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Category: Bed Bugs

August Pest of the Month: Bed Bugs

Pest of the Month August Bed BugsAs we head into the final month of summer, we thought we’d highlight a pest most often thought of as one you encounter on a vacation – but can just as easily show up in your home. Cimex lectularius– better known as the ever-nasty bed bug.

It may seem like bed bugs have been in the news a lot lately, and you’re not wrong – especially since they had all but disappeared until just a few years ago.

Prior to World War II, bed bugs were a huge problem across the United States. Advancements in personal hygiene and extensive use of DDT led to the cimex species being isolated in remote areas of Africa and Asia.

That all changed about a decade ago. There’s still no clear reason why, although scientists now believe that the bugs have built up a resistance to many insecticides. Add that to a unique genetic anomaly – while inbreeding leads to most species’ deterioration, bed bugs, like the royal family, tend to thrive on it.

Bed bugs only feed for 2-5 minutes, then move on. A lot of people don’t even realize they’ve been bitten, since even the most severe reactions to a bite resemble hives, and many people have little or no reaction.

Unlike fleas, ticks and other biting insects, bed bugs don’t hitch hike on mammals, but rather on clothes, which is why they are so prevalent in urban areas.

While they’re small, bed bugs are easy to identify because they move in great numbers. Individual bugs are less than ¼” long, oval shaped, reddish-brown and flat. After eating, they are a bit fatter and redder.

One of the easiest ways to detect a bed bug infestation is the residue they leave behind. After feeding, bed bugs leave small brown or dark red fecal spots on fabric (they kind of look like coffee grinds, yuck!) and you may even find small cast off shells as they molt to their next stage.

While bed bugs need to eat before each molting stage, they can remain dormant without eating for several months, especially while travelling on clothing or luggage.

And while bed bugs are found most often in hotels and shelters, they can also end up in your home or apartment, especially in today’s more sharable society. Whether it’s taking an Uber, chilling in an Airbnb, or picking up a curb alert couch, there’s more chance than ever that bed bugs can end up hitching a ride to your home.

One woman in New Jersey was found dead in a home so infested with bed bugs, that, although they didn’t kill her, everyone who went into her house had to wear hazmat suits and be disinfected afterwards.

Not to fear, though. Bed Bug infestations are not difficult to treat, but they do take time. The first step is to limit the contamination – clear away clutter, thoroughly wash sheets, stuffed animals and any potentially infested clothing. Vacuum thoroughly, empty and seal the bag, and discard it into a trash receptacle outside your home.

Another great option – our Go Green Plus 3 program. Integrated pest control that is not only highly effective against many pests, but is 100% safe & organic – an eco-superior solution to those nasty chemicals some of the other guys use. We cover most of the Gulf Coast of Florida, from Ruskin to Punta Gorda. Give us a call to find out more!

The One Area People FORGET To Search for Bed Bugs

Area People Forget to Search for Love BugsDid you know that bed bugs, while some of the oldest insects on the planet, have really only been a problem in North America for about 20 years? Well, this time. Prior to World War II, there were some instances of infestation, but it tapered off in the 1950’s until more recently.

There are many reasons for the resurgence of bed bugs, not the least of which is our changing global economy. First, we start with the fact that bed bugs can remain dormant for some time, living in clothing, furniture & carpet until they get the opportunity to feast on human blood while the humans are asleep.

So, What Changed?

World travel has increased, thanks to more people having the means and ability to do so. In point of fact, travel is not the main source of the bed bug explosion, but it did contribute to bringing some of the nasty buggers across the seas to our shores.

Much more significant in the spread of bed bugs is the increasing industrialization of our country. As we moved from farms and ranches to cities, and from individual homes to apartments and condos, our physical closeness, shared infrastructure and ventilation and shared storage and laundry facilities allowed bed bugs to move more freely between our domiciles.

Unexpected Dangers of Resource Sharing

And the most recent factor in bed bug spread? Our growing preoccupation with secondhand society. Whether it’s Airbnb, Uber, Lyft or popping tags at the local Salvation Army, repurposing used items is the wave of the future. Only one problem: as nice as that recliner you spotted at Goodwill or that curbside alert couch you found on Craigslist, there’s a chance it might be harboring some unexpected additional Cimex lectularius.

So, in addition to checking your bed frames, mattresses and sheets, we recommend also checking the seams of chairs and couches, drawer joints, and even areas of loose wallpaper.

What to Look For

  • Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed.
  • Dark spots (about this size: • …)
  • Eggs and eggshells, which are tiny (about 1mm) and pale yellow skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger.
  • And, of course the obvious: Live bed bugs.

Another factor that contributed to the spread of bed bugs was the changing attitude and approach to pest treatment and prevention. Instead of an ongoing topical treatment, many hotels moved to baiting for ants and cockroaches. Partly it was convenience, and partly in response to the public’s concerns with dangerous and often cancer causing chemicals.

While we applaud the effort to be safer, some of the alternative choices for pest control were poorly researched or only served as a stopgap for the most obvious pests, ignoring insects like bed bugs that don’t respond to bait.

Luckily, there are far better approaches now—safe for your family and pets—and Good News Pest Solutions is the leading provider of 100% organic solutions for all of the Gulf Coast of Florida, from Bradenton to Punta Gorda. Contact us to handle bed bugs or any other pest problem in your home or business.

The Bed Buggiest Cities in America

Bed Buggiest CitiesThere are lots of Top Ten lists for cities: best beaches, most friendly, lowest crime, most bed bugs? Yeah, that’s the last list any city wants to top off, but unfortunately somebody has to – and for the first time in five years, it wasn’t Chicago. Baltimore, the ‘city of 1,000 slogans,’ has a new, unfortunate moniker, the leader of bed bug outbreaks for 2016. Meanwhile, the Windy City isn’t in the clear, dropping just 2 slots on the annual list.

Bed Bugs On the Rise

Just 10 years ago, most people hadn’t even heard of bed bugs, as Cimex lectularius (and its tropical cousin Cimex hemipterus) had been pretty much dormant in the United States since the 1960’s. But shortly after we celebrated surviving the virtual computer bugs of Y2K, very real bed bugs began re-emerging as a significant threat.

What’s worse, bed bug populations are booming so much that they’ve begun spreading from their normal feeding grounds – beds in homes and hotels where humans are at rest for an extended period of time – to office building complexes. In fact, more than 70 percent of people in urban environments have encountered bed bugs.

How Does Florida Rank?

In Florida, infestations are down: the Tampa-St. Petersburg area dropped down to #35 on the list, Orlando-Daytona is #44, and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale dropped to #46.

Experts say that education and preventative measures are the best defense against bed bugs. In the past 10 years, the annual amount spent to treat for Cimex lectularius has increased more than 600 times.

However, the fact that the most popular vacation spots – including most of the Sunshine state – are low on the list, if at all, is a clear indicator that efforts in these areas are making an impact on the increase of the bugs, despite a higher chance of their spread.

Because of their size and the fact that many people don’t react to their bites, bed bugs can be hard to find. They can hide in the smallest of cracks, mattress seams, even thick carpet, and can survive for nearly a year without feeding. The first signs are often the small dark stains the bugs leave behind. And while opinions vary, it seems that black or UV lights don’t make bedbugs any more detectable.

How to Search for Bed Bugs

When traveling, remember the SLEEP acronym:

  • Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for black or brown spots on any furniture.
  • Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, bedskirt and other furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
  • Elevate luggage away from the bed and wall. The safest place is in the bathtub.
  • Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.
  • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

At home, decrease clutter, check your bed and bed clothes regularly and inspect any secondhand furniture before bringing it into your home. And if you find a potential infestation on your bed linens or stuffed animals, run them in the dryer at the highest heat the fabric can sustain for 15-30 minutes. And while you’re waiting on that, contact Good News Pest Solutions to come and treat your home with the safest and most affordable organic pest control on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

A Closer Look at Bed Bug Bites!

How Bed Bug Bite Reactions DifferAs if the thought of invisible creepy crawlies wasn’t enough to make you hate bed bugs (Cimex lectularius), nearly half of us are likely to have an moderate to severe reaction to the bites. Talk about adding insult to injury.

The odds are good that you’re not going to be afflicted with anything more than a barely visible hole where the bug latches on to you.

But for 40-50% of us, we could suffer a more severe reaction. Some significantly more severe. The reactions people have fall into one of two categories.

Systemic Allergic Reactions

Like any other allergy, an allergic reaction to a bed bug bite (try saying that three times fast) differs depending on the person.

The most often seen reaction is itching and hives. Some people who are prone to asthma may have an unexplained attack caused by a bug bite. Like every anaphylactic reaction, both of these reactions can vary from moderate to severe.

Sometimes washing the affected area with soap and water helps, or using an anti-itch topical application like Benadryl. Some people have had to go to the ER and/or get an epinephrine shot to control the reaction.

So what is the body reacting to? The proteins in the bed bugs’ saliva. Yeah, eww.

Only a medical doctor can diagnosis and properly treat an anaphylactic reaction, regardless of the cause, so if you do experience itching, redness and hives, you should see a physician as soon as possible. If a thorough washing and topical cream do not help immediately, or symptoms become worse, don’t wait for an appointment. Head to the emergency room or urgent care facility for treatment right away.

Complex Skin Reactions

Complex skin reactions is a bit of a catchall phrase for other effects of bed bug bites that do not have the same potential to be life-threatening as allergic reactions.

As with the allergic reactions, complex skin reactions can vary, based on the person and the length of exposure. We should warn you now, it’s about to get even more disgusting.

Some people develop isolated macules – red spots – on their skin around the bite areas. With any luck, that’s the worst they’ll see.

Some people get itchy red or white lumps, also called wheals, surrounding the bite site.

And some folks develop blister-like rashes that can pop up a few days after being bitten.

What’s worse, the rash can develop into itchy lesions or hard nodules, and scratching that particular itch can cause the bite area to become infected and linger for weeks. Not good.

You’re not going to like this one… The more often you’re bitten and your skin is exposed to the bed bugs’ spit, the better chance you have of developing progressively worse symptoms.

And it should be noted that a recent study also found that prolonged regular – or worse – constant exposure to bed bug bites can lead to your body having a systemic reaction. In simpler terms, the more often you’re exposed to bed bugs, the more likely your body is to have a reaction, and quicker. This is true even if you don’t show the symptoms listed above right away. This reaction can become fatal, so it should be taken seriously.

But really, why would you go through this? No matter how you react to bed bugs, you absolutely don’t want them in your house. The good news is, we have a solution for that problem! Contact Good News Pest Solutions today to eliminate bed bugs and countless other irritating insects from your home, the natural way.

8 Pest Control Myths Busted

Pest Control Myths BustedIn the 27 years we’ve been providing pest control to our friends and neighbors in the Gulf Coast area, we here at Good News Pest Solutions have heard many crazy ideas about pest control. Some are old wives tales, some come from clever marketing, and others are so embedded in our pop culture consciousness, you might not even realize you believe some of them.

So we decided to “sit down” and bust a few of those myths.

Myth #1: Mice are Attracted to Cheese

It’s not hard to figure out where this one comes from. From Tom & Jerry to Chuck E. (the animatronic pizza mascot, not the rapper), we’ve been indoctrinated to believe that mice love cheese. While some may partake, the majority are far more interested in sugary sweets like cereal and cookies.

Bed Bug Myths: Dirty Houses and Bombs

A bed bugs infestation is no laughing matter, but unfortunately, in the midst of an often panicked reaction, sometimes we put faith in inaccurate anecdotal evidence instead of facts.

Myth #2:  Clean houses don’t have bed bugs

In fact, because bed bugs are drawn to blood, it makes little to no difference whether your house is clean or dirty. The only disadvantage for the owner of a cluttered house is more places for the bugs to hide when treatment is applied.

Myth #3: “Bug Bombs” can treat homes for bed bugs

It’d be great if you could just pop down to your local grocery or hardware store for the latest bug bomb to end the nightmare. But, in fact, studies like this one at Ohio State show that aerosol bug bombs can make the problem significantly worse by spreading the infestation out, and in any case does not last long enough to impact the bed bugs. The only viable solution is an ongoing treatment schedule from a licensed pest control specialist.

Electronic Solutions

Some well-meaning folks, in an effort to avoid harsh chemicals and DEET often associated with older, traditional bug treatments, embraced electronic solutions introduced in the 70’s and 80’s as a way to responsibly repel insects and other pests:

Myth #4: Ultrasonic repellents repel bugs

You can’t blame consumers for buying into the unscientific hype – ultra high frequency sounds that drive pests away but are below our threshold of hearing sounds fantastic. BUT… you can blame the manufacturers, which is why the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against the makers of these devices years ago. A careful reading of their claims shows that they talk exclusively about what the devices are designed to do and nothing on what they are proven to do – because they’ve never been proven to do anything.

Myth #5: Bug Zappers keep mosquitoes away

As you’re probably aware, mosquitoes are drawn to blood sources, not pretty blue lights.  So while annoying flies – and helpful moths – are drawn to bug zappers, mosquitoes don’t even notice as they target your infrared heat signature. And bite. Which leads us to:

Myth #6: Mosquitoes Only Come Out at Dawn and Dusk

We’re going to assume that the people who believe this are new to our Florida backyards. As most residents are well aware, mosquitoes can bite any time of the day or night. In fact, one of the main vectors of the Zika virus, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is a daytime biter! And while bug spray can be a temporary deterrent, with heightened concerns due to Zika virus and other unsavory illnesses spread by mosquitoes, you might want to check out other options for localized mosquito control.

Myth #7: A House on a Concrete Slab is Termite-Proof

If only there was a way to keep the termites from crawling OVER the concrete to get to the wooden guts still used to construct the frame of most homes. Until there is, termites are still going to be a potential issue for homeowners, and if you’re in the market for a new house, make sure the termite inspection is on your checklist.

Myth #8: You Must Use Harsh Chemicals to Treat for Bugs

While this might have been true in decades past, it is no longer the rule. In fact, here at Good News Pest Solutions, we specialize in cutting-edge, natural, eco-friendly pest control measures that are safe for you, your family, your pets and our earthly home, while being highly effective at controlling pests.

So, if you’re ready to dismiss the myths and are looking for a green pest control company, look no further! You have found the Gulf Coast’s leader in natural pest control; contact us today!

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