The Bedbug Epidemic
(image of a bedbug on skin)
Bedbugs are parasitic “hitchhikers”. That is to say they catch a ride on whatever they can find which can include clothing being worn, luggage, used furniture, picture frames, and obviously mattresses.
Bed bugs thrive on human blood and though they can produce stings and large welts, they can spread especially well in human populations where persons may have diminished sensory faculties, a group which may include the elderly. Senior medications may interfere with the senses and may also diminish allergic reactions to bug allergens.
Bed bugs may have a stigma attached with lack of cleanliness, but there is no association. For bed bugs it is simply transportation to a new group of targets. The presence of a single bug is all that is required.
The first step is to confirm what you have. There are several ways to do this:
A trained technician providing an inspection should produce a bed bug using glue traps or some other method.
You might be able to do the same thing and send an image or dead bug to https://identify.us.com/ and they may be able to help. The website has tons of helpful info on all kinds of bug infestations.
There are specially trained dogs that can find bed bugs. These are not just any dogs. Ask for the certification. For details here is a link to one of the reputable certification associations: http://www.nesdca.com/ .
In a 2015 article http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/chicago-tops-bed-bug-cities-list-for-third-year-in-a-row-300023573.html , the Huffington Post provides more good info, but the 2014 top 10 cities for bed bugs ranking helps highlight where the higher risks are. If you frequent these places you might want to be extra careful.
The reason you want to verify that you have a bed bug specific problem is that it will be expensive to solve. Treatments should be handled by professionals. This is not a do-it-yourself job. While the cost can be high, the longer one waits the worse it gets. At the same time, because it is expensive, there are scammers out there, so verifying credentials and references is a good idea. One of the benefits of renting is that the landlord may be responsible for getting it done in many areas. There are likely several treatments required to ensure a successful resolution. Treatments can range from chemicals to heat and steaming methods.
Bed Bugs are one of the hardest pests to get rid of and few professionals will guarantee eradication but the reputable exterminators will come back several times at no additional charge if there is still a problem.
A new product has hit the market in recent years, providing a non-poison fungus that specifically kills bed bugs. Aprehend, a mycoinsecticide developed by researchers at Penn State University, may now be the best weapon available on the market to manage bed bug infestations, which have surged in recent years.
One of the best times to deal with bed bugs is before you get them. Some of them are easier than others:
- avoid receiving used furniture, especially boxes-springs and mattresses without thoroughly inspecting them. If you are getting it from someone’s home you are sure is clear, then the risk is lower.
- bring a flashlight and check bedding for signs of small blood spots or bugs when staying away from home.
- if you are particularly concerned, wrap luggage in plastic bags while on vacation and vacuum them upon returning.
More good links:
From the US EPA – Bed Bugs – Get Them Out and Keep Them Out
Potential Good News on the front Lines:
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