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Friday, 12 July 2013

Bed Bug FAQ's

Roger Mitnick  /  at  08:12  /  No comments

Q: what are bedbugs and what do they look like?
A: They are oval insects that reach about one-quarter inch in length. They have flat bodies and are reddish-brown. They look a lot like a tick. They have no wings and therefore cannot fly. They feed by sucking blood from humans or animals and can live a year on a single feeding.
Q: where are they found?
A: Bedbugs are found across the United States. They like to live in homes, specifically in tiny cracks of furniture or upholstered furniture. They tend to be common where people sleep because they are attracted to the exhaling of carbon dioxide. in a bed, they tend to concentrate in mattresses and box springs, especially in the seams, and like bed frames. Seams in upholstered furniture are also a common hiding spot, along with tightly bound wicker furniture and stuffed animals. Bedbugs are more likely to be found in areas where there are more people. Multi-unit apartments or high-rises are more at risk. Most of the cases at the Hall County Housing Authority have been in the 123-apartment high-rise, Centennial Towers.
Q: what health problems do they pose?
A: Bedbugs aren’t known to spread disease from one host to another, but their bites can cause allergic reactions. While some people who are bitten have no reaction, others may have large, raised, red welts. Over-the-counter anti-itch creams can be applied.
Q: how do they spread?
A: They can be spread in clothes, furniture and luggage. Meents said that furniture could be secondhand furniture, rental furniture or even brand new. He has seen cases of each. A common problem is someone disposing of contaminated furniture and someone else salvaging that furniture and unknowingly spreading the bedbugs onto new hosts. Bedbugs can also spread through suitcases and bags while staying in hotels or motels that are infected or during airline travel. Bedbugs have been found in budget hotels as well as four-star hotels, Meents said. unlike other pests, bedbugs are not spread through unclean or unsanitary conditions. if you do see furniture sitting on the curb, or in a Dumpster, leave it there, he said.
Q: how do you check for bedbugs?
A: Get a good flashlight. use it to look closely at the seams of mattresses. Light-colored mattresses make a good backdrop for the dark-colored bedbug. if you have dark mattresses or furniture, simply use the flashlight to aid in checking the tightest areas of the corners and seams. also check headboards. Bedbugs leave a spotty fecal matter that appears as dark blotches in the corners of wooden furniture. also check the pleats of curtains, behind loose wallpaper, behind cove molding and the corners of drawers. if you find something suspicious, collect it in a bag or bottle and get a positive ID from a pest expert. Meents said another technique to check for bedbugs is to set a dish of dry ice in a room. Attach Velcro on the exterior sides of the dish. Bedbugs will be drawn to the carbon dioxide given off by the ice and will climb up the Velcro and slide into the dish. They can’t climb back out on the slick sides.
Q: how do you get rid of bedbugs?
A: Bedbug covers can be purchased to encase an infected mattress, box spring or furniture. Make sure the cover is an actual cover approved to encase bedbugs, not simply an allergy cover, Meents said. The cover should be kept on and sealed for a full year to complete the life expectancy of the bedbug. Box spring covers cost about $45 to $80, while mattress covers are slightly more.
Meents said instead of buying a box spring cover and a mattress cover, buy two box spring covers and use one for the box spring and one for the mattress. It saves a little money. Couch covers cost about $250. The housing authority wants to make sure tenants there have a cover, so they provide the cover to any tenant experiencing a bedbug issue, Ruzicka said.
While mattresses, box springs and upholstered furniture can often be saved with covers, Meents said wicker furniture cannot be saved and should be disposed of if infected. Pressed wood furniture also is difficult to save. once the infected furniture is covered or disposed of, residual pesticides can be sprayed in the home and dusts can be used in electrical outlets where the bugs may hide. Multiple treatments will be needed because the life cycle of the bedbug is long.
A contact spray can be used to instantly kill any bedbugs that are seen between treatments. Live bugs during treatment can be removed in a hepa-vac that sucks the pests in, but doesn’t allow them to escape. A heat treatment is also available, in which a home is heated to about 130 degrees to destroy the bugs and their eggs. Heat treatment is expensive and can run about $1,000 for a small apartment and much more for a whole house.
Q: do you need professional help getting rid of bedbugs?
A: yes. “Don’t try to get rid of these yourself. It’s a losing battle,” Meents said. “there is nothing on the market over-the-counter that will get rid of bedbugs.”
Quick detection is half the battle, he said. when you do hire a professional exterminator, make sure the person does a thorough job inspecting furniture with a flashlight and expect follow-up visits to ensure the pests are completely gone.

Posted in: Posted on: Friday, 12 July 2013


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