While bed bugs do not transmit disease, the resurgence of these blood sucking pests has resulted in large-scale eradication efforts by hospitals, schools, and hotels across the country. Even more troubling is the appearance of bed bugs in less conventional environments, such as movie theaters, buses, office buildings, and residential homes. Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit and Denver rank highest in the nation for bed bug infestations, resulting in increased demand for professional eradication services.
Bed bugs are difficult to see. Eggs are the size of a dust speck; adults are brownish red with a wide torso, and are only 3/16” long. Most infestations are identified by red blood smears, black fecal material, and brown molted skin left behind, as well as by itchy red sores that result from bites. Bed bugs do not fly or hop, but they are avid climbers. Adult bed bugs can go as long as 550 days without food.
Once the denizens of mattresses and bedding, bed bugs have expanded their territory. This expansion is believed to be the result of increased travel, reduced public awareness, and failed attempts at eradication by non-professionals. According to a survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association, one in five Americans has come into contact with bed bugs or knows someone who has. Even more shocking, 80% of hotel responders reported problems with bed bugs. In the same survey, pest control companies stated that, in 2000, only 25% of them had been called for bed bug eradication, while in 2011, that number had grown to 95%.
According to the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, bedbugs are killed on contact by temperatures over 120°F, which is why professional bed bug removal teams use special steam-producing equipment in conjunction with natural botanicals. If temperatures remain at or below freezing for 2 weeks or more, bed bugs can also be killed off, but this is not a reasonable option for most homes or businesses.
Getting rid of bed bugs is one of the most difficult challenges faced by pest removal companies today. Many do-it-yourself efforts have resulted in home fires or exposure to dangerous toxins. Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices and are generally nocturnal. There are many over-the-counter products that can kill bed bugs, but since a single bed bug can produce hundreds of offspring in its lifetime, missing just one specimen can ruin the effectiveness of any bed bug treatment program.
As difficult as bed bugs are to be rid of, preventing infestation is the best solution. These specific steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of carrying bed bugs into your home or office:
If bed bugs make an appearance in your home or office, acting quickly to eradicate is imperative for effective treatment.