Texas School Preps For Bedbugs After Infestation Found In Student Homes

11 Nov

11/11/2011 College Station Texas School District Prepares For Bedbugs After Apartment Complex Many Students Live In Has Infestation

The College Station school district called in the exterminators this past weekend after reports that an apartment complex where many Creekview Elementary students live had a bed bug infestation.

The action at the school was taken as a preventative measure, the district informed Creekview students.

“They’re not in the school and we just did something to hopefully keep them out,” explained district spokesman Chuck Glenewinkel.

Teachers and staff at Creekview were trained to recognize bed bugs and their typical hiding places, Glenewinkel said. Containers were placed in classrooms to help keep students’ belongings separate.

Bryan school district spokeswoman Sandy Farris said administrators have similar policies for handling a potential bed bug threat and also take preventative measures if there’s been visible evidence of the creatures.

Farris said she did not believe any schools in Bryan have had had an outbreak, either.

Les Stobart, director of marketing for ABC Home & Commercial Services, said bed bugs are several times larger than a flea and are tan and brown in color.

“Like the name implies, they like to be in and around bedding because, in a lot of ways, they’re a lazy animal,” Stobart said.

Typically, they hide in cracks and crevices during the day, coming out at night in search of a meal.

Places most at risk for bed begs are hotels, apartment complexes and dormitories because traffic is frequent in those locations, he said.

“You’re going to see them,” he said. “They’re not so small you won’t see them.”

If bed bugs have attached themselves to clothing, Stobart said, the best thing to do is put the items in a clothes dryer on high heat. Bed bugs can’t survive high heat long.

Once the bugs have gotten into a home, it’s best to call a professional, Stobart said.

Roger Gold, Texas A&M University professor of entomology, said bed bugs — Cimex lectularius — are flat and thin but become more elongated and plump after a meal. They are sometimes mistaken for ticks or cockroaches.

Bed bugs come out after detecting heat and carbon dioxide, feed on a sleeping person for five minutes by piercing the skin, then return to hiding where they digest the blood meal, he said. The insects won’t need to feed for a day or two and can go up to several months between feasts. They also prefer to hide close to where they feed.

There are several theories as to why the bed bug population has escalated over recent years, including the devalued dollar allowing more people to travel and the increased trips made overseas by troops at war.

Each person reacts differently to a bed bug bite, from no reaction to a rash forming to itching for hours or days after the initial bite, he said.

Pesticides are a common approach to try eliminating bed bugs, but the best treatment is a change in temperature, Gold said.

Filling a room with heaters and sealing it off until it reaches 160 degrees is one way of killing them, or freezing a room by using liquid nitrogen can kill the tiny insects.

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Nevada Senior Apartment Building Infested With Bedbugs

10 Nov

11/10/2011 Reno Nevada Senior Apartment Building Infested With Bedbugs: Orvis Ring Residents Say Management Is Doing Nothing

Residents of a senior apartment building in Reno say it’s been infested with bedbugs for weeks.

“The two apartments diagonally across from me have it,” Ted Burns said.

Click here to find out more!Ted Burns lives at the Orvis Ring Senior Apartments and showed KOLO the signs instructing people not to sit on the furniture. He and his fellow tenants said it’s because of parasitic bedbugs.

“I’ve seen people that’s been bitten by bedbugs and they’re bloody they just suck the blood out of you,” Orvis Ring resident Pat Mavity said.

Orvis Ring residents said they’ve been dealing with the infestation for a month or longer.

“They’ve been postponing this investigation, finding them, no movement,” Orvis Ring resident Don Moten said.

Office workers at Orvis Ring said they wouldn’t speak, referring KOLO to Rural Communities Housing Development in Ukiah, which declined to comment.

“Notify the landlord and notify them writing via a letter establish the paper trail in case the landlord isn’t going to cooperate,” a Washoe County Vector Control representative said.

While managed by an out-of-state company, Community Services Agency is the owner of Ovris Ring. The executive director said the bedbug problem will be dealt this weekend. He said the bedbugs were addressed as soon as Community Services Agency became aware of issue. Residents say they’ve been vocal about it for a while.

“They were gonna go with a different company and they say as of today nothing has been decided,” Burns said.

Residents acknowledge though before the bedbugs were so wide-spread, there was an attempt to fumigate an apartment that didn’t work. Now, Community Services Agency says pest control will go unit by unit to get rid of the insects.

Continue Reading More/Watching Video: Nevada Senior Apartment Building Infested With Bedbugs

Eco-Friendly Ways To Fight Bedbugs

9 Nov

11/9/2011 Eco-Friendly Ways To Fight Bedbugs

Have you seen the reports of bedbugs invading high-end department stores, hotels, and theaters this past year? Does the thought of sleeping in a bed with hundreds of tiny parasitic creatures give you nightmares? If so, it may be time to take preemptive action to reduce the odds that your home will provide the next great dining experience for these minute blood suckers. If you are chosen as their main course, it is difficult, but not impossible, to get them to move on without using commercial strength pesticides. However, the following ideas are eco-friendly and should be tried first:

Discouraging an Infestation

Making new habits may decrease your chances of becoming a bedbug victim. The following are practical green methods of discouraging bedbugs from settling into your home:

• Put every piece of clothing or any linens brought into the home into the dryer for thirty minutes because bedbugs and their eggs can be killed with sustained heat.

• Wash and dry reusable shopping bags regularly.

• Vacuum carpets and mattresses thoroughly, especially after overnight visitors who may have unwittingly carried bedbugs into your home.

• Keep beds positioned away from the walls and place sticky pest strips around all four legs.

• Do periodic checks by inspecting the seams of upholstered furnishings, curtain hems, and mattress corners. Check out bedbug photos online so you know what signs to look out for.

• Buy a zippered mattress bag for every set of bedding in the house to protect them from becoming a bedbug habitat in the future.

Dealing with a Bed Bug Invasion

Once bedbugs have decided that the residents of your household are a tasty meal, it takes some serious action to convince them to depart. While herbal sprays, such as neem or peppermint, may send them into hiding and prevent them from biting quite as often, these only kill these voracious critters if applied directly to their outer surface. Since bedbugs are some of the best hiders in the insect world, getting a shot at every member of the horde is next to impossible. The following green methods of extermination might work much better:

• Mist mattresses and carpets with a solution of rubbing alcohol and water. The alcohol content should be at least 70% to be effective, and this may need to be done several times for successful results, and it is important to remember that alcohol is flammable.

• Use a steamer on mattresses, bedding, household linens, curtains, carpeting, and upholstered couches and chairs.

• Sprinkle a powdery, non-toxic substance called diatomaceous earth on household surfaces. When bed bugs are exposed to diatomaceous earth, they dry up and die.

Ridding a home of bed bugs using natural methods is hard work and not for the faint of heart. Persistent effort, however, will mean that your family does not have to be exposed to toxins that might later cause health problems, so it is worth the effort to try these eco-friendly measures before calling a pest control specialist.

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Bedbugs Four Other Pest Friends To Look Out For This Winter

8 Nov

11/8/2011 Bedbugs Four Other Pest Friends To Look Out For This Winter: Termites, Crazy Ants, Stinkbugs Amongst Them


Believing termites to be strictly hot-weather pests, many homeowners let their guards down during winter months. However, classes of termites are known to swarm during fall months and reproduce in homes until February. Subterranean termites are the most destructive and widespread termite in the United States.  They are social insects, living in colonies that could contain up to several million, and they cause up more than $5 billion in property damage each year


Bedbugs have become a national nuisance. They are world-class hitchhikers that travel between locations on clothing, luggage and purses. Having been found on airplanes and in hotels, those traveling this holiday season should remain vigilant to prevent bringing these pests into their homes.

Crazy Ants

Common in southern states, crazy ants infest in large numbers. One Terminix professional in Texas witnessed what seemed to be pavement moving but was actually the erratic movement of crazy ants. These ants sneak into homes from infestations in close proximity or when brought there from hay bales and winter flowers picked up at nurseries and markets. Keeping a well manicured lawn during winter months can help the homeowner or resident notice crazy ants before their numbers increase.

Overwintering Pests

Overwintering pests enter homes in the fall and prepare to nest for the winter. Beetles, ladybugs and box elders are common to see entering homes this winter. Much like humans, insects seek comfort and nutrients, which can be found in homes. Also watch for the west side of homes where the bugs sun-bathe for warmth in the afternoons.


A type of overwintering pest, stinkbugs have been seen in 32 states, particularly in the Mid-Atlantic region. They come to the region to feed on crops there but then enter local homes to survive the winter. Stinkbugs are aptly named for the odor caused by their defense mechanism. Homeowners decorating porches with pumpkins this fall should be especially mindful – stinkbugs like to snack on pumpkin juice.

Termite Tips:

  • Repair roof or plumbing leaks. The moisture from these allows termites to survive above ground.
  • Ensure gutters drain properly and direct moisture away from your foundation.
  • Eliminate all wood-to-soil contact around your foundation, keeping firewood and other wood debris from being stacked against the side of your home.
  • Keep mulch or soil away from your home’s siding. It’s best to have a barrier of a few inches.
  • Remove items like scrap lumber, boxes and even old books or newspapers from crawl spaces.
  • Maintain adequate ventilation in crawl spaces.
  • Use a mesh screen on all windows, doors and ventilation openings.
  • Have your home inspected by a trained professional at least once a year. Prompt treatment and regular inspections can save thousands of dollars in damage repair.

Bedbug Tips:

  • Check hotel headboards, mattresses and box springs for bedbugs and dark blood spots.
  • Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.
  • Avoid unpacking clothing and storing your clothing in the hotel’s furniture drawers.
  • Store baggage on a luggage rack as far from the bed as possible.
  • Vacuum suitcases when returning home, and immediately wash clothing in hot water.
  • If you suspect your hotel has bedbugs, ask for a change of rooms. Bedbugs should only be treated by a trained pest control professional.

Crazy Ant Tips:

  • Terminix encourages residents to be cautious about these ants. Keeping a well maintained lawn and calling a professional if crazy ants are spotted is one’s best chance of removal.
  • Other ants move in a line, but crazy ants’ erratic movement defies this notion.
  • The southern climate of states along the Gulf of Mexico is best suited for crazy ants’ existence.
  • Before treating any ant infestation, it’s important to identify what ant is currently causing the problem.
  • There are a variety of products and approaches available for treating ant infestations, but many of them are designed to target a specific species. Targeting a species with the wrong material can have a negative impact and can worsen the original problem.
  • Because ant elimination can be so specialized, it is always recommended to work with a professional pest control company when trying to resolve an ant problem.

Overwintering Pest Tips:

  • Seal all cracks in the home’s exterior, especially on the southern and western walls.
  • Ensure windows and doors seal tightly. Overwintering pests can slip through very small openings.
  • Install insect screening on foundation and attic vents. These openings can allow easy access for overwintering pests.
  • If overwintering pests appear indoors, use a vacuum to remove them (cautiously with stinkbugs). Discard the bag once complete.

Terminix recommends homeowners consult a pest control professional if they suspect an infestation, rather than attempt a do-it-yourself remedy that may make the problem worse. Terminix offers free, no-obligation home inspections for homeowners seeking a professional screening. Those interested can learn more at http://www.terminix.com.

Continue Reading More: Bedbugs Four Other Pest Friends To Look Out For This Winter

Bedbugs Cause Concern On Cape Cod

7 Nov

11/7/2011 Bedbugs Cause Concern On Cape Cod: Falmouth Housing Officials Take Measures After Bugs Found In Senior Housing

They hide during the day, only to emerge when you fall asleep, so they can suck your blood under the cover of darkness.

“There’s sort of a boogeyman effect to them, because they come and feed on you while you’re sleeping,” said Thomas Lacey, executive director of the Falmouth Housing Authority, about bedbugs, which were found at the Harborview Apartments on Scranton Avenue about three weeks ago.

The housing authority immediately took corrective measures after residents and building staff discovered the parasites in the laundry room and at least two units in the building that’s home to elderly and disabled residents, Lacey said.

Last week, one of the two units was successfully treated, and dogs trained to track bedbugs found none outside the other affected unit, which is also scheduled for treatment, he added.

As the resurgence of bedbugs continues to leave a trail of itchy bites

across the country, the scourge is beginning to affect public housing on Cape Cod.

While few infestations have been reported, officials across the region are preparing for what some see as inevitable: the need to rid their buildings of the bugs.

“It’s like a bad horror flick,” said Richard Pollack, a public health entomologist at Harvard University’s School of Public Health.

Some of the former remedies for bedbugs were nightmarish. The early 1950s, for instance, brought forth an era where strong insecticides, such as DDT, were widely sold at low prices and used in households on a regular basis, Pollack said.

“We know now that … wasn’t such a good idea,” Pollack said, referring to the practice’s tendency to leave lingering, dangerous chemicals for people to inhale.

In the past three years or so, the prevalence of these pests has grown from barely noticeable to full-blown, especially in multi-family homes and hotel rooms.

“It’s just everywhere; the Cape is no exception,” said Barbara Thurston, Bourne Housing Authority executive director.

Thurston experienced the problem firsthand in early spring when four units at the Continental Apartments, public housing for elderly residents in Buzzards Bay, became infested. The housing authority shelled out $250 per hour for a dog to find the bugs and then $1,000 per unit to eradicate them, Thurston said.

The pricey extermination method used at the Continental Apartments is a non-toxic one that heats affected rooms to about 140 degrees, said Sandy Rubenstein, who owns Pure Heat, a company that provides this service. The heat kills all bedbugs and eggs without using chemicals, Rubenstein said. Chemical treatments also remain a popular method for eradicating the bugs.

Bedbugs typically use humans as vehicles to travel, and they reproduce wherever they land, said Pollack. They can crawl into clothing or suitcases left unattended in an infested room and find a new home in a mattress, couch or other places where they might find something on which to feed. Their methods of spreading makes places like hotels and apartment buildings especially vulnerable to the species’ proliferation.

“We are preparing in case it does happen,” said Sandee Perry, executive director of the Barnstable Housing Authority.

“(Bedbugs) are around when you have a lot of people,” Perry said. “Unfortunately, it’s inevitable.”

Staying in front of the problem, Perry is in contact with other housing authority directors who have dealt with infestations and sends her employees to training sessions that teach them how to identify the pesky insects, find where the bugs came from, and educate residents on how to keep them from spreading.

While the small, flat, reddish-brown creatures are more prevalent than in past years, Pollack said hysteria over bedbugs has caused many people who seek out his pest-identifying business, IdentifyUs LLC, to show him samples of things like table lint, convinced they are bedbugs.

“It’s something (on which) we just need to educate ourselves to deal with in a rational way,” Pollack said. “In many cases, they’ve already spent $5,000 or more to treat their home” before discovering it isn’t infested.

Pollack also stressed that, contrary to some social stigmas that only dirty or dilapidated homes become infested, bedbugs don’t discriminate between victims.

“Bedbugs don’t care how thick your wallet is … how clean your house is, or how much you shower,” he said.

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Minnesota Couple Wins Award For Bedbug Insect Inferno

6 Nov

11/6/2011 Minnesota Couple Wins Award For Bedbug Insect Inferno

The timing was perfect when Corey and Sue Westrum started Insect Inferno, a business that builds mobile exterminators of bed bugs.

Bed bug infestations were the story of the land, resulting in Corey appearing on NBC and CBS national news programs and in the Wall Street Journal.

“Everywhere you turned, people were talking about bed bugs,” Sue said. “After that publicity, our business really took off in October of last year.”

In addition to the good fortune of timing, the Westrums had help from being a 2010 winner in the IDEA Competition, which awards $10,000 each for up to five innovators in northwest Minnesota. The money for the IDEA grants comes from non-profits, with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation as the lead group.

“When we looked at what businesses are successful in our region, we saw they are owned by local people who were born here, loved the region and wanted to build here,” said the foundation’s Michelle Landsverk, citing Marvin Windows, Arctic Cat, Polaris and Digi-Key among others.

“So, why chase the smokestacks when you can grow talent already here if you give them access to resources?”

Among those nodding their heads in agreement at a farm shop just outside of Clearbrook was Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

“We need to make things and invent things to sell across the world,” Klobuchar said. “We don’t need to try to make money on Wall Street. We need to innovate.”

Minnesota has escaped the worst of the nation’s economic downturn, Klobuchar said, because of agriculture’s success and “homegrown talent” of innovation companies.

Prize-accelerated business

The Insect Inferno is a mobile unit that uses heat to kill insects and their eggs. Furniture and mattresses are put inside the trailer, where fans and 160-degree temperatures destroy the pests. Each load takes about 90 minutes, compared with 10-12 hours if heat is used inside a motel or apartment building, which can’t handle as high of temperatures.

With their North Star Pest Control business, the Westrums had trouble eliminating bed bugs with more conventional methods.

In addition to the mobile unit they use for pest control, they’ve sold eight others that ranged in price from $30,000 to $40,000. The unit manufacturer is Jason Vant Hul of Northland Kilns of Bagley.

The Westrums said the $10,000 prize and the business advice that comes with it helped them accelerate the development of Insect Inferno.

“It would have been possible, but it gave us a huge leg-up,” Sue said. “Without it, we would have had to get investors or paid for start-up costs ourselves. We might be at Phase 1 now instead of Phase 5.”

Continue Reading More: Minnesota Couple Wins Award For Bedbug Insect Inferno

Parents Claim Bedbugs In Kentucky High School

5 Nov

11/5/2011 Parents Claim Bedbugs In Kentucky High School: Iroquois School/Jefferson County School Officials Say No

Concerned parents of Iroquois High School students said bedbugs surfaced earlier this week in class.But Jefferson County Public Schools officials said it was never confirmed.Multiple parents turned to Facebook to voice their opinions about the bedbug situation. Some even contacted WLKY News directly.

According to a statement from JCPS, a teacher found something she thought was a bedbug Monday.The Iroquois students were moved and the room was inspected immediately. JCPS said nothing was found.”Initially what we ask the principal, the teacher to do is to get the live bedbug with a piece of tape,” said Chuck Fleischer with JCPS environmental safety.On Tuesday, a squashed bug was found in a different Iroquois classroom.Teachers couldn’t identify the bug, but to be safe, JCPS said a second check was done. Again, no problem was found.”Bedbugs do not want to be at school. They’re like our kids. They want to be at home in the bed,” said Fleischer.
The Jefferson County Health Department said that’s because bedbugs feed at night.Since April 2010, Fleischer said JCPS have had around two dozen cases where bed bugs were found at their schools.Of those cases, inspectors found additional bugs in the room in question only six times. In each of those times it was only one more bug.”We are finding them, but they’re very sporadic and usually a loner,” said Fleischer.No bedbugs were found at Iroquois High School this week.The parents who initially contacted WLKY News did not return phone calls Friday.Fleischer described how JCPS initially gets rid of the pests.”Mainly, we vacuum, and then we’ll use steam. Steam clean the carpet or upholstery, whatever the case may be,” said Fleischer.Fleischer said officials haven’t had to yet, but JCPS would treat the area more aggressively if it needs to.He said all the paranoia about these insects may be thanks to a classic saying many hear as a child.”Night night, don’t let the bed bugs bite,” said Fleischer.
The Jefferson County Health Department said bedbugs are typically site specific, and it’s very unlikely a student would carry them home.Both the Health Department and JCPS officials said bedbugs found in school typically come from a student’s home.The Health Department said the bugs aren’t likely to multiply very quickly at school.

Continue Reading More/Watching Video: Parents Claim Bedbugs In Kentucky High School