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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


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

Minnesota Provides Funding To Poor Elderly In Bedbug Fight

3 Nov

11/3/2011 Minnesota To Provide Funding To Poor Disabled & Elderly In Fight Against Bedbugs

A change in guidelines from the Department of Human Services will help disabled, elderly residents in Kandiyohi County and across the state with the high costs of dealing with bed bugs.

In order to help combat a growing bed bug problem, the department decided recently to allow the costs of exterminating bed bugs and properly disposing of household furniture to be included in expenses covered in waiver programs for low-income, high-risk elderly individuals who receive state services.

Waiver programs provide home and community-based services to people who might otherwise have to move to nursing homes or other care facilities.

Tamraa Goldenstein, a supervisor with Kandiyohi County Family Services, told the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners this week that the additional state funding will help offset some of the out-of-pocket expenses for a group of high-risk people that would otherwise not be able to pay the costs.

Goldenstein said some cases of bed bugs in the county have been reported in multi-unit dwellings where the annoying, biting critters can travel along heat ducts from one apartment to another.

She said the presence of bed bugs has nothing to do with the cleanliness of an individual.

“Some of the cleanest individuals I know have had it (bed bugs) twice,” she said. “They’ve done everything right.”

The additional funds are being added to the “chore service” program for a small group of qualifying individuals in the county, which includes very low-income, disabled individuals over 65 who are on Medical Assistance and are at the highest risk for nursing home care.

“They have a very difficult time affording the types of things that have to occur in order to purge your apartment of those issues,” Goldenstein said.

An extermination process that uses very high heat will be used to get rid of the hard-to-kill bed bugs, she said.

Furniture, like mattresses and couches, may need to be wrapped and properly disposed of “so no one takes it off the curb or out of a dumpster,” she said. “It’s the appropriate way of doing it to ensure that we reduce this issue for the community as a whole.”

Most clients don’t have the money or wherewithal to take that action by themselves.

The Department of Human Services made the funding change so that communities had options “to take care of this quickly,” said Goldenstein, adding that the program is a positive move for communities around the state.

The commissioners approved contracts with Divine House Inc. and Central Minnesota Senior Care to coordinate the extermination and furniture removal and disposal for eligible clients. Those entities will be reimbursed by the state.

Clients will still have to pay to replace any furniture that is removed.

Goldenstein said there are some clients who have removed practically every piece of furniture in their homes to try to get rid of bed bugs.

It will be financially difficult for most of those individuals to purchase replacement furniture, she said.

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South Bend Apartment Residents Overtaken By Bedbugs

31 Oct

10/31/2011 South Bend Indiana Apartment Residents Overtaken By Bedbugs

Trash bins overflowed with mattresses and furniture last month at a South Bend apartment complex. But anyone tempted to repurpose the loot would have been in for a nasty surprise.

The bedding and furnishings were infested with bedbugs.

The bugs had moved into several of the complex’s buildings and were “spreading like wildfire” from apartment to apartment, according to one resident, who didn’t want to be named for fear of eviction.

“I noticed the bites first and I was thinking, ‘I’m breaking out or I have the measles,’ ” she said. “But then I saw a little bug.”

She called the complex office and they sent Terminix to look at her place. They confirmed that she had the bugs.

So did her daughter and grandchildren, who live in a nearby apartment.

“They are bit up bad,” she said. “My daughter and her friend threw away everything.”

The family is sleeping on the floor until the problem is resolved.

Meanwhile, the woman is concerned that the bugs might spread through the complex’s schoolchildren.

“My grandson goes to school and other kids out here go to school,” she said. “They say (the bugs) can travel on people’s clothing or purses.”

She’s right. Bedbugs don’t stay put.

“They are the best hitchhikers there are,” said Tim Harvey, manager of Terminix’s South Bend branch.

“They ride from place to place on clothing, luggage. They can even get on your pants and travel from room to room or be transported anywhere.

“It has nothing to do with sanitation or cleanliness. They are just good hitchhikers,” he said.

They tend to infest places with a lot of traffic: college dorms, hotels and motels, nursing homes, office buildings, schools and day cares, hospitals, public transportation and movie theaters.

Last year, Hawthorne Elementary School in Elkhart dealt with an infestation. In August, the Niles Housing Commission’s Hi Rise apartments had to call in a company with a bedbug-sniffing dog to deal with an infestation. There have been several reports of bedbugs at hotels in Michiana. And, of course, there are homes.

“I’ve actually gotten double the calls this year than we did previous years,” said Harvey. “We probably do an average of two to three jobs per week.”

Science and health

Bedbugs are small, flat, oval insects that feed solely on blood, preferably that of humans. They are usually active at night and prefer to hide close to where people sleep – especially in the crevices of the mattress, box spring, bed frame and headboard. They cannot fly, but will crawl as far as 20 feet to obtain a blood meal, said Marc Lame, an entomologist at Indiana University Bloomington.

Bedbugs feed by piercing exposed skin like a mosquito. They are not able to burrow into skin or through material. It takes them about five to 10 minutes to feed, but people seldom know they are being bitten.

“Basically their whole survival depends on getting on, getting a blood meal and getting off without being squished,” Lame said. “They inject an anticoagulant to make the blood flow faster and an anesthetic so they can remain undetected.”

Some people develop an itchy red welt similar to a mosquito bite within a day to two weeks of being bitten, while others have little or no reaction.

Female bedbugs might lay 200 to 500 eggs during their lifetime. When they first hatch, the bugs are about the size of a pinhead. As they grow, they molt or shed their skin five times. Before each stage of the life cycle, the bugs must have a blood meal. However, they can go for months, as many as 10 to 12, without eating, Lame said. If conditions are right, they can mature within a month – which means they can produce several generations in one year.

While a lot of research is still being done on the subject, studies so far have shown that bedbugs do not transmit disease.

However, the government is beginning to recognize the bugs as a serious health concern. Just last year, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a joint statement on the matter. This is because the bugs have a psychological effect on people, Lame said.

“If you think you’re sleeping with bedbugs, you are not going to sleep very well,” he said. “Which causes you to function very poorly – from crazy to just darn tired.”

That, in turn, can impair reflexes and contribute to other health problems.

“After they get rid of (the bugs), it can take three weeks or three months for (a person) to psychologically get over the infestation,” Lame said. “I’ve even had some sleepless nights after bedbug calls that were heavily infested – where they were really numerous and gross.”

Some people become obsessed and would do anything to rid their homes or themselves of the bugs, including “dousing themselves with pesticides or bedbug bombs,” Lame said, or scraping their skin with sharp objects.

A North Carolina woman died after she and her husband used several chemicals in their home in an attempt to rid it of bedbugs.

“We could all have bedbugs and survive,” Lame said, but when it reaches an epidemic and causes anxiety in people, public health officials play an important role.

Continue Reading More: South Bend Apartment Residents Overtaken By Bedbugs