Bed bug issues in the East prompts some to stop reselling furniture

December 15, 2015 | by Josh Birch

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A bed bug problem that some exterminators said is growing in areas in the East has prompted some to ban selling furniture and mattresses for the time being.The Pitt County Online Yardsale posted a message to users on December 12th informing people they no longer could sell or buy couches or furniture. This message came just one day after WNCT’s original story reported a possible bed bug problem in some Greenville Housing Authority’s units.

Tom Davis with D and D Pest Control said the bed bug problem is spreading.

“Usually you’re seeing them in the low income areas, now it’s starting to spread out and getting into the university area and then some of the higher income people,” Davis said.

Getting rid of bed bugs once you have them is an expensive process, one that could end up costing you thousands of dollars. Davis said they generally either use a heat or chemical treatment.

Places that resell furniture like the Salvation Army are by law required to sanitize mattresses before selling them. Robert Frye with the Salvation Army in Greenville said they won’t take mattresses that appear to have bed bugs. As soon as mattresses arrive, they are taken to the sanitization room where they are exposed to high temperatures for several hours.

While state law requires this process to be followed for reselling mattresses, it doesn’t apply to other items bed bugs can travel on like couches and clothes. For those, Frye said it is just an eye test.

“We inspect them again, to make sure they’re in good condition,” he said. “We look at the surroundings where they come out of, and we do the best we can.”

Bargain prices for items are generally what drive people into stores like the Salvation Army. Bonita Tyson was there looking at a bed for sale.

“In the store it normally costs about $500 or $600, and they have it here for like $199,” she said.

However, she said she is always careful about what she brings in to her home. She said whenever she buys something, she always sanitizes it herself before it enters her house.

If you move into a unit or house and find there are bed bugs there, you have up until 60 days to notify your landlord. At that time, the landlord would be responsible for treating the bed bugs. If more than 60 days go by, state law says the tenant is then responsible.

Miami, Fort Lauderdale Among Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities

  January 13, 2016 | NBC Miami

Chicago tops pest control leader Orkin’s list of Top 50 Bed Bug Cities for the fourth year in a row, while several Florida cities also appear on the list – including Miami/Fort Lauderdale.
The list ranks cities by the number of bed bug treatments Orkin serviced from January through December 2015 and after an Orkin inspection verified bed bugs were present. The list includes both residential and commercial treatments.

This is the first year Orlando has ranked on Orkin’s Bed Bug Cities List, and Philadelphia is on the list for the first time since 2011.

Fourteen cities in the Midwest – more than any other region – are included in the ranking, including multiple cities in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky.

Six cities made double-digit jumps on Orkin’s Bed Bug Cities List compared to 2014, including Washington, D.C., which jumped to third on the list. Several cities also dropped significantly in the past year, including Dayton, Ohio, Louisville, Ky. and Sacramento, Calif.

“one out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel”

Miami-Fort Lauderdale also dropped 10 spots when compared to 2014.

Orkin’s Complete List of Top 50 Bed Bug Cities:

1. Chicago 

2. Los Angeles (+2) 

3. Washington, D.C. (+11) 

4. New York (+14) 

5. Columbus, Ohio (-2) 

6. Philadelphia 

7. Detroit (-5) 

8. Cincinnati (-1) 

9. Richmond-Petersburg, Va. 

10. Baltimore (+21) 

11. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (+6) 

12. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio (-7) 

13. Dallas-Ft. Worth (-7) 

14. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (+2) 

15. Indianapolis (-4) 

16. Charlotte, N.C. (+14) 

17. Houston (-5) 

18. Denver (-10) 

19. Atlanta (+6) 

20. Buffalo, N.Y. (+6) 

21. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C. (+26) 

22. Nashville, Tenn. (+1) 

23. Phoenix (+9) 

24. Knoxville, Tenn. (+10) 

25. Boston-Manchester (+4) 

26. Milwaukee (-11)

27. Dayton, Ohio (-17)

28. Seattle (-15)

29. Pittsburgh

30. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.

31. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.

32. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Crk., Mich. (-12)

33. Lexington, Ky. (-9)

34. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (+3)

35. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (-16)

36. Omaha, Neb. (-15)

37. San Diego (+2)

38. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla.

39. Louisville, Ky. (-17)

40. St. Louis (+6)

41. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa (-6)

42. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (-4)

43. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (-10)

44. Kansas City, Mo. (-3)

45. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif. (-18)

46. Syracuse, N.Y. (-18)

47. Colorado Springs-Pueblo, Colo. (-3)

48. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (-5)

49. Honolulu (-7)

50. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (-5) 

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

Homeowners, tenants and travelers all over the world should take the precautions to help prevent bed bugs:

At 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.

Since a resurgence in the late 1990s, bed bugs persist as a problem across the United States. According to recent surveys by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), 99.6 percent of pest professionals surveyed treated for bed bugs in 2015 and one out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel.


The Hidden Threat: The Kissing Bug


These seven tropical diseases are closer to home than you think. Lurking in your Dallas-area backyard is Chagas disease, caused by a parasite that infects more than 300,000 Americans. The disease can cause heart failure and death in humans and dogs and is often missed by doctors.

Or maybe you live near a typhus hot spot such as Houston? Spread by rat-biting fleas, typhus causes headaches, fever, chills and a rash.

Farther north, close to the Oklahoma border, Texans have been plagued by skin boils and sores caused by a disease called leishmaniasis — also known as the Baghdad boil. Many have suffered for years because doctors have misdiagnosed them with staph infections and given them the wrong treatment.

You’ve already heard of West Nile virus, another tropical disease that has strong-armed its way into Texas. West Nile virus has infected close to 5,000 Texans since 2002. But the real number of humans infected is probably 25,000, since about 80 percent of people who are infected don’t show symptoms.

Now get ready to meet two new tropical diseases on their way to you. Dengue and chikungunya are viruses spread by mosquitoes. Common in the Caribbean and South America, they’re being lured to the U.S. by a combination of rising temperatures and poverty.

Don’t expect your doctor to save you from these tropical diseases. Medical students spend a few days learning about this group of infections, and studies show that many health care providers in Texas and the U.S. are unaware that these infections are here or on their way.

Americans living with diseases such as Chagas can go undiagnosed for many years, by which time the infection can cause irreversible damage to the heart.

Dr. Seema Yasmin’s reporting on this project was undertaken while she was a National Health Journalism Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Center for Health Journalism. Yasmin, a physician and former CDC epidemiologist, is a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Not just tropical

Kissing Bug

Chagas disease

About: A parasite spread by the blood-sucking kissing bug — so-called because the bug likes to bite us on the face around the lips and eyes. Kissing bugs poop where they eat, and when we scratch the bite, we rub the poop and the parasite into our skin. About a third of people infected with the parasite, called Trypanosoma cruzi, develop heart disease. One in 10 suffer digestive or nerve issues.


Spread by: The dime-sized kissing bug, which lives in rats’ nests and wood piles and in the nooks of furniture and cracks in homes.


Symptoms: Swollen eyelids, breathing problems, chest pain, heart failure, death.


Testing: Blood test.

Treatment: Anti-parasitic drugs that can be 60 percent to 85 percent effective if given early.


Illustrations by Troy Oxford/The Dallas Morning News

WARNING: Osceola County Animal Services is investigating reports that someone might be poisoning pets in a Kissimmee neighborhood.

Illegal insecticide poisoned Osceola pets

Oct 12, 2015 — by Henry Pierson Curtis | Orlando Sentinel

A deadly pesticide banned for use in the United States likely killed four pets and a possum in recent weeks in Kissimmee, according to the Osceola County Animal Services.

Three cats and the possum were found dead two weeks ago on Locust Berry Drive and a dog died the following weekend in the same neighborhood, Animal Services Director Kim Staton said Monday.

“It’s kind of unusual to have that many deaths,” said Staton “None of them showed external injuries.”

The bodies of the cats and the possum were found within feet of a bowl filled with rice and beans outside an undisclosed home on the street. Tests conducted last week at Michigan State University showed the bowl’s contents had deadly levels of Aldicarb, a pesticide banned for sale in the U.S., said Staton.

“People are not supposed to be able to obtain it at this point,” she said.

The pesticide drew international attention after July 4, 1985, when more than 2,000 people were treated for poisoning after eating watermelons improperly grown with Aldicarb, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. International bans followed when testing showed it was particularly deadly for children.

The latest deaths follow an unusually high number of animal cruelty cases this year.

Animal Control already was investigating five criminal cases of animal abuse before the food bowl poisonings. On average, the county handles no more than three cases annually, said Staton.

Animal Control officers are trying to find the source of the pesticide.

Sold illegally in the U.S. as “Tres Pasitos,” the pesticide is smuggled from Latin American countries where it used to kill roaches, mice and rats. “It’s name means “Three Little Steps” in English, because after eating it, this is all mice can muster before dying,” according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The dead animals will undergo necropsies at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Staton said.

Residents living on or near Locust Berry Drive have been advised not to allow their pets outside without being on a leash.