Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Avoiding Bugs On-the-Go

For those of you on-the-go bed bugs should definitely be on your radar.  With high room turnover comes increased exposure to bed bug infestations that could follow you home.  Places like hotels and dormitories are ideal places for these pests to jump from one host to another.  A few quick and easy tips could mean the difference between a great trip and a nightmare.

1. Don't put your luggage directly onto the bed:  This is one that most travelers are guilty of.  It seems like such a convenient way to unpack, but it could spell disaster.  As in homes, bed bugs congregate around mattresses to find an easy meal.  Smoother elevated surfaces are less likely to be hiding places.  Places like night stands and bathrooms are a much safer alternative.

2. Check the room before settling in:  Seems obvious right?  Bed bugs make no distinction between five-star hotels and shabby motels.  While higher end hotels may have better resources to battle infestations, they can't catch every problem.  Carefully pull back bedding and inspect all small crevices they could be hiding in.  Alert staff immediately if you detect a problem.

3. Clean thoroughly upon return:  Why take a chance?  Even if they never left your bag, clothes are great places for bugs to hitch a ride.  When you get home wash everything in your luggage.  This should be done with the hottest water possible and also dried.  Closely inspect your luggage and vacuum it out.

With these three easy steps you can go a long way towards preventing an infestation.  Unfortunately due to the nature of this pest, some may slip by unnoticed.  If you suspect bed bugs might have followed you home, call a professional like Scout.  His K-9 abilities can stop a problem dead in its tracks.   

Friday, May 11, 2012

I have a bite. Is it due to bed bugs?

It is not uncommon for bed bug bites to go unnoticed or misdiagnosed. Literature suggests that between 60-85% of the population is NOT sensitive to bed bug bites and so they may miss the signs of an infestation.  It is not uncommon for people to say they never knew they were bitten during the night. However for the 15-40% of the population that IS sensitive, they may not feel the actual bite in the night, but they will wake up one morning to red bumps or welts which initially may not itch.  Overtime, if sensitive, one might start scratching and cause larger welts and sometimes infections.

There tends to be a staged reaction for
 those sensitive to bed bug bites.  First, you may notice small raised red bumps, usually in a row.  Different parts of the body react differently to the bites – typically the face, hands, and feet reacting the most. You might initially dismiss the bumps as mosquito bites or a rash.  

Eventually, the bite sites may blister after exposure to perspiration, scratching, hot water baths, etc. Often this is the stage which prompts a medical opinion. The medical profession is just becoming aware of bed bugs.  If a doctor or nurse has not been educated on bed bug bites they may miss the signs.  Conversely, they may over-diagnose bed bug bites in an over reaction to community hysteria. Two important tips when faced with such unexplained bites:

1.     Seek medical attention if welts worsen.  Don’t let a secondary infection set in.  Avoid scratching bites.  Guard against infection.

2.     Learn how to inspect your home for bed bugs.  When in doubt call in an expert to confirm or rule out bed bugs so the source of the welts can be identified as soon as possible.  Swift action can help you avoid a costly large-scale infestation. 

See picture below for an example of bed bug bites:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Save us Scout!

Scout is our bed bug hunting hero.  Born in Arkansas, Scout was bred and trained to use his amazing snout.  Bed bugs mean treats for this hard working hound.  Who doesn't like being rewarded for a job well done?

Want to keep your problem to a minimum?  Scout can tell you exactly what you're dealing with.

What treatment is right for you?

Whenever faced with a bed bug problem, the question must be asked.  How can I safely solve this problem?  IPM or Integrated Pest Management is a great option.

According to the EPA, integrated pest management is "an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pest and their interaction with the environment. This information in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.”

Currently the safest and most effective bed bug IPM strategy is the Fire/Ice™ type.  Using a combination of carbon dioxide and heat treatment, bed bugs can be wiped out without the hazards of chemical pesticides.

Curious about IPM?  Contact Hart-Shegos Inspection Services


Welcome to The Bed Bug Blog.  A great place to find helpful information and the latest news on the fight against bed bugs.  Please comment with any questions or thoughts.  We're here to help!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Finding Bed Bugs

This is a great photograph of bed bugs throughout their life-cycle.  Continue reading to learn about common hiding places:

Unless disturbed bed bugs like to remain inactive during the day.  They thrive in warm, dark places that allow for burrowing, especially textured crevices such as cushion and mattress seams or welting.  Other common hiding places are box springs, under couch cushions, and the crevice between walls and carpeting.  Really, any protected position they can squeeze into will work.  Once established the bugs nestle together in these small spaces.  When concentrated in such groups the bugs emit a very distinctive, some say sweet, smell.  This smell is a combination of pheromones and digested host blood.  Blood spotting on mattresses and sheets are a tell-tale sign of an infestation.  Often, humans are able to smell a significant problem before actually seeing any bed bugs.  Specially trained dogs, such as Scout, are able to detect exactly where this troublesome pest hides.  Without this advantage bed bugs are easily missed.  Scout is the best way to avoid costly reoccurring problems.