentonian debunking the myth.
The blood-sucking parasites were also discovered that year in at least three state buildings, including at the Department of Health.
Ann Klein Forensic Center in Trenton also suffered a bedbug invasion in 2015.
MARION, Ind. (WTHR)| by Emily Longnecker | July 26, 2019 – It was supposed to be a family outing to see a movie classic.
“We went to ‘The Lion King.’ We were in Theatre 9,” said mom Sheila Ruley of her trip to the AMC Classic Theatre in Marion last week with her kids.
The visit, said Ruley, was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
“Within about 10 minutes, I felt a bite,” Ruley recalled.
When Ruley used her phone’s flashlight, she saw something had bitten her.
“I had a bunch of bites all over my arms,” Ruley explained, adding that with each second that passed, the swelling on those bites just got worse.
When she lifted up the armrest of her seat, she said she saw bedbugs there.
“There was four of them just crawling right on the armrest,” said Ruley.
The mom said she knows what they look like, because a guest in her home three years ago brought them to her house.
“It’s a nightmare. We had to get all new furniture, all new mattresses. It was a nightmare, so I don’t want to deal with it again,” Ruley said.
When Ruley said she told the manager about the bedbugs, she said they suggested she had a mosquito bite instead.
“I said I know what bedbugs are,” Ruley recalled. “She goes, ‘I forgot to tell you someone had ticks in here the other day, so it might be ticks.'”
Ruley wasn’t buying it.
“I’m like, ‘Ticks don’t bite. They bite and then crawl under your skin’,” Ruley said she told the manager.
This isn’t the first time a visitor to the Marion theater has complained that bedbugs bit them. Last November, Eyewitness News spoke with a woman who told us she was bitten all over her legs and arms.
The Grant County Health Department came in and found there was a problem, finding evidence of bedbugs and their eggs.
The theater manager told Eyewitness News they couldn’t comment on the situation this time, that only a corporate spokesperson could. We tried to get through to someone at AMC’s corporate offices and couldn’t.
Ruley said she tried to call, too, a few times, and said she was put on hold.
“Been on there 45 minutes both times and the other time I emailed and got a message and have not gotten anything back,” said Ruley.
That’s why this mom did a Facebook post to warn others about what she says happened to her.
“It more disappointed me because I’m there to enjoy family time. I shouldn’t have to get up and take care of a situation,” said Ruley.
She said the manager gave her six free passes to make up for it, but until Ruley has some answers about what she believes is anther bedbug issue, she’ll pass on those passes.
Curious how do bed bugs travel from room to room? It’s important to take preventive measures, because of how quickly they can spread in your home.
How Do Bed Bugs Travel from Room to Room
(Newswire.net — July 17, 2019) — Bed bugs can be a real nuisance when they invade your home. A bedbug infestation often means you’ll struggle to sleep in peace because they like to feed on blood by sucking through your skin when you’re asleep. Have you ever wondered how do bed bugs travel from room to room? They spread fast and also breed at a high rate. Before taking any pest control measures, it’s important to understand how they migrate, so you can have a better idea of how to eliminate them.
How Do Bed Bugs Travel from Room to Room
Just like you want to know the signs of a rat infestation and how to eliminate them, it’s the same when it comes to bed bugs. Bed bugs can spread rather quickly, so it’s important to be prepared so you can eliminate the bed bugs before they spread too much. Below are various ways bed bugs can travel to your home and spread to multiple rooms.
Bedbugs mature fast and the females can lay eggs at a rate of four to seven eggs daily. The eggs are laid in dark places and will usually stick on any hard surfaces such as wood. This makes them spread fast, especially if the eggs are laid on furniture and you move to a different place. Female bed bugs can lay a total of 200 eggs, especially in dark, isolated spaces. The eggs will usually hatch within a week or two.
Through the Movement of Infested Items
Bed bugs live in furniture, beds, bedding or clothing. If you move any of these infested items, then it can carry the bugs, and they’ll continue breeding in the new room or place where the furniture was moved to if the conditions are favorable.
Bed bugs are very good at crawling. They can crawl very fast when it’s dark. For instance, if you feel some bites while you’re asleep and decide to turn on the lights, the chances are you won’t even find one as they travel fast to their hiding places. If you live in an apartment, bed bugs can spread to every home through cracks. They’re also resilient to many pesticides and should you decide to spray an infested home, they simply move to the next room or home.
Movement of People
Whenever people put on clothes that are infested by bed bugs, they move them to other places where they land. For instance, one can collect bugs from one room to another or from a friend’s house to their home. These pests can also spread through traveling with infested packaging boxes and suitcases when one is moving from one residence to another.
Resilience and Resistance
Bed bugs are extremely adaptive and resilient. They can survive for up to seventy days without feeding and can live for several months if well fed. They’re also very sensitive and search for their prey by sensing heat from the human body and carbon dioxide from the mouth. When feeding, they pierce the human body through the skin and spit some saliva that contains chemicals that make you insensitive until they have finished.
It goes without saying that bed bugs spread fast and their ability to hide in dark spaces encourages their spread. A single infestation can turn into a full-blown infestation in no time, which is why it’s important to keep them awayfrom your home. Once you have an answer to the question: how do bed bugs travel from room to room, you can take necessary precautions and measures.
Tahlequah Daily Press |Oklahoma | July 19, 2019 | by Heather Winn
Bed bugs might be small, but they can cause big problems. After decades of barely registering on the pest control radar in the U.S., the insects have re-emerged as a concern in recent years.
Even though bed bugs aren’t known for carrying diseases, they can still make life difficult by causing discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and even embarrassment. Being watchful can help avoid a problem or at least allow for early detection and professional intervention.
Small, reddish brown and flat, adult bed bugs measure about 3/16-inch long and can be mistaken for cockroaches or ticks. The pests, which are mainly active at night, like to feed on humans. Bed bugs do not fly, but they do bite. Although reactions to being bitten vary from person to person, generally people may experience itchy, red welts or localized swelling within a day or two.
Bed bugs can live in almost any crevice or protected area; however, the pests are commonly found in beds and sleeping areas, and particularly in the seams, tufts and crevices of mattresses, box springs and headboards. They also can make themselves at home in upholstered chairs and sofas, especially if the furniture is used for sleeping, as well as in the cracks, crevices and recesses of nightstands and dressers.
Other favorite hiding places for the bugs include along the edge and just underneath wall-to-wall carpet; cracks in crown molding; behind wall-mounted picture frames, mirrors, switch plates and outlets; and inside clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors.
Cleanliness usually has nothing to do with the potential for a bed bug infestation. Traveling is a common way people come in contact with the pests. They can be imported through luggage, clothing, and even a person’s shoes. Secondhand furniture, including beds and couches, can serve as entry points as well.
There are some steps homeowners and travelers can take to try to prevent an infestation. For instance, travelers are advised to quickly inspect their hotel rooms before settling in. Pull back all of the bedding at the head of the bed, check the underside of the mattress tag and the seams of the mattress and box springs. In addition to mature bed bugs, look for the light brown molted skin of nymphs (immature bed bugs) and dark spots of dried excrement. If you find any evidence of bed bugs, report it immediately to management and request a different room.
To minimize exposure in hotel rooms, pull the luggage stand away from the wall and place bags on it, keep clothing in the suitcase – rather than placing belongings in dresser drawers – and use a flashlight to inspect the closet before hanging clothes. Shoes should be placed in an open area. After returning home, consider unpacking your luggage immediately and in a location other than the bedroom such as the garage, mudroom, or entry way of your home. Wash your clothes promptly and carefully check the luggage for bed bugs.
At home, residents should carefully scrutinize any used and refurbished furniture items, and especially beds and couches, before bringing them inside. Homeowners also should avoid taking any furniture items from dumpsters or curbsides, no matter their apparent condition.
In cases of infestation, effective eradication of the pests often requires trained, experienced professionals. However, because insecticides cannot be used to treat infested and exposed bedding, garments and other items, those things should be bagged and laundered at a minimum temperature of 120 degrees, or placed in a dryer for 20 minutes on medium to high heat. Freezing items at below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for multiple days also may work.
For more information, or to schedule a program locally about financial management, nutrition, health and wellness, parenting education, or Oklahoma Home and Community Education, contact the OSU Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County by phone at 918-456-6163.
Heather Winn is a family and consumer sciences educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County.