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Category: Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs Love Dirty Laundry!

Bed Bugs Love Dirty LaundryWe’ve mentioned before that no one knows for sure why Cimex lectularius – better known as the common Bed Bug – has recently had a huge resurgence in North America after almost disappearing in the 1950’s.  A lot of theories and pieces of the puzzle have been suggested, but none of them fully explain the phenomenon.

Now, scientists at a research college in England have discovered a startling new clue to the mystery – and certainly one that explains the rapid spread of the insects across both the United States and the globe.

It’s so simple, once you hear it, it’s almost too obvious – one of those right in front of your nose discoveries. Oh, and speaking of noses…

Blood, Sweat & Tears

Most folks are aware that bed bugs feed on blood. Preferably human, but they’re not always too picky when they’re hungry. We also know that the little critters can hibernate, not eating for up to a year.

But what the researchers at Sheffield College discovered was that bed bugs are drawn to humans because of their smell. And, as a result, if they can’t find one of us to munch on, they’ll hide out in our dirty clothes.

Much like our old friends the mosquitoes, bed bugs are attracted to the smell of human beings. They even have a technical term for it. Insects that are hematophagous. Higher levels of the carbon dioxide we exhale triggers a foraging instinct in both bugs. But that instinct is released when they smell our blood.

By the way, bed bugs can sense 104 different chemical elements and compounds in the smell of our skin.

A Little Extra Carry-On Weight

When bed bugs are in the foraging mode, the smell of a person causes them to have a both an electrophysiological and behavioral response. So, they naturally seek it out and often nestle down in dirty laundry and the suitcase or clothes basket carrying said laundry.

So, to put it in simpler terms, bed bugs seek out things that smell like people. If they can’t bite you – because you’re not there – they opt to hang out in your soiled laundry. When you pack those dirty clothes into your suitcase, you inadvertently bring them along.

So an untreated outbreak of bed bugs at a hotel in Topeka, KS can rapidly spread to your home or other places you’re travelling. If the average hotel has 100 rooms, that means 50-100 new places for the bed bugs to spread, even without taking into account their ability to inbreed, or the average litter of 300 bed bugs from one pregnancy.

We’re itching just thinking about it…how about you?

What Do I Do?

Well, first off, always do a bed check for bed bugs when you first check-in to your hotel room. No hotel is immune these days, no matter how low rent or swanky it is. If you are able to, wash your clothes before you pack them back in your bags to leave. And if you do end up bringing bed bugs home with you, call us. Only a professional pest control provider can truly solve an infestation.

We also handle the everyday insects and rodents that tend to find their way into your home. And as we’re coming up on Halloween, what better time to check out our Go Green Plus 3 Program. We do a thorough initial treatment, then enhance its effectiveness with tri-annual rechecks that keep your home bug free. It can also be affordably combined with our Term-Assure 365 Termite solution or our Thermal Acoustical Pest Control that helps lower your energy bill.

All of our pest solutions are 100% natural, organic, safe for the whole family and more effective than standard chemical treatments. We’ve helped families all up and down the Gulf Coast of Florida, from Lakewood Ranch to Ruskin and North Port and we’d love to share the Good News with you too!

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.

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