|Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!
“Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” I can remember my mother coming in at bed time and right before she would turn of the light she would say, “Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Did they ever bite and what was a bed bug? I can say I never knew what one was until now.
So many people complain of little bites on their body. They have no clue where they came from or what caused them. Lately Bed Bugs have become an epidemic in the north east. I have talked to many pest control companies and they stated, “7 years ago I could tell you how many cases a year we seen by the number of fingers on one hand. Now we are doing 3 to 5 treatments a day. And people want to know what can they do to stop this?
Where did I get bed bugs?
Bed Bugs are invading everything and everywhere. Do you travel? Do you enjoy the company of others? Do you work outside of your home? You could get bed bugs in your home and not know it until it is too late. Travel is a huge way people bring bed bugs home. They get in your clothes, your bags and even snag a ride on you. Airplanes, trains, hotels, schools, malls and even renting a car can bring home one or many of these hitchhikers. So looking at the number of ways bed bugs can enter your home, is there truly a way to keep them out? Unless you are a hermit and never leave the home or interact with others, you or someone you know will have bed bugs in his or her lifetime. Bed bugs are spreading and it looks like they are not ready to slow down.
What can I do to prevent them?
To totally protect your family, there is not much I can see you can do but there are a few techniques to limit your exposure.
- When returning from travel, pack your belongings especially pajamas in an airtight plastic bag. Remember, your PJs can be a carrier. Upon returning home, unpack directly into a washing machine. Wash and dry your pajamas and all your clothing at high temperatures to kill the bed bugs. If you have non-washable items, put them in the dryer to at least 113 ºF (45 ºC) for 1 hour. Do not overstuff the dryer; heat must reach all items. The higher the temperature, the shorter time you will need to kill bed bugs at all life stages.
- Inspect all places in your house that are warm, close to human contact and have plenty of hiding spaces. This includes mattresses, carpeting, pillows and beds, as well as behind chairs and dressers. You can see them and their excretions… see picture.
- Cover your mattress. There are some great products on the market now for prevention. This will prevent any bugs from getting in or out.
- Clean your house regularly, reducing clutter and even vacuuming the mattresses. This may not completely prevent bed bugs, but it will reduce the places they hide.
- Check any furniture or items you buy secondhand, especially mattresses.
What do I do to get rid of them?
The fact is there are many ways to treat for bed bugs. The questions that I had were “What works and can bed bugs truly be prevented? So I did my research, I looked at chemical, heat, freezing, green solutions and detection.
I found that they can be controlled. Let’s discuss the following:
Detecting Bed Bugs
Looking for the most accurate way to detect bed bugs, I found that people are training dogs to detect for them. Paul Rosario, from Plan B Canine LLC demonstrated his K-9 Detection team for me. Some of the main key points I took away from our conversation were:
- Less Expensive. Bedbug Detection Dogs generate quicker and more accurate result, which leads to lower remediation costs for homeowners and insurers. For schools, hotels, commercial and government buildings, cost savings can be quite substantial.
- Dogs are Honest.
- The "Nose" is cutting-edge technology and the latest trend in the home inspection industry. It's the only inspection tool that can detect and pinpoint sources of bed bugs.
- The K-9’s are Hard Workers. In Germany, government authorities have found that a typical office building search of approximately 200 rooms can take one dog eight hours to complete.
- To give a client a Greater Peace of Mind. Research supports that if the dog finds bedbugs, there's a high statistical probability you should investigate further. If the dog doesn't find bedbugs, you can know with greater certainty that your home, office or school is safe from bedbugs.
- Human vs. K-9 – There is no contest. Humans only use their eyes to locate bugs and treat the areas they see. A dog can locate live bugs and eggs in an infested area. The K-9 accuracy is said to be 97% accurate. – More info www.NJBedBugsBite.com
Chemical Treatments for Bed Bugs
Chemical Treatments is one way to treat for bed bugs. This is one way pest control companies can remove the bed bugs from your home. There is a lot of preparation needed to treat and it will take more than one treatment. There have been studies done that even after four treatments; the bed bugs are still present. The Chemicals will kill the living bug and maybe even the eggs that exist. Repeat treatment will be needed in most cases. This is a lower cost than other bed bug treatments and will not be an instant solution. Be aware of the pesticide used and understand the health issues that can be caused by these. Make sure the company you utilize is licensed and certified. Once the treatment has been completed, have a K-9 detection team come in to ensure the bed bugs are gone.
Heat Treatment (Go Green!) for Bed Bugs
Heat Treatment is a Go-Green solution to bed bug removal. There is no chemicals used and you may only need one treatment. This can be a treatment for the whole area covered with minimal preparation. There have been cases of repeat treatments. This can be expensive treatment but very effective. There are two types of heat treatment: electric and propane. There are coverage size limitations with electric but it can be broken up. Make sure you use a company that has been doing this for a while. They utilize temperature equipment that will generate temps over 120 ºF. Monitoring temps is crucial and if not monitored could cause you to lose your property. For example: melting your television. Once you have your home treated, make sure you have a K-9 inspection team come back in to check. It is a good practice to wait 2 weeks for K-9 to return.
Freezing (Cryonite®) for Bed Bugs
Cryonite® is a new way to also get rid of bed bugs. The Cryonite® method uses the extreme cooling properties of liquid CO2 (carbon dioxide) to kill pests. In the system liquid CO2 is transformed into and exceptionally cold, dry ice snow, and freezes the pests to death. The CO2 snow is not poisonous and leaves no wet or gummy residues. As it freezes the pest and is non-chemical, there is no risk of pests developing a resistance to the treatment. The pure CO2 presents no risk of contamination, even in sensitive industries. This can do full treatments and spot treatments. Small areas, vehicles, apartments and more. This can be a cheaper alternative to treatment. Always after treatment, have a K-9 inspection team make sure they are gone.
Chemical with Heat for Bedbugs
A lot of pest control companies are incorporating a hybrid treatment. This can be a very effective process. You get an instant removal of bedbugs from the heat treatment provided and a protective barrier of chemicals. This can be a onetime treatment if done correctly. But is also can be the most expensive.
Each of these can control your bed bug issue and even remove them all together. You need to look at the companies you work with. Make sure their knowledge is up to par and have been working with these products in the past.
So as my mother once said “Good Night, Sleep tight and don’t let the Bed Bugs Bite!”
Most Pest Control companies will give you a limited warranty, 30 – 60 days. Make sure you have a K-9 re-inspect before your warranty is up. Understand that you, family member or friend can bring in a bed bug and start a home infestation at any time. Pest control companies cannot control that nor be held responsible so proactive prevention on your part will be the main key.
So Protect Yourself!
Bed bugs are becoming an issue for so many travelers, home owners and businesses. Understanding the problem can help you protect your family as well as yourself. Remember, There is no way to completely protect yourself from the infestation of bed bugs but understanding the signs, where they come from and the treatments on the market can slow them down. Give you a little piece of mind and finally a better night sleep.