Tag Archives: College Station

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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How Texas Wildfires Have Fueled Bedbugs

22 Sep

9/22/2011 How Texas Wildfires Have Fueled Bedbugs

With many Texans displaced by recent wildfires, bed bugs may become another unwanted irritation during relocation, said Texas AgriLife Extension Service and Texas AgriLife Research experts.

“With so many people being displaced and having to find accommodations in hotels or motels, it’s important for them to be aware of the possibility of encountering bed bugs and to know something about their behavior and biology,” said Wizzie Brown, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist in Travis County.

Brown said bed bugs have been a growing problem throughout the U.S. and beyond, especially in urban areas with a large volume of visitors.

And national media have noted complaints of bed bugs by people in accommodations ranging from low-end motels to five-star hotels.

“However, I also get calls from student housing on campus, people in apartments, in homes and other locations,” Brown said.

“It’s not just hotels or motels. People can even  be exposed to bed bugs while staying in the home of a friend who doesn’t know they have them.”

Bed bugs often leave dried blood or rust-colored stains in mattresses, especially on the mattress folds and tufts, she said.

“When you get to your hotel or motel room, pull back the bedding to expose the mattress and box springs and check the mattress, especially the areas near the seams and tags,” Brown said. “It’s also a good idea to inspect the headboard as well as items near the bed, such as a lamp base or nightstand.”

While bed bugs, as their name implies, prefer beds and bedding, they also can be found under cushions, behind picture frames, near lamp stands, behind baseboards, in back of electrical switch plates and in other locations, she said.

Inspect the room where you plan to stay before bringing up your belongings, Brown suggested.

If there’s evidence of bed bugs upon a thorough room inspection, request a different room or, if possible, go to a different location.

“But the more hotels and motels you stay in, the greater the probability of being bitten by bed bugs,” said Dr. Roger Gold, urban and public health entomologist with AgriLife Research in College Station.

“They have really proliferated over the past several years throughout Texas and the rest of the U.S.”

Gold said newly hatched bed bugs are about the same size as a sesame seed, only flatter, and can hide in a variety of cracks, crevices, nooks and crannies.

A large adult bed bug, about the size of an apple seed, can be mistaken for a tick.

Brown and Gold said there are some steps travelers can take to protect themselves from these pests and reduce the risk of bringing them home.

The first is to have housekeeping vacuum thoroughly to remove as many bed bugs and their eggs from mattresses, box springs, carpets and other areas, concentrating particularly on mattress and box springs seams, tufts and edges, as well as where baseboards and carpet meet.

Entomologists say bed bugs are thought to locate their human hosts by body heat and the carbon dioxide exhaled during respiration, but some bed bugs may wander before they locate a host.

Therefore,  people should take steps to  reduce the risk of taking the pests home with them when they leave their temporary accommodations.

Since bed bugs crawl into cracks and crevices near the bed, they suggested keeping suitcases off the floor.

“Placing luggage in the bath tub may be an option since it has smooth sides and may be harder for bed bugs to access,” Brown noted.

“If there’s any positive at all to bed bug bites, it’s that they’re relatively painless,” Gold said. “Typically they’ll feed and be gone and you won’t even know it.”

However, about half of all people bitten have an allergic reaction to the saliva injected while bed bugs feed, Brown said.

“It’s the people with the allergic reaction who develop the welts,” she said. “This also explains why there have been many cases where people are unaware that they have bed bugs – because they aren’t reacting to the bite – as well as why one person develops welts while another in the same room doesn’t.”

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