In many situations heat is the best bed bug control option, but these treatments require specialized equipment, and a team of highly trained technicians.
Bed bugs have long been a part of our world. Bed bugs became a concern about 10 years ago as tourists staying at East Coast hotels began reporting bites. Because bed bugs are efficient “hitch- hikers,” these infested travelers inadvertently carried bed bugs to other hotels as well as into their homes. Today, there are reports of bed bugs on the East and West Coasts, and they are becoming more prominent in the Midwest.
According to2010 research, 95% of pest control companies reported encountering a bed bug infestation in the prior year. By contrast, before 2000, only 25% of pest control companies surveyed had encountered a bed bug infestation. Recently, the rate of increase in the spread of bed bugs has slowed. This is most likely due to an increased public awareness and the development of more effective control methods. However, the battle is ongoing because many strains of bed bugs have demonstrated a resistance to pesticides.
Identifying an Infestation.
While clutter in a room can provide bed bugs with safe and cozy hiding places, the cleanliness of a site has nothing to do with an infestation. Bed bugs feed primarily on blood and emerge from hiding places, usually at night, drawn out by body heat and by the CO2 we exhale. To date, they have not been shown to transmit disease, but can bite several times in one location and leave saliva in the wounds, which can cause raised welts that resemble mosquito bites or hives. Needless to say, these bites are at least uncomfortable, and the presence of bed bugs can psychologically impact people.
Bed bugs typically are found in areas where humans have spent some time sleeping. Such areas might include the seams of mattresses, in box springs, headboards and in the tiny cracks of bed frames. They may also find harborage in the upholstery of chairs and other furniture, around the edges of carpets, and in the baseboards and moldings of infested rooms. They generally seek shelter within striking distance of humans.
About the size of appleseeds, adult bed bugs can fit into tiny nooks and crevices, and lay their eggs anywhere. Bed bugs can lay dormant for extended periods of time when no host is present and studies have shown that adult bed bugs can survive for months without feeding. You can visually identify them by finding live insects, their eggs, or their molted skins. Inspections may also uncover feces, which look like tiny black dots and are typically found near where they live.
Three Main Options to Eliminate Bedbugs
There are three primary methods to eliminate bed bugs: fumigation, pesticides and heat. All of these can work in specific situations and all have limitations. For example, fumigation can work well on mattresses, clothing, luggage or other items that can be sealed in an airtight casing or container. However, for a large room or building, a fumigation can involve considerable expense and inconvenience.
There are more than 300 chemical pesticides certified for use against bed bugs, and bed bugs exhibit resistance to many of them. Additionally, pesticides cannot always be applied to fabrics or upholstery to ensure the destruction of bed bug eggs. Many times there is a need for repeated follow-up treatments and inspections.
Heat for bedbug extermination is an effective tool because it can kill all stages of bed bugs, including eggs; it requires that the property owner leave the space for several hours while heat equipment is set up and the treatment is being performed. When done properly and carefully, heat can eliminate a bed bug infestation in one treatment, although follow-up inspections and touching up areas with pesticide applications are advisable.
Close to Ideal
While no solution for eliminating bed bugs is 100% foolproof, the heat treatment may be the most effective method available. Heat treatments require specialized equipment, and a team of highly trained technicians to set up, monitor, and to ensure that an effective treatment has been provided.
As bed bugs continue to spread and become increasingly resistant to pesticides, heat treatments can offer good results in a short time frame. Because this method can be much more successful at the outset than other methods, it may require fewer follow-ups and have you on your way to being bug free sooner. With its history of success, heat treatment is definitely worth looking into.
For more information on exterminating bedbugs, contact EHS Pest.