Tag Archives: Minnesota

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.”

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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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Minnesota Home: Worst BedBug Infestation Exterminator Has Ever Seen

6 Feb

2/6/2011 Minnesota Home Worst BedBug Infestation Exterminator Has Seen:  Minneapolis Bungalow Needs $6,000 In Extermination Services

It is in many ways an all-American home.

Well kept and tidy, with the Stars and Stripes fluttering near the sidewalk.

It could belong to your grandmother, but inside the Minneapolis bungalow, trouble scampers beneath the sheets.

“We’re seeing all types of adults, nymphs, basically all stages of bedbug activity here,” says Chris Garcia of Adam’s Pest Control as he lifts a mattress to expose dozens of crawling creatures, some as large as pencil erasers.

The elderly owner of the home sleeps in one of the bedrooms, her head just inches from an electrical outlet swarming with bedbugs.

At night they feed on her.

Blood stains have soaked into her pillow.

“This is definitely the worst I’ve seen,” says Garcia, who works with the efficiency of an exterminator who has seen a lot.

“This is fecal matter,” Garcia points out as he lifts a stained mattress in another bedroom used for sleeping by an elderly man.

Bedbugs scamper.

The woman and her housemate have tried for more than two years to gain control of the infestation, ripping up carpets and spraying over-the-counter pesticides — but it is obvious their efforts failed. In a bedroom closet, hundreds of bedbugs crawl over each other inside a running shoe.

The infestation is extreme, but it is hardly isolated.

Once nearly wiped out by strong – but now banned – pesticides like DDT, bedbugs have waged an aggressive comeback.

“Bedbugs are hitchhikers so they spread by getting on your luggage and on your clothes,” explains Todd Leyse, the president of Adam’s Pest Control. “Every year we’re seeing 30 to 100 percent more bedbug jobs than the previous year, for about the last 11 years.”

Leyse and his crew are using portable furnaces to heat the Minneapolis house to 135 degrees – a temperature lethal for bedbugs.

It’s a costly procedure.

The owner of the home was given an estimate of more than $6000 to rid her house of the pests. It was more than she could afford. She would have been lost without a new program called “Project Good Night,” launched by Adam’s Pest Control and the non-profit group Bridging Inc.

Bridging hopes to raise $150,000 in private donations to help others who don’t have the means to eradicate bedbugs from their homes. Adam’s has pledged another $150,000 in matching funds.

“I thought that we would meet the needs of everyone in a very short period of time, but the need continues and it’s getting worse,” said Jim Elfering, operations manager for Bridging.

Garcia says the Minneapolis home will likely need follow-up visits to kill every last bedbug, but even in the midst of the worst infestation he’s ever seen, he is optimistic.

“We’re going to save this house.”

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BedBug Invasion Not Leaving Minnesota Or Wisconsin Anytime Soon

30 Oct

10/30/10 BedBug Invasion Not Leaving Minnesota Or Wisconsin Anytime Soon

DULUTH-Ten years or so ago, bed bugs weren’t a problem, but now, Minnesota and Wisconsin are among the leading states for this blood-sucking bug.  And, the worst part, they’re here to stay.

Experts say bed bugs are at their prime across the country and in the Northland, multiplying in places where a lot of people live, such as apartments.

“I woke up in the morning, a couple mornings in a row because I had bites all over my legs,” said Callie Good, a senior at UMD.

An exterminator was on the scene Friday at the Tri-Tower apartments in Duluth. Building officials said they couldn’t confirm if the problem was bed bugs because their director was out of town.

But, residents there said they’ve been warned about potential bed bug problems.

It’s a common concern that’s now growing even into your home.

Todd Leyse, a national bed bug speaker and president of Adam’s Pest Control, which covers the Northland.  He said you’ll usually find bed bugs when it’s too late.

“Bite marks on a person, blood spots on sheets, mattresses.  Third thing would be cask skins or live bugs themselves,” said Leyse.

The best advice to kill these buggers, call a professional.

“This is not the sort of pest for do-it-yourself-ers are going to see success with.”

Continue Reading More: BedBug Invasion Not Leaving Minnesota Or Wisconsin Anytime Soon