Tag Archives: Texas

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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Bedbug Pesticide Illnesses On The Rise

23 Sep

9/23/2011 Bedbug Pesticide Illnesses On The Rise: Several States Report Incidents

As more people in the United States are feeling the bed bug’s bite, there has been a spike in illnesses from pesticides used to kill the insects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC.L reported on Thursday.

From 2003 to 2010, 111 people were sickened and one died from bed bug insecticide, the government agency reported in a study that is the first of its kind in the country.

Nearly three quarters of the illnesses occurred from 2008 to 2010 as the bed bug population in the United States increased.

Pesticide-related illnesses occurred in seven states: California, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Texas and Washington. Some 81 percent of cases were not severe.

New York City, where there were increasing reports of bed bug infestations, had the largest number of cases at 58 percent. Nationwide, 93 percent of the cases were in private homes, the study found.

Although the CDC said there have not been enough cases of serious illness to suggest a large public health burden, the numbers might continue to increase as bed bugs become more resistant to common pesticides.

Bed bugs are wingless, reddish-brown insects that suck blood from humans and other mammals and birds. They do not carry disease but, according to the CDC, “can reduce quality of life by causing anxiety, discomfort and sleeplessness.”

Illness can result from misusing pesticides to kill the bugs, the CDC said. Two of the most common causes of illness were excessive insecticide application and failing to wash or change pesticide-treated bedding.

Common symptoms included headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, the CDC said.

The lone fatality was in North Carolina in 2010, and the 65-year-old victim had a long list of health problems including diabetes and renal failure, the CDC said.

Her husband applied pesticides in the home that were not registered for use on bed bugs. The woman also applied a bed bug and flea insecticide to her arms, sores on her chest, and on her hair.

The CDC recommends using both nonchemical and chemical approaches to fight bed bugs, including hiring an expert to heat infested rooms or cool them to kill the bugs.

The agency also advises against buying used mattresses and box springs and urges anyone with a bed bug problem to hire only certified insecticide applicators.

“Insecticide labels that are easy to read and understand also can help prevent illnesses associated with bed bug control,” the agency said. (Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Cynthia Johnston)

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Austin Spends Big To Get Rid Of Bedbugs

22 Aug

8/22/2011 Austin Texas Spends Big To Get Rid Of Bedbugs: Housing Authority Has Spent Over $40k Already

The Housing Authority of the City of Austin has spent nearly $40,000 over the past year fighting bedbugs in 15 of its 19 facilities.

Since September 2010, the authority has been treating the insects, whose bites leave itchy red welts on the skin. Over the past year, 166 of the housing authority’s 1,928 units have been treated for bedbugs, said Sylvia Blanco , vice president of housing and community development for the agency.

“There are peaks and valleys,” Blanco said. “It also depends on the season, but right now we’re having a spike because people are trying to get out of the heat. They’re staying indoors, and sometimes they’re bringing the bugs with them.”

Bedbug infestations in recent years have increased dramatically all over the country. The bugs have wreaked havoc in all kinds of buildings: luxury hotels, department stores and private homes, to name a few. Locally, they’ve hit student apartments around the University of Texas and the Austin State Supported Living Center, which houses people with intellectual disabilities. Austin Travis Integral Care has spent $14,000 over the past year battling the bugs in seven of its 46 properties for people with mental illness.

The Austin housing authority contracts with Oliver Termite and Pest Control for monthly treatments for roaches, ants and other insects at all its housing facilities, Blanco said. The company sprays for bedbugs after receiving a complaint from residents. Each apartment generally gets one treatment, which could include two or three visits from the exterminator, Blanco said.

“Maybe on occasion it could take a second treatment,” she said. “But typically it’s pretty effective in the first treatment.”

If the bugs come back after the warranty period, usually 30 days after the last treatment, residents are required to pay for additional service, Blanco said. That costs residents between $175 and $265 . The pest control company also speaks with residents extensively on ways to avoid a reinfestation, such as inspecting all furniture before bringing it into the apartment.

The housing authority does not deny treatment to anyone and tries to be flexible when charging residents, all of whom are low-income, Blanco said. Many people pay off the bill through a payment plan.

Bedbugs are notoriously hard to get rid of because they are nocturnal and elusive and can go more than a year without eating. They hide in crevices, in furniture, even in books. In apartment complexes, they can easily travel from unit to unit, said Missy Henriksen, spokeswoman for the National Pest Management Association in Virginia.

“They will crawl through the baseboards, cracks in the walls and the electrical outlets,” she said.

Even the most extensive treatments can be ineffective. The Fort Worth Housing Authority spent hundreds of thousands of dollars last year battling bedbugs in one apartment complex — even paying to replace carpets and treat residents’ belongings — but still had to permanently shutter the building when the bugs refused to surrender. More than 200 residents had to move.

Simmie Burke, 68 , said he had bedbugs about a year ago in his third-floor home at Austin’s Lakeside Apartments, a Trinity Street complex owned by the housing authority. The pest control company sprayed, he said, which slowed the insects down. But when the insects returned a few weeks later, Burke decided to battle the bugs on his own, treating the apartment and all of his belongings with pesticide .

“A lot of people have them, but they’re ashamed,” Burke said. “They shouldn’t be. It’s not about hygiene. They’re all over the place.”

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EPA Gives $550k Grants To Fight Bedbugs

7 Apr

4/7/2011 EPA Gives $550k Grants To Fight Bedbugs: 5 Grants To Be Given To State Organizations In Texas, Michigan, New Jersey, Maryland, & Missouri

Targeting social service agencies that serve low-income, minority and immigrant neighborhoods, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $550,000 in bed bug-control education and prevention grants, the agency announced Thursday.

According to a news release, the five grants will be used in communities where the plague of “bed bug pressures are significant but resources to address the problems are limited.”

Over the next 24 months state organizations from Texas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, and New Jersey will facilitate programs aimed at helping prevent widespread bed bug infestations.

For example, the EPA website lists the Maryland Department of Health and Hygiene as receiving $142,440. The money will go to develop and provide training as well as technical and material support to residents, service providers and retail firms that combat bed bugs in the 12 poorest ZIP codes of Baltimore and as well as county health offices throughout Maryland.

The grant would include training for the migrant workers of Caroline County, who are extremely vulnerable to bed bugs, the EPA said. The educational outreach programs seek to reach groups that serve transitional housing managers, vendors of second hand goods, healthcare providers, and local pest product providers, the EPA said.

Also listed on EPA website is a grant for New Jersey’s Rutgers University of $99,688. Rutgers will lead a statewide bed bug educational outreach program for low-income communities. The effectiveness of anti-bed bug programs will be measured through monitoring of all apartments in those communities and documenting pesticide usage over one year.

Due to the influx of bed bugs around the United States last year, the EPA hosted a national bed bug summit in early February.

The grants are a step to further educate the public about bed bugs. Last summer in New York several high end hotels, clothing stores Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, Niketown, and Victoria’s Secret, as well as an AMC movie theater in Times Square shut down due to a serious invasion of the insects.

The goal is to seek new approaches in managing bed bug problems. EPA spokesman Dale Kemery said, “Lessons learned from the grants will be available for use by other communities.”

Bed bugs, according to the EPA, are brown insects about 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long that feed on the blood of humans through biting. They are known to live up to a year without feeding.

Typical steps for ridding and preventing bed bug infestations include correctly identifying the bugs, and then physically removing the bugs through cleaning, applying appropriate pesticides, and reducing clutter.

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Texas Hotels Stepping Up Bedbug Inspections

2 Nov

11/2/10 Texas Hotels Stepping Up Bedbug Inspections

TYLER, TX (KLTV)- Bedbug infestations have certainly grabbed national attention, and the pesky critters have made their way to East Texas. Last week, bedbugs were reported at three Gilmer apartment units. One resident says the bugs invaded her home and left behind painful, itchy bites covering her arms and back.

As East Texas exterminators gear up to battle bedbugs, hotel managers are also stepping up inspections.

Hilton Garden Inn General Manager Cheyenne Whorton says his housekeeping crews are constantly inspecting for bedbugs. He says lately, bedbugs are the center piece of nearly every hotel conversation.

“I’ve had guest inquire what do you do to ensure that there are no bedbugs,” said Whorton. “I’ve had people call in advance say that they’ve had issues at other hotels and want to move to ours.”

Inspections start on a special mattress top designed to ward off bedbugs.

“If a bedbug were to get in this wool mattress topper, it would get caught up and not be able to move,” said Whorton.

What the eye can’t see, the hotel’s black light can.

“Through daily inspections, quarterly mattress top deep cleaning and black light inspection we’re much able to nip that in the bud,” he said.

It’s something future guests appreciate. “At least they’re aware of the problem and making some sort of effort to fix it,” said one traveler.

For some travelers, that’s not enough. Regine Dewberry says her husband double checks.

“He lifts up all the sheets, the blankets and sheets, lifts it up and down and sprays it with Lysol,” she said.

Extra precautions taken now to avoid those painful bites later. “I saw this guy on TV that got bit by them and his bite is like this big,” said Julia Musselwhite.

“If we find that a guest has brought bedbugs with them, we can make sure that we rid the bedbugs in that room before it spreads to a different room,” said Whorton.

So far, Whorton’s daily inspections seem to be working.

“We’ve had no bedbugs,” he said. Words every traveler wants to hear.

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