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.”
CRESTVIEW, Fla. (WKRG) — August 2, 2019 by Cody Long — Deputies responded to a call of domestic battery Tuesday to find a home with thousands of cockroaches, spiders and other bugs and children sleeping on the floor, according to an arrest report.
James Reid, Latina Reid and Daniel Reid were arrested at their home on Fleming Drive, charged with child neglect and taken to the Okaloosa County Jail.
Four children were home when their grandmother Latina Reid battered her adult son Daniel Reid who’s the father of two of the children, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.
The arrest report states the home was in “deplorable conditions” and there were thousands of bugs crawling around. There was no bed for the children because it was thrown out because of an infestation of bed bugs along with the living room furniture.
Children were seen sleeping on a pallet on the floor while bugs crawled on their face. There was mold on the walls and floors, household garbage was found throughout the house and there was rotting food in the bathroom and cockroaches crawling on children’s toothbrushes, according to deputies.
Deputies also reported seeing bug bites on the children.
The Department of Children and Families removed the children from the home.
by Michael Patrick Lahey | July 29, 2019
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:
- Washington, D.C.
- Los Angeles
- Columbus, Ohio
- New York City
- San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland
- Dallas-Fort Worth
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.”
(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.
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.
Q. Why have bedbugs become such a problem? Are there any new ways to attack them?
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.
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.
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.
“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.”