About Bed Bugs....
There is so much in the public domain today about bed bugs, where they came from, their biology, the recent resurgence in the United States and what to do about them. So what do I have to offer about the subject? Maybe nothing new but perhaps a different perspective.
I had my first bed bug case in a hotel in Orlando Florida in 1998. It shocked my colleagues and presented a new challenge to me and others in the business. Unsure of what protocol to use and reading what little was available at the time, I threw the kitchen sink at them. We eventually tracked the problem back to a tour group from South America that dropped a few off at a hotel in Miami before delivering the menace to Orlando.
The pesticides available at the time were more diverse then the ones we use today and eradication was seemingly easy with a thorough treatment and follow-up regiment. The problem has grown exponentially due to an over-zealous EPA and the overwhelming “pesticide bashing” by the media and environmental groups. We had the chemicals to prevent this pestilence from spreading but, in the infinite wisdom of the EPA (who never bothers to ask a bug man), these chemicals were removed from our arsenals. While much is made of the dreaded DDT, many other products were banned that were widely used in schools, daycare centers and hospitals in the late '90's that were effective.
The chemical set we are left with today displays resistance to insects much quicker and has very little residual effect. The fact that they do not last long, (making the environmentalist giddy) means that much more of it is used in re-treatments and followup-treatments compounding the problem of resistance. The over-use of these insecticides will one day make their use ineffective.
So what do we do? Understand that of the thousands of bed bug jobs I've been involved with, there is a very specific source or reason for them being there. Recent travel, out of town guests, purchase of used furniture/beds, and other introduction points are likely the source. Bed bugs do not fly or crawl in from outdoors, they are brought in as hitchhikers. First things first, figure out how you got them. Knowing where you got them will go a long way toward not getting them again. Many bed bug jobs are falsely thought to have failed due to the pest professional not doing the job when, in reality, it was probably a re-infestation.
Don't panic! With all the hysteria surrounding bed bugs, remember this very important fact; ticks carry Lyme's disease, mosquitoes carry Zika, Encephalitis and Malaria, cockroaches spread food poisoning, some mice carry Hantavirus and rats (or rat fleas) were responsible for the plague. Bed bugs have not been found to harm anyone except for their bites and the emotional distress of having them. The afore mentioned pests are just as, or more prevalent, in or around your home and work environments than bed bugs are, yet we don't see million dollar lawsuits.
Consult a professional for treatment. Self treating for bed bugs is futile. The “over-the-counter” pesticides are weak, expensive and cannot be applied with enough thoroughness to effectively eliminate bed bugs. Get several estimates as the treatment strategies vary and are frankly all over the board. Have the provider explain exactly how he will treat the problem. Be wary of the pricing extremes, both high and low. Remember knowledge is key. If your pest professional cannot answer your questions, move on to another company. Last but not least, follow all preparation instructions and recommendations. If something is missed, you will have to go through the whole process again. If a mattress is in bad shape, discard it as mattresses and upholstered furniture can be very difficult to treat effectively. Most true failures occur because something got missed not because the materials didn't work.
Again, don't panic! Bed bugs are tough but not invincible and they can't kill you.