Category Archives: Bed Bug Biology

3 Biggest Bed Bug Myths Debunked @ BOMA

IMG_20170526_155559Red Coat attended the BOMA show for the first time last week. It was a great event and we met lots of new people!  Everyone loved meeting Sadie as she ran the bed bug carousel.  By the end of the day she was so exhausted she just laid down on top of the bugs!

Meeting new people in a new industry brought a few new questions and stories to the forefront.  There is a great deal of mis-information about bed bugs in the world today.  Here are the 3 most common myths we discussed with attendees:

1) “I don’t have BEDS on my property, so I’m good!”

Do not let the name confuse you. They will live on any surface excluding glass or porcelain.  In more “mature” bed bug markets, OFFICE infestations are the fastest growing area for bed bug finds and treatments.  They are coming to an office chair near you!  Are you ready?

2) “I thought they were microscopic!”

Oh no! The adult bed bug is about the size of an apple seed.  The babies are quite small and very often overlooked.  But these bugs are messy and leave behind clear feces markings and shed skins.  Yes, one bug can be hard to find, but more often the infestation is very evident.

3) “I didn’t know dogs can find bed bugs?”

Yes, Bed Bug Detection Dogs are working animals trained on the odor of the insects. They are the fastest, most effective tool in identifying the location of the infestation. The best dogs can clear 200-300 chairs and desks in 2 hours.

Don’t be mistaken, bed bugs are everywhere we go now.  Know the signs and how to protect yourself when in public!

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

 

Advertisements

Dangerous Bed Bug Sprays

By now most of us know about the negative effects of ingesting or absorbing chemicals through our skin and the havoc it can wreck on the ecosystem. But did anyone see this coming? The residents sure didn’t.  She used a lighter after spraying the house with bed bug spray and it caught fire!

Just one more reason to call an expert at the first sign of an infestation!

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Bed Bug Epidemic Survey

NPMA Bed Bug

NPMA Bed Bug

Forget the Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List, it only tells you where a certain, specific pest control company is doing the most bed bug treatments and since any bed bug’s favorite hangout is at the buffet (ie. any place where humans spend a significant amount of time) it should come as no surprise that cities with high population and travel rates would also have more issues with bed bugs.

If you really want to learn about this epidemic, check out this survey from NPMA (National Pest Management Association).

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

$800K Bed Bug Suit!

Attention all Managers, Landlords, and Property Owners!

If you haven’t read this article already, you need to. The jury really nailed this guy and likely set a precedent for other cases similar in nature. The situation could EASILY have been avoided had he just called a bed bug specialist to begin with. At the very least, he would have saved a ton of money and a massive headache! Not to mention the fact that he could have very easily burned the entire place down performing his own “home heat treatment.”

One of the things we at Red Coat Services constantly harp on with those who manage/own properties is liability! It is critical to educate yourself as well as your staff on bed bug biology so you at least know what you’re dealing with. Additionally, work with your local bed bug specialist to get a plan in place, so when a problem does arise (and it will eventually), they can take care of it as soon as possible. Because as we all know, the longer an infestation sits, the worse it gets and the chance of spreading grows astronomically.

However, the responsibility doesn’t sit on the shoulders of managers/owners alone. It is also crucial for tenants to learn about these vicious little blood suckers and how to look for signs of an infestation. If there is any indication whatsoever, call your local bed bug specialist K9 team to come out and take a look so they may determine the severity and extent of an infestation, or just simply give you peace of mind.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Avoid Bed Bug Hitchhikers this Spring

Adult Bed Bug

Adult Bed Bug

Spring is here and summer is soon to follow, bringing warmer weather and an increase in travel, of course resulting in a steady rise of bed bug incidents. While bed bugs remain active throughout the year, they do prefer warmer temperatures (around 78-80 degrees is preferable) and thusly become more active, meaning higher reproduction rates and shorter growth periods. This results in more bugs in a shorter period of time!When traveling on our spring and summer breaks, how can we possibly protect ourselves from bringing the little vampires home with us? Precautions can start before you make your hotel reservation. You can check travel websites to see what travelers have to say about the hotel, but even when you are satisfied that you have found a bed bug free hotel, there is no guarantee that this is actually the case. It is only a matter of time, so even hotels with shining recommendations will get them eventually.

We must keep in mind that the hotel wants to have bed bugs about as much as you do, so for everyone’s sake, we must educate ourselves, our family and our friends about the bed bug, signs, symptoms, and prevention techniques.

Once you (or your family) return home, check your suitcase outside if possible, or in the bathroom. Catch any bugs you see with a piece of tape then treat your items in the dryer on hot for a full cycle before washing and drying them again and call your local bed bug specialist. For larger items that cannot fit into the dryer, such as your suitcase, you can rent a steamer.

Safe travels and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Scientist tell us again that pesticides are not effective on bed bugs

Scientific Reports recently (3/14/13) published a new study on how bed bugs resist pesticides.  It is true scientific work, so it is not an easy read for those that want the bullets.  Here is what I can tell you…

  1. The study revealed that resistance-associated genes in the bed bug contribute to the slowing down of a toxin from reaching its target sites
  2. Most of this process occurs in the outer covering of the insect
  3. This process is unique to bed bugs
  4. Baits laced with insecticide are ineffective in bed bugs
  5. Contact to insecticides is the primary option of  exposure and the above facts tell us that it is ineffective

Therefore, the scientist have told us, once again, that pesticides are not effective against bed bugs.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Worth the Watch: Bed Bug Basics – 10 Tips to Protect Yourself

I have to say that Pest World has done a great job at this informative  video on how to protect yourself from bedbugs.  Funny and gives great information.

May the Heat be with You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Bed Bug Extermination and Roaches

Roaches following a bed bug heatYou’ve heard the old joke, “What are the only things that could survive a nuclear bomb?”
The answer, “Cockroaches and a fruitcake. And the cockroaches would starve.”

All jokes aside though, would cockroaches really survive a nuclear bomb?
Scientists have found that cockroaches are remarkably resistant to radiation. It takes 125 times the deadly rate for humans before you’ll see them on their backs. But what about the 10,000 degree heat from the blast?

At 120 degrees, all stages of Bed Bugs die immediately, but I have personally seen roaches crawling over their dead cousins to get across the kitchen floor in the middle of a heat. Studies on the German cockroach, the most resistant of all, show that they can survive for up to 30 minutes in constant 120 degree heat. Considering how fast they are, which anyone who has tried to kill them can tell you, 30 minutes is plenty of time for them to get a safe distance from the heat.

The picture shows a whole family of Brown-banded and German cockroaches hiding out under the kitchen countertop after spending 4 HOURS in the heat. Obviously, they found a good place to hide. It’s a good thing bed bugs aren’t so resistant or we’d all be in serious trouble!

In conclusion, all insects have a thermal death point, but their behavior during the heat treatment process varies. The sad fact is, cockroaches are simply too fast, too resistant and too smart for the heat remediation process to be used as an effective killing tool against them.

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Why Are Bed Bugs in Our Libraries?

Bed bug eggs in book spine

Bed bug eggs in book spine

Growing up in a very rural town in upstate New York, one of the things I looked forward to the most were my almost weekly trips to the public library to pick up one or two new books, usually on animal training. Needless to say our family pets learned some nifty tricks along the way and even as I wrote this article, it made me laugh to think where my animal fascination has led me today.

It isn’t news to most of us by now that bed bugs have been showing up in our public and school libraries. It really is no surprise considering where most people choose to read, myself included, in bed or a nice cozy chair! This gives the little buggers the perfect opportunity to not only feed while you are sitting still but also to crawl off into their favorite hiding places.

But does this mean we need to steer clear? Of course not! Bed bug infestations are usually a matter of bad luck but there are plenty of things we can do to prevent the spread. More and more libraries are taking initiative by training their employees about bed bugs and taking steps to both prevent and treat for them when necessary. Next time you go, you can call ahead and ask them about their policy, then once there, put on your inspectors cap and take a peek at the spine (especially with hard covers) and between the pages of the books you plan to borrow for feces spots, skins and of course bugs. If there’s any question, bring it to the staff’s attention.

Alana, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

What are bed bugs attracted to?

It is broadly accepted by the pest control community that bed bugs are attracted to our CO2 that we exhale.  Most bed bug traps include some type of CO2 attractant.  There is a newer device called the Verify which incorporates a pheromone that seems to attract bed bugs, of course those contents are a very tight secret.  Recently I attended a pest control seminar where the presenter shared new research on bed bugs.  He said that dirty clothes were placed on the floor of an infested room and then they took a video of the nighttime traffic of the bed bugs.  The bugs were attracted to the dirty clothes!  While this news is not shocking it is important because these insects were attracted to something with human smell but no CO2.

It lead us to think more about how we maintain our homes and how we travel.  If the bed bugs are attracted to bodily odors that would correlate with the places in the home where humans spend the most time – beds, chairs, couches etc. (That makes perfect sense.) If we are traveling and by chance stay in an infested hotel room – leaving our dirty clothes on the floor may increase our chances of bringing a bug home.

Personally, when I travel, my suitcase is in the tub or the bathroom counter.  My dirty clothes are in a plastic bag in the bathroom, off the floor.  I will definitely be paying more attention to where I sit when I am in dirty clothes.

May The Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist