Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Outwitting Bedbugs

As covered in previous articles, bedbugs, officially know as C. lectularius, are on the rise throughout the United States. Travel is often to blame for the spread of pests, and bedbugs are no exception: The more people move around, the more bedbugs spread. Bedbugs have a happy relationship with humans: The more of us there are, the more food there is for bedbugs. Bedbugs don't kill or cause disease, so there's no chance of their food source dying off.

If you're hitting the road anytime in the next thousand years, before there's a permanent solution to America's bedbug problem, you might consider taking along a sleep sack. Slip into this lightweight, silk sack and there's a barrier between you and the hotel's less-than-bedbug-free bedding.

In addition to checking Trip Advisor for reviews, you might want to see if the hotel you're planning on staying at is listed on the Bed Bug Registry. While the Bed Bug Registry isn't comprehensive, it's a don't-miss website to check before each trip.

Bedbugs aren't just in hotels. They're now in movie theaters, offices, retail stores, and, of course, in many used mattresses and other furniture. You know those comfy seats that movie theaters have?  Bedbugs love them, too, and for hours that you're munching on popcorn, bedbugs could be enjoying their snack -- you.  Bedbugs don't carry disease, a weird ecological quirk for a biting insect. But they are unpleasant and can cause reactions in sensitive people. And, to be honest, if you've got bedbugs, you're on your way to losing all your friends.

Here's something you absolutely didn't want to know about bedbugs, but should. From a question and answer article on MSNBC:
Question: Will a bedbug ever bite a reproductive body part? 
Answer: Yes. They do not discriminate; any body part that is accessible and with good blood flow is fair game to a bedbug.
Eradicating bedbugs is hard. Start with washing everything on hot, but that's only going to partially solve your bedbug problem. Sorry. But if you suspect bedbugs, it's time to call in a professional. A professional bedbug exterminator will be able to do two things. The first is to figure out what rooms have bedbugs:  a bedbug sniffing dog does the trick for that step. The second is to kill the suckers, usually with a combination of pesticides and heat. Because the room in which bedbugs are found has to be heated to 140 degrees.

By the way, if you're feeling anxious and desperate about bedbugs and have a DYI spirit, you can buy a bedbug detection dog.

In the Washington, DC area you can contact American Pest or Bed Bug Exterminators (who use unmarked cars so as not to needlessly worry your neighbors)

If you think you have bedbugs, act quickly. The sooner you work to get rid of them, the easier it's going to be.

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