June 11th-14th is the 10th Annual Bed Bug Awareness Week! We are working with the National Pest Management Association to bring you tips, information and answer any questions you may have about bed bugs all week long. Click here to ask our entomologist your bed bug questions. Here are some facts about bed bugs from our professional entomologist, Kevin Hathorne.
Bed Bug History
o Bed bugs have been a household pest issue for more than 3,300 years, dating back to ancient Egypt. They were first brought to the United States by early colonists, where they thrived for many decades. However, by the 1950’s, bed bugs had been all but eradicated in the developed world, thanks to the availability of new pest control products, coupled with the widespread use of vacuums and washing machines which helped to control the spread of infestations in living spaces.
Prevention Tips when Traveling
o Immediately launder clothes after traveling and thoroughly inspect suitcases for hitchhikers. Remove any found with a vacuum or kill them with a handheld steamer.
o Before sleeping in bed away from home, inspect the sheets for tell-tale blood spots. Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspections.
o At hotels, pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, notify management and change rooms/establishments immediately.
o Bed bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control assistance to address an infestation.
Tips for the home and office
o Regularly vacuum and clean all areas – including all furniture in offices, hallways, lobbies, kitchens, storefronts and public bathrooms on a daily basis.
o Regularly inspect all areas for signs of bed bugs. Pay close attention to the seams of furniture and upholstery for telltale brownish or reddish spots. Also beware that these pests have been known to inhabit electrical sockets, surge protectors and behind picture frames.
o Encourage employees to report suspicions of bed bug activity immediately, and always contact a pest professional to investigate each claim.
o Have a policy in place at work for employees who may suspect a bed bug infestation at home. Many times, employees unknowingly bring these bed bugs into the office. By having an open dialogue and official policy on these pest infestations, you may be able to help remove any concern of honest reporting.
o Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation. You might consider having a pest control professional inspect the furniture as it is difficult to detect an infestation without training.
o Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
o If a bed bug infestation is found contact a professional pest control company.
Why contact a professional pest company?
o A bed bug infestation requires extensive knowledge of the pest and where to apply treatments to achieve results.
o When people try to do it themselves with over-the-counter products they usually make the situation worse. Most of these products are repellent to bed bugs and they end up spreading the infestation to other areas.
o Bug bombs are dangerous to use, do not work and should be outlawed.
o “Organic”, “Green”, or “Natural” products do not work. Some of them may kill bed bugs on contact but they do not leave a residue that kills other bed bugs that wander over the treated surface.
o Treating a bed bug infestation is very labor intensive because you must be thorough.