View Bedbug: How Not to Let the Bed Bugs Bite?
Remember, How not to let the bed bugs bites is involved with learning about how not to invite them home, and what to do if they arrive.
"First of all, don't fear," Gouge said. "Breathe. Understand that bedbugs are not associated with unclean environments and they do not transmit disease. But they should be taken extremely seriously."
Signs that you may have bedbugs include finding the bugs themselves, eggs or excrement; small spatters of blood on your sheets and, in some people, red, itchy welts from an allergic reaction to their saliva.
Gouge said having bedbugs - which can live weeks, months or even a year between feedings - can be one of life's more stressful situations. Recent studies have linked bedbug infestation to reports of anxiety and even suicide.
While it takes dedication and persistence - and a really good pest control professional - you can win the war over bedbugs, Gouge said.
"The sooner you contact a pest management professional, the easier, the faster and the cheaper it will be," Gouge said. "There are no over-the-counter products that will eradicate bedbugs. You can kill them, but to truly eradicate them you need pest management professionals that have equipment, access to specialized products and the knowledge of how to use them."
She said frustrated victims of bedbugs can make the problem worse.
"A lot of the things people do are often far more damaging and dangerous than the bedbugs themselves," Gouge said. "People will put gasoline or rubbing alcohol around the edges of their mattress. They will spray pesticides on their bed, they will apply pesticide even to their own person. You should never do that."
She said following fairly simple rules can prevent infestation and minimize treatment.
Doug Brunner, contract administrator at University Termite and Pest Control in Tucson, said residents often wait until the problem is out of hand.
University uses integrated pest management - everything from vacuuming to targeted pesticide application - to kill the bugs. Residents must follow a protocol that will keep pests from resurging. In general, treatment costs an hour, with an average home requiring three to four hours, Brunner said.
Treatment is followed up two weeks later with re-inspection and more treatment, if needed.
Vacuums and pesticide are not the only methods effective in killing bedbugs. Burns Pest Elimination also uses dogs, and heat to find and eliminate bedbugs.
Sage Garvey, director of technical operations at Burns, said the company has 13 specially trained dogs that sniff out bedbugs statewide.
The team of canines includes labs, beagles, Bassett hounds and others trained on the scent of bedbugs.
"They are far better and faster at detecting bedbugs than humans," Garvey said. If dogs smell the bugs, they alert the handler, who makes visual confirmation.
Burns uses chemicals or heat - which is pricier - to kill bugs. Treatment can cost 0 to ,000, depending on the size of the property and extent of the infestation.
Garvey said a convection oven is built in a home or business. The building is heated to 138 degrees for up to 10 hours, killing the bugs.
Garvey said the increase in bedbugs "took the pest control industry by surprise."
"We are just now probably at our peak in terms of incidence," he said.
Prevent bedbugs from taking up residency in your home:
• Never move furniture from the curb-side or from a dumpster into your home.
• Avoid moving secondhand furniture, especially a mattress or box spring, into your home.
• Inspect rented furniture before accepting it into your home. Avoid renting bedroom furniture.
• When traveling, check motel/hotel rooms before unpacking. Check the mattress, box-spring, and behind the headboard for signs of bedbug activity. Do not place luggage on the bed or on the floor near the bed. The safest place to stow luggage is in the bathtub or shower.
• Upon returning home, leave your suitcase in the garage and machine-wash and dry all clothing at a high temperature or dry clean.
• Reduce clutter. An uncluttered home is much easier to monitor and remediate.
• Wash bedding weekly and dry items on high heat (140 degrees) for an additional 40 minutes after they are dry.
• Do not take blankets, pillows or stuffed animals to hotels or other homes.
• Consider placing bedbug monitoring devices such as ClimbUp Interceptor traps under bed legs.
• Vacuum weekly at a minimum and discard bags or canister content into outdoor receptacles.
• Fit mattresses and box-springs with encasings designed to prevent the movement of bedbugs in and out of bed sections. If an encasement tears, it should be replaced immediately.