Bed Bug Infestation Sweeping Metro Denver

FOX31 – July 18, 2017, by Keagan Harsh

DENVER — Tourists are coming to Colorado in droves this summer, and it’s not just visitors of the two-legged kind.  Our state is seeing an infestation of bed bugs.

Christina Thomas experienced it first hand. Thomas was visiting an Extended Stay America in Colorado Springs and says she woke up to find bed bugs all over her pillow.

“I woke up and three inches from my face I see a spot, and I look at it and say ‘no way, is that a bed bug?'” she said.

Christina isn’t the only person dealing with bed bugs in Colorado.

Jacob Marsh is one of several Denver exterminators absolutely overwhelmed with bed bug calls.

“It’s infestation levels over the whole city pretty much,” he said. “Right now we’re working 6 or 7 days a week,” said Marsh.

He says this is the worst time of year for bed bugs. However, Colorado’s infestation actually began several years ago. He estimates more than 3,500 homes are treated for bed bugs in the Denver area every year.

It’s a problem Marsh attributes to both the state’s growing population and Colorado’s popularity as a tourist destination.

“Denver is usually ranked 4th to 6th worst in the nation. We get a lot of good things when things are booming like it is, but unfortunately when people are coming in and traveling you also get a lot of unwanted visitors,” he said.

If you’re staying at a hotel there are things you can do to try and keep the bugs away.

First, store your luggage away from the bed on luggage racks or even in the bathroom.

Also, check the sheets, mattress, and bed frame for signs of the bugs.

One of the biggest misconceptions about bed bugs is that they’re too small to see. Most are actually about the size of an apple seed, and similar in appearance.

As for Christine Thomas, she isn’t taking any chances. She checked out of the hotel and left.

WestPoint Home, powered by KiltronX:  The Battle of The Bug

August 27, 2015

 “Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” It’s a phrase most of us grew up with. Maybe you heard it from your parents, as they tucked you in. For years, most of us were also blissfully unaware of what a bed bug actually was. That’s because we were living in a golden age as far as bed bug problems are concerned.

According to some sources, bed bugs predate humans and evidence even suggests we have been battling the bug for millennia. Then in the 1940s we got some help. Perhaps for the worse, it came in the form of DDT, a pesticide used to combat insect-borne diseases like malaria and typhus. DDT also proved to be highly effective against bed bugs and we hardly caught sight of the critters for nearly 30 years.

Today, they’re officially back and many in heavily populated areas worldwide are not sleeping tight at all. A 2013 survey of pest control professionals conducted by the National Pest Management Association found that 99 percent of respondents had encountered bed bug infestations in the prior year. Over the last decade we have seen a staggering surge in the population of the pests.

Ever the opportunists, they spread rapidly, hitching rides along with unsuspecting travelers. As anyone who has encountered a bed bug infestation can attest to, they are notoriously difficult to eradicate. They multiply rapidly, with a single pregnant female potentially producing more than 5,000 bed bugs within a six-month period! They hide in seams, mattresses and dark corners, coming out only at night to feed. You likely won’t feel them or see them though, as they inject a dose of anesthesia along with their bite to avoid the vengeance of a woken victim. Intense itching, lesions and allergic skin reactions will likely follow.

Okay, is your skin crawling yet? Here’s the good news: We have a five-step action plan to help you reclaim your life if bed bugs have crawled into it.

1.       Identify the enemy

The first step is to confirm that you are, in fact, dealing with bed bugs. Early detection is critical to preventing more costly treatment down the road. Bed bugs hide away during daylight hours (and scurry away rapidly if you shine a light at night), so if you spot more than a few you are likely dealing with an advanced infestation.  They’re small; about the size of an apple seed and reddish brown in color. If you do capture a bug, place it in a plastic bag or glass bottle for closer inspection. The adult is broadly oval, flat and wingless.

Bed bug droppings are a tell-tale sign of an infestation. They usually consist of a cluster of dark spots in one area. Look for black residue along the seams of your mattress and on your bedding.

2.       Eliminate clutter

If you suspect you have an infestation, it’s time to start your elimination plan. Bed bugs love to steal away in nooks, crannies and crevices. Reduce their hiding spots by getting rid of any unnecessary clutter. Remove, vacuum and bag any personal items like soft toys, stuffed animals, shoes, bags and knick-knacks.

3.       Treat living areas

Bed bugs are resilient and difficult to kill. There are few products on the market that can destroy them effectively. We like the lineup of products from Live Free both for their strength and safety. The company offers an array of tools that use a toxic-free, plate-based powder to essentially pull the bug apart at the skeletal level. They make for a potent barrier system around the house and offer protection for couch cushions, furniture legs, cabinets, cracks and corners.

4.       Launder regularly

While washing alone won’t eliminate bed bugs, a dryer goes a long way toward killing them off. They don’t like high heat. To finish the job, though, you’ll need an added weapon. Treated dryer sheets like this one disperse a non-toxic powder throughout the dryer that’s formulated to attacks bugs. Be sure to regularly wash all bedding and clothes with treated dryer sheets on high heat.

5.       Prevent future infestation

Once you’ve returned your home to a bug free sanctuary, there are a few steps you can take to minimize future risk. Invest in treated mattress and box spring encasements, which not only protect your bed from migrating bed bugs, but also actively kill them.

Bed bugs are also great travelers and are happy to take a ride home with you in your luggage. Protect yourself by doing a visual inspection of your hotel bed. Examine the mattress, box spring, edges of the headboard and sheets for signs of bed bug droppings or the bugs themselves. Be sure to keep your luggage on a luggage rack and never on the floor or bed.

If you do suspect that you’ve been exposed to bed bugs, launder all your clothing with treated dryer strips, bag personal belonging and consider treating your home with a bed bug response kit.

Finally, remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Dealing with a bed bug infestation can be an extraordinarily frustrating and uncomfortable ordeal. We hope you never have to encounter it. But if you do, we will have you armed for the battle.

CNN Report: Pesticide exposure linked to childhood cancer and lower IQ. Boy suffers brain damage after termite fumigation.

By Carina Storrs, Special to CNN – September 14, 2015
Video from CNN

(CNN) Children exposed to insecticides could have a higher risk of leukemia and lymphoma.  There’s strong evidence that long-term exposure can affect cognitive development.

Pesticide use in homes may increase the risk of children developing leukemia or lymphoma, a new report suggests.

Researchers combined data from 16 earlier studies that had compared pesticide exposure between children who developed leukemia or lymphoma and those who did not. These studies estimated the level of insecticides and herbicides both inside the home and in the yard and outdoor residential space.

The researchers concluded that children who had been exposed to insecticides indoors were 47% more likely to have leukemia and 43% more likely to have lymphoma. Although leukemia and lymphoma are rare — leukemia affects about five in 100,000 children in the United States — they are among the common types of childhood cancers.

“Childhood cancers are increasing year by year in this country, (and) there is disagreement about what is contributing to that, but pesticides have always been on the radar,” said Chensheng Lu, an associate professor of environmental exposure biology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who led the new research. The study will be published in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics.

This analysis “is confirming that pesticides may play a role, possibly a significant role, in the development of childhood leukemia and lymphoma,” Lu said. However, he added that it is hard to say at this point if exposure to these chemicals is definitely a risk factor for these cancers.

The association between pesticides and cancer risk is not necessarily limited to leukemia and lymphoma, either, Lu said. Pesticide exposure may also drive up the risk of other types of cancers, such as prostate and bladder, but they have not been studied as much, and are more difficult to research because they take longer to develop, he said. If childhood pesticide exposure helped trigger the onset of these other cancers, they might take many years, possibly into adulthood, to manifest.

The fact that the study found an association between only indoor use of insecticides and increased rates of cancer makes sense, Lu said, because there is less fresh air indoors to dilute the chemicals. And insecticides could be particularly damaging because they are sprayed around the home, whereas herbicides are usually used only around plants, he said.

Children can be exposed to pesticides by breathing them in or eating them, Lu said. Chemical residues linger on surfaces where children play or spend time, and they may get them on their hands and put their hands in their mouths. In general, children younger than age 12 appear to be most vulnerable to the possible cancer-causing effects of pesticides.

“We are starting to get to the place where there is enough science, it just starts to add up to say that we can’t really ignore anymore … the role of environmental factors like pesticides in health,” said Dr. Catherine J. Karr, professor of pediatrics and director of the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit at the University of Washington.

“This study is a nice contribution because it focuses in on what is the effect of home use of pesticides versus (other) exposures.”

Other research has suggested a link between parents who are exposed to high levels to pesticides at work, such as through farming, and increased rates of cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, both in these adults and their children.

Encouraging more research

Although the current study confirms the findings of earlier studies, it is not possible to show definitively that pesticides increase cancer risk through this type of research, which is based on linking cases of disease with exposures, said Dr. James R. Roberts, professor of pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina. But researchers can generally make an argument for pesticide exposure being a culprit in disease by showing a strong association in many different studies, and also by suggesting ways that this exposure could be causing the disease.

In the case of how insecticides could be causing cancer, it may be that the same ingredients that kill insects could be causing genetic mutations in blood cells that lead to leukemia and lymphoma, Lu said.

“There are not many studies (and) we hope that by publishing this paper we will encourage more scientists to conduct more research,” Lu said.

In the meantime, parents can take precautions to reduce their exposure to pesticides. The most effective way is to prevent pests in the first place, by cleaning up old food, and repairing cracks and crevices through which insects can enter, Lu said.

If the pests have already taken over, try non-chemical means first to wipe them out, such as using diatomaceous earth, a powder made from fossilized earth that dries out insect exoskeletons, Lu said. If parents feel they have to use chemicals, opt for bait strips rather than sprays that get everywhere, Lu said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers tips on safe pesticide use. These include not using more than the amount recommended on the label, and removing children, pets and toys from the area sprayed until after the pesticide has dried, or for as long as the label recommends.

Some of the studies that Lu and his colleagues included in their analysis suggest that rates of cancer were highest among children who were exposed in the womb and among those whose parents were exposed before they were conceived. “Women who are pregnant or intend to become pregnant can avoid home insecticide application,” said Roberts of the Medical University of South Carolina.

Pesticides linked to more health problems

Although it is too soon to say unequivocally whether pesticide exposure increases the risk of childhood cancers, there is stronger evidence connecting these chemicals with neurological consequences, such as lower IQ and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Karr said.

Pesticide exposure has also been linked to headaches, nausea, skin irritation and other symptoms, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on children’s exposure to pesticides, which Roberts and Karr wrote.

A study to be published in the October issue of Pediatrics along with Lu’s research raises the possibility that high doses of pesticide may even lead to sudden infant death. A post-mortem analysis by researchers in Italy of a 7-month-old girl who had died in her sleep revealed high levels of a pesticide called DBNP in the brain tissue. The girl may have inhaled the chemical after her father sprayed insecticide around the house to kill flies in the two weeks before her death.

“This single incident would be reflective of acute toxicity. Pesticides play a role in acute and chronic health problems depending on the level of exposure,” Lu said. “If you can measure residue in this kid’s brain, then she was probably exposed to a very significant level of pesticide.”

The health effects of pesticides have made more headlines recently. Earlier this month, a Florida family fell ill and a 10-year-old boy was hospitalized after termite fumigation in their home. In March, a Delaware family vacationing on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, fell ill after a suspected pesticide exposure. The family is still suffering health consequences.

Ten-Year-Old Suffers Traumatic Brain Injury After Home Treated with Pesticides


Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–Sepember 10, 2015. A young Florida boy and his family are reeling after a routine termite treatment resulted in a devastating outcome. Ten-year-old Peyton McCaughey of Palm City, Florida has been in the hospital for weeks following a severe reaction to chemicals used to fumigate his family’s home. According to news reports, the fumigation was performed by Sunland Pest Control, a subcontractor of Terminix. The Florida Department of Agriculture has since issued a “Stop Work Order” while it investigates the company in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state Department of Health.

After returning to their home hours after the Terminix subcontractor told them it was safe to enter, the whole family became very ill. While the parents and the 7-year-old daughter recovered, the young boy’s condition continued to worsen. “He was having some uncontrollable muscle movements, couldn’t stand up, couldn’t speak, so they took him to a local walk-in and the doctor quickly recognized it was probably poisoning from a treatment,” said Peyton’s uncle, Ed Gribben. Current reports indicate that the boy has likely suffered brain damage and has lost all muscle control, rendering him unable to stand or speak. He remains in a hospital in Miami weeks after the initial exposure took place.

A Terminix spokesman, while making clear that the incident is still under review, did state that the gas normally used for this type of fumigation (intended to target termites) is sulfuryl fluoride. When asked to comment, Shan Yin,M.D., MPH, the medical director of the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center, said that while acute pesticide poisoning is rare, exposure to this application of sulfuryl fluoride, an odorless gas, can lead to symptoms including dizziness, headache and vomiting in even the most mild cases. “In severe cases,” Dr. Yin said, “it can cause seizures and can cause neurologic symptoms.”

Sulfuryl fluoride is an inorganic chemical often used for the fumigation of closed structures and their contents, such as domestic dwellings, garages, barns, storage buildings and commercial warehouses, just to name a few. It is intended to target termites, powder post beetles, bedbugs, and other pests. Sulfuryl fluoride is a dangerous chemical which has been linked to cancer as well as neurological, developmental, and reproductive damages. More information about sulfuryl fluoride and its more potent cousin methyl bromide, another industry favorite, can be found on our factsheet about structural fumigants.

In addition to promoting alternative fumigants for pest control, Beyond Pesticides has also been involved with efforts to remove sulfuryl fluoride from use on food. Food-related tolerances were set for sulfuryl fluoride in 2004 for raw foods and in 2005 for processed food as post-harvest fumigant. Both of the food-related tolerances were opposed by Beyond Pesticides, and in 2006 Beyond Pesticides, Fluoride Action Network (FAN), and Environmental Working Group petitioned EPA for a stay of final rules, objecting to the tolerances as allowing an excessive hazard to food consumers.

In the beginning of 2011, EPA responded to this petition by granting objections to the food-related tolerances. Based on a cumulative risk assessment taking into account food, water, and structural use exposure, this decision established a phase out all food-related uses for sulfuryl fluoride over a three-year period ending in 2014. After the EPA decision, there was a flurry of activity in Congress to limit EPA’s proposed phase out. In April of 2013, U.S. Representative Tom Graves (R-GA) introduced H.R.1496, the Pest Free Food Supply Act, with similar language introduced in the U.S. Senate by Joe Donnelly (D-IN), intended to force the EPA Administrator to withdraw the proposed food tolerance cancellations. With overwhelming support and influence from Dow Agrosciences, the language eventually attached in conference committee to the Farm Bill, or Section 10015 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Regulation of Sulfuryl Fluoride), despite overwhelming scientific evidence in support of the EPA phase-out of sulfuryl fluoride. It was passed February 7, 2014.

Unfortunately, when it comes to cases of fumigants poisoning families, the current situation in Florida is not isolated. In 2010 alone, poison control centers in the U.S. reported 91,940 calls related to pesticide exposures in general, according to the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Just this spring, a family of four was hospitalized after being exposed to methyl bromide, a highly neurotoxic pesticide, while on vacation at their luxury condo in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. After being rushed back to mainland U.S. for treatment, the two sons are still in critical condition, having both gone into a coma as a result of the exposure. The father is paralyzed and mother has nerve damage.

There are many viable alternatives to sulfuryl fluoride and methyl bromide fumigation, including temperature manipulation (heating and cooling), atmospheric controls (low oxygen and fumigation with carbon dioxide), biological controls (pheromones, viruses and nematodes), and less toxic chemical controls (diatomaceous earth). More information on Beyond Pesticides’ recommendations for the least-toxic control of termites can be found here.

While it is still unknown whether Peyton will be able to make a full recovery, he did receive a little relief this past weekend when three Miami Dolphins players visited him the hospital where he is receiving treatment. If you would like to help the family, you can join Facebook Group “Support Peyton McCaughey” or donate on the GoFundMe Page. Visit the Beyond Pesticides website to learn more about the potential harms of pesticide use and how it may impact your family, especially young children.

Confirmed – OTC Bedbug Products Ineffective

Bed Bugs Are Even Peskier Than We Thought

A new study reveals that common over-the-counter bed bug eradication products are essentially ineffective.

By Joseph Stromberg –
June 4, 2012


A new study shows that over-the-counter products sold to eradicate the bed bug, shown feeding above, are relatively ineffective.

First comes a mysterious difficulty sleeping through the night, then a splotchy, itchy rash and finally the alarming (and somewhat embarrassing) realization—your bed is infested with Cimex lectularius, the dreaded bed bug.

A new study published yesterday in the Journal of Economic Entomology has more bad news for those suffering from an infestation: Over-the-counter products like “foggers” and “bug bombs” do virtually nothing to kill the irritating pests.

Bed bugs have afflicted humans for a long time—they were even mentioned in the writings of Aristotle and Pliny the Elder—and a number of natural remedies have been used around the world, from black pepper to wild mint to eucalyptus oil. In the years after World War II, bed bugs were nearly wiped out in Western countries by heavy use of pesticides. Since the late 1990s, though, they have come back with a vengeance.

Scientists are unsure why they’ve made a comeback in recent years, but increased international travel and the bugs’ resistance to pesticides are suspected culprits. Bed bugs are especially likely to spread in densely populated cities and apartment buildings—and once they’ve infested your bed, as bed bug sufferers know well, they’re extremely difficult to eradicate. The tiny bugs, just 4 to 5 millimeters in length, can live for up to a year without feeding, and their eggs can lodge invisibly in the seams of sheets or pillowcases.

Most infestations are detected when the creatures do begin to feed, piercing the skin to suck out blood and leaving a series of telltale blotchy red marks. Since bed bugs can become fully engorged with blood in just a few minutes while you’re asleep, catching one in the act is extremely rare. Infestations can also be detected by a characteristic smell, similar to that of over-ripe raspberries, and pest control companies often use dogs to recognize the odor.

The new study, by Susan Jones and Joshua Bryant of Ohio State University, evaluated consumer bed bug control products. They tested the effectiveness of three different products on a five bed bug populations collected from the field, and the results were consistently dismal: The bugs showed essentially no adverse effects after two-hour exposures to the spray insecticides. One population did show an increase in mortality, but only when the bugs were directly hit by the spray, something the authors say is exceedingly rare in real-life applications since the bugs burrow deep into mattresses and fabrics.

“These foggers don’t penetrate in cracks and crevices where most bed bugs are hiding, so most of them will survive,” Jones said in a press release. “If you use these products, you will not get the infestation under control, you will waste your money, and you will delay effective treatment of your infestation.”

One reason the the products are so ineffective, the authors speculate, is an especially concerning one: pesticide resistance. Excessive use of products such as these, which contain the pesticide pyrethoid, might be causing more and more bed bugs to become entirely resistant to the same chemicals that used to wipe them out easily.

So what are you to do if hit with a bed bug infestation? Bringing in a pest professional to kill the creatures is likely more effective than using the store-bought products, but increasing resistance can also render this approach ineffective. Oftentimes exterminators will recommend that you throw out mattresses and other pieces of furniture that bed bugs have infested. Using extreme cold or heat to kill the bugs is an increasingly popular solution, but these techniques also sometimes leave behind founder populations that generate an infestation afterward.

The bottom line—once an infestation of bed bugs has taken hold, it’s extremely difficult to get rid of. Experts advise that early detection and immediate treatment by professionals is the best chance you have of eradicating it entirely. But buying a pesticide over-the-counter and hoping for the best really doesn’t work.

Bedbug Control System to be Featured at National Show

At the 2015 National Hardware Show this spring, textile giant WestPoint Hospitality will be launching the first and only patent-pending layered textile perimeter bedbug control system ever made. This comprehensive system is powered by KiltronX Cutelin, a green-engineered technology.

The National Hardware Show, which attracts a worldwide audience of more than 27,000 industry professionals, will be held in the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, Tuesday, May 5 – Thursday, May 7, 2015. This is the prime time and place for face-to-face sourcing, trading and learning for the $343 Billion-Dollar U.S. home improvement and DIY markets. It is your major source for products sold for after-market home products. Don’t miss this industry gathering.

Visit Westpoint Hospitality and KiltronX Enviro Systems at Booth 5544.