I often get asked what Bed Bug Bites look like. People often want to show myself and my staff their areas of irritation-many times without any care about where those bites may be... Unfortunately you cannot tell if you have bedbugs by the marks they leave behind. This is because many times they don't. It has been shown that about 30% of the population show no reaction to bed bug bites. Once you hit the age of 50 that number of unaffected increases to about 50%. So whenever someone dials us up and states that the Doctor they just went to said they have an infestation at home or they awoke with an itchy bite and they are sure they have bed bugs I always start by asking a few questions. They are typical and not in any order: Have you been travelling recently? Have you spent any time at a friends or relatives home that was infested? Have you stayed in a Hotel and awoken with bites and insects present? Has anyone come and stayed with you that has been(at a Hotel or travelling)? Have you seen any insects? Are you seeing black splotches or staining along the edge of the bed or on sheets, your headboard, or your nightstand? What type of pattern are the marks in-a group of two to three, a circle, or a triangle? These type of patterns can be cause for concern as they are typically produced by the insect probing capillaries. How fast was the onset-waking up covered head to toe in one night is not the sign of bed bug bites-probably an allergic reaction. If its summer we also must also ask if they have been outside, are there any windows with loose fitting screens or air conditioners with spaces around their securing bracket that will allow mosquitoes to enter. In a lot of cases purchasing climb-ups or interceptors is the recommended course of action. They are very effective at monitoring and cheap as well. So a low cost solution and one that can continue to protect you. Sometimes if the case merits such as recently staying with a friend who found out they have bed bugs-a canine is ordered. In these cases due to the fact that we know of a known exposure i.e. staying with someone with a known infestation or staying at a Hotel and awaking with bites and insects present. This is because bed bugs are known hitchhikers and get from one location to another via us-we are their main means of transportation. There are a lot of horror stories out there and many people are worried that they will get infested by these creatures. It is important to remember that our skin erupts for many different reasons. We can be allergic to certain foods, soaps or cosmetics. Monthly cycles that drive hormones may cause our skin to break out. Not all marks are made by insects and there are a lot of different insects that bite and of course not all bites are bed bug bites.
Bed bug success through monitoring and cooperation.
In a study provided by Rutgers University; the Wang lab in conjunction with the Jersey City Housing Authority funded in part by the US EPA, Protect-A-Bed ,Susan McKnight Incorporated and BASF chemical Manufacturing and as reported by Rick Cooper at the Northeaster National Pest Management Conference in Tarrytown NY in January; bedbugs are a lot more active, in a lot more areas than previously thought and much harder to detect.
In this study they found that bed bug traps that were made of the interceptor type were the most effective in determining bedbug activity within an apartment. The number of interceptors per unit ranged from 12 initially to 48 once infestation was discovered The study was provided on a 300 unit low income housing senior facility. The effective rate of the interceptors were over 90%. Previously our classical version of bedbug infested areas was about 90% plus in the bedrooms and other lounging furniture and about 7% in other areas. Actual results prior to treatments found two thirds of bed bugs in other areas ; 63% in hallways, bathrooms, kitchens and 37% in the bedrooms. After treatment 17% were found at the sleeping and resting areas while 83% in areas other than the bedroom. Unfortunately there are those that still insist on treating rooms instead of units.
At this building there was a visual inspection done of five units where only one unit was found to be infested with bedbugs. After interceptors were placed all units were found to be active so the lesson from this is that visual inspection alone does not make a proper determination in most cases. Of 64 units in this study that were being monitored activity was detected in 41 or 64% of units the medium number of insects found were 4 showing low levels of activity. Note that 54% of these insects were captured away from the sleeping areas. Using the interceptors insects were not discovered during each 14 day inspection interval- there were skips in the discovery. So the number of visits needed to ensure elimination within 90% certainty or competence level was 3 visits at 14 days apart (so 45 days). Visual inspection alone was found to be unreliable. In addition study shows you have to place the interceptors away from the sleeping areas.
In any IPM program the goal is to reduce the rate of infestation, reduce chemical usage and create a program that is sustainable. Unfortunately at this point it is becoming realized that most pest control programs are not financially sustainable.
The program that was started developed the following procedures:
1) Education of staff and tenants
2) A baseline survey of all units within the building
3) Development of a low impact treatment protocol (reduced chemical usage)
4) New resident moving in went through a survey and physical follow-up inspection using two technicians within two weeks of arrival.
Prior to the survey management knew of 16 units that were infested. After the survey 39 additional units were found to be infested- 71% of these not being reported. 95% of this activity was identified by the use of interceptors alone. Of the 39 new cases 37 claimed they did not know or where unaware that they had a bed bug infestation. Over the next 12 months and additional 16 units were found through communitywide inspections. Of the units that were found to be infested 44 units had less than 20 bed bugs present, 18 units had 21 to 100 bed bugs present, seven units had 100 to 1000 bed bugs present and two had over 1000 bugs present. 14 of the 16 new units were discovered had 10 insects or less 12 of the 14 had less than five. The study showed periodic inspections were key to finding early infestations. With early infestations they were usually remediated with one to two visits. Over the 12 month period beginning levels started with 55 units infested, at the six-month mark they had 19 units infested and at the 12 month mark they had two units. Note that eight new were found. Any new people coming in were given the bedbug policy, given literature, were assured that it would be no negative repercussions if bed bugs were reported and two weeks after moving in got the visual inspection by two techs. Interceptors were placed under furniture legs and of the beds. The treatment program utilized Phantom, DE, and Transport. Note that chemical usage went from 8000 g on 53 units to less than 100 g. This is a huge reduction in pesticide usage.
This property was spending $50,000 to $60,000 per year yet there were very little results over the long-term. In the first year this program costs the building $64,000 but the price will be 12K to 16K per year. To maintain the current results would only two inspections per year and this is based on communitywide inspections and based on historical results. The initial, six months and 12 month inspections cost $34,000 while the treatments were $29,000 on 66 units. The overall results show that the majority of bedbug infestations are not being reported. It also shows that a baseline survey must be done. It also proves that monitors are key in identifying locations as well as units that are infested. Along with that periodic monitoring is essential. It also shows that elimination is possible with limited chemical use.
What I took away from this year-long study was several items. One is the importance of monitoring. Without monitoring and ongoing monitoring it is very easy for infestations to get away from us. Once levels increase it has been shown that bedbugs spread out just as part of their nature so all surrounding units are at risk. In many cases with monitoring we find that there is activity even though a physical inspection as well as reporting from the tenants would previously indicate that there were no bed bugs present. Education plays a key role. Education will foster communication as well as cooperation. Without the cooperation of the building as a whole we find that success is usually very limited. Bed bugs can be eliminated with minimal chemical use as long as it is applied properly and thoroughly and ongoing monitoring occurs to ensure that the original infestation is eradicated. And one of the major takeaways is that buildings can reduce their overall costs while providing superior results as long as management, tenants and the treatment company work together.
Bed bug heat treatments in New York City provide superior results over any other method of bed bug extermination. This is proven not only by real-world results but also by ongoing research in both laboratory and site-specific studies. A bedbug heat treatment kills all stages of bed bugs. This is eggs, nymphs, and adults. And this is the reason why they are so effective. With a chemical treatment program there are always issues with full extermination. Eggs are highly resistant to the activity of pesticides. Adult bed bugs have various methods of resisting the effects of pesticides through changes to their exoskeleton as well as gene adaptations that help them break down pesticides that actually enter their systems. Heat treatments do not provide these insects with the opportunity to survive when done properly.
There are challenges associated with bedbug heat treatments that must be addressed. One of the most notable is ensuring that surrounding units are free of insects so that there is not further intrusion during the process or after lethal temperatures have been achieved. This is a main issue with multi family or apartment buildings. As we know bedbugs locate us through our CO2 emissions as well as our heat signature. Initially depending on the distance from us they may use their CO2 sensors to initially pick us up. You will see this by the back-and-forth zigzag motion they use as they hone in on their prey. For the last 10 feet or so we'll see that zigzag motion as they travel in a straight line to exposed portions of our skin. This is because they have switched over from a CO2 sensor to a heat sensor. This is also another reason why they tend to locate our exposed skin areas instead of biting us through our clothing. Now the use of their heat sensors is one of the main reasons that thermal remediation or heat treatments for bed bugs do not spread these insects to surrounding units as do chemical treatment programs. Bed bugs sense the heat and move towards the heaters not away. This is why typically at around 100°F you will see bedbugs emerging from cracks and crevices throughout the unit and in many cases moving through our heaters that it been placed strategically throughout the apartment.
When done properly and at the right temperature rise the bedbugs do not have a chance to escape from the heat treatment program because by the time they realize the temperatures are lethal it is too late for escape. We have videos that show bedbugs running towards the heaters during the heating process. The reason they cannot escape because temperatures are progressing at a standard rate of increase which provides little time for them to move deeper into wall voids or outside the door. This is the reason that with a chemical program all surrounding units are treated chemically to help prevent the spread by using chemical fences. With thermal remediation or heat treatments there is no treatment of surrounding units only an inspection to ensure that surrounding units are not infected. As long as surrounding units are clear over 98% of the time initial treatment or a single treatment is successful. Compare that to multiple treatments using pesticides of a wide variety or the almost nonexistent success rate of the Cryonite freezing procedure.
Are bedbug heat treatments that much more costly than traditional bedbug treatments? The answer surprisingly is no! In my experience chemical programs to eliminate bed bugs run anywhere from $.50 to one $1.50 per square foot. This depends on the number of bedrooms involved in that space, the amount of bed bugs that need exterminating, the amount of treatments that that space has received, whether this is a commercial job or a residential job, neighborhood (unfortunately), and the amount of clutter. Thermal treatments on the other hand also known as heat treatments for bed bugs can cost as little as $1.25 per square foot up to $3 per square ft. Now those are just base numbers. They don't tell the whole story. Because let's face it getting a Chemical bedbug treatment is a pain in the neck. You need to be out of your home for several hours, if you're sick or if you have a small child and you're doing a chemical bed bug program sometimes that's a couple of days. And with a chemical program you are typically out for between 4 to 6 hours in that occurs 2 to 3 times as recommended by the best bedbug management practices. Now in addition to that you have to take into account preparation time. Now typically with a chemical bedbug program you have to wash all your clothes or at least dry them at high heat for at least 40 minutes to an hour, you have to empty all the drawers, you have to empty the bottom spaces of your closets, you have to get your clothing drycleaned, you have to pack up all the children's toys, you have to have a large amount of smaller items pest stripped because you don't want to take a chance with them getting sprayed, and that's just the short list. All of that takes time and as everyone knows time equals money. Why do you think there so many services that now provide the prep and the cleanup of these types of services? It's because it takes so much time and it's a pain in the neck to do the preparation. I remember quite clearly a unit that we did in New York City where the chemical treatment for bed bugs ran about $2500 but the preparation service came in before us charged over four thousand dollars because it had a lot of stuff in the unit that needed to be cleaned up prior to the treatment. We could've probably done an extra long cook for $1000 more and saved the homeowner $3000. Of course they did get about 25 years of stuff out of that unit. I find it funny that we call it clutter and everyone else calls it their belongings. That all depends on who's house your in , yours or someone else's. All rights so back to the main topic. Once you calculate all the associated costs of doing a chemical bedbug treatment as compared to a thermal or heat treatment for bed bugs I think in most cases the thermal or heat treatment is cheaper. Less pesticides in the environment is just a bonus. But if you think of the time, the aggravation, having to be bug food for a month, and all the personal time and energy that you have to put into the preparation of your unit thermals win hands-down. Even more so in 2013 because competition has driven the price down. If you have any questions or comments on this please feel the reach me at Jklein@A3superior.com
I received a call the other day from a woman who was concerned she had bed bugs. About a week after returning home from vacation she awoke with welts all over her body. She examined her bed and found one small red insect. She called the management company who sent in a tech who promptly identified it as a bed bug, stated his office would run some tests on it, and left with the insect. No further inspection was done. She then received a call from the pest control company telling her she had bed bugs, to prepare for a treatment and sent her a detailed prep sheet that included removing outlet covers, getting all her rugs professionally cleaned, washing and drying all her clothes etc. etc. The woman called us because she was looking for heat treatment as an alternative to chemical treatment and a process that was less intrusive. After speaking with her for several minutes it became clear that there was the possibility this was not bed bugs. We dispatched a canine who ran the unit which had no scent detected, was followed by a detailed inspection with no evidence found and we concluded there were no bed bugs in the unit. We did find spider beetles. Why our suspicions? First bed bug infestations usually start out gradually. A few bites followed by a lapse of several days that slowly increases in intensity. Eggs take 10-14 days to hatch, males and females usually feed 4-5 days apart, nymphs take a week to morph into a later stage so unless you bring back a large amount of insects it (the infestation) will start slowly. So waking up with bites all over doesnt make sense. Also bed bugs are easily identifiable to the trained eye. A tech that states its a bed bug and that it has to go to the office for "further testing" is immediatly suspicious. I dont know what kind of testing was done but it was obvioulsy incorrect. So what can you learn from this case? First, not all skin reactions or "bites" are bed bugs. There are many causes of skin irritations not just insects. Second SAVE YOUR BUG. This way you can get a second opinion and check yourself using the internet by looking at bed bug pictures. Most companies are ethical and honest but there are some that are cashing in on the panic and hype of bed bugs. Its always prudent to verify. So if you suspect you have bedbugs inspect, verify and above all don't panic.
New Yorkers have one more reason to celebrate the new year: Bedbugs are losing their bite.
The panic that gripped the city in 2010, when the nasty critters invaded every corner of the five boroughs—from people's homes and workplaces to trendy clothing shops like Victoria's Secret—is subsiding. City agencies that track the bloodsuckers and the exterminators who stamp them out are reporting fewer cases. Even ordinary New Yorkers are feeling less edgy about the scourge.
In fiscal 2011, bedbug violations in apartment buildings declined by 344 instances, to 4,481. Queens was the only borough to report an increase, with 17 more violations, for a total of 610, according to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. A violation occurs when inspectors find at least one bedbug. Full Article..
The war on bedbugs was winnable, experts say.
When the flesh-eating insects began their U.S. resurgence in the late 1990s and early 2000s, we humans had our chance. Brought into airports and hotels by international travelers, a focused attack could have eradicated the pest not seen in such great numbers since the mid-20th century.
But no one talked about bedbugs then. And by the time the widening epidemic was noticed by the general population in the late 2000s, it was too late.
Now, according to Richard Cooper, one of New Jersey’s foremost experts on bedbugs, humans are in for a long, entrenched war whose progress will be measured in years.
“I think we had that opportunity and missed it,” Cooper said.
New Jersey is in the heart of the Northeast’s bedbug outbreak. Located between two major urban infestations — New York City is No. 1, according to a 2011 Terminix ranking of the most infested U.S. cities; Philadelphia is No. 5 — reports of bedbug problems are increasing in the Garden State as the pest makes its way from city centers into the suburbs and their public spaces. Full Article...
Bedbugs, unwashed sheets and dirty toilets are among the biggest hygiene fears of Kiwi travellers, a survey has revealed.
The Travelbug survey of 11,000 New Zealanders, conducted by the Trade Me website, asked people their destination preferences and hotel habits.
Of those, 32 per cent revealed their biggest hotel hygiene fear was discovering unwashed sheets in a room, followed by an infestation of bedbugs (24 per cent) and dirty toilets (15 per cent).
"Maybe people think bedbugs are unlikely but unwashed sheets are quite a real fear - you do hear some horror stories about what people find when they pull back the sheets. But in reality NZ hotels are very clean by world standards," said Trade Me head of travel Daniel Bridges.
Those most scared of germs were women aged 18-29, with 95 per cent having some hygiene fears, compared to the least concerned - men over the age of 60 - 22 per cent of whom had no hygiene fears.
The survey also revealed some fascinating habits of travellers once behind the hotel room door, said Mr Bridges.
Men were more likely to wander into the wrong hotel room, with seven per cent having done so; and 68 per cent of female respondents aged 18-25 had no problem taking the hotel toiletries home with them.
Queenstown was a clear winner when it came to the most sought-after destination.
More than 80 per cent of New Zealanders planned to travel around the country this summer, with the town topping the list of best destination they had visited and most preferred place to return to.
The visitor-friendly aspect of the town was a large part of its appeal, said Mr Bridges.
"It's no longer just a winter playground there's so much to see and do and it really is an exhilarating place to be all year-round. It's exciting and unlike anywhere else in the country with world-class visitor experiences like ZipTrek Ecotours, Shotover Jet and bungy-jumping."
The "Queenstown obsession" was particularly strong among young people, with 26 per cent of those aged 18-29 picking it as their number one holiday destination.Northland also rated strongly, with those over 60 selecting it as their favourite place to visit.When travelling, most people preferred to people were happy to pay for accommodation and have their own space rather than stay with friends and family.
By Abby Gillies
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.... Full Article