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Bed bugs have made speedy re-emergence

Bed bugs . . . it’s a pest that virtually every homeowner dreads. While this pest’s presence used to be a rare occurrence, it has made a significant and speedy re-emergence in recent years. Why? Increased international travel (especially to 3rd world countries) and tight control of its natural enemies, like ants and cockroaches, have played a major part. Bed bugs have flattened, oval-shaped bodies and adults typically measure about ¼” long. While they are normally brownish in color, they turn dark red after taking a blood meal from the nearest, unfortunate human host. The most common signs of bed bugs are dark stains (dried blood) on linens, dark fecal spots on walls near the bed, and a sweet & musty, yet offensive, odor in the infested room. When not feeding, bed bugs hide in nearby cracks, crevices, and other protected areas.

Most people unknowingly encounter bed bugs in apartments, hotels, dormitories, hospitals, nursing homes, theaters, dressing rooms, furniture rental centers, mass transit systems, and other similar venues. Bed bugs easily hitch a ride home in used clothing, bedding, furniture (especially beds) and, of course, on luggage. How can you prevent a bed bug infestation? While not fool-proof, there are some precautionary steps that you can take. First and foremost, check yourself for bites (daily, especially if traveling abroad). Second, check your clothing for the presence of this little insect (pant cuffs, pleats, socks, & shoes are a favorite hiding spot). Next, when traveling, bring a small flash light with you. Inspect your hotel room thoroughly, including pulling back the sheets to reveal the mattress, for signs of bed bug activity. Never place your suitcase on the floor or bed, instead use the luggage rack or desk to limit exposure. Lastly, when you arrive home, don’t unpack your suitcase in a general living space or bedroom; the garage or utility room is a better option. As you unpack, check each item for this pesky insect.

If you do happen to get a bed bug infestation, proper treatment is essential to ensuring that this little insect is completely eradicated from your home. Hiring a trained pest control professional yields the best, long-term results. Why? Pest control professionals have extensive knowledge about the biology and behavior of all insects, including bed bugs, and are more apt to identify all potential hiding spots. Plus, he/she has access to the complete arsenal of materials needed to treat bed bugs. A professional will ensure that materials are applied in the correct concentration to pest harborage areas. This will ensure minimal material exposure to you, your family, and your pets. He/she can also provide tips and advice to help you fully resolve a bed bug problem, like the installation of mattress encasement systems after treatment is completed. Treatment options/methods can vary from company to company, with most pest professionals providing at least one follow-up inspection/service 7-10 days after the initial treatment. The pest professional will also advise you if you need to vacate your home (or infested rooms) during or after treatment, which may vary depending on the type of treatment being performed.


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