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Monday, November 28, 2011

How to find out whether that hotel is full of bed bugs before you travel

If you're traveling this holiday season, you should know that many hotels in California are full of bed bugs. Sometimes you can't see the bugs and they get into your luggage, clothing, or crevices of your shoes or other garments. Just putting a purse on the bed invites bed bugs to enter. These bugs are so small they hide in the electrical switch crevices between the wall and the switch. So before you register, check the Bed Bug Registry to see which hotels have passed the bed bug inspection recently.
See the website, Bed Bug Registry. This site shows the hotels that have bedbugs and those that don't at the time of inspection. For other cities and states, go to the Bed bug Registry--National. Just put in the city and state, and you'll get a report on which hotels passed the inspection. For example, if you're going to San Francisco, check out the Sheraton hotel at the wharf has had no bed bug reports or complaints. This is one of my favorite hotels, and it is exceptionally clean and comfortable.
In 2010, a bedbug-detecting dog named Barney signaled which container had live bed bugs during a demonstration at the Bed Bug University North American Summit 2010 on September 22, 2010 in Rosemont, Illinois. The two-day conference of bed bug experts and pest control workers featured seminars from researchers and vendors displaying the latest products focused on bedbug detection, elimination and prevention. Do you need to travel with a bed-bug detection dog? Need to buy a bed bug detection dog? See the site, Bed Bug Detection Dogs.
So, check out any city and state by looking up the name of the hotel, and you'll get a report or a message that there have never been any complaints about bed bugs. Before you travel, check out the Bed bug registry. Holiday time so many people travel, the last thing you want is to take home bed bugs in your luggage or clothing.
Also carry with you a portable or pocket-sized carbon monoxide detection device. You can buy a tiny one to bring with you to any hotel to make sure that carbon monoxide is not seeping into your room from a closed store in a neighboring building. Or you can be sure the heater in the room works well without carbon monoxide fumes. See a few of these pocket-sized or portable CO detectors at Amazon.com. Safety first.

Thanksgiving travelers report bedbugs in Stockton hotels

by , Stockton Headlines Examiner
In a report filed on The Bedbug Registry on Thursday, Thanksgiving travelers found "evidence of bedbugs" at the Marriott Courtyard and live bugs with accompanying "dead skins" at the Residence Inn.
In a report filed on The Bedbug Registry on Thursday, Thanksgiving travelers found "evidence of bedbugs" at the Marriott Courtyard and live bugs with accompanying "dead skins" at the Residence Inn.
Credits: Creative Commons Attribution
In a report filed in The Bedbug Registry on Thursday, Thanksgiving travelers found "evidence of bedbugs" at the Marriott Courtyard and "live bug"s with accompanying "dead skins" at the Residence Inn. An excerpt follows:
I scooped up samples with a piece of paper, one of which appeared to be an actual dead bug, to take to the desk. All of a sudden, the "dead" bug began to move! We immediately went to the front desk and gave them the live bug and dead skins and departed to look for something outside the Marriott chain.
Both Stockton hotels noted in the report are located in the Brookside area near March Lane and Deer Park Drive.
The travelers stated they were able to find lodging in the city when the Hilton passed the bedbug inspection.
The full Bedbug Registry report can be viewed here

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Terminix Released Top 15 Cities For Bed Bugs

by Lex18.com
Terminix has released the top 15 most bedbug infested cities, and it appears we are partially surrounded by the unwanted visitors.
Number one is New York City. Just up the road from Lexington, the Queen City, Cincinnati, is No. 2. The list includes Chicago, Washington, D.C., and sitting at No. 14, Louisville.
The 2011 most bedbug-infested cities include:

1. New York City
2. Cincinnati
3. Detroit
4. Chicago
5. Philadelphia
6. Denver
7. Washington, D.C.
8. Los Angeles
9. Boston
10. San Francisco
11. Columbus, Ohio
12. Dayton, Ohio
13. Baltimore
14. Louisville, Ky.
15. Dallas
Infestation Signs
Bedbugs are difficult to catch in the act of feeding; however, they will leave behind signs of their presence. Infestation signs include:
· Blood spots on bedding.
· In heavily infested areas, their dark-colored excrement may be visible.
· Bedbug bites generally result in raised, itchy areas similar to those of mosquito bites.
· In heavy infestations, a strong, musty odor may develop.

Travel Tips
· 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.
· Avoid unpacking clothing and storing them in the hotel's furniture drawers.
· Don't allow your baggage to sit on the floor. Store it on a luggage rack as far from the bed as possible.
· If you notice evidence of bedbugs, request another room or change hotels.
· 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.

Home Prevention and Protection
· Inspect vintage furniture, antiques, used appliances or consignment items for signs of bedbugs before purchasing or bringing into the home
· Never pick up used mattresses or furniture left curbside
· Inspect and wash (in warm water) previously-worn clothing that has been donated or purchased from consignment shops
· Quarantine infested items. Moving them within the home can spread the problem
· Use zippered encasements on infested mattresses and box springs
· If you suspect you have bedbugs, have your home inspected by a trained professional. Bedbugs cannot be controlled by over-the-counter treatments and will require the assistance of a pest control operator.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lack of cleanliness could prompt rise in bedbugs

by netdoctor

Britons' lazy laundry habits could lead to an increase in bedbug infestations over the winter months, new research suggests.

The latest annual Bed Bug Audit, conducted by Sheilas' Wheels, suggests that 13 per cent of Britons do not wash their bedding for more than a month at a time.

The figure rises to 16 per cent among British men, while four per cent of male respondents admitted that they had not washed their bedding in over two months.

Common reasons for not washing bedding more frequently include lack of time (29 per cent) and the desire to save money (17 per cent).

Researchers also found that 27 per cent of people have a mattress that is more than ten years old.

The findings could have important implications for bedbug infestations, as the creatures feed in the warmth of mattresses, pillows and sheets.

Spokeswoman Jacky Brown said: 'We spend so much time in our beds that it is astounding so many Brits and particularly men do not keep them clean.

'Simple measures like avoiding eating in bed, leaving the sheets exposed during the day and washing them regularly can help avoid an infestation.'

Many people do not react to bedbug bites, but others develop itchy red bumps that may require mild steroid cream.

In rare cases, a severe rash may develop and become infected, requiring treatment with antibiotics.ADNFCR-554-ID-801212614-ADNFCR

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bed Bugs on Airplanes?! Yikes! How to Fly Bed Bug-Free

by Melanie Haiken
Adult bed bug, Cimex lectularius
Big Surprise: Bed Bugs Are Now Flying Business Class (Image via Wikipedia)

Just because you haven’t heard much about bed bug-infested airplanes doesn’t mean that economy or business class seat is free of the icky pests. While the topic hasn’t hit the headlines the way bed bugs in hotels has, the stories are getting out.
Passengers Go Viral with Bed Bug Complaints
According to the Daily Mail, British Airways was forced to fumigate two planes after discovering a bed bug infestation on a Los Angeles-London flight. However, BA did not act quickly; the business class passenger, Zane Selkirk, became so disgruntled by the airline’s lack of response to her complaints that she set up a website and posted photos of her bite-covered arms, legs and feet online and they went viral and it wasn’t until then that BA conducted an investigation and found the bugs. Another passenger wrote an op-ed letter to the New York Times last year after flying United Airlines to Washington D.C. from L.A. — again in business class — and arriving covered in bites his doctor diagnosed as bed bug bites.
Yet search for official reports or statistics about bed bugs on airplanes and you won’t find much. “There are numerous cases of bed bugs being spread on airplanes,” according to Bed-Bugs.com, a referral site for extermination services. “Bed bugs can spread through close proximity with fellow travelers as well as their belongings. They also thrive where there is frequent turnover of people. On airplanes, people are in close proximity, are not able to move other than on the plane, and their belongings are required to stay untouched for long periods of time. This is an excellent recipe for bed bug transmittal.”

Of course, it’s easy to imagine that the last thing the airlines want to talk about is passengers bringing home a bed bug infestation as a result of an overpriced, under-served flight. And they’re not likely to add fumigation to their standard cleaning procedures. So what can you do to protect yourself?
Packable Airplane Seat Covers Offer Bed Bug Protection

How to Stay Bed Bug-Free While Flying
Several companies are coming to the rescue with products designed to protect against bed bugs in transit.
  1. Cover Your Seats Invented by a New York entrepreneur fed up with worrying about bed bugs at the movies, Bug Off seat covers are light stretchable plastic covers that are easy to slip over airplane or movie theater seats. They’re light and packable and provide a bug-proof layer between the upholstery and you. You could accomplish the same thing by bringing a box of saran wrap and encasing your seat in plastic, but these seat covers are much easier to use and the fabric is also comfortable to sit on. Several other companies, BedGuard and Seat Defender have also jumped into this market, but I’ve tried Bug Off covers myself and can attest that they’re big enough to go over any airline seat and the strong fabric doesn’t rip even on a long flight. At $2.99 they’re also not a big investment.
  2. Bring your own pillow and blanket. In Zane Selkirk’s horrific experience, it was the blanket “crawling with bed bugs” that caught her eye. It doesn’t have to get that extreme, though, to suggest it’s best to beware airline blankets. After all, during last year’s H1N1 flu epidemic, many airlines pulled the blankets fearing they could transmit the virus. Pack a travel pillow (inflatable if you’re tight for space) and a blanket or pashmina shawl. Or just dress in warm layers instead.
  3. Plastic Bag Your Carry On Since it’s way to easy for bed bugs to slip into your carry on while it’s stored under your seat. The best way to prevent this happening is to encase it in a plastic bag, such as a shopping bag or kitchen-sized garbage bag.
  4. Stop Bed Bugs Before They Get In Your House The real problem with bed bugs isn’t when they bite you en route (the bites heal quickly and don’t cause any lasting damage), it’s when they come home with you and set up housekeeping in your home. The way to keep this from happening is with stringent preventive measures. Don’t bring luggage or carry-ons inside your home, but empty them outside and wash clothes and anything else that’s washable. A hot dryer will also kill bedbugs, so dry anything you don’t want to wash. Put the suitcase and bag itself in a plastic bag and store for two weeks.
Bed bugs aren’t the only health problem on planes, of course; ever since the H1N1 epidemic last year there’s been increasing attention on the problem of flu and cold transmission on airlines. Luckily, there’s lots you can do to stay flu-free while traveling

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bed bugs 101: Everything you need to know about the resurgent little horrors that follow you home

Before you confirm your next reservation at a hotel, you might google something on the Internet: Bedbugregistry.com and Bedbugger.com. You can also type in the name and location of your hotel followed by the slash symbol, then, “bed bugs.”
It should tell you whether or not your hotel has had any reports of the pests.
I visited these websites and others after hearing from a friend who had just returned home from traveling and counted 20 bites along her neck and arms. They looked like spider bites but after a visit to the doctor’s office, she learned that they were from bed bugs.
Unfortunately, this came after she slept in her bed at home. Not good.
 Hell, the next time I sleep in a hotel, I’m wearing a wet suit! 
She launched into a series of measures — washing her pillows, sheets and mattress pad. She carried her suitcase to her garage and sprayed it down with alcohol. She also hired an exterminator. These are but a few steps in the eradication process.
The devil is in the details. Seemingly, in these little buggers too.
After hearing her tell about this, I ran to my computer and googled bedbugs. I was amazed. As I read, I began itching all over. Bedbugs are serious business.
Granted, after my experience with typhus (contracted from a flea bite) I am paranoid anyway about blood-sucking parasites. But what’s alarming about bed bugs is their pervasiveness. After treating yourself, you should re-trace every step from where you contracted them, as some of these places will require treatment as well.
The Bedbug Registry explains that, “bedbugs don’t care about cleanliness! They can thrive in an immaculate, five-star hotel room just as easily as somewhere run-down. All they need is proximity to people and a crevice to hide in.”
Who in the world (including infants) doesn’t have crevices? Where in the world are there not crevices?

Protect Yourself
The website provides steps you can take while traveling as well as at home. The first step they suggest is to learn what a bedbug looks like, reddish brown in color and oval in shape. Because they are extremely flat, they can hide in surprising places.
Bedbug Registry also tells you to how to check a hotel room. This is important, folks! Click on “Resources” and you’ll see detailed photographs. Maybe more than you want.
Bedbugger.com. lists important dos and don’ts:
“Don’t assume bed bugs are only in your bed. While bed frames and mattresses and headboards are the most likely location for bed bugs, they can and often do hide out in sofas and other soft furniture, electrical sockets (behind plates), light fixtures, baseboards, floor crevices and other crevices in the bedroom and living room.”
Remember this the next time you go to buy second-hand furniture.
Here’s another warning from Bedbugger.com.:
“Do not, absolutely do not release a fogger or bug bomb. Do not allow your landlord to do so. Do not allow a so-called exterminator to do so. Bug bombs/foggers do not work for bed bugs, and in fact, will spread them. Your problem will be magnified. Trust me!”
For a comprehensive report, google “Bed bugs Mayo Clinic.” The report explains that bed bugs were prevalent during WWII but with the use of DDT (then legal), they were “eradicated from most developed nations.”
Apparently, however, there has been a resurgence of bed bugs. Some reports claim since 1980, another states that bed bugs have increased dramatically since 1995. The Mayo report links this to three causes:
“Increased international travel”
“Changes in pest control practices”
“Insecticide resistance”
The report states, “The risk of encountering bed bugs increases if you spend time in places with high turnovers of night-time guests such as hotels, hospitals or homeless shelters.”
Then, I wondered, what about movie theaters? Yikes!
My friend provided other travel tips. Don’t set your suitcase down on the floor or put your clothes inside drawers. “Set it on the luggage rack and work out of your suitcase from there,” she suggested. “Not to worry!” I said.
“Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite,” may have a literal meaning. The Mayo report suggests that you cover up.
“Because bedbugs don’t tend to burrow under clothing, you may be able to avoid bites by wearing pajamas that cover as much skin as possible.”
Hell, the next time I sleep in a hotel, I’m wearing a wet suit!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bed Bugs: What You Need to Know

By Julia Ireland

Bed bugs were the focus of a recent informational seminar held at the Lawrence Township headquarters branch of the Mercer County Library.
Speaking before a crowded room on Oct. 27, Kristin Reed, a registered environmental health specialist from the Mercer County Division of Public Health, spoke about how to identify, prevent and eliminate the tiny pests.
Reed said county health officials are working with the county library system to help get the word out about bed bugs, which are becoming a growing concern throughout the area, particularly in libraries themselves.
Locally, there recently was a bed bug problem in the township’s own emergency medical services building.

How to Recognize Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are parasitic insects ranging in size from a pinhead to an apple seed.
“They will fit through the hole in a needle head,” Reed said.
Their eggs are white and look like “a grain of salt” and are hard to detect, but adult bed bugs are visible to the naked eye, she said.
Barbara Bromley, a horticulturist at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County, located at 930 Spruce St. in Lawrence Township, is an expert at distinguishing bed bugs from similar pests like bat bugs, lice, fleas, ticks and cockroaches.
“If you find something in your house and you don’t think it belongs there, most of the time we can identify it,” Bromley said. “I’ve had a lot of bed bugs brought in and even three cases of bat bugs.”
Bed bug bites are often misdiagnosed. They often occur in clusters of three, and although they cannot cause disease, they may cause reactions and infections, Reed said.
Reed recommends checking anything that is upholstered: mattresses, box springs, couches, clothes and wheelchairs are popular bed bug homes. Dark spots on bed sheets and in the folds of mattresses can indicate bed bugs themselves, feces or blood marks, Reed said.
“They like books because they like close areas,” said Michael Andrews, a representative from Cooper Pest Solutions.
Reed said the county library system has been combating an ongoing problem of bed bugs in books returned from infested homes.

How to Avoid Being Affected by Bed Bugs
Reed said there is no definite way to prevent acquiring bed bugs in your home; however, she recommends keeping your living space clean, tidy and clutter free.
The best way to kill bed bugs is using heat. Reed recommends vacuuming and steam cleaning carpets and upholstery.
“One complete washer and dryer cycle on the hottest setting will kill eggs and adults,” Reed said.
Another preventative technique is purchasing a bed bug encasement for your mattress and box spring.
“Encasing mattresses and box springs usually costs about $100, and those that are $30-$50 probably won’t keep out bed bugs,” Reed said.
Bromley said that a common way to bring bed bugs home is by traveling.
“When you go to hotels, it doesn’t matter if it’s a five-star or a flop house, you have to be aware,” Bromley said. “Put your luggage on a luggage rack – never on the bed, never on the carpet. Or put it in the bath tub - just take it out when you want to take a bath.”

What to Do if Your Home Gets Infested
“There is no effective over-the-counter treatment,” Reed said. “If you have bed bugs, you need help.”
Reed calls combating bed bugs a “collaborative effort” between homeowners and exterminators. There are typically three treatments made by a pest control company, but this may vary depending on the cases’ severity.
“If you happen to have a severe infestation, we bag things and make recommendations on what to throw away and what to keep,” Andrews said.
It is the homeowners’ responsibility to prepare their home by removing clutter, and they must be willing to follow recommendations on how to complete treatment and dispose of infested items.
“To be done effectively, each service needs to be done about 14 days apart,” Andrews said. “Three treatments would take about a month or a month and a half or longer depending on the infestation. When we do a visual visit we first find out your habits, like where you go when you come home from work. Then we’ll do an actual search.”
Reed said seeking professional help is extremely important, however costly.
“To treat a one bedroom studio apartment with three treatments, it could be about $7,000. That’s just a minor infestation, not a major infestation, and it’s in a small location,” Reed said. However, by steam cleaning and removing infested items themselves, homeowners can reduce the cost.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Green Methods to Fight Bedbugs

By Guest Contributor (planetsave.com) 

Have you seen the reports of bedbugs invading high-end department stores, hotels, and theaters this past year? Does the thought of sleeping in a bed with hundreds of tiny parasitic creatures give you nightmares? If so, it may be time to take preemptive action to reduce the odds that your home will provide the next great dining experience for these minute blood suckers. If you are chosen as their main course, it is difficult, but not impossible, to get them to move on without using commercial strength pesticides. However, the following ideas are eco-friendly and should be tried first:

Discouraging an Infestation

Making new habits may decrease your chances of becoming a bedbug victim. The following are practical green methods of discouraging bedbugs from settling into your home:
• Put every piece of clothing or any linens brought into the home into the dryer for thirty minutes because bedbugs and their eggs can be killed with sustained heat.
• Wash and dry reusable shopping bags regularly.
• Vacuum carpets and mattresses thoroughly, especially after overnight visitors who may have unwittingly carried bedbugs into your home.
• Keep beds positioned away from the walls and place sticky pest strips around all four legs.
• Do periodic checks by inspecting the seams of upholstered furnishings, curtain hems, and mattress corners. Check out bedbug photos online so you know what signs to look out for.
• Buy a zippered mattress bag for every set of bedding in the house to protect them from becoming a bedbug habitat in the future.

Dealing with a Bed Bug Invasion

Once bedbugs have decided that the residents of your household are a tasty meal, it takes some serious action to convince them to depart. While herbal sprays, such as neem or peppermint, may send them into hiding and prevent them from biting quite as often, these only kill these voracious critters if applied directly to their outer surface. Since bedbugs are some of the best hiders in the insect world, getting a shot at every member of the horde is next to impossible. The following green methods of extermination might work much better:
• Mist mattresses and carpets with a solution of rubbing alcohol and water. The alcohol content should be at least 70% to be effective, and this may need to be done several times for successful results, and it is important to remember that alcohol is flammable.
• Use a steamer on mattresses, bedding, household linens, curtains, carpeting, and upholstered couches and chairs.
• Sprinkle a powdery, non-toxic substance called diatomaceous earth on household surfaces. When bed bugs are exposed to diatomaceous earth, they dry up and die.
Ridding a home of bed bugs using natural methods is hard work and not for the faint of heart. Persistent effort, however, will mean that your family does not have to be exposed to toxins that might later cause health problems, so it is worth the effort to try these eco-friendly measures before calling a pest control specialist.
This is a guest post from Karen Barnes, who tries to find a green solution for every problem. She believes people should use eco-friendly methods to fight bedbugs without resorting to using pesticides in their homes.
Source: Planetsave

Monday, November 7, 2011

Battling bedbugs buck naked

By Tammy Keith (Arkansasonline)

— It’s an innocent little rhyme, and I’m sure I said it to my kids a few times when they were growing up.
“Goodnight; sleep tight; don’t let the bedbugs bite.”
Until last week, I never knew anyone whom a bedbug had actually bitten.
The parents of a friend of mine went on a trip to Virginia, and they stayed at a Tennessee hotel on the way back. That morning, my friend’s mother saw a bug meandering across her pillow, and she investigated. (This is a woman who takes her flashlight to hotels and inspects behind the headboard of the bed.) She looked under the mattress and found … bedbugs. She put some in a cup, and her husband took them downstairs to the front desk.
The clerk tried to tell him they were ticks. (As if that’s way better than bedbugs.)
My friend’s father, who has been a country boy all his life, told him in no uncertain terms that he knew what a tick looked like, and “that ain’t a tick.”
His wife had discovered a couple of bites on her by this time. She put some of the bugs in a plastic bag, stuck them in the cooler and brought them to Arkansas.
She informed the hotel manager she’d be calling back to see what kind of bugs his exterminator identified them as.
The couple came back to Faulkner County, feeling infested.
She knew they couldn’t take anything into their house. That meant the clothes they were wearing.
This woman called her daughter, my friend, laughing so hard she could barely talk. She and her husband were sitting in their driveway, waiting for it to get dark, so they could get nekkid and go into the house.
The plan was, when the sun went down, for dad to strip and go inside, put on clean clothes, and bring out a towel so Momma could strip.
Now, attractive as they are, neither of these people is a spring chicken. They are not accustomed, to my knowledge, to showing off their bodies in public. (I don’t know what they do in their own home.)
The report was that dad stripped down to his hearing aids and glasses, and streaked on into the house. He brought momma a towel, and she did the same.
“We live in a subdivision,” she told me. “I just hope they (the neighbors) weren’t home.”
They both took hot showers, and momma even dried herself with a blow dryer to kill the little suckers with heat.
A local exterminator told her they had to clean everything - luggage, clothes, the car.
I read online that bedbugs were mostly eradicated in the 1940s, but they had a resurgence in the 1990s. (An up close photo of the “skin-piercing mouth parts” is pretty gross.)
The article I read said bedbugs can cause skin rashes allergic symptoms and “psychological effects.”
I’d say that last one is a biggie.
“It was a nightmare,” the woman said.
I know one thing - I’ll be checking out the bed a little better the next time I go to a hotel, and that couple definitely will.
And their neighbors either missed - or got - a really good show out of the deal.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Help for bed bugs at hand

by simcoe.com

SIMCOE COUNTY - Local residents can now access resources to help them prevent and manage bed bugs through the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

“Bed bugs don’t spread disease so they are not a threat to public health, but they are a real nuisance and as a result cause considerable anxiety,” said Ryan MacDougall, supervisor in the health hazards program at the health unit. “We have information available on our web site and through our Your Health Connection line to help people understand, prevent and manage bed bugs.

“We’ve also developed an assistance program in partnership with the United Way of Greater Simcoe County and Reliable Pest Control, for people who are having trouble managing bed bugs due to limited resources.”

Bed bugs are not necessarily associated with living conditions, and anyone can be affected by them. People can get bed bugs by coming into contact with them. Those who frequently travel, for example, can become exposed to bed bugs and bring them back home. Bed bugs can enter homes by attaching onto items such as clothing, bags, luggage, or second-hand furniture and electronics. They can also crawl from neighbouring apartments through cracks in the walls or by walking along pipes or electrical wires.

Homeowners who think they have bed bugs should verify with a pest control professional that the infestation is indeed bed bugs. Tenants who think they may have bed bugs should contact their landlord who can have a licensed pest control company identify the insect.

For more information about bed bugs check www.simcoemuskokahealth.org or call Your Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bedbugs creep into MTS building

by CBC News

Bedbugs, like this one displayed at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, have increased in prevalence in Manitoba.
Bedbugs have found their way into an MTS office building on Osborne Street in Winnipeg.
Three of the creepy bugs were found on the main floor of the building on Tuesday.
One was crawling on a computer monitor, one was in a couch in the staff lounge and one had been squashed into the carpet, said company spokeswoman Selena Hinds.
Some employees were uncomfortable about the discovery and went home early.
"We were completely supportive of that, but the building has been treated and is completely safe," Hinds said.
"We are working with internal and external experts to develop and implement a long-term monitoring and prevention plan. We're taking [it] very seriously."
City of Winnipeg and Manitoba government data show a nearly 20 per cent increase in reports of bedbugs in the city from 2009 to 2010.
Apartment blocks, rooming houses and homes in the city's core, along Langside and Furby streets saw the highest reports of the bugs in 2010.
But the complaints also come from government buildings, a daycare, retail outlets, a movie theatre, a hospital, a library, banks, university residences, and even a Winnipeg media outlet.
Those reports — which have increased from 505 in 2009 to 639 in 2010 — do not mean the bugs were actually found.
City Hall made the list but none of the critters have ever been located.
"Globally there is more opportunity for transfer and you do unfortunately start finding those bedbugs in the workspace or in the public space," said Dave Funk, who heads up the provincial bedbug strategy.
The strategy, launched in 2010, provides organizations with access to specialized materials — such as mattress and box-spring encasements, specialized laundry bags and insect monitors — to help combat bedbugs at low cost.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Seriously Scary Housing Trends: Bedbugs Make a Comeback

by Christina Aragon, Contributor

The ghouls and goblins have all gone home, counted their bounty and returned to the relative normalcy of daily life. While the fantasy and fright of Halloween is behind us, some sobering  - and alarming – realities remain.  In light of this, we are kicking off a series of articles on Seriously Scary Housing Trends that impact the housing and rental markets.
Our first scary trend really has our skin crawling. We go to a lot of apartment conferences, read apartment industry publications and talk to a lot of apartment owners. While vacancy rates, occupancy rates, capital market and economic trends have always been hot topics of conversation, over the last year or two, there has been a new buzz in the biz that is keeping us up at night: Bedbugs.
More and more we see the topic of bedbugs popping up on conference agendas, and the National Apartment Association – one of the largest apartment associations in the United States- even has a Bedbug Resource Center on its website. Although the bedbug population in the U.S. dropped dramatically in the mid-20th century, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year issued a joint statement on Bed Bug Control in the United States stating that the United States is now experiencing “an alarming resurgence in the population of bed bugs.”
To make matters worse, those pesky critters have developed a resistance to many pesticides, so chemical approaches to eradicating the problem could actually make these unwanted houseguests  long-term tenants.
Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, it is important to understand how to detect and treat a bedbug infestation. The EPA provides resources for residents and housing managers alike, and offers these top ten bed bug tips:

  1. Make sure you really have bed bugs, not fleas or ticks or other insects: You can verify your insect on their bed bug web page or check with your local extension agent.
  2. Don’t panic: Eliminating bed bugs is difficult, but it is not impossible. Don’t throw out all of your belongings; most of them can be treated and saved. Throwing out belongings is costly, may spread the infestation, and could be unnecessarily stressful.
  3. Think through your treatment options — Don’t immediately reach for the spray can: Be comprehensive in your approach. Integrated pest management techniques may reduce bed bug populations and limit pesticide exposure to you and your family. If pesticide treatment is needed, it is best to bring in a professional
  4. Reduce the number of hiding places — Clean up the clutter: A cluttered home provides more places for bed bugs to hide and makes locating and treating for them more difficult. If bed bugs are in your mattress, using a mattress/box spring encasement makes it more difficult for them to get to you while you sleep. To be effective the encasement must be left in place for a year. Be sure to buy a product that has been tested for bed bugs and is strong enough to last for the full year without tearing.
  5. Frequently wash and heat-dry your bed linens: Wash bed spreads, and clothing that touches the floor to reduce bed bug populations. Bed bugs and their eggs can hide in laundry containers/hampers so clean them when you do the laundry.
  6. Do-it-yourself freezing is not usually reliable for bed bug control: While freezing can effectively kill bed bugs, temperatures must remain extremely low for an extended period of time. Home freezers typically are not cold enough to kill bed bugs. Freezing temperatures outside may be used to kill bed bugs, but can take several days (at 0oF) to almost a week (at 20oF).
  7. High temperatures can kill bed bugs: Raising the indoor temperature with the thermostat or space heaters won’t do the job, though. Space heaters must always be used with care, as they have the potential to cause fires and serious burns. Specialized equipment and very high temperatures are required to successfully heat treat a structure. Black plastic bags in the sun might work to kill bed bugs in luggage or small items, provided the contents become hot enough (approximately 110oF for at least 3 hours).
  8. Don’t pass your bed bugs on to others: Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. If you throw out a piece of furniture that is harboring bed bugs, take steps to destroy the item so that no one else adopts it (along with the bugs!).
  9. Reduce populations to reduce bites: Thorough vacuuming reduces populations. Carefully vacuum rugs, floors, under beds, around bed legs, bed frames, and all cracks and crevices around the room. Thoroughly vacuum upholstered furniture. Change the bag after each use so the bed bugs can’t escape. Place the used bag in a tightly sealed plastic bag and in an outside garbage bin.
  10. Turn to the professionals, if needed: Hiring an experienced, responsible pest control professional can increase the likelihood and the speed of success in eliminating bed bugs from your home. If you hire an expert, ensure it is a company with a reputable history and ask them to use an IPM (integrated pest management) approach.