Bed Bugs are Still a Step Ahead…

Deep Look | July 9, 2019

At night, these parasites crawl onto your bed, bite you and suck your blood. Then they find a nearby hideout where they leave disgusting telltale signs. But these pests have an Achilles’ heel that stops them cold.

Adult bed bugs are about the size and color of an apple seed. After biting, they hide in a nearby cranny, like the seam of the mattress. At the University of California, Irvine, biologist and engineer Catherine Loudon is working to create synthetic surfaces that could trap bed bugs. She was inspired by the tiny hooked hairs that grow from the leaves of some varieties of beans, such as kidney and green beans. In nature, these hairs, called trichomes, pierce through the feet of the aphids and leafhoppers that like to feed on the plants. Researchers have found that these pointy hairs are just as effective against bed bugs, even though the bloodsucking parasites don’t feed on leaves. Loudon’s goal is to mimic a bean leaf’s mechanism to create an inexpensive, portable bed bug trap. “You could imagine a strip that would act as a barrier that could be placed virtually anywhere: across the portal to a room, behind the headboard, on subway seats, an airplane,” Loudon said. “They have six legs, so that’s six opportunities to get trapped.” — Where do bed bugs come from? Bed bugs don’t fly or jump or come in from the garden. They crawl very quickly and hide in travelers’ luggage. They also move around on secondhand furniture, or from apartment to apartment. — How can I avoid bringing bed bugs home? “It would probably be a prudent thing to do a quick bed check if you’re sleeping in a strange bed,” said Potter. His recommendation goes for hotel rooms, as well as dorms and summer camp bunk beds. He suggests pulling back the sheet at the head of the bed and checking the seams on the top and bottom of the mattress and the box spring. —+ For more tips, read the entire article on KQED Science: https://www.kqed.org/science/1944245/…

DEEP LOOK is a ultra-HD (4K) short video series created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios.

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite. They have returned with a vengeance.

Credit Victoria Roberts

A. Scientists believe that bedbugs have developed resistance to some insecticides, and travel is helping to spread the resistant insects worldwide.

Another major contributor is the failure of many hotels and residential landlords to identify infestations promptly, and to dispose of or treat infested bedding and carpeting.

It has been known since the 1950s that bed bugs can develop resistance to commonly used insecticides, like pyrethrin. Resistance has emerged to more products over the years.

The biological mechanisms include a thickening of the bedbugs’ exterior cuticle, so that an insecticide does not penetrate properly, and metabolic resistance, in which the insects produce extra amounts of detoxification enzymes.

Resistance can also involve something as simple as a tendency to avoid insecticidal powders.

Researchers are pursuing new control methods, especially the use of natural pesticides. One is a fungus called Beauveria bassiana.

The fungus, which infects insects, already has been incorporated into a commercially available product called Aprehend.

Can You Pick a Bedbug Out of a Lineup?

In a survey, scientists found many travelers could not distinguish bedbugs from other pests, which could have implications for hotels and the travel industry.

“Yes, we have some issues”; Pikeville apartment complex battling bed bugs

WYMT
July 10, 2019 | By Buddy Forbes

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – Tenants at Myers Towers in Pikeville have been dealing with bed bugs for years. This is an issue that has cost them a lot of headaches and a lot of furniture.

“We’re dealing with a whole epidemic here. Every week it’s furniture piled up,” said tenant Neil Thompson.

He said the bed bug “infestation” often results in tenants throwing out their furniture.

Jim Hobbs, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Pikeville, said the bed bug issue is present in the building but is not an infestation.

“Bed bugs are a problem all over the country and, yes, we have some issues,” Hobbs said.

He said anywhere from 15 to 35 apartments are usually dealing with bed bugs. But, he said, the maintenance crew at Myers Towers is doing everything it can to keep the bugs out of the complex.

“When we find them, we put them on our list and treat them accordingly,” he said.

He said the tenants also hold responsibility for keeping the maintenance crew informed, and doing their part to avoid bringing in any more bed bugs.

Thompson said he agrees that the tenants should shoulder part of the responsibility, but hopes to see those in charge doing more to get the bed bugs out.

Hobbs said plans for a heat chamber are currently in the works, to help save the tenants from losing their furniture. The chamber will heat up the furniture, killing the bed bugs.

Hobbs said it will take a team effort to get the situation under control.

Man sues Casper Marriott, alleging he developed serious infection from bedbug bites

Doctors confirmed that he had MRSA, a form of a staph infection that is dangerous because it is resistant to some antibiotics, as well as other issues related to the alleged bites.

Casper_Star_Tribune

by Seth Klamann | July 8, 2019

A Georgia man has filed a federal lawsuit against the owners of the Courtyard Marriott hotel in east Casper, alleging that he was bitten by bedbugs during a stay there in 2012 and later developed a serious infection to his legs.

Casper_BedBug

In this Wednesday, March 30, 2011 file photo, a bed bug is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington.  

The suit was filed in federal court last month by Frank Pascarelli, who works for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he “is acutely aware of diseases and infections,” according to the lawsuit. He filed the suit against Marriott, various South Dakota-based management companies that are linked to the Casper location, and James Koehler, who works for the management companies that bear his last name.

A Marriott spokeswoman directed comment to Koehler and the South Dakota companies. A message left for Koehler’s assistant was not returned Monday. An email to his company, the Koehler Organization, bounced back as undeliverable, and a third message sent via a form on the business’s website was not returned.

In the lawsuit, Pascarelli alleges that he was staying at the Courtyard Marriott in April 2012 when he woke up to discover “an enormous amount of painful, itchy, burning bites” on his buttocks and right leg. He had taken a shower the night before and had not noticed any such marks, the suit alleges.

Pascarelli eventually sought treatment at an urgent care clinic in Cheyenne, where he was working with a U.S. marshal. According to the lawsuit, he had “approximately 20” “nodules” on his upper legs and buttocks.

He went back to the clinic the next day because the marks were developing into pustules, indicating infection. The bites then grew into lesions, according to the lawsuit, and caused even more pain, while Pascarelli developed a fever.

Back in Atlanta, where the CDC is based, he was admitted to the hospital. Doctors confirmed that he had MRSA, a form of a staph infection that is dangerous because it is resistant to some antibiotics, as well as other issues related to the alleged bites.

The doctor said that the MRSA was “the result of the bed bug attack at (the) hotel during the early morning of April 9, 2012,” the suit alleges.

Pascarelli was a frequent patient of the hospital throughout April and underwent three surgeries to treat the infections. He incurred about $100,000 in debt, the suit alleges. He lost wages from his job at the CDC, the complaint continues, and is at risk of being forced to retire from the Air Force Reserve.

According to the lawsuit, he will need treatment for the MRSA for the rest of his life.

The suit does not list a specific dollar amount that it seeks, though it alleges Pascarelli could lose up to $500,000 in wages as a result of the infections.

“Defendants knew, and/or should have known, that the bed in (Pascarelli’s) hotel room at the (hotel) was infected with bed bugs,” the suit alleges, adding that the hotel and its owners “failed to take reasonable precautions, failed to implement reasonable safety inspections and/or failed to follow their own safety inspections to ensure that the (hotel) was free from insects and pests,” among other allege failures.

In a statement to the Star-Tribune, Pascarelli’s attorney, Jason Ochs, said that “bed buds have been known to be a major health issue in the hospitality industry for over a decade” and that the industry “has a duty to preemptively act in regards to this foreseeable problem in order to protect paying guests.”

Best way to search a hotel room for bed bugs

By Greg Keraghosian | Yahoo Travel | March 26, 2016

Bedbugs aren’t a big concern when you travel … unless you get them. Then they’re a blood-sucking nightmare, and they won’t just ruin your trip — they can ruin your life for months afterward if they hitch a ride home with you.

Don’t think you’ll find them only in a two-bit motel — there are well-documented cases of tourists having their upscale hotel getaways ruined by massive bedbug bites. And it’s no use traveling to a region that’s bedbug-free: The data says they can be found all over the U.S.

What’s the best way to weed out these tiny critters?  We love this video demonstration from the University of Maine, in which Jim Dill, an expert with a sweet New England accent, shows us how to look for bedbugs upon first checking into a hotel.

We combine his tips along with some other expert advice into a step-by-step guide for avoiding a bedbug-infested holiday:

Put your bags in the tub, away from the luggage rack

This should be the first thing you do after checking in, and it’s often not mentioned. While a luggage rack may be away from the bed and elevated, bedbugs could easily be hiding out within the fabric of the straps. To be extra safe, put your bags in the bathroom tub, which bedbugs are unlikely to climb into.

Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association, also says you could leave your bags at the door when you first check in: “Just don’t unpack anything until you’ve checked for bedbugs,” she told Yahoo Travel.

Start your inspection by checking the headboard

Bedbugs don’t stray far from the bed — as Dill says, their range is about 20 feet away from their host — but they’re sneaky and can play hide-and-seek better than any 5-year-old.

Take a flashlight (if you have a smartphone, it probably has one) and get a good look at the headboard, which is a common hiding spot, and don’t forget to look in the creases.

“Many people overlook the headboard because it can be difficult to remove from the wall to examine it,” Louis N. Sorkin, BCE, a consulting entomologist with Entsult Associates, told Yahoo Travel.

And just to digress for a minute, Sorkin should know bedbugs well — he stores thousands of them at home for study and keeps them alive by letting them feed on him, since he doesn’t react adversely to bites. Chuck Norris has nothing on Louis N. Sorkin.

As for what bed bugs can look like, their size and color can depend on whether they’re an adult or immature, or whether they’ve recently fed. The common rule of thumb is that they’re the size and shape of an appleseed, but Sorkin has posted examples of how that’s not necessarily so. They can be flat or plump in shape, and pale or reddish-brown in color.

Check the piping of the mattress

The crevices of a mattress’s piping make for a great bedbug hideout, so take off the sheets and look closely at the top and bottom parts.

Check the mattress or mattress pad for blood spots or poop

We know, this isn’t the most romantic way to begin a hotel stay, but other than seeing the bugs themselves, this is the best giveaway of whether any bedbugs have been feeding recently. The bloodstains can be red or brown, and the bedbugs’ poop can look like magic marker dots or marks, or raised mounds, Sorkin said. The poop residue will be light-to-dark brown or black.

Check the nearby drawers and nightstand

These make for another nice, dark hiding spot for bedbugs. Don’t just look on the corners of the inside — to be really thorough, take the drawers out from the nightstand and look under them too.

Check all other prime hiding spots

This could include the aforementioned luggage rack, bed frame, picture frames, and anything else within a few feet of the bed.

What if, gasp, you find bedbugs when you check in?

I’ll share a semi-embarrassing story: Last year I stayed at a boutique hotel in British Columbia, and minutes after checking in I saw some apple-seed-size, orange-brown bugs on the window and the windowsill.

So I did what any sane person would do: I freaked out, zipped up the bags I had placed on the floor, and ran down to the front desk. To the hotel’s credit, the guy working there immediately came up to my room to check on the problem. Which, it turns out, was no problem — they were just a species of ladybug I’d never seen (Canadians!). But he examined the mattress and the room just to be sure.

Provided what you found are in fact bedbugs, notify the front desk immediately. It’s probably OK to ask for another room in the hotel, but make sure it’s not next door or right above or below (and check that room thoroughly too).

What if, double gasp, you wake up the next morning with bedbugs?

This is the scarier scenario, because you don’t know where the bugs might be in your stuff, and you must make sure they don’t leave with you. Since the hotel is going to owe you one, insist that it launder your clothes immediately. And washing them isn’t enough: Mannes of the NPMA advises putting all fabric in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes and steaming your luggage.

To be extra safe, before returning home place all your garments in a vacuum-sealed bag and dry them again.

If you’re wondering what bedbug bites look like, Sorkin keeps an extensive (and gross) collection of photos that include the bugs, their eggs, and their bite marks. The bites aren’t dangerous for most people — just unsightly and uncomfortable. Some people have harsh skin reactions that will require a doctor visit.

Bonus question: Could bedbugs hide on your pets?

Both Mannes and Sorkin said this is an unlikely scenario, but Sorkin added that it’s not impossible.

“There are exceptions where infestations have been allowed to proliferate due to many reasons,” he said. “Hotel staff haven’t been given proper education. I’ve seen infestations in homes where people and pet dogs and cats both had been fed upon over many months or longer.”

So just to be safe, give Checkers a good look before you check out.

Bonus question No. 2: How can I research if a hotel has bedbugs?

There are some websites where anonymous guests can report bedbug infestations at certain hotels, such as BedBugs.net and the Bedbug Registry. But there’s no way to be sure if the reports are accurate, and ultimately no hotel is 100 percent safe from bedbugs because of how easily they stow away with guests. Your best bet is to examine the room yourself.

Rankings of worst cities for bedbugs have bad news for Mid-Atlantic

Delaware News Journal | Andrew Sharp | June 4, 2019

Great news: No Delaware cities made the list of worst cities in the country for bedbugs.

The bad news: We’re surrounded.

The pest control company Terminix just released its list of the 50 worst cities in the country for bedbugs, based on the calls for service. Philadelphia was No. 1, New York was No. 2, Washington, D.C., was No. 8 and Baltimore was No. 13.

Calls to a pest control company aren’t the same as a scientific survey, so make of that what you will. Another company, Orkin, released its top 50 for 2018 in January, based on older data. It didn’t offer much peace of mind to those in the Mid-Atlantic, ranking Baltimore No. 1, D.C. 2, New York 8, and Philadelphia 12.

So while it’s hard to know for sure where bedbugs are the worst, we do know that the phones are busy in this region with reports of the little pests.

It’s only a problem if you object to creatures crawling over your bed at night while you sleep, sucking your blood.

For those paranoid about such things, Terminix offers some paranoid-sounding advice: To avoid bedbugs when traveling, “always check hotel mattresses, headboards, frames and pictures for signs of bed bugs in the room. Travelers should also wash clothes in warm water and dry in a heat chamber immediately after returning home from travel.” The company also warned that the bugs can be transported in jackets, purses, and luggage, and hide in furniture and behind baseboards.

You can almost feel those little feet crawling on you.

 

Nashville among worst bed bug infested cities in the U.S.

“Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) | Emily Luxen |June 3, 2019 — On a week where thousands of visitors from around the world will come to Nashville for CMA Fest, the city is ranked as one of the worst in the country for bed bugs.

A new survey by pest control company Terminix finds Nashville is the 18th most bed bug infested city in the country. Music City was ranked 21st last year.

Philadelphia was ranked number one in the report, followed by New York City. Memphis was ranked 17th.

Terminix said the rankings were based on the number of services the company has performed in the city in the past year.

“A lot of the problem we have here in Nashville is driven by the fact we are a transient city,” said Chris Bryant, a Service Manager at Terminix. “Summer tourism is starting to peak this time of year.”

To prevent transporting or being bitten by bed bugs, Bryant recommended people check headboards, mattresses, and sheets in hotels or Airbnbs for any signs of bed bugs.

“What you are going to be looking for looks like small black dots, like someone tapped it with a black ball point pen,” said Bryant.

Bed bugs are visible, and when fully grown are about the size of an apple seed.

Bryant also recommended hanging all clothing rather than putting it in drawers, and to keep your luggage away from the bed. When you return home from a trip, wash all your clothes in hot water.

The bugs can bite and leave behind red itchy marks on your skin. Bed bugs do not transport disease.

“Especially if it’s at night and you are in bed and you are being bitten by bed bugs, it will wake you up and cause you to itch,” said Brian Todd with the Metro Health Department.

Todd said any bed bug sighting in a hotel should be reported to management immediately. Problems can also be reported to the Metro Health Department at (615) 340-5630. It is helpful to provide the name of the hotel and the room number. The Department’s Environmental Health Bureau will look into the cases.

Bryant said Terminix hoped the study would increase awareness that bed bug sightings are on the rise, and to educate people on how to prevent transporting them.

“It just takes one to hitch a ride on you, and when you go back home, you’ve taken it with you.”

Report reveals live cockroaches, ticks, bedbugs as Branson extended-stay motel is shut down

Springfield

June 27, 2019 | by Sara Karnes

A Branson motel was forced to close after officials deigned it an “imminent health hazard” earlier this week, according to the health department.

Residents at Branson Plaza Motel, 1106 W. Missouri 76, had complained several times about the cockroach infestation and bedbug issues but were allegedly told by management not to call the health department, according to a Taney County Health Department inspection report.

Inspectors began investigating some of the unoccupied motel rooms Monday, June 24, said Lisa Marshall, the health department’s public information officer.

By Tuesday, inspectors had access to the occupied rooms. They found that pests weren’t just in one or two of them, Marshall said.

“It was a facility-wide issue,” Marshall said. “With pests carrying diseases, it’s not a safe environment.”

Of the approximately 30 rooms, 19 were occupied by long-term residents, Marshall said.

“In regards to residents, we had to shut down the facility quickly,” she said.

Live cockroaches were found in at least 24 rooms, including the motel’s basement and laundry room, according to the inspection report. Bedbugs were found in about nine rooms, and several dead bedbugs were found on the guest laundry floor.

The health department has received “multiple complaints” of cockroaches, bedbugs, ticks and ants at the Branson Plaza Motel from May 20 to June 24. Both the owner and general manager said they weren’t aware of the issues and the “tenants had not notified anyone of the concerns,” the report stated.

“Only one week of weekly room inspection records were provided for the month of June, and several records were not filled out,” the report stated. “No other records for previous weeks were available.”

Several guests said they told the manager about the cockroaches and bedbugs, and the manager either tried to self treat the room with pesticides or did nothing, the report stated. Residents told inspectors that they have not had a professional treat their room at any point.

“Due to the severity of the cockroach infestation observed throughout the entire building, this is an imminent health hazard for the occupants of the room,” according to the report.

Once the health inspectors found that the complaints were valid, Marshall said the facility has been closed.

“Ultimately, it’s the owner’s obligation that they have a facility that meets code requirements,” Marshall said.

Branson Plaza Motel’s health department permit has been pulled and it has lost its state lodging license, Marshall said.

By losing its state lodging license, Branson Plaza Motel’s business license with the city of Branson is nullified, said Melody Pettit, the city’s communications manager.

The city deployed its relocation team to assist residents in extended-stay motels. Emergency personnel, government agencies and several nonprofits work to help find other places for affected tenants to go, Marshall said.

Salvation Army Social Services Director Becky Gerhart said she has had more than 10 people from the Branson Plaza Motel have come to her office so far for assistance.

“Our project interjection was to replace food and clothing that they needed,” Gerhart said.

Many of the residents’ belongings were spoiled, out-of-date or contaminated by the infestation, Gerhart said.

About six families have also been given lodging assistance through the Salvation Army, Gerhart said.

This is the first time the health department has led the charge because of the health concerns, Pettit said.

As of Thursday, Pettit said she believed about three individuals had slept at Branson Plaza Motel.

“The situation was that because they couldn’t find anywhere to stay, the owner may be cited for the number of people who stayed there,” Pettit said.

Neither Pettit nor Marshall was sure of the exact number of residents who had been staying at the motel.

For Branson Plaza Motel to reopen, it would have to take several steps, according to the inspection report, including:

  • A service contract with a professional pest control company for the monthly preventative maintenance of pests.
  • A written, detailed treatment plan created with their professional pest control technician for how and when all of the rooms will be treated after all rooms have been vacated. Plan must have a list of scheduled treatment dates and a designated person for monitoring pest activity during process. After each treatment, all floors shall be cleaned to remove dead cockroaches.
  • A written integrated pest management plan (IPM) created with their professional pest control technician to ensure the presence of pests is minimized in the future and the facility is taking a proactive approach to ensure any pest concerns are addressed immediately and all adjacent rooms are also inspected for pests.
  • A written plan for who will be responsible for conducting the weekly room inspections, when, who will verify that the inspections are done, and what the corrective action will be if the inspections are not done.
  • Who will be accountable for ensuring all pest plans are followed and weekly room inspections are done.
  • The last 6 months of monthly professional pest control services and the treatment invoices for guest rooms with concerns.

The facility cannot self-treat for cockroaches and is not approved to self-treat for bedbugs by using pesticides or heat, the report stated

“A professional pest control company must be used for all pest services,” the report stated.

Pettit said the city of Branson is willing to work with the motel owner to regain its business license.

“That’s been our main thing — no matter how much money someone makes — everyone deserves a safe and clean place to live,” Pettit said.

A News-Leader reporter attempted to reach the manager or owner of Branson Plaza Motel by phone but was told “we don’t have any comments” before an individual at the facility hung up.

City’s 911 dispatch center in the Bronx is crawling with bedbugs, NYPD operators say

Bronx.jpg

Emergency call operators first found bedbugs in a sixth-floor training room at the Public Safety Answering Center II in Pelham Bay on June 3, and bug-sniffing dogs have been finding the critters in several rooms where NYPD personnel operate ever since, sources familiar with the building said. (Getty Images)

As Boise grows, bed bug infestations are on the rise in the Treasure Valley

BOISE, Idaho — You may have heard of bed bugs being a problem in big cities like New York, but as Boise grows, it’s taking on those big-city problems as well.

In the past six months, Ada County Paramedics have noticed an increase in bed bug calls.

Because of more people traveling to and from Boise, Dina Hardaway, Infection Control Officer for Ada County Paramedics, said that more bed bugs are coming into our area as well.

“There is so much more international travel now; we’re getting more populated just within our city and within our county,” Hardaway said. “Just with those conditions alone, they are brought into our area.”

Due to the uptick in bed bug cases, Ada County Paramedics have spent the past few months learning new protocols, including tracking data on infestations and learning techniques on how to identify and exterminate them from equipment.

Hardaway says that while the bugs aren’t a public health crisis– because they don’t spread disease– they can still be a nuisance.

To prevent the spread of bed bugs, be sure to check the seams of mattresses and underneath base boards. Make sure to wash second hand clothing and clean up used furniture after buying it. If you’re traveling, wash all of your clothing and vacuum your suitcase.

If you do end up getting beg bugs, there’s no need to call 911– just be sure to call your local exterminator.

For more information on how to get rid of bed bugs, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.