Tag Archives: exterminators

Bedbug Entrepreneurs Compete To Create Best Products

30 Sep

9/30/2011 Bedbug Entrepreneurs Compete To Create Best Products

Some want to bake them. Others prefer to freeze them. Still others dehydrate them.

Inventors will try just about anything to kill bed bugs, those nasty, reddish-brown, blood-sucking parasites that are the worst nightmare of many hotel guests.

America’s obsession with bed bugs has led to a rush of entrepreneurs seeking profit from exterminating them, and about 75 companies gathered this week in hopes of launching the perfect beg bug killer.

“I never figured I’d be in Chicago for a bed bug conference. I never thought that in my wildest dreams,” Mike Bourdeau, operations manager at Flynn Pest Control in Massachusetts, said at the second annual Bed Bug University.

Bourdeau said bed bug business is booming. It went from virtually zero percent of Flynn Pest Control’s business less than five years ago to about 20 percent of what the company brings in today.

“It’s probably going to be a big part of our business for … the next ten years,” he said.

A study this year by University of Kentucky researchers and the National Pest Management Association showed 80 percent of surveyed pest control companies had treated hotels for bed bugs within a year, up from 67 percent a year ago.

More than 80 percent of the surveyed companies said they believed bed bug infestations were on the rise.

Whether there are more bed bugs these days or just more publicity about them is hotly debated, but there is general agreement that the problem is here to stay.

“It will become like roaches and ants. It’s not going anywhere. We will deal with bed bugs the rest of our lives,” said Phillip Cooper, chief executive officer of BedBug Central, a research and information firm.
Companies attending the conference showed search and destroy methods ranging from bug-sniffing dogs to vacuum-like machines that spout carbon dioxide to freeze the bugs.

For example, The Bed Bug Baker features a heated tent that can hold a dining room’s worth of furniture to bake away bed bugs at home. For hotel room infestations, there’s an electric heater that can bake the whole room.

Another product is a dust made of crushed fossils called diatomaceous earth that can be sprinkled on floors. It kills bed bugs by dehydrating their shell. Bed bugs walk through the dust, which is also a desiccant, and gradually dry out, said Jeffrey White, an entomologist with BedBug Central.

The measures might seem exotic, but academics and inventors say the number of bed bug hiding spots in hospitals, hotels, homes or even on public transportation, make it hard to apply a “silver bullet” treatment.

While hotel infestations get the most attention, a new study conducted by the University of Kentucky showed college dormitories, nursing homes, hospitals and office buildings are the new battlegrounds. Pest control companies report double-digit growth from last year in treating bed bugs at each place.

“It’s no longer going to be the hotels that are the problem,” said Mike Lindsey, president of Bedbug Boxes. “So you’re going to have to keep chasing it around and find that solution for that particular place.”

Lindsey quit his six figures engineering job to chase the dream of being a bed bug entrepreneur.

He invented a box lined with what look like solar panels to heat clothes or luggage to temperatures that kill bed bugs after his family brought the pests home to Colorado from a Mexico vacation. Now he is marketing a suitcase that uses the same strips to roast any bed bugs inside.

Kenneth F. Haynes, a professor who studies insect behavior at the University of Kentucky, said people have a stigma about bed bugs, and are often embarrassed to get help treating an infestation. The industry is trying to defeat the stigma, which could unlock more customers.

For now, a scramble is on to tap a growing market. Once extermination products for the pest are widely accepted the need for a gathering of experts will fade away.

“We don’t have a roach conference. We don’t have a mouse conference. So, once we get to that point, there will be no need for a bed bug conference,” Cooper said.

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Milwaukee Puts Out Health Alert Against Bedbug Motel

29 Sep

9/29/2011 Milwaukee Puts Out Health Alert Against Bedbug Motel: Diamond Inn Has Massive Bedbug Problem With 279 Violations

The City of Milwaukee has put out a health alert at a motel in the city.

Prompted by repeat complaints, the Department of Neighborhood Services says the Diamond Inn, on the 6200 block of West Fond du Lac Avenue, has a massive bed bug problem.

The manager says they’re working on it.

Lakisha Lewis stayed there on Tuesday night, and she claims she was bit.

She showed TODAY’S TMJ4’s Diane Pathieu bit marks up and down her arm.

“I woke up this morning and I was itching,” said Lewis.

“My guy told me it was bed bugs.  I showed him the marks on my arm.”

This building is no stranger to problems.

“They have 279 violations since 2007, so it does have a history of a number of issues, both building code violations and sanitary and environmental conditions,” said Todd Weiler of the Department of Neighborhood Services.

This time, it was bed bugs.  Of the eight complaints received, all eight of the rooms were infested with bed bugs.

Shanda Rice cleans the rooms at the hotel, and she claims hotel staff has been aware of the problem.

“We’re treating it.  Every room is getting new carpet, everything else like that.”

The manager on site explained that the hotel’s owner is planning on re-doing the whole place, with new furniture, carpeting and beds in two weeks.

Until then, the DNS is warning them to clean up their act.

“We’re going to issue an order to restore it to clean and sanitary condition,” said Weiler.

“We’ll give them 30 days to do that, and also prove that they’ve specifically been treated for bed bugs by a professional.”

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Bedbugs Infest Ohio Homeless Shelter

21 Sep

9/21/2011 Bedbugs Infest Ohio Homeless Shelter: Toledo’s Cherry Street Mission Latest Victim Of Critters

Since spring, bedbugs have infested the Cherry Street Mission, which provides shelter and food for Toledo’s needy.

The pesky bugs have already been a problem in Ohio hotels and college dorms.

Exterminators have been brought in at least twice.

A man who lives there but did not want to be identified was bitten several times overnight on his arms.

“It’s like a burning, like a sting, like an open wound, you know what I mean?” he said. “The bad part is you open it up. Once you open it up, it spreads. You know the itching, the red marks and all that.”

The bedbugs are concentrating in the third floor bedrooms.

Blankets provide a great place to hide, and they can move from clothing to clothing, guest to guest.

“For a while one of our bunk rooms had carpet in it and we figured out that it was a giant bedbug hotel. And so we took out the carpet,” Steve North of the Cherry Street Mission said.

North says the shelter is above capacity, 170 men a night, and bedbugs are likely transferred as they come and go.

Besides the exterminators, they’ve even tried putting mattresses in freezers to freeze the bugs to death!

They keep coming back.

And it’s not just the Cherry Street Mission that is affected.

“I know for certain one of my staff members here in the men’s facility has been bitten by bedbugs himself, and that they have shown up at his house,” North said.

Guests have been told to use a bleach and water mixture to spray under their beds and their bed frames.

The Mission promises to continue treating the problem.

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Are We In A Bedbug Cycle Of Growth?

30 Aug

8/30/2011 Are We In A Bedbug Cycle Of Growth? 

“Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Largely eradicated by the early 1940s, bed bugs were almost unheard of until recently. As infestations continue to rise, some exterminators say avoiding bed bugs is becoming more difficult for area residents.

Fogle’s Pest Control owner Jimmie Fogle said he has seen a “moderate increase” in the number of cases over the last several months.

“They are coming back, but they are not as bad as 30-40 years ago,” Fogle said. “DDT was used then to kill them before it was banned by the government.

“They are attracted to cotton and wool. We find them mostly in bedrooms and the mattresses.”

The exact cause of bed bug resurgence remains unclear, although many exterminators feel increased travel is a key factor. According to the recently released NPMA/University of Kentucky 2011 “Bugs Without Borders” survey, 99 percent of pest control specialists have seen bed bug infestations in the past year.

Gressette Pest Management has seen a 30-40 percent increase in the number of bed bug calls this year over 2010. Company representative Gene Kizer says the insects have no mode of transportation except humans.

“I have my own theory, too,” Kizer said. “We see cycles of insects come and go and we are in a cycle of bed bug growth now. That happens with all insects.”

Orkin Pest Control entomologist Stoney Bachman said the number of bed bug cases has remained steady over the last three years.

“I’d say prior to that, they were unheard of in this area,” Bachman said. “Only recently have they become a household issue. Infestations can also spread in apartments because they can travel through walls.

“Five-star hotels in New York are having bed bug problems. More are actually seen in high-end homes because those individuals often travel more.”

The blood-feeding insects are reddish-brown in color, flat and about a quarter-inch long. Signs of activity include sores on the body where bites have occurred.

Gressette pest control technician L.W. Strock III said many people don’t attribute the bites to bed bugs unless it continues to happen.

“You will see blood stains on the bed sheets,” Strock said. “Having a lot of clutter in the room also gives them ample places to hide, which requires more invasive methods of treatment.

“Stores sell pesticides labeled for bed bugs and they can be somewhat effective as long as you follow the label to its entirety. But it will take you even longer to rid the problem using that compared to what is available to exterminators.”

Although some online information sites suggest there are simple precautions travelers can take to reduce the chance of transporting bed bugs, Kizer said there is little that can be done to prevent them. The eggs are smaller than a pinhead and can be transported on shoes.

Immature or even adult bugs can often stow away in luggage without detection.

“If people are suspicious they have bed bugs, they need to call an exterminator to come out and assess the situation,” Kizer said. “They are easy to identify and are not mistaken for any other insect.”

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Bedbugs Founds At Wake Forest University

15 Aug

8/15/2011 Bedbugs Found At Wake Forest University: Canine Search Turns Up In Residential Space On Campus

More bedbugs have been found in Winston-Salem — this time at Wake Forest University.

A university spokeswoman said last week that the university used a canine search team to check residential space on campus before students arrive for the fall semester.

“The canine teams did find evidence of bedbugs in a very small number of rooms, about 2 percent, and the rooms have been treated using a high-heat treatment that is considered by pest-control experts to be 100 percent effective,” spokeswoman Cheryl Walker said in an email.

There are about 1,700 rooms. A double room costs $3,775 per semester, she said.

The canine inspections began July 5. As attendees of summer camps and conferences began moving out of university facilities, crews began inspections and began treating the rooms, Walker said.

“University officials are confident that residence halls will be free of bedbugs when students arrive on campus.”

This isn’t the first time that bedbugs have made their way to Wake Forest University.

Bedbugs were detected last August in residence halls after students had arrived. About 15 students were affected, school officials said last year.

Heat treatment also was used to exterminate the bugs at that time. Pest-control experts say that turning the heat up to at least 120 degrees for a significant amount of time is effective in dealing with the problem.

In the past few weeks, the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem has also been dealing with the problem at Crystal Towers in downtown Winston-Salem.

Of Crystal Towers’ 201 units, 90 are being treated for bedbugs, officials said.

Exterminators were using heat treatment on the apartment building.

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BedBugs Continue To Infest The Northeast

26 Jul

7/26/2011 BedBugs Continue To Infest The Northeast:  Barre Vermont Hotel & New Haven Connecticut Apartment Amongst Places

Bedbugs Plague New Haven Apartment

A New Haven apartment building is dealing with some unwelcome guests; bed bugs.

Residents at 114 Bristol Street have been complaining about the pests for some time. While not every apartment has bed bugs, it seems everyone in the building knows about them.

“They’re itchy and some were biting,” said resident Kezzie Staton who so far has only heard about the bugs.

According to residents, exterminators have been inside the building over the past week although they are not sure if the exterminators have been able to kill the bed bugs.

Neighbors say that they hope the problem is taken care of soon before the problem spreads to everyone.

“Management sent them over to do something about it but the point is are they doing a good job? We don’t know,” said one resident who goes by the name Robinson.

The management company would not comment on the situation.

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Bedbugs Found In Barre Vermont Hotel

A Barre hotel is the latest victim to what officials are calling a world-wide epidemic, and bed bugs are to blame.

Bobby Weeks who found bed bugs in the hotel room said,  “We got flashlights out we found 23 of them in her bed, in her kids bed, on the floor, on the bureau.”

Weeks says his girlfriend’s room at the Budget Inn is infested with bugs. He’s now reaching out to local authorities.

Barre’s City Manager Steven Mackenzie explained, “Once we got the report it was to make an inspection, and make a determination.  In this case there were bed bugs confirmed.”

The city has ordered the Inn shut down three rooms on the second floor until they are properly treated by pest control.

Experts say travelers are a main carrier of the bed bugs, but say outbreaks are not limited to hotels and motels. In fact they say they see more calls these days from home owners.

State Entimologist Jon Turmel said, “There is that stigma, oh there are bed bugs that is dirty, that is just not true.”

Turmel says these bugs are not picky when it comes to temperature, season or location. He says they do not carry disease, or pose health concerns, but they are creepy, and annoying.

“I have gotten more calls and samples in the last two years than I have in the past 35 years, ” He explained.

Turmel suspects the reason for the ongoing bed bug problem is due to a reduction in chemical sprays used to get rid of all pests.

“We would go in to places once a week or once a month and treat all of the baseboards, and the heating units. Spray them for cockroaches. We do not do that anymore.”

Turmel says current treatments, like bed bug baits, or extreme temperatures, are more environmentally friendly, but are used once the bugs have already moved in, not as a preventative measure.

The Budget Inn says an exterminator has treated the room twice, and believes the current tenants brought the bugs with them.

Experts say at least four exterminators in the state have the temperature control equipment to kill the bugs, and two companies with bed bug sniffing dogs to help you identify if you have a problem.

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BedBugs Booked Into New York City Jails

10 Jul

7/10/2011 Bedbugs Booked Into New York City Jails: Staten Islands 120th Precinct Lockup Is Infested

A bedbug problem has spurred the NYPD to shut down the holding-cell area in the 120th Precinct station in St. George, leading the city’s Department of Correction to summon an exterminator to make sure the pests haven’t spread to the pens in Stapleton Criminal Court, according to multiple NYPD and court insiders.

For the last few days, prisoners have been diverted to holding cells in precincts off-Island while exterminators fumigate the holding cells, sources tell the Advance.

“The prisoners were relocated to another police holding facility while the problem is being addressed and the situation rectified,” confirmed Detective Cheryl Crispin, an NYPD spokeswoman, last night. She did not elaborate.

Now several police officers are worried that they might have brought the bedbugs home with them, sources said.

The holding cells at the precinct are notoriously grimy, and last month a masseuse filed a lawsuit against the city claiming she’d been held in a “filthy, unhygienic cell” last summer and forced to clean an overflowing toilet.

The latest problems unfolded when a prisoner being held in one of the cells complained about finding bedbugs, said sources.

The brass at the precinct looked into it, and “there were some critters found in the area where the cell attendant works,” according to one NYPD insider.

That led police to fumigate the cells on Wednesday, but it didn’t take — when prisoners started returning to the cells about 7 p.m., another bedbug complaint forced cops to shut the cells down again an hour later, police sources said.

“They’re trying to process as few people as they can through there,” said one source.

As of last night, prisoners were being rerouted to the 61st Precinct in Coney Island, as they await transfer to court, sources said.

The situation also has attracted the interest of the city Department of Correction, which is sending an exterminator into the holding cell area of the Stapleton Criminal Court, where criminal defendants are taken after being held at the precinct station.

“We are aware of concerns in the Staten Island 120 Precinct regarding bedbugs,” wrote Correction spokeswoman Sharman Stein in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “DOC will have an exterminator go out tomorrow [Friday] to inspect our Staten Island court facilities [holding pens]. If there is a problem, we will arrange to treat the pens with a combination of steam and chemicals when the pens are empty — over the weekend.”

She added, “At this time, we have no reports of staff or inmates complaining about bedbug bites.”

Arlene Hackel, a spokeswoman for the state court system, said the Stapleton Criminal Court building has had no problems with bedbugs, and that the court has been operating as normal.

One inmate was found to have a bedbug on him while in a transport van to the court, but “he was removed, and the van he was in was taken care of,” Ms. Hackel said.

One defense attorney, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that bedbugs have been a problem in the holding cells for several months, and about a month ago, a defendant emerged from a cell with “bites all over his body.”

Last month, 31-year-old Gabrielle Vignolini filed a federal lawsuit against the city, the NYPD and several unnamed officers, alleging she’d been held in one of the precinct station’s cells for 17 hours last August, then released without so much as a summons.

She contended the cell’s water fountain was broken and the toilet was overflowing and depositing waste and water onto the floor. Ms. Vignolini alleged that police denied her request to be placed in another lockup, and just before her release, a female officer ordered her and another prisoner — the owner of the spa where she’d been taken into custody — to wipe up the cell floor.

Ms. Vignolini is a licensed massage therapist and was working as an independent contractor at Morounfola Beauty Spa on Water Street in Stapleton, according to court papers. She was arrested during a sweep while the spa was holding a “friends-and-family event” for invited guests prior to the business’ public opening a week later, according to the lawsuit.

Ms. Vignolini alleges she was never issued a summons or arraigned on any criminal charges, and a spokesman for District Attorney Daniel Donovan confirmed that the office declined to charge Ms. Vignolini.

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