As many of you may be aware there have been a number of news stories both written and on TV about the increase in the incidence of bed bugs in both public areas and homes throughout the U.S. I’m not going to rehash the stuff that was already talked about in the articles but I’ve put links below to a variety of articles and resources.
What I have done, after reading all of this information, is to summarize some of the most important pieces. If you find yourself in a position of needing to get rid of bed bugs I urge you to spend some time reading the information linked here prior to spending a lot of money on a cure that may not work.
- Relax! A bed bug infestation is NOT a cleanliness issue. Bed bugs can be found in the humblest of homes and the most extravagant mansions. Any home can become infested.
- Try to discover how the infestation may have occurred. This will help prevent future infestations. Possibilities include: recent travel, adjoining apartments/condos which are infested, recent purchase of used furniture or clothing, recent visits to an infested home (sleepovers), library books, recent visit to a public place where you sit or rest for a long time (movie theaters).
- Bed bugs do NOT transmit disease. “Fortunately, extensive testing has determined that bed bugs are incapable of transmitting human pathogens” (Colorado State University). They feed on human blood, however, and each individual may react differently to a bite. (http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05574.html)
- To inspect for bed bugs you must be very thorough, looking for evidence of bed bugs (bites, spotting, cast skins), live adult bed bugs (oval, flat, brown, wingless insects similar to a wood tick), live immature bed bugs (smaller, colorless). Be sure you not only look in the suspect room but all adjoining rooms, too.Consider having an inspection done by an independent contractor such as the dog described in this article http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_13034075?source=pkg
- A combination of treatments and a systematic method of application are required to completely rid a home of bed bugs and it may take several applications to be successful. You should also be prepared to quickly respond to any new infestations immediately.
- Treatments: vacuuming, steam, heat, laundering at high temperatures (wash and dry temps), freezing, insecticide application and disposal of articles.
- If you are using a professional pest control company be sure they have experience with bed bugs and will be using a combination of treatments as described above, will return for a follow up inspection and offer some type of guarantee.
- Insecticides must be used carefully following the manufacturers directions. Be especially careful when using insecticides on your mattress or bed. Some products mention treatment of bedding be sure they are refering to sleeping surfaces for people not just pets.
- A follow up inspection should be performed about 10 days after the initial treatment to assure the bed bugs have been eliminated. Repeat treatments as required until elimination is successful.
News Articles and Reports:
Denver Public Library Story http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/21095953/detail.html
Denver Post Article http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_13034250
Denver Post Article – Dog http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_13034075?source=pkg
General Public Information:
Tri-County Health Department Fact Sheet http://www.tchd.org/pdfs/bed_bugs_fact_sheet.pdf
Denver Public Health Website http://www.denvergov.org/tabid/435054/Default.aspx
University of Minnesota – Information for Travelers http://www.ipmctoc.umn.edu/Travellers_prevent_hitchhiking_bedbugs.pdf
Bed Bug Registry http://bedbugregistry.com/ reports of hotels with bed bug problems
Detailed Inspection and Treatment Information:
Inspection Information http://www.nachi.org/bed-bugs-inspecting-house-herpes.htm
University of Minnesota – Information for Pest Control Companies-very detailed descriptions on how to remove bed bugs. http://www.ipmctoc.umn.edu/Control_of_bedbugs_in_residences_US_Commercial.pdf
Colorado State University http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05574.html
Ace Hardware http://www.acehardware.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=bedbugs%20insecticide&origkw=bedbugs%20insecticide&sr=1
Pest Inspection and Control Experts:
Bed Bug Beagle http://www.bedbugbeagle.com/
Heat Treat Removal http://www.heattreat.biz/
Enviro Pest http://www.enviropest.com/pest-identification/bed-bugs
Author, Judy Browne is the creator and founder of Workshop for Women. Judy is also a Certified Home Inspector with Pillar to Post-Denver. Workshop for Women offers fun hands-on classes in basic home improvement skills especially designed for women. Classes include: Power Tools, Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical, Drywall Repair and more. Visit www.workshopforwomen.com for more information about classes or www.pillartopost-denver.com for information about a professional home inspection. You can also give her a call at 303-284-6354.