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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Battling bedbugs prove to be a challenge

Battling bedbugs prove to be a challenge
Morning update
By Jenna Pizzi
Vermont Press Bureau
BARRE — Barre Housing Authority buildings have had a longstanding problem with bedbugs and on Wednesday the Stowe Pest Control thermal remediation trailer spent another day pumping heat into a few of the units at the North Barre Manor, with an aim to kill the critters.

It was not the first time the trailer's operators spent the day working on the building, and it will likely not be the last.

“It is going to keep occurring,” said Chip Castle, executive director of the housing authority, who said bedbugs have been a constant problem for about two years.

“This issue is probably not going to go away in my lifetime, unfortunately,” he said.

Castle said the housing authority has tried many different approaches to eradicating the pests, including chemical treatments, which don't always kill the bugs and often give tenants headaches, but thermal remediation has proven to be quite successful. Thermal remediation consists of blocking off contaminated rooms, removing combustibles and items that could melt or be damaged, and bringing in portable heaters to superheat the room.

Castle, who claims he has become somewhat of an expert on the bugs, said that is because thermal remediation kills all stages of bedbugs with temperatures up to 130 degrees.

“The heat treatment has done the job and we stay on top of it with inspections,” he said.

Donald Lesure, owner of Stowe Pest Control, the company that contracts with the housing authority, said when he first went into business in central Vermont in 1997 he would come across bedbugs, about once every five years, but in the last year couple of years he has gotten a call about bedbugs almost every day.

Although bedbugs have been a boost for business, he said, he could do without them.

“They could go away and I would be happy,” Lesure said.

In the past two years the number of bedbug complaints by visitors staying in Vermont hotels has also jumped. Of the 864 licensed lodging establishments in the state, there have been eight bedbug-related complaints so far this year. There were 18 in 2010 and 15 in 2009, according to Department of Health spokesman Robert Stirewalt.

The Budget Inn in Barre is the latest to have evidence of bedbugs found in a few rooms. Within the last six months evidence of the pests were also found at the Hilltop Inn in Berlin, according to the Health Department.

The Health Department said bedbugs are not a threat to public health, but are more of a nuisance. The department recommends that guests not be allowed to stay in a room where there is evidence of bedbugs, but it does not have the authority to close a hotel or motel because of them.

“The hotels that have bedbugs are dealing with the bedbugs quickly,” Stirewalt said.

To draw attention to the issue, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce is holding a webinar on Thursday for interested business owners to learn how to protect their hotels, motels and inns from infestation.

Castle said the best defense for the housing authority, besides the thermal remediation treatment, has been in public education to make people aware where bedbugs might be and the many ways they may hitch a ride into their apartment or home.

Jon Quackenbush, who owns Pest Pro, a Winooski-based company that responds to bedbug calls throughout the state as well as in New Hampshire and New York, said when the economy worsened he saw a spike because people began to shop more at thrift stores or pick up a piece of furniture on the side of the road.

“As the economy starts to drop you see some curbside shopping,” he said. “Then you introduce them to your house or apartment and it goes from being one room to two.”

Quackenbush also has his own secret weapon in the war on bedbugs — a specially trained dog named Jack who can sniff out the pests. Jack is one of two bedbug-sniffing dogs in the state.

It is likely that Jack will be able to keep his job for a while, because it doesn't seem that bedbugs are going to disappear any time soon.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Bed Bugs Found On UK's Campus

UK officials say they are double-checking all areas of campus before the back to school rush after three more bed bugs were found in a campus building, this time at the W.T. Young Library.
Officials say three bed bugs, two dead and one live, were found near a computer studying area inside the library last Friday. That's the same day pest control treated a room in the new addition of the student center after 20 bed bugs were found there in a couch cushion.
Officials say this is probably the best time for UK to be dealing with the problem, as there aren't as many students on campus for summer session. But, by this fall UK officials say before all the students return, they plan to train every custodian to be able to spot bed bugs.
UK officials say just like the student center lounge was given a heat treatment to rid the bed bugs, the library will be combed over later this week.
Since there are no legal pesticides that can be used on bed bugs, treatment involves heating the area the bugs are found.
For more information on bed bugs in preventing them and treating them, go to http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/topics/bedbugs.htm.

-Article from Lex18

Tuesday, July 26, 2011



Monday, July 25, 2011

Don't let the bedbugs bite; The little suckers are back

Don't let the bedbugs bite; The little suckers are back
By Andrea Sachs
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 8, 2010; 11:59 AM 

If evolution really worked in our favor, bedbugs would be as large as melons, with neon carapaces and a courteous deportment, announcing their presence every time a newcomer entered a hotel room. Alas, the vampirish insects are neither obvious nor polite: They're tiny and reddish-brown like freckles, and masters of subterfuge.
At hotels haut to low, exposure to the pests can be higher than at home, because of the rapid turnover of guests who act as a private bug delivery service. In addition, the guaranteed food source - see above - encourages the insects to stay. The bed bug-traveler cycle is endless. But it can be broken.
"People need to be proactive," said Joseph A. McInerney, president of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. "This is something that we're going to have to live with for a while."
After a dormant period following World War II, Cimex lectularius is back. In the 1990s, the insects started reemerging in overcrowded urban settings and of late have catapulted to star bugdom status, surfacing in hotels nationwide, in Manhattan retail stores, in Broadway theaters and in other environments that involve numerous people in a semi-somnolent state.
"They're all around," said Wayne White, a board-certified entomologist with American Pest in Takoma Park, who attributes the rise in bedbugs to the uptick in international travel and a shift in pesticide usage. "They're just finally showing up in places that are more public."
In the 2010 Comprehensive Global Bed Bug Study, conducted by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky, 95 percent of the 1,000 participating pest-management pros said that they had encountered an infestation in the past year, up from 25 percent a decade ago. The experts reported the highest incidences in private residences, followed by hotels and motels, college dorms, various modes of transportation, laundry facilities and movie theaters. In late August, pest control company Terminix released a list of the 15 bedbuggiest cities in the United States. New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cincinnati and Chicago filled the top five spots; Washington ranked ninth.
"We have 3.5 million people in the United States staying in hotels every night, and the number of people bitten is minuscule," said McInerney. "But when it happens to you, it's a big deal."
To learn how to detect and repel bedbugs on the road, I met with White at the company's Takoma Park office, then later in a hotel room where he performed a live bedbug inspection.
At our initial meeting, we sat in a brightly lit room with vials of bedbugs representing the various stages of life, from the dots of eggs to the flat, apple seed-size adults.
White explained that the insects are nocturnal and typically cluster in dark, cave-like shelters, such as the seams of mattresses and the corners of headboards. They are drawn to the body heat, scent and carbon dioxide exhalation of animals and prefer crawling along humans' hairless surface to bushwhacking through fur. They work best in undisturbed areas, such as your bed in the middle of the night, when you are deep (read: immobile) in sleep. Able to crawl 14 inches in five minutes, the bugs will travel for food, crossing the room for a meal. For greater distances, they rely on hitchhiking in luggage, shipping containers and your child's Teddy bear.
"The more you travel," said White, "the higher the likelihood that you will bring them home."
To help you avoid unwanted souvenirs - red welts and/or six-legged stowaways - White laid out a multipart strategy that covers the before, during and after periods of your vacation. The battle against bedbugs starts now. 

Before your trip
Prevention starts at home. Even if you've never seen the bugs in your boudoir, White recommends sealing your mattress and box spring in clear plastic or vinyl coverings. Choose a mattress model without handles or seams, eliminating hiding spots. Major retailers such as Walgreens and Sears sell the encasements. He also suggests placing the legs of the bed inside an insect interceptor, a ringed plastic saucer that creates a slippery surface as treacherous as Everest after an icestorm. The container traps the bugs so that they can't venture north to your mattress.
"This will help you inspect and detect the problem," said White. It will also stanch migration from your house to the wide, wide world.
Also, before booking a hotel, check the Bed Bug Registry (bedbugregistry.com) for reports. A recent submission for the Trump Plaza and Casino in Atlantic City, for instance, stated, "Got bit to death here." 
(Before your flight, don't forget the BugOff Seat Covers ! seat covers for the plane ... - BugOFF )
At the hotel
Before sniffing the toiletries or perusing the minibar, conduct a bed inspection. Prep your station: Slip on disposable plastic gloves and keep a strong flashlight at the ready. A magnifying glass with LED illumination will also come in handy; the eggs are pinprick-small.
Start with the headboard, a favorite hiding spot. Many hotel headboards aren't attached to the bed but hang on brackets like a utilitarian piece of art. Lay the piece on the bed and inspect the wall for the telltale signs of infestation: black specks (the - ick - fecal matter), molten sheddings (like pencil shavings) or the bugs themselves (in their various stages of life). Also scan the corners of the headboard.
If the board does not disassemble without heavy machinery, run a piece of white paper (try the breakfast-order card) along the wall and board. The idea is to scrape up some bugs or force them out of their redoubt.
Now, it's time to attack the bed.
Start with the duvet and the sheets, studying them top to bottom before pulling them back to reveal the next layer. Inspect the seams, edges and any puckering sections of fabric. Fortunately, most hotels dress their beds in snowy white linens, so the bugs will stand out.
Rather than tearing off the sheets, fold them in the middle - the easier to remake the bed. When you reach the mattress, remove the cover, paying special attention to the folds, seams, piping and other sneaky hideouts.
Next, slide off the mattress and inspect the box spring. (If it's too heavy, push it aside enough to expose as much of the bottom foundation as possible.) Check the underside, and don't forget the corner protectors (if they are opaque, peel them off). "Take the box spring out of the frame and look around the base," advises White. Because of their claws, bedbugs prefer fabric they can cling to, but scan the metal frame just in case.
Finally, remove the dust ruffles or, if they're stapled to the bed, flash your light in the folds and along the edges.
At this point, your bed will look as if it has been mauled by a mercurial Sandman. But on a more positive note: If you haven't uncovered any evidence of uninvited guests, they're most likely not inhabiting your lair.
"If I hadn't found anything on the headboard, mattress, box spring or frame, I'd end the inspection," said White. "I'm not gonna spend an extra hour worth of my time."
However, if you're especially concerned about bites (about 50 percent of people break out in itchy welts; the other half have no reaction) or are an entomophobe, broaden your search to the outlying furnishings. Look in the drawers of the nightstand, for instance, among the creases of the curtains and deep in the closet.
If you do find evidence, go to the front desk and ask for a room change. Also, inquire about the property's pest-management plan. If they don't have one, the whole hotel could be infested. Start racking your brain for the name of that hotel you passed right off the exit.
If you agree to a reassignment, avoid the rooms adjacent to and across from your original one, as well as those on the floors directly above and below it. It's also within your rights to ask the manager to conduct an inspection of your new room. Use this downtime to toast your CSI-caliber skills. 

Unpacking and storage
The worst place to keep your clothes is on the bed. The bugs will take one look at those soft warm piles and think, "Our upholstered chariot awaits."
Create some distance between the bed and your luggage. Store your bag atop the armoire, for instance, or in the main room of a suite. Avoid the luggage rack, which White calls "a way station" for bugs, because of the constant transference of guests' bags. The middle of the room is also preferable to the periphery.
To really safeguard your belongings, slip your luggage into a plastic or vinyl cover, preferably one with a small-toothed zipper (harder for them to slip through) and a latch to secure the closure. Avoid products with seams and handles, which bugs can burrow into. Another option: Store your clothes in Ziploc bags. You can keep them in your luggage or in the bureau, just remember to always zip that loc after use.
The closet is also a potential hazard, thanks to those dark, cozy corners. If you want to leave your shoes on the floor, encase them in sealed plastic bags. For clothes that need to stay vertical, hang them on the shower rod. The bathroom, with its slick surfaces, is a veritable safety zone. In fact, if you really want to outsmart the bugs, sleep in the tub and stash your clothes in the sink. 

After checking out
Whether you're returning home or moving on to another hotel, it's wise to hit the laundry room - the dryer specifically. Bed bugs can't survive the heat.
White suggests tossing your clothes into a dryer set on low or medium. Let it spin for 15 to 30 minutes and don't think about what the lint basket might catch. (Washing, by the way, won't do the deed: 33 percent of bedbugs and a whopping 98 percent of eggs survive a normal cycle.) In the heat of summer, you can also leave your bag roasting in the car. A road trip they'll never forget.
Once home, leave your suitcase in the garage and store it in a large leaf or garbage bag between trips. If you are a frequent traveler, you might consider the PackTite, a portable heating unit that disinfects your luggage and its contents. The more DIY method is to toss your belongings in the dryer, and rest assured that those bed bugs' traveling days are not just numbered but over.
For more information on bedbug prevention: www.pestworld.org or www.ahla.com.

Friday, July 22, 2011

o man...

The number of bedbugs found in New York City's public schools TRIPLES in a year

Also from dailymail.co.uk -

Bedbugs, or cimicidae, are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood.
Reddish-brown, flattened, oval shaped and wingless, adult bed bugs grow to 4–5mm in length and 1.5–3mm wide.
To feed, the pests pierce the skin of their hosts with two hollow feeding tubes shaped like tongues.
With one tube it injects its saliva, which contains anticoagulants and anaesthetics, while with the other it sucks the blood of its host.
It takes between five to ten minutes for a bed bug to become completely engorged, after which it usually returns to its hiding place.
Bedbugs can cause a number of health effects including skin rashes and allergic symptoms. Worryingly, they have been found with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus MRSA.
The creatures were largely eradicated in the developed world in the early Forties, but since 1995 they have enjoyed an unwelcome resurgence, the reasons for which are unclear.
Elusive and usually nocturnal, bedbugs can be hard to spot. Aside from bite symptoms, signs include fecal spots, blood smears on sheets, and molts. They can be found singly, but often congregate once established.

Why would one not use our bed bug cover ...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

University of Kentucky finds bedbugs in student center, will treat with heat

And yet another school with bed bugs....

University of Kentucky finds bedbugs in student center, will treat with heat

Posted: 12:00am on Jul 21, 2011; Modified: 6:31am on Jul 21, 2011
The University of Kentucky has found bedbugs in part of the UK Student Center.
Student center director John Herbst said a UK public health graduate student said Monday that he had found "a couple of bedbugs" in a second-floor lounge that contains upholstered chairs and loveseats.
Herbst said he saw one bedbug in the area "and what appeared to be the possibility of eggs."
The area was closed, as was a nearby lounge. No bedbugs had been spotted in the nearby lounge, and UK officials said it was closed only as a precaution.
The affected area will be treated Friday by the university's contractor, OPC Pest Control.
Donnie Blake, president of the pest control firm, said a heat treatment will be used on the affected area. The treatment involves machines that heat the area to 135 degrees, which kills the bedbugs and their eggs.
Bedbugs have an appearance similar to that of ticks, Blake said, and generally like to stay in cracks and crevices during the day. They are transmitted when humans with bedbugs on their clothing or bodies or in their belongings leave them behind. They are not considered a sign of poor hygiene or economic status, Blake said. He did say they are becoming more prevalent in this area.
Their bite resembles that of a mosquito, he said.
Before 2003, he said, his company had done one bedbug treatment; this year, Blake said, it will perform 5,000 bedbug treatments and inspections.
One way to avoid bedbugs is to be careful about where you place carried belongings such as suitcases, Blake said; always use the hotel room luggage rack, rather than the bed, and remove clothes from suitcases only as you need them.
He also recommended that people buying used clothing or furniture inspect, and when possible, wash the material to guard against bedbugs.
Herbst said he was sure the infested lounge would be bedbug-free when the contractor completed his heat treatment.
"We have the utmost confidence in these fellows as professionals," he said.
The student center is lightly populated during the summer. Although classes for the fall semester begin Aug. 24, large numbers of students will begin arriving on campus for registration and other programs beginning in early August.
In late June, officials at the Lexington Public Library discovered two bedbugs at the downtown library. The library brought in a bedbug-sniffing dog, removed affected furniture and put in place a new cleaning regimen.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Everything you never wanted to hear, but need to know - ( About Bed Bugs )

Everything you never wanted to hear, but need to know

NEW YORK, July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Bed bugs are back. Since 2000, bed bug infestations have risen 81 percent, according to The National Pest Management Association. This resurgence has consumers nationwide on high alert, seeking information on the pests and how they can protect themselves.
Gail Getty, a noted entomologist at the University of California Berkley, explains, "Bed bugs and their habits are actually very simple to understand. For the unassuming public, though, differentiating between fact and fiction is becoming ever so difficult with the amount of information available. Understanding the basics is the first line of defense a consumer has against the unwelcomed critters, which can take a toll both financially and emotionally on a victim."
Confirmed Facts
  • Bed bugs can be found on bedside alarm clocks
    • True: bed bugs have been known to fester in alarm clocks and other appliances and within dark crevices like coffee makers.
  • Bed bugs like to hitch rides
    • True: bed bugs can very easily be transferred in suitcases and on clothing, putting travelers at extra-high risk; Bedbugs do have primitive wings, but they cannot fly.  
  • Some people are not affected by bed bugs bites
    • True: Some people do not have a physical reaction to bed bug bites and may be unaware that bed bugs are in their home until they actually see them, but everyone is at risk for having infestations as bed bugs do not discriminate based on socio-economic class.
  • Bed bugs can live for many months without feeding  
    • True: Bed bugs can live for many months without feeding. That is why it is imperative to encase mattresses, box springs, and pillows with bed bug proof protectors like the entomologist tested Allergy Luxe® bed bug collection with Arm & Hammer™ odor neutralizing technology.  Bedding encasements effectively trap bugs that are in and on your mattress and box spring and cut them off from their food source indefinitely.
  • Insect foggers provide very little control of bed bugs and may even cause the bed bug population to disperse, making control more difficult
    • True: Insect foggers do not effectively control bed bugs. Most insect foggers contain a flammable propellant and some have been associated with accidental fires. The best way to control bed bug problems is to contact a pest professional, who will help with vacuuming, and steaming, laundering belongings, sealing areas and gaps where bed bugs can hide and encasing mattresses, box springs, and pillows with bed bug proof protectors like the entomologist tested Allergy Luxe® collection with Arm & Hammer™ odor neutralizing technology.
  • Bed bugs reproduce at alarming rates
    • True: Depending on conditions, bed bugs can produce three or four generations in one year; a female can produce one to five eggs a day, which are as big as a pinhead and can hardly be seen.

Myths Debunked
  • Bed bugs spread deadly diseases
    • Wrong: Bed bugs do not transmit disease. Bed bug bites, however, can cause allergic reaction in some people similar to a mosquito bite. Frequent scratching of the bite marks or picking the scabs can cause infections. And people with severe and/or repeated infestations can feel anxious, worried or ashamed.
  • Chemicals/pesticides will kill all bed bug stages.
    • Wrong: It is difficult to kill all bed bugs with only a pesticide application. Successful treatment depends on an Integrated Pest Management approach to bed bug control which involves, vacuuming, and steaming, laundering belongings, sealing areas and gaps where bed bugs can hide, homeowner, tenant, manager education and encasing mattresses, box springs, and pillows with bed bug proof protectors like the entomologist tested Allergy Luxe® collection with Arm & Hammer™ odor neutralizing technology. Do not use home remedies such as kerosene.
  • I can get rid of bed bugs by leaving my house empty for a few weeks.
    • Wrong: Adult bed bugs can live as long as twelve months without a meal, so a long vacation won't provide you with relief. The only way to deal with the problem is to treat it directly and monitor results over the long haul.
  • Bed bugs feed off of dirt and other grime
    • Wrong: Bed bugs feed on the blood of human beings and other animals such as dogs, cats, birds, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs and mice.
  • Bed bugs are mostly found in beds OR found in shelters; only poor people or dirty people get them.
    • Wrong: They're found close to where they feed. Typically they're found in a bed mattress, box spring, bed frames and around the bed. They're also found in electric outlets, switches and behind pictures. Bed bugs can be found in hotels, motels, dormitories, apartments, condos, private homes, and even in public places, such as retail stores, movie theaters, businesses and offices. Anyone can get bed bugs.
  • Bed bugs are too small to see with the naked eye
    • Wrong: The adult is about the size of an apple seed. The eggs and baby or nymph is about 1 mm long, almost entirely white and difficult to see with the naked eye. The nymph turns red as it feeds and fills with blood, making them easier to see.
  • Bed bugs come out only at night
    • Wrong: It's true that they are more active at night and in the early morning, but bed bugs sense the heat and carbon dioxide given off by humans and therefore may come out at any time of day.
  • Bed bug bites are easily felt
    • Wrong:  You do not feel a bed bug biting because they inject their saliva first which contains an anesthetic, numbing chemical and an anti-clotting agent so your blood flows freely.
  • Walking into a room that has bed bugs means you will get bed bugs
    • Wrong: They spend 90% of their time hiding and are usually active at night. Bed bugs avoid light and do not like to be disturbed. So you will not necessarily walk away with bed bugs just by being in a room that has them.
  • If you have bed bugs you need to throw away infested clothing and furniture
    • Wrong:  Clothing can be laundered to get rid of bed bugs. In most cases furniture can be treated and should only be discarded if there are no acceptable treatments that can rid them of bed bugs.
  • It's too cold where I live for bed bugs!
    • Wrong: Even in the coldest climates bed bugs can still thrive. For starters, most bed bug infestations are located indoors. Bed bugs only need to be transported for short periods of time on clothing or luggage to find a new home to infest.
  • Sleeping in a metal bed will protect you from bed bugs
    • Wrong: Having a metal bed will not protect you from bed bugs. In some scenarios a metal bed may actually make it harder to detect a bed bug infestation because the hollow tubing of a metal bed is a great place for bed bugs to hide. The best way to prevent and control bed bug problems in beds is to encase mattresses, box springs, and pillows with bed bug proof protectors like the entomologist tested Allergy Luxe® collection with Arm & Hammer™ odor neutralizing technology.
  • You can't get bed bugs from your neighbor
    • Wrong: Bed bug migration from one home or apartment to another is actually more common than most people think. In apartments or shared housing such as condos, the risk of migration is even higher. Bed bugs can travel through tiny cracks in the wall, through connected vents or spaces, or in the seams of floor boards or the edges of carpet. They have even been shown to travel out a front door, down the hall and into a neighboring apartment.
  • Bed bug bites all look the same
    • Wrong: They can be small and red or bigger like welts. Some people don't react at all to a bed bug bite. It is almost impossible to diagnose a bed bug problem solely on the presence of bites on a human host.