Woman claims son was bit by bed bugs at local hotel

WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — by Ryan Trowbridge and Audrey Russo

A woman who stayed for a night in a West Springfield hotel is speaking out after she says her son got bit by bed bugs.

Czhanell McCray doesn’t live in western Massachusetts, but she wanted to warn travelers locally and spoke exclusively with Western Mass News about how a few small bugs caused bigger problems for her family.

“On our way home, early afternoon, he really started profusely scratching really bad,” McCray said.

After a day of shooting hoops in a local basketball tournament, McCray’s 14-year-old son was taking home more than a trophy.

McCray told us over video chat that the night before, something had bitten her son.

“I just said mosquitoes must have, you know, gotten a hold of you,” McCray added.

However. the scratching got worse and after taking her son to urgent care, McCray noted, “the doctor didn’t even want to touch him. She just, you know, looked at him and said well, this is the bed bug situation here.”

McCray showed Western Mass News the doctor’s note with the diagnosis. She said she called the hotel where she and her son stayed – the Hampton Inn in West Springfield – to report the issue.

“Just want to make people aware to, when they’re coming to any hotel, just to make sure that they, which I found out they, strip down the bed, check the bed boards, look up under the mattresses,” McCray said.

We went to the West Springfield Health Department. Their records show two bed bugs were found by a pest management company a few days after McCray and her son checked out.

The report showed the bugs were likely introduced recently to the room and that it was treated and ventilated.

Western Mass News reached out to the Hampton Inn and they said “The hotel employs a comprehensive detection program which maintains the highest levels of vigilance.” They went on to say that they refunded McCray’s stay, but McCray said the issue will end up costing her more in extermination fees.

“Now we have to, out of inconvenience, have to get my home bombed,” McCray said.

Health department officials said they’ve seen increase in community bed bug reports in the last five years.

“The fact that people travel so much has increased the likelihood of being exposed,” said West Springfield public health nurse Mary Allen.

Health officials said the best thing you can do is check your hotel bed before sleeping in it, along mattress seams, headboards, and baseboards.

“They’re not as small as a tick, they’re a little bit bigger…like an adult would probably be the size of a normal house fly,” said Lauren Kennedy with the West Springfield Health Department.

Something, the size of a fly has caused much bigger problems for McCray’s family.

“The uncomfortability that he’s saying, the pain that he’s saying. How many showers that he has to take, he’s home from school. I’m taking half days from work just to come check on him to make sure he’s all right. The doctors tell him that’s going to take awhile for this thing to go away,” McCray said.

Always inspect for bed bugs when traveling, getting used furniture

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.

Bedbugs may have sucked the blood of dinosaurs 100 million years ago as scientists discover they were alive twice as long ago as previously thought

  • They evolved 100 million years ago which is far earlier than previously thought
  • Making them 50 million years older than bats, once believed to be their first host
  • They feed on species with ‘homes’ such as nests, burrows and human beds 
  • So are unlikely to have sucked on dinosaurs although their first host is unknown 

Bed bugs scuttled the Earth 100 million years ago alongside the dinosaurs, scientists have found.

Previously thought to have evolved 50 million years ago, the latest study shows they are actually twice as old as bats, thought to be their first hosts.

While they could have fed on the dinosaurs, birds and burrowing animals were more likely hosts as they prefer animals with ‘homes’ like nests and burrows.

By understanding the tiny bugs better scientists hope to better control and prevent the transmission of insect-borne diseases.

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Bed bugs (pictured) scuttled the Earth 100 million years ago alongside the dinosaurs, scientists have found

Scientists from a number of institutions, including the University of Sheffield, compared the DNA of dozens of bedbug species to understand their evolution and their relationship with humans.

The findings revealed that Bedbugs evolved 50 million years before bats – a mammal that people had previously believed to be their first host.

Genetic evidence show that they have been parasitic companions with other species aside from humans for more than 100 million years, walking the earth at the same time as dinosaurs.

More research is needed to find out what their host was at that time, although current understanding suggests it’s unlikely they fed on the blood of dinosaurs.

This is because they usually attached to animals that have a ‘home’, such as a bird’s nest, an owl’s burrow, a bat’s roost or a human’s bed – a mode of living that dinosaurs don’t seem to have adopted.

Bedbugs may rank high among the list of most unwanted human bedfellows but until now, little was known about when they first originated.

The team, which includes University of Sheffield in the UK, spent 15 years collecting samples from wild sites and museums around the world, including African caves, cliffs and bird nests in Asia.

Based on the findings, experts found that the evolutionary history of bed bugs is far more complex than previously thought.

Professor Mike Siva-Jothy from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said: ‘To think that the pests that live in our beds today evolved more than 100 million years ago and were walking the earth side by side with dinosaurs, was a revelation.

‘It shows that the evolutionary history of bed bugs is far more complex than we previously thought.’

Previously thought to have evolved 50 million years ago, the latest study shows they are actually twice as old as the bats, thought to be their first hosts.

HOW TO SPOT A BED BUG
Small dark dots are the key.

Experts say the buttons on a mattress are a popular hiding place If the infestation is bad, small white dots – which are bedbug eggs – may be visible.

A faint almond smell may also be noticeable

A pest controller will need to remove the bugs as household insecticides are not strong enough

Dr Steffen Roth from the University Museum Bergen in Norway, who led the study, added: ‘The first big surprise we found was that bedbugs are much older than bats, which everyone assumed to be their first host.

‘It was also unexpected to see that evolutionary older bedbugs were already specialised on a single host type, even though we don’t know what the host was at the time when T. rex walked the earth.’

The study also reveals that a new species of bedbug invades human environments about every half a million years.

When bedbugs changed hosts, they also didn’t always adapt to stay on that host but maintained the ability to jump back to their original host.

This demonstrates that while some bedbugs become specialised, some remain generalists, jumping from host to host.

Professor Klaus Reinhardt, a bedbug researcher from Dresden University in Germany, who co-led the study, said: ‘These species are the ones we can reasonably expect to be the next ones drinking our blood, and it may not even take half a million years, given that many more humans, livestock and pets that live on earth now provide lots more opportunities.’

The team also found that the two major bedbug pests of humans – the common and the tropical bedbug – are much older than humans.

This contrasts with other evidence that the evolution of ancient humans caused the split of other human parasites into new species.

Professor Mike Siva-Jothy from the University of Sheffield, added: ‘These findings will help us better understand how bedbugs evolved the traits that make them effective pests – that will also help us find new ways of controlling them.’

The researchers hope the findings will help create an evolutionary history of bed bugs, how they evolve to use different hosts and how they develop new traits.

The aim is to help control insects effectively and prevent the transmission of insect-vectored disease, say the scientists.

The research has been published in Current Biology.

WHAT ARE BED BUGS?
Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy but do not usually cause other health problems.

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

HOW DO BED BUG INFESTATIONS HAPPEN?
Genetic tests have revealed that a single undetected pregnant bed bug is all it takes to start an entire infestation.

A DNA study at Sheffield University showed colonies of bed bugs come from a common ancestor or a few of the female bed bugs.

The pregnant bed bug could rapidly create a colony of thousands that feed on humans.

Bed bugs are capable of surviving without feeding for a month as they wait for a human.

In the late 1880s, an estimated 75 per cent of households were affected, but by the outbreak of World War II, that figure had dwindled to 25 per cent,

Their recent resurgence has been blamed by some experts on resistance to commonly used insecticides and international travel.