Tag Archives: bed bug bites

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

Scent Detection Dogs vs Service Dogs

“Is he/she your service dog?” This is a question I hear surprisingly often while I’m out on a property working with Bed Bug Detection Canine, Sade. While I’m out working with Sade, at home, a rescued golden/labrador retriever mix named Dusty, is well on her way to becoming a Certified Service dog. With experience in both sides, I can personally speak to some of the similarities and differences between the two.

Service Dogs are a type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people with physical disabilities including visual or hearing impairment, mental disabilities such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and medical alert for those suffering with diabetes, seizures, narcolepsy and even cancer.

Detection Dogs, or sniffer dogs, are trained to detect substances such as drugs, firearms, mold, currency and of course, bed bugs! Some prisons even have dogs trained to detect illicit cell phones in prisons.

Obviously, the main differences lay in their specific functions, what they’re looking for, actions they must perform and behavior (service dogs must be laid back and calm while you want to see a strong working drive in detection dogs), but little else differs.

Either dog can be bred for their specific purpose by organizations, private breeders or even selected from shelters and rescues. The training it takes to get them there is quite similar, taking six to twelve months either way for a completely certified working dog but the end result is the same, helping humans. Is it really any wonder they’re considered man’s best friend?

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

Chicago’s Bed Bug Regulations Closer to Approval

Illinois getting closer to strict bed bug regulation for land lords.  This multiple iteration proposal keeps getting shut down, but it is only a matter of time.  Florida has already declared bed bugs a nuisance pest and requires action by the landlord.  Here is the article from the Chicago Tribune and their summary of the regulations:

“The proposal would declare bedbugs a public nuisance and require landlords of multi-unit buildings to hire licensed professionals to eradicate bedbugs in units where they are found. Landlords also must inspect neighboring units and, if bedbugs are found in those, provide additional extermination services.

The proposal also would bar landlords from renting units with active bedbug infestations. Failure to comply with provisions of the measure could result in fines of up to $500 a day for a first violation, $1,000 for a second and $2,000 for a third or subsequent violation.

To address concerns expressed by renters’ advocates, the proposed ordinance bars landlords from ending a lease, increasing rent, decreasing services or suing a tenant because a renter has reported a bedbug infestation. If landlords take such retaliatory action, they would have to pay the renter two months rent, other damages and legal fees.

Tenants, in turn, are required to report bedbug infestations within five days of discovering it and must cooperate with the landlord in efforts to eradicate the pests. But it was unclear what penalties they would face, other than being subject to a lengthy eviction process that could allow infestations to fester and grow.”

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, 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

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

A Bed Bug killing pill?

I love this bed bug article and the optimism that it brings.  Many people need hope when these insects invade their lives.  So here is the quick summary:

A test was run on 4 volunteers to take a common canine de-worming medicine and then allow bed bugs to bite them.  The result, was that 60% of the bed bugs died!  This is a huge learning but can we put it to practice today?  No.  The good news for your canine pets is that they are protected.  Responsible pet owners give this drug to their dogs monthly to prevent parasites.

The problems are as follows:

  1. No dosing recommendations or FDA approval for use in humans.  No safety studies.
  2. The human is still the bait.  So death to the bed bug requires you to get bit.
  3. As I always remind you, if you are not killing 100% then the result is a band-aid (control measure) not a solution (extermination).

May the Heat Be With You!

Best, Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

The Reality of Do-It-Yourself Bed Bug Remedies

I read an article recently highlighting the steps to DIY bed bug control. The title claimed the steps were easy. I agree the concepts are not complex, but the effort required from the homeowner is SIGNIFICANT. Here are their steps to success:

* Step 1: Find bugs, eliminate clutter, bag everything in plastic sealed bags,
* Step 2: Kill bugs with alcohol/bleach
* Step 3: Launder everything (that you can fit in your W/D) in hot water and hot dryer
* Step 4: Vacuum everything (walls, furniture, curtains, rugs, books)
* Step 5: Steam clean everything
* Step 6: Wrap upholstered furniture in plastic and seal with tape
* Step 7: Repeat vacuum and steam cleaning daily for a few weeks
* Step 8: Contact exterminator when this does not work

As a homeowner, mother of two, animal owner of 7, business owner and a bed bug specialist here are my thoughts on their strategy…I do not want my family to live with a growing population of bed bugs eating them. I do not want chemicals (pesticides or bleach) covering my home impacting my children and pets. I do not have time to do this every day with no guarantee that the bugs will go away. But knowing that not everyone can afford a heat treatment that will solve the problem in one day, here are my recommendations. Most DIY efforts take from 2 to 6 months to resolve, plan accordingly.

* Step 0: Do not spray pesticides, it will scatter the bugs and make your job harder
* Step 1: Find bed bugs – look everywhere around where you sleep, this includes the couch
* Step 2: In the affected room, bag all linens from the bed, seal the bag, and put all linens in the DRYER for an hour on high heat. Then wash them and dry them again on the hottest settings. Throw bag in outside garbage. Do the same with all your clothes.
* Step 3: Buy the best HEPA vacuum cleaner you can afford and at least 30 filters (1 per day of cleaning). Vacuum up everything you can see including bugs, eggs etc. Vacuum every last inch of your mattress, box spring, front and back of head board, mattress frame, frame wheels. Yes I mean EVERYTHING. Then vacuum your side tables and anything around your bed the same way. Vacuum the walls, the base boards, the rug, When you have finished throw the filter out in the outside garbage.
* Step 4: Rent or buy a steam cleaner and utilize it on every square inch of space in your room, just as you have done with the vac. Obviously avoid utilizing steam with electronics.
* Step 5: Repeat the vac/steam process DAILY to ensure that new babies are caught before they feed and before they start laying more eggs.
* Step 6: Optional, but effective. Purchase a PackTite personal heater that you can use for larger items and items that cannot be put in the dryer.
* Step 7: Call me when you are exhausted, we can be there quickly

Please note, if you do purchase a HEPA vac., rent a steamer for a month, and purchase a PackTite you could have paid for the heat treatment to start with. My philosophy, if you don’t have the money to do it right the first time, then what makes you think you will have the money to do it the second time.

-Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Specialist

Will Bed Bugs Infest my Dog and Cat?

Bed bugs will feed off of any warm blooded mammal.  That goes for humans, cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, bats etc.  However, they do not tend to like to LIVE on any of us.  They do not live on their food source like a tick or lice.  They will visit the creature while it is still or sleeping and feed until it is full.

I have seen situations where the bed bugs were feeding on a family dog that frequently slept on the couch.  The first bugs were found when the owner picked up the dog to move it and a bed bug ran out from under the dogs spot.

There are some bed bug colony providers (breed, raise and sell bed bugs for research or dog training) that will allow bugs to feed on small animals.  Not me, my bugs starve to death.

Lastly, and this is my opinion only, I am concerned about the bed bug problems in poultry houses. Given the worldwide concerns with disease transferring from birds to people, I think this should be researched more carefully.  The CDC says bed bugs are not vectors of disease, I hope it stays that way.

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist