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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't Let The Bedbugs Bite

Don't Let The Bedbugs Bite

Content Provided By Terminix

Terminix (ARA) - The old adage, "Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite," is more than a nursery rhyme. To some, these pests have become a nightmare. Bedbugs, which were all but eliminated in the United States following World War II, have made their way back into the States and are spreading from coast to coast.

"Bedbugs have become a national problem, and few areas have remained unaffected by their return," says Stoy Hedges, entomologist and director of technical services at Terminix.

Bed bugs are insects that lurk in the cracks and crevices of mattresses, box springs, headboards and furniture by day and emerge at night to feed on their sleeping victims. Small enough to stow away in a pants cuff, these hitchhikers can spread from city to city or continent to continent by crawling into luggage or attaching to clothing.

Encounters with the bloodsuckers used to be extremely rare, but reports have increased dramatically in recent years.

"Twenty years ago, people thought bedbugs were just a part of a popular children's rhyme, but Americans are learning the hard way that bed bugs are more than a myth," says Hedges. "In the past year, we've seen our bedbug reports jump by nearly 70 percent, and we're even getting reports of these pests in four-and five-star hotels."

Although the nocturnal pests were prevalent in the United States in the first part of the 20th century, they were virtually eliminated in the 1940s. Increasing international travel and changing pest control practices are thought to be leading contributors to the bedbug's resurgence.

"The explosion in bedbug cases should be no surprise," says Dr. Gary Bennett, a Purdue University entomologist. "Although bedbugs were nearly wiped out in the United States, they remained quite common in other parts of world and are now using our travel patterns as a way to hitch a ride back into the United States."

While bed bugs are commonly considered a sign of unsanitary conditions, experts agree that the stealthy vermin are not a reflection of cleanliness. Bedbugs are opportunistic and will infest even the nicest hotels and homes.

Bedbugs aren't known to spread disease, but bites can leave painful, itchy welts. Unfortunately for victims, doctors commonly misdiagnose the bites, confusing them with other insect bites or general skin ailments.

Because their victims are often asleep when they feed, bed bugs can be difficult to catch in the act. However, obvious signs of their presence are blood spots on the bedding and a musty odor in heavily infested areas.

Travelers can protect themselves by doing the following:

* Check around headboards, mattresses and box springs for bedbugs and the dark blood spots they leave behind.

* Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.

* Do not unpack clothing and store them in the hotel's furniture drawers.

* Do not allow your baggage to sit on the floor. Store it on a luggage rack as far from the bed as possible.

* Do not take a personal pillow, blankets or sheets on a trip. Bedbugs can hide in these and be brought home.

* Use a plastic trash bag to seal your luggage while at the hotel. This will help keep bedbugs out.

* When returning home, leave luggage in the garage or basement until you are able to thoroughly inspect it for bedbugs.

* Vacuum suitcases when returning from trips and immediately wash clothing in hot water.

For more information about bedbugs and other seasonal pests, visit www.terminix.com, or call (800) -TERMINIX.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bed bug prevention products and tips

The Bed Bug Summit invades Chicago and joining us Monday morning with prevention tips and new products to keep those pests away was Allie Taisey, a research entomologist with Bed Bug Central.

Bed bug prevention products and tips

By abc local community
Monday, September 26, 2011

September 26, 2011 (CHICAGO) --

    What is the Best Thing People can do to Protect Themselves from Bed Bugs?
  • The first and most important thing people can do is get educated about the problem. This is the first true step in prevention.
  • Learning the behaviors and signs and symptoms (spotting, learn how to do a basic inspection, check under box-spring and behind head boards) of bed bugs will not only help you recognize that a hotel or room you are staying in has bed bugs, it will also help you prevent coming in contact with them in the first place.
  • There is a great educational resource called Bed Bugs 101 at BedBugCentral.com
  • Because of the record numbers bed bugs are in public places such as colleges and schools, let's talk about how to prevent them from coming into the home.
  • Review: Products (detection devices, travel products and bed protection)
  • Travel Smart: inspect hotel room, keep luggage away from furniture, educate your college student, send them off prepared. Know how to treat their belongings when they get back.

    What are Some Concrete things People Can Do?
Overview of the North American Bed Bug Summit
Open to the public: Yes it is open to the public there is a cost of $795 so we would really expect companies, office buildings, hotel managers, pest management firms, government officials etc. to be attendees, but occasionally there is a regular person that is willing to pay for attendance.
What: The BedBug University: North American Summit is the largest national bed bug conference designed to collectively educate attendees on the latest bed bug concerns and strategize methods for tackling this persistent problem.
Who is Hosting: The 2011 Summit will be hosted by BedBug Central, which serves as an authoritative national and international resource for public information about bedbugs. Attendance is capped at 1,400. Last year attendees included the EPA, CDC, Military Branches, Housing Authorities, Colleges and Universities, legal practitioners, pest management p, building managers, retail locations, the general public and more.
When and Where: September 25-27 in Chicago, IL at the Hyatt Regency O' Hare.
Why are we holding this Summit: Although bed bug awareness as increased. Education has not, this is evidenced by the continual spread and increase in bed bugs. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association has shown that bed bugs are increasing dramatically in public spaces such as offices, retail, day-care centers and schools. This in addition to the latest CDC report attributing 1 fatality and 111 illnesses cause by people trying to treat bed bugs themselves with chemicals shows a great need for education. This summit is about educating all industries affected by bed bugs on real solutions for treatment.
How is this Summit Unique: BedBug Central has gathered 26 of the leading entomologists, bed bugs and canine experts, U.S. representatives, and legal experts to lead educational sessions. Additionally, we have recruited international bed bug experts to provide a global perspective and explore new topics that have been widely ignored

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bed Bugs Make Unwelcome Comeback

Bed Bugs Make Unwelcome Comeback
  • By Julie Weisberg

  • September 18, 2011

  • "Goodnight, and don't let the bed bugs bite."

    It's an age-old American saying. And for much of the last several decades it was just that: only a saying.

    But recently, the phrase has taken on additional meaning — become almost warning of sorts — as over the last few years reports of bed bug infestations have noticeably risen across the country, including right here in Connecticut.

    And local health and entomology experts say bed bug populations are expected to continue to rise, expanding into new and additional areas into the foreseeable future.

    "It's a problem," Alex Cinotti, assistant director of the
    East Shore Health District, told Patch.

    "We hear about it on a weekly basis," Cinotti said, adding that includes reports from throughout the state, as well as towns the district serves: East Haven, Branford and North Branford.

    "And that's probably the tip of the iceberg," he said.

    Leslie Balch, director of health with the
    Quinnipiac Valley Health Department, agreed.

    "We're seeing it more and more, and we're just going to have to death with it," Balch said.

    According to Dr. Gail Ridge, a bed bug expert with the
    Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, there are two types of bed bugs that feed on human blood: the Common bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) and the Tropical bed bug (Cimex hemipterus Fabr).

    And it is the Common bed bug that is once again, with increasing frequency, making its home in Connecticut.

    Adult bed bugs are apple seed in size, with nymphs and eggs much smaller.

    They are brown in color, flat and oval shaped, with six legs and two antennae (see images included with this story in the gallery at the right).
    Since they have no wings they do not fly, and they also do not jump. The insects also prefer to feed at night and hide during the daytime.

    Although bed bugs have been a common nuisance throughout much of human history, Ridge said the widespread use of powerful chemical insecticides such as DDT for pest control throughout much of the early 20th century — as well as the invention of the mechanical washing machine and vacuum cleaner — led to the near eradication of the insect as a common household pest in North America by the early 1940s.

    Until now, that is.

    In Connecticut, Ridge said bed bug populations have been on a "very noticeable" incline since 2003.

    "That's when I began to have pest management professionals coming into my office and asking me: 'What do I do,'" she said.

    Since then, just about every region of the state — including south Central Connecticut — has had recent and/or continuing reports of infestations.

    "It's a problem on every block, in every town, in every part of the state," Cinotti said.

    And what has led to the resurgence of the household pest?

    Ridge said experts believe the sharp reduction in the long-term use of residential pesticides over the past several years, in addition to the continued increase in international trade and travel, have conspired together to allow the insect to once again regain their foothold in hotels, apartment complexes, office buildings and schools — as well as private single-family homes — across North America.

    She added that current infestation levels are beginning to climb back to "pre-DDT days."

    "With many of the populations being pesticide resistant," Ridge said.

    The only good news about the bed bug is — unlike fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other blood-feeding insects — they are not known to be disease carriers.

    This means that although they are undesirable to have in a home, especially for those that are sensitive or even allergic to their bite, experts say there is no known additional health concerns associated with the pests.

    "They really are, more than anything, a major nuisance," Ridge said.

    Still, for many, the realization that their home, office or apartment has a bed bug infestation can lead to feelings of embarrassment, disgust or fear about the social stigma that can sometimes occur when others incorrectly associate the root cause of an outbreak with a general lack of cleanliness.

    "People think it's their fault, and most of the time, it's not," Cinotti said.

    So, how can you identify if you have a bed bug problem? Although only an expert can confirm the presence of the pest for certain, some signs include:

    • Unexplained, often itchy red spots appearing on skin usually in rows or clusters (skin reactions may be more severe).

    • Scattered brown spots on bed linen and/or mattress seams, or favorite seats
    • Small oval brown insects on beds or chairs
    • A sweet musty odor is often noticed when populations are high

    Because the insects can be mistaken by the untrained eye for carpet beetles, fleas, ticks and small cockroaches, it is important to get an expert to confirm that it is indeed bed bugs that have been found in a given area.

    If an infestation has been confirmed, health officials say tenants should notify their landlord, and individual property owners should contact pest control professionals who have experience dealing with bed bugs.

    And all of this should be done as soon as possible, as delays in treatment can make controlling the insects much harder.

    "They are very difficult to deal with, and it does take some time," Balch said, adding the department — like most local health districts — frequently works with landlords and tenants, as well as individual home owners, to educate them about the bugs and how best to eliminate them. "And we've had some successes."

    Of course, the best defense is a good offense. And, while easier said than done, there are some simple steps individuals can take to lessen the chance of an outbreak.

    One of the most frequent ways people bring bed bugs into their homes is through traveling, as many hotels and motel rooms are perfect breeding grounds for the tiny insects.

    Because of this, travelers should take several precautions during their stay and when returning home, including: 

    • Select hot drier and wash tolerant travel clothes

    • Use hard smooth luggage over fabric luggage
    • Pack plastic bags to seal purchases and/or items that may have become infested
    • At destination, inspect bed area for bed bug signs on headboards, mattress seams, adjacent furniture, and objects near to the bed
    • At destination, keep luggage off floors and beds, place them on high luggage racks
    • Do not unpack clothes
    • Always keep luggage closed
    • Place hanging items on shower rail
    • Keep shoes away from bed
    • Before checking out, seal suspicious items in plastic bags
    • On arriving home, unpack materials outside residence and take laundry etc. directly to washer and/or drier for immediate cleaning
    • Delicate items or objects can be frozen in a freezer for 5 days to kill all stages of bed bugs

    "The main thing is, you want to be sure you're not bringing them home with you," Balch said.

    But Cinotti added that if your home does have an outbreak, it is important for people not to panic, to know that there effective ways to control and even eliminate the bugs.

    "The are all kinds of pest control operations out there that are very good," he said.

    For more information about bed bugs, as well as how to prevent and treat an infestation, the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station has
    an entire section of their website devoted to the subject.
    In addition, the Connecticut Department of Health has a resource page on bed bugs.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Bedbugs in Hotels: New Data behind the Growing Epidemic

    Bedbugs in Hotels: New Data behind the Growing Epidemic

    SEATTLE, Sept. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Thousands of US travelers hoped that the bedbugs wouldn't bite this summer but reports show that they did, at an outstanding rate. In the wake of the 2010 Bedbug Epidemic the number of bedbug reports for 2011 (January 1--September 1) shattered 2010 totals by more than 660%.
    Since the beginning of the year reports of traveler encounters with bedbugs have trickled into Raveable.com, which compiles reports from users. Since 2010 the number of individual hotels with bedbugs has risen 250%, showing that bedbugs aren't last year's issue. Below are cities with the highest number of hotel bedbug reports in 2011 during the period January through September 1.
    Rank City Name        % Increase 2011/2010
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
            1    Las Vegas        330%
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
            2    New York City    135%
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
            3    San Francisco    209%
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
            4    Orlando          317%
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
            5    Atlantic City    282%
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
            6    Chicago          207%
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
            7    Los Angeles      329%
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
            8    Washington, D.C. 192%
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
            9    Columbus         667%
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
            10   Anaheim          340%
            ---- ---------------- --------------------
    "It is a groundbreaking year for bedbugs," says Philip Vaughn, CEO of Kirkland hotel review website Raveable.com, who notes that some of the most popular summer destinations are the hardest hit by hotel bedbug infestations. Last September and October reeled in some of the highest numbers of bedbug reports. This fall is projected to be worse. As the bedbugs enjoy the late summer travel season, travelers can do nothing but arm themselves with information and hope that they will not become another statistic.
    Travelers concerned about bed bugs can "look before they book" by checking out Raveable's Bed Bugs in Hotels resource page, provides links to city-specific bedbug data and gives tips on how to stay safe during their stay.
    About Raveable.com: Raveable is an award winning travel website, named Top Travel Website by Travel+Leisure. Raveable's mission is to provide travelers with the most reliable, credible and up-to-date information to help them find a hotel that best suits their needs. Raveable analyzes and consolidates millions of traveler opinions and thousands of bedbug alerts, giving them the inside scoop on more than 160,000 hotels, resorts and bed & breakfasts worldwide. The company has been featured in MSNBC, the LA Times and other publications.

    To learn more go to: Raveable.com.
    SOURCE Raveable.com
    Copyright (C) 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Los Angeles woman itching to get home

    Hotel guest says bites from bedbugs sent her to Chicago-area hospital

    —written by Dawn Rhodes

    While we've all heard of the hazards bedbugs pose, one suburban hotel guest says she now understands all too well.
    Carrie Brown, 42, said a nearly two-week stay at the TownePlace Suites Chicago Lombard left her body covered with more than 50 bedbug bites, including a cluster on her right leg that became infected and required hospitalization.
    Brown, of Los Angeles, said she and a friend checked into the hotel Aug. 21 to attend a cake decorating class. Each day, Brown said, she discovered more and more bites, which gradually started to itch, burn and swell.
    Eventually, Brown said, her right leg became so swollen that she could not walk on it, and she was admitted to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove on Wednesday. Doctors told Brown she'd had an allergic reaction to the bites and she was suffering from cellulitis, a bacterial infection that can penetrate the bone if not treated.
    The tiny, nocturnal, reddish-brown insects usually pose no serious health threat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though individual reactions to the bites vary.
    A hotel representative said Friday he would provide a company statement regarding the incident, but the Tribune did not receive that statement.
    Brown was released from the hospital Friday afternoon and was returning home to the West Coast "with a purse full of antibiotics."
    "I'm going to be in my own bed tonight," she said.
    September marks the first National Bed Bug Awareness Month.

    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Editorial: Mayor’s call for bed- bug strategy needs to be adopted by council

    Editorial: Mayor’s call for bed- bug strategy needs to be adopted by council

    By Rod Hilts

    Updated 2 hours ago
    Sarnia mayor's call to action for the county to develop a strategy to deal with a growing bed bug infestation in Sarnia-Lambton is long overdue.
    In his letter this week to Warden Steve Arnold and members of County Council, Mayor Bradley requested that county staff report their strategy to council on how they deal with bed bugs at County-owned facilities. He has also asked that Community Health Services report back on what other health services are doing in Canada, beyond education and information, to assist people who are the most vulnerable for financial and social reasons with infestations of bed bugs.
    It's hard to imagine how this kind of infestation could completely uproot your life. The County of Lambton has 1,100 housing units providing shelter for those in need. Th e mayor's call for a policy to protect our most vulnerable members of our society is needed.
    But the problem in our community goes beyond protection of tenants in county-owned facilities. Who is going to bat for tenants in privately-owned apartments who are battling infestations but getting little to no help from their landlords?
    This newspaper has received a number of inquiries from out-of-town parents of college kids looking for a place to live and wondering which areas are safe from the infestations? Our reporters have tried public health officials and local police but they have not received any answers. Privacy legislation is usually cited as to why we can't get answers to our questions, however, who is looking out for the public on this public health issue?
    Sadly, the story on just how bad the infestation has grown came to us from a Sarnia Police news release a few weeks ago. Police responded to a medical assist in the city and helped a man with health problems emerge from his apartment literally covered in bed bugs. Shocked EMS and police personnel had to take special precautions working on the scene as to not bring the infestation back to the station and home. The problem is more than just what emergency personnel had to deal with at the scene. What happened to that individual once he was released from hospital. Was his apartment infestation handled or did he have no choice but to go back into living in the horrible situation?
    Bed bugs don't know about any social lines and don't care what home or apartment they infest. Rich or poor can have their homes infested. Increased travel by people and limited pesticide use has lead to a population explosion of these pests.
    Perhaps if members of our elected councils had to personally deal with a bed bug infestation, the mayor's two-prong strategy would be put into place much faster. Time will tell how council reacts to the mayor's proposal.