Bed Bugs in the News

With bed bugs making a comeback, news of bed bug infestations are being featured more and more in the news.  With heat remediation, there is hope for property owners in the Orlando and Central Florida area who need fast and effective bed bug extermination. 


Firm Kills Bed Bugs With Heat
By Peggy O'Farrell - The Cincinnati Enquirer - December 11, 2009

The latest technique to eliminate a stubborn pest has bedbugs feeling the heat - and dying.
A Michigan-based pest control company with Cincinnati roots used heat to treat a Westwood apartment infested with bed bugs Friday.
As it turns out, bedbugs are fairly resistant to cold temperatures. Unlike many insects, they don't like it hot, said Mark "Shep" Sheperdigian, an urban entomologist and vice president of technical services for Rose Pest Solutions of Troy, Mich.
Temperatures of 113 degrees will kill bedbugs, but it can take hours Sheperdigian said.
Crank the thermostat up to 120 degrees or higher, and the little bloodsuckers dry up and die "in minutes," he said.
Kevin Stacy, special service manager for Rose, and two co-workers set up four large electric heaters in the three-bedroom apartment, then set up fans around the apartment to help circulate the heat.
The setup, powered by a diesel generator, will kill bedbugs in an apartment, hotel room or dorm room measuring up to a 1,000 square feet or so, Stacy said. In bigger spaces, the crew just sets up more heaters and fans.
Sensors are set up throughout the space being treated to make sure an even temperature is achieved.
At about 9:30 Friday morning, temperatures in the apartment hovered around 120 degrees, and bedbugs on a headboard and nightstand could be seen scurrying for cooler climes.
Also visible were dusty white-ish areas that were actually bedbug eggs and rusty brown stains on walls around the bed and behind a set of stereo speakers that had been infested.


No Easy Battle Against Bedbugs

Star Tribune - Abby Simons - January 1. 2010

No bigger than a pencil eraser, the little bedbug has resurged from its virtual eradication in the United States, jumped out of the nursery rhyme and wreaked havoc from public housing complexes to five-star hotels.
"It absolutely has gotten worse, and this is a problem that's here to stay," said Jeff White, research entomologist for New Jersey-based Bedbug Central, a website that purports to be an authoritative source for bedbug information.
He said people who think their house is too big or clean or expensive to host bedbugs could get a rude awakening.
"A lot of people like to talk about how apartment buildings and universities have a problem," White said. "We need to prepare everyone for them and have policies in place that when an infestation happens, it can be dealt with in a time-effective manner."
A common problem in the United States until the 1950s, bedbugs were then nearly eradicated here by strong pesticides such as DDT. But that powerful pesticide was banned in 1972, international travel increased and bedbugs gained a new foothold.
They reemerged in force on the East Coast around 1999, White says, and showed up in Minneapolis three to five years ago, depending on whom you ask.
"I don't know where they came from," said Mary Alice Smalls, principal asset operations manager for Cedars Asset Management Project, part of the MPHA. "I grew up with the nursery rhyme and never saw one until a few years ago."
Henry does his heat treatments with a $61,000 Thermal Remediation machine that his agency bought from Burnsville-based Temp-Air. A second machine is expected to arrive this week. The heat treatment is followed by a chemical treatment. Public housing agencies follow a similar regimen in New York, Milwaukee and Seattle, Henry said.
Greg Grabow, national sales manager for Thermal Remediation, said the equipment has been manufactured for about two years. In the Twin Cities, 18 systems are being used by pest control companies, property management groups, universities, hotels and motels.
The company has distributed 89 systems nationwide. It shipped 10 in December and has 14 scheduled for shipment this month.
Grabow said that because the nocturnal, blood-eating bedbugs don't carry disease, they are considered a nuisance rather than a danger. He added that health departments don't consider infestations a health emergency.
As a result, he said, "the whole [pest control] industry has been caught flat-footed."
"People had been in the pest control business for 30 or 40 years and had never seen a bedbug. Now they're everywhere," Grabow said. "There's never been a bug so difficult to get rid of or spreading this level of havoc that someone like the Minneapolis Housing Authority is purchasing these machines. And there's no hope of completely clearing them out because new people are coming in [to apartments] all the time."
Housing officials admit heat treatment is no silver bullet, but it is effective. And they're fighting the problem through education, trying to persuade families to report infestations right away, and assuring them they won't be forced to give up their bedding or furniture.
"In the past, if there was any sign of infestation, we were asking low-income people to get rid of" infested furniture and not accept cheap or free furniture that might be infested, said Mary Boler, MPHA managing director of low-income public housing.
"It's created a hardship all around," she said. "We feel by getting this heat treatment, we would be able to salvage this furniture, and in a lot of cases we find people are not coming forward quickly enough, and we hope that this can change."


Bed Bugs Move Into Dorms
By Greg Toppo - USA TODAY - 8/20/2008

Just as they've made an itchy, scratchy comeback in hotel rooms, bedbugs increasingly are appearing in dorm rooms, say college officials and pest-control experts, who are busy devising ways to eradicate the bloodsuckers.

"They're taking off right now," says Dan Mizer, associate director of residence life at Texas A&M University.

TIPS: 'Don't let the bedbugs bite' is tough advice to follow

Bedbugs are everywhere, he says. "They're finding these things in public transit, in movie theaters, in cruise ships, in all the hospitality accommodations."

Blame an increase in international travel, bigger bedbug populations worldwide, new protocols that discourage widespread spraying and possibly even tougher bugs that are resistant to pesticides.

The size of an apple seed, the nocturnal six-leggers hitchhike on luggage, old furniture and clothing and can live up to a year without a blood meal. So a dorm room left empty over the summer poses but a brief nutritional challenge.

Among those fighting the bugs:

• Ohio State University has seen "several incidents" over the past 15 months, spokeswoman Ruth Gerstner says, including an outbreak in May 2007 in three rooms of a high-rise dorm. Workers treated 114 rooms.

• At the University of Florida's 4,000 dorm rooms and 980 apartments, "bad" infestations are limited to a couple of times a year, says Wayne Walker, who supervises dorm pest control. The school treats the problem with extreme heat, steam cleaning and pesticides.

• Greg Baumann of the National Pest Management Association says he has heard from "quite a few" members called to campuses. Like hotel rooms, dorms are the ideal bedbug habitat: small and crowded, with "quite a bit of humanity per square foot."

Unlike cockroaches, bedbugs aren't an indicator of bad housekeeping, says Richard Cooper, co-author of Bedbug Handbook: The Complete Guide to Bedbugs and Their Control. "The bug doesn't discriminate on social status. Blood's blood."

Texas A&M has spent $37,000 in the past year to fly in bedbug-sniffing dogs. This fall, Mizer plans to call in a Minnesota outfit called Temp-Air, whose eradicator heats the room overnight to 130 degrees, killing the bedbugs but leaving students' belongings unharmed. His other secret weapon: eternal vigilance. "When we get a report, we get the pest-control staff, and we respond. These bugs can take over quickly."