Places bed bugs can hide

Going to library to check out your favorite book? You could be checking out your worst nightmare…a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs have found a new way to get into homes and that is though books checked out in public libraries. They hide as unassuming stowaways on your favorite novels and get into your bed when you lay down to do some reading. Because they are so small, they often go unnoticed. This allows the infestation to grow. Be vigilante and be sure to check anything that goes in and out of your home to prevent infestation.

READING in bed, once considered a relatively safe pastime, is now seen by some as a riskier proposition.

That’s because bedbugs have discovered a new way to hitchhike in and out of beds: library books. It turns out that tiny bedbugs and their eggs can hide in the spines of hardcover books. The bugs crawl out at night to feed, find a new home in a headboard, and soon readers are enjoying not only plot twists but post-bite welts.

As libraries are scrambling to deal with the problem, so are some book borrowers. Not wanting to spread the misery, considerate patrons sometimes call ahead to discuss with librarians how best to return lent materials from their bedbug-infested homes. Usually, a meeting is arranged so the patron can hand off the offending books or DVDs in Ziploc bags to an employee outside the library.

John Furman, the owner of Boot-a-Pest, a team of bedbug exterminators based on Long Island, said he has had hundreds of clients buy a portable heater called PackTite to kill bedbug life, baking any used or borrowed book as a preventive measure before taking it to bed.

Mark Lillis of Schendel Pest Services examines quarantined crates filled with library books in Wichita, Kan. Credit Steve Hebert for The New York Times
But others have stopped borrowing books altogether. Each month, Angelica McAdoo, a jewelry designer, and her children used to bring home a stack of books from the Los Angeles Central Library — until Mrs. McAdoo heard that the library had had a bedbug scare in September. She had already battled bedbugs in her two-bedroom apartment in East Hollywood and hired an exterminator, who sprayed the perimeter of her bookshelves with pesticide, among other precautions.

For now, she is buying books at Target and is ambivalent about borrowing library books again. “I will not step foot in a library ever again — right now,” she said.

To reassure skittish patrons like Mrs. McAdoo, libraries are training circulation staff members to look for carcasses and live insects. Some employees treat suspect books with heat before re-shelving them, to kill bedbugs, which are about the size of an apple seed when fully grown. Others vacuum the crevices of couches, and some furniture is being reupholstered with vinyl or leatherette to make it less hospitable to insects.

As Michael Potter, a professor of entomology at University of Kentucky in Lexington, noted: “There’s no question in past few years there are more and more reports of bedbugs showing up in libraries.”

Pest-control experts say the bugs are increasingly moving from homes, dorms and other lodging to settings like retail stores, offices and libraries, migrating not only in book spines, but also on patrons or their belongings.

And some librarians are not only confronting the public relations challenges in their communities, but trying to get ahead of the problem rather than hiding its existence.

Read more at: http://nyti.ms/1NyjG7d

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Why are bed bugs on the rise?

Although bed bugs have been around for quite some time, there is a huge resurgence of these pesky creatures and many are wondering why. The answer is very simple but there are a lot of factors that play into it. Since humans are traveling at much higher rates and are living closer together in metropolitan places, bed bugs are able to infest more places through luggage and human hosts and go from one shared living space to another with ease.

Brooke Borel was a young science reporter when her Brooklyn apartment became infested with bedbugs. Three times. The experience showed her how much bedbugs can turn people’s lives upside down, and how hard they are to get rid of.

For her new book, Infested: How the Bed Bug Infiltrated Our Bedrooms and Took Over the World, she set off on a journey of discovery to find out everything she could about this vicious little critter that has plagued humanity since before we even had beds.

Talking from her (de-infested) apartment in New York, she explains the origins of the bedbug in bat-infested caves and why they’re on the rise today, pulls the curtain back on bedbug sex, and offers practical advice for those unlucky enough to become infested.

Picture of the cover of Infested by Brooke Borel
COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS 

Cimex lectulariusaka the bedbug, is one of the most repulsive critters on Earth. What attracted a nice girl like you to it?

Well, I had bedbugs in New York three times, starting in 2004. I’m a science reporter, and the second and third time, I became really interested in them and started writing short news articles about them. Reporting those, I realized there was an opportunity for a larger project because of the stories I was hearing from entomologists.

What attracts them to us?

They’re attracted to the CO2 in our breath and the heat of our bodies. Other blood feeders like the mosquito are attracted to some of the other hundreds of chemicals we emit, so it may be that they’re also detecting those. Bedbugs only eat blood, so they need us not to breed but to live.

These things are not just painful—they’re almost impossible to get rid of, aren’t they? Tell us about some of the extraordinary measures that people use.

If you’re following the instructions from a pest control operator, it still is a difficult process to go through. You have to take all of your laundry and bedding to the Laundromat and wash and dry it at high temperatures. You will also probably have to use insecticide sprays, although those are working less and less because the bedbugs have built resistance to many that we’re able to use in our bedrooms.

Devastating effects of bed bugs

Most people don’t realize that bed bugs are so completely harmful. Not only do they cause anxiety, often property damage, can damage reputations if mismanaged, but there are people who are allergic to their bites. This can cause huge health problems for individuals that are allergic to bed bug bites. Read more below.

Want another reason to fear bed bugs? They can sometimes set off allergic reactions, asthma attacks and anaphylaxis according to allergists at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Phoenix, Nov 11-16.

Most individuals bitten by bed bugs get red bite marks that are mildly itchy. But those who are allergic can experience intense itching, swelling, redness, hives and blisters. The bugs can trigger asthma if a large group of them become airborne. And, although rare, those who are highly allergic to the bites may experience anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction that can cause trouble breathing, hives or swelling or tightness of the throat

The source of the reaction often goes undetected because symptoms can be written off as flea or horse fly bites, said allergist Richard deShazo, MD, of the ACAAI Insect Hypersensitivity Committee. If you have allergies or asthma and you don t know the cause of your skin irritation, see your allergist.

Those allergic to bed bug bites notice their bites become increasingly itchy. Scratching them can lead to infection. Allergists treat the bites with antihistamines and corticosteroid creams. Allergists are specially trained to treat asthma and can help patients who are having asthma flare ups due to bed bugs.

Allergists attending the ACAAI meeting will attend a workshop to better familiarize themselves with the growing epidemic of bed bugs, best diagnostic approaches, and approaches to insect extermination. Allergists receive training in reactions to insects, including wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, fire ants, stinging flies, bed bugs, and others as a part of their clinical training and are an excellent resource for patients who think they may have insect reactions.

Read more at: http://acaai.org/news/allergic-bed-bugs

Why home remedies may cost you in the long run

Most people implicitly trust products that are sold in stores because we assume that they had to go through the FDA or some other form of evaluation that guarantees their effectiveness. This is one of the most potentially devastating misconceptions people have. The FDA does not regulate an alarming number of products that are available and when it comes to products claiming they can kill bed bugs, almost all of these products don’t do what they say that will.

Don’t fall for the hype on quick remedies for killing and preventing bed bugs. Federal regulators say they lodged deceptive advertising charges against two companies marketing anti-bed bug products.

There’s no evidence that the ingredients in “Rest Easy” and “Best Yet!,” – including cinnamon, lemongrass and cedar oil – can eliminate or prevent bed bugs, the Federal Trade Commission said Monday.

“Best Yet!,” sold by Cedarcide Industries Inc., also claims to treat head lice. Also deceptive, the FTC says.

The agency sued Cedarcide and RMB Group LLC, marketer of “Rest Easy,” in federal court. RMB and its owners agreed in a settlement to make no claims that their product or any pesticide kills or repels bed bugs or creates a barrier against them.

Read more at: http://huff.to/1J5BL6G

Hotels and bed bugs

Just because it isn’t your bed, doesn’t mean there aren’t bugs in it. There have been huge infestations uncovered in hotels around the country. People are scared and for good reason. This new information of infestation is hurting the hotel industry in quite a few ways.

In 2010, it seemed all but impossible to escape bedbug infestation and paranoiain New York City. Almost everyone knew someone that had to deal with them; I remember guilt-ridden conversations of how to politely escape social gatherings at the homes of friends who had had them.

That year was the peak of bedbugs in New York. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development reports that infestation cases have been falling since thenlast year’s case number—2,268—is less than half of what it once was.

Nevertheless, bedbugs are still a huge concern for the hospitality industry.  The reason isn’t merely the bugs themselves, but how travelers choose their accommodations these days: online, guided by the reviews of their fellow travelers. And those online reviews can do real damage to a hotel if there is just the slightest hint of a bedbug infestation.

That’s the finding of three researchers—Michael Potter, veteran entomologist, and agricultural economists Jerrod Penn and Wuyang Hu at the University of Kentucky—who teamed up to look at the economic impact of bedbugs for the hotel industry. Their forthcoming report was funded by Protect-A-Bed (a company that makes mattress protectors), and it shows that bedbug reports lowered the value of a hotel room by $21 for leisure travelers and $38 for business travelers.

The researchers conducted a survey of more than 2,100 respondents, asking them what factors were important to them when picking a hotel. In order to mimic the way bedbug information would be discovered in real life as travelers booked hotels online, Penn explained, the information about bedbugs required a couple extra clicks from the participant. They found that bedbugs were at the top of people’s lists of concerns when picking a hotel. Further, if an actual bedbug was found—participants reported it as the number one reason they’d leave the hotel immediately.

Read more at: http://theatln.tc/1KjaI8H

Is it a bed bug?

Bed bugs are an increasingly common problem in the United States. There is so much fear and anxiety surrounding these creatures (mostly for good reason), that causes many people to misidentify their infestation as bed bugs. To be sure, read this article about the common culprits that may resemble bed bugs. If you still have questions, be sure to call Arizona Heat Pest for a free quote and inspection so that you will know for sure what you are dealing with.

Bed bug identification resources:

  • All bed bug life stages
  • Life cycle with images
  • Gif of a bed bug
  • Illustrated guide to identifying bed bugs
  • Identification of bed bugs close relatives

Note: flattened body, rusty brown coloured (less so in younger nymphs, which are more translucent). Thin 4 segmented antennae. 11 segmented abdomen. Short legs (6 of them) and reduced wings incapable of flight.


These are insects or other invertebrates commonly misidentified as bedbugs!

Not bed bugs.

  1. Carpet beetle larvae (Dermestidae) and adult – More Info
  2. Bat bug (Cimex adjunctus pictured) – More Info
  3. Cockroach nymphs – More Info
  4. Tick (nymphs) – More Info
  5. Woodlouse – More Info
  6. Kissing bugs – More Info
  7. Booklice/barklice – More Info
  8. Smooth spider beetle – More Info
  9. Drugstore beetle – More Info

Note: If it has wings or more than 6 legs, it is not a bed bug. Do not mistake antennae for legs, look at the illustrated guide to avoid confusion.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1ovdl4h

Offices are not impervious to bed bug infestation

Many people say that working in an office is one of the most safe things that a person can choose for a career but new research is suggesting that there are a lot of aspects about working in an office that can really hurt your health. One of them, is the likelihood of bed bugs being in your office. You may think it’s impossible but even the nicest buildings have been known to be infested from time to time.

 “YOUR SOFTWARE’S BUGS ARE NOTHING COMPARED WITH THE REAL-LIFE CRITTERS LURKING.”
Modern office workers have much bigger problems than a bad boss – or should we say smaller? From Google’s corporate offices to the bureaus of the Internal Revenue Service, even the most secure workplaces have fallen prey to increasingly brazen trespassers: bedbugs. A survey by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky found that 38% of extermination companies treated bedbugs in office buildings in 2011, compared with only 18% in 2010. The office environment is the ideal habitat for not only bedbugs but also roaches and other insects who thrive in the climate-controlled digs, feed on workers’ crumbs (or their flesh) and stretch their legs at night when all the humans go home (allowing them to survive longer undetected), says Orkin’s Baumann.

Even bedbugs, which need human blood to survive and normally come out at night while their targets are sleeping, will alter their habits in offices and bite people during the daytime. The office safari doesn’t end there: Occupational safety consultants like Towles have seen a range of wildlife invade the workplace, including birds, rodents, small snakes and even venomous brown recluse spiders, lurking in office drawers and file storage areas. “That’s called a bad day,” Baumann says.
And employees have more than bug bites and diseases spread by pests to worry about – experts report seeing workers shunned by their colleagues after an infestation is found in their desk.

Read more on how to prevent bed bugs at work here: http://bit.ly/1m5aC0m

Post traumatic stress from bed bug infestation

Bed bug infestations can be the very definition of trauma as these pests infiltrate people’s lives in so many harmful ways. There are stigmas that surround bed bugs, making it a socially awkward situation that can make it hard to ask for help. You may have to get rid of sentimental possessions or vacate your home. It can influence your daily routine including work, school and more. But these are just some of the things that can go wrong when you are infested by bed bugs. Read one individual’s account of their experience with infestation.

Many people do not understand the psychological toll that bed bugs can take on those living with infestations. Bed bugs attack you when you are at your most vulnerable, asleep in your bed. As common as the bed bug problem is, many people do not hear about the honest truth of what it is really like to live with these pests.

Right now, everything I own is in garbage bags piled up in the middle of my kitchen and bathroom and filling my shower. It’s been that way for a week and a half and will continue to be so for at least another week on top of that. If you live in a major city, you might know what’s coming. If not, welcome to the hell that is bed bugs.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had bed bugs. Nor the second. It’s the third, and this time it’s taken two visits from the exterminators to (hopefully) rid our apartment of the tiny beasts. Luckily we were able to catch the bugs early before they got a real hold on the apartment. Unluckily, that’s mostly because rather than mosquito-esque little bumps, my bites turn into hardened ping-pong ball sized welts that itch for over a week. So when we have bed bugs, I know pretty quickly. And each time everything goes into bags. I stop sleeping. I avoid furniture on the street. I refuse to enter libraries.

I used to joke that I had bed bug PTSD. There’s a certain kind of anxiety that the seemingly invisible biters incite. But in fact, it might not be a joke. Research is starting to show that bed bug infections can leave people with anxiety, depression, and paranoia. And that’s normal. In fact, it would be weird for you not to be freaked out, says Stéphane Perron, a doctor and researcher at the University of Montreal. “If you have bed bugs, and if you don’t care, that’s not a normal reaction. You should be worried. I would consider it a normal reaction to a stressor.”

Read more at: http://theatln.tc/1wf2on5

Bed bugs spreading rapidly

Bed bugs can have devastating effects on those who are infested by them. Unfortunately, the number of people who have felt the bed bugs bite is rising at an alarming rate in the United States as bed bugs are finding more and more vulnerable places to penetrate. So here’s the skinny on everything US bed bug infestations.

Bed bugs are small, parasitic insects that crawl out like vampires in the night, feeding on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Although they’re found worldwide, bed bugs were considered largely eradicated in the US until recent decades.

Now, they’re spreading rapidly in North America, including in the US where they’ve been detected in every state. Cleanliness is no deterrent for these pesky creatures, and they’ve popped up everywhere from five-star resorts and cruise ships to libraries, schools, and day care centers.

While a bed bug may go for months without eating, they prefer to feed every several days, and will travel up to 100 feet to find a meal (although most live within eight feet of a sleeping surface).1

Bed bugs typically hide during the day, in mattress seams, bed frames, headboards, dressers, behind wallpaper, and any other small crack or crevice they can find. This is why one of the first things you should do while traveling is to check your sleeping area thoroughly for bed bugs or signs that they’re around (like feces).

Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?

Bed bugs are more of a nuisance than a danger, although they can prompt serious allergic reactions in some people. Although more than 40 human diseases have been detected in bed bugs, they’re not known to spread diseases, although evidence in this area is lacking.2

Their bites can cause significant itching, however, which can in turn lead to a secondary skin infection if excessive scratching damages your skin. They can also lead to loss of sleep, although this is typically due to anxiety over the bed bugs and not the bites themselves. When you’re bitten by a bed bug, it injects anesthetic and anticoagulant at the same time, so you won’t feel the bite until later.

Anywhere from a day to several days later red, swollen bumps, similar to mosquito bites, will appear, typically on your neck, arms, hands, and face (although they can be anywhere on your body). They may itch or feel irritated, but try not to scratch them.

The psychological toll that bed bugs exact can be steep, however. There is one case report showing a woman who committed suicide following repeated bed bug infestations in her apartment, and the researchers concluded, the bed bug infestations were the likely trigger for the onset a negative psychological state that ultimately led to suicide.”3

Research has also shown that people who have experienced bed bugs in their living environment are significantly more likely to report anxiety and sleep disturbances.4 Emotional distress and even psychological and emotional effects associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have also been reported after bed-bug infestations.

How to Detect a Bed Bud Infestation – and the Top 10 Bed Bug Cities

Bed bugs’ bodies are flat and range in size from one to seven millimeters (mm). Their shape, combined with their reddish-brown color, makes it easy for bed bugs to hide out along baseboards and the folds of luggage, bedding, folded clothing, furniture, and more.

If you look carefully, you may be able to spot bed bugs near your sleeping area, but they may also be present if you detect the following signs:5

  • Bed bug exoskeletons, which are released after molting
  • Rust-colored blood spots on mattresses or furniture (this is from their blood-filled fecal matter)
  • A sweet, musty odor

While bed bugs are found year-round, infestations tend to peak during the summer months, perhaps because more people are travelling during this time. And if you’ll be travelling, you might be interested to know if you’re going to one of the worst cities for bed bugs in the US, as compiled in Orkin Pest Control’s 2014 Bed Bug Cities List:6

  1. Chicago, IL
  2. Detroit, MI
  3. Columbus, OH
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Cleveland, OH
  6. Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  7. Cincinnati, OH
  8. Denver, CO
  9. Richmond-Petersburg, VA
  10. Dayton, OHRead more at: http://bit.ly/1iQ6Jui

New research on the way bed bugs move

Understanding the way that bed bugs move is an important step in being able to stop them from continuing to reproduce and feed on unsuspecting human beings. This study is an interesting look into bed bug movement and how it has developed.

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 4.57.07 PM

Bed bugs are very clever in the way that they are able to move from home to home and there is still not a lot of research that has taken place into exactly how these pests are able to infiltrate. A new study from Rutgers however is showing all kinds of patterns of bed bug behavior. When and how often they move and exactly how they travel from home is home is just some of the information found in this study. By understanding bed bug behavior it is exponentially easier to prevent an infestation.

Rutgers University researchers, Drs. Richard Cooper, Changlu Wang, and Narinderpal Singh, investigated bed bug movement within and between apartments to see how far bed bugs moved in this setting. The report, titled “Mark-Release-Recapture Reveals Extensive Movement of Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) within and between Apartments” appears in the most recent issue of PLOS One.

An abstract follows:
Understanding movement and dispersal of the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) under field conditions is important in the control of infestations and for managing the spread of bed bugs to new locations. We investigated bed bug movement within and between apartments using mark-release-recapture (m-r-r) technique combined with apartment-wide monitoring using pitfall-style interceptors. Bed bugs were collected, marked, and released in six apartments. The distribution of marked and unmarked bed bugs in these apartments and their 24 neighboring units were monitored over 32 days. Extensive movement of marked bed bugs within and between apartments occurred regardless of the number of bed bugs released or presence/absence of a host. Comparison of marked and unmarked bed bug distributions confirms that the extensive bed bug activity observed was not an artifact of the m-r-r technique used. Marked bed bugs were recovered in apartments neighboring five of six m-r-r apartments. Their dispersal rates at 14 or 15 d were 0.0–5.0%. The estimated number of bed bugs per apartment in the six m-r-r apartments was 2,433–14,291 at 4–7 d after release. Longevity of bed bugs in the absence of a host was recorded in a vacant apartment. Marked large nymphs (3rd– 5th instar), adult females, and adult males continued to be recovered up to 57, 113, and 134 d after host absence, respectively. Among the naturally existing unmarked bed bugs, unfed small nymphs (1st– 2nd instar) were recovered up to 134 d; large nymphs and adults were still found at 155 d when the study ended. Our findings provide important insight into the behavioral ecology of bed bugs in infested apartments and have significant implications in regards to eradication programs and managing the spread of bed bugs within multi-occupancy dwellings.
Read more at: http://bit.ly/1LKbzQ8