Bed bugs can get from place to place very easily.  It is extremely likely that they are in every state in the U.S., too.  This story below is of an experience a mother and son had in a hotel in Odessa with the unwanted pests.  Unfortunately these stories come about all too often.  But that is why extermination companies like us exist to help rid of the problems.  Read about the mother and son’s experience below.

Exterminators Say Bed Bugs Are Rampant in West Texas

Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS – A mother and son had just arrived to Odessa from New Mexico to get some sleep and save some money, they decided to stay at a bargain motel. That’s when they claim they found bed bugs and all their troubles started.

“She was like do you see anything, do you see anything, and I looked and there was nothing,” Joseph Lopez said.

“A little while later, I got up and down and up and down and looked in the mirror and I was getting bites all in my shoulders,” Sandra Swann said.
Soon the welts spread everywhere but the Ector County Health Department said the Sahara Motel checked out clean.
“Yeah, I wanna let them sleep in that bed for a night and tell us there’s no bugs in that room,” Lopez said.
Then we received surveillance videos of their arrival, in which you can see the bed of their truck had an exposed mattress. Also in it, Lopez is seen lightly scratching his head and hands. But the two are sure they didn’t bring the bugs in.
“I didn’t have anywhere near a scratch when I got there than I did as I left,” Lopez said.
But “The Buginator,” Trey Buesher says that it’s not unlikely if they had brought them in.

“They’re hitch hiking insects,” Buesher said.

He said bed bug cases have been reported in 48 of the 50 states. And in Texas, there’s not a city without the infestation. Plus, the little bugs can get anywhere. They might be small, but they move fast, reproduce quickly and pack a big punch or bite.
“You’ll scratch till you bleed,” Lopez said.
“You have to take the wall plugs off because they’ll penetrate through the wall and go from room to room that way,” Buesher said.
But more than anything, Buesher said it’s the paranoia that accompanies the bites, that has people itching.
“They’ve heard their stories all their life. Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” he said.
“I got the “heeby jeebies” or the “creepy crawlies” and everything you feel, you’re just paranoid. Paranoid,” Swann said.

He also said that four years ago his company used to get five to six calls a year to kill those vermin, now it’s five to six a week. Cleanliness is not associated with them, while places with high turnover, like hotels are.

“One of the smartest things you can do when you travel is to put your luggage and everything in black plastic bags, wrap them up tight and do not unpack, do not put them in the drawers, in the dressers that are in the motel rooms,” Buesher said.
If that fails companies like Bushwhackers are experts at killing them off with heat and other nifty tools, like slippery disks that serve as, “a pitfall type trap that they’ll fall into,” Buescher said.
“The Buginator” says heat is the best remedy for bed bugs. If you think you have them, just take off your clothes, sheets, and anything else and stick them in the drier on high heat for 30 minutes. Anything above 120 degrees Fahrenheit will kill them, although you need higher temperatures for the eggs.
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If you are worried you might be prone to picking up bed bugs, you can get specific mattress covers to put on your bed.  Of course, there are other prevention methods you can use, too, that we have discussed before, but not much is mentioned about a simple mattress cover.  Learn about why bed bugs love mattresses and which covers to use in the article below.


Bed Bug Mattress Covers

Most of us sleep on our mattresses without knowing what is lurks within. This topic is rarely discussed because ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ If people knew the kinds of parasites that reside in an unprotected mattress, there is no doubt they would make a beeline to purchase a mattress protector for all the mattresses in their household.

Some people think that because they practice turning their mattress over a couple times a year and put their mattress in the sun that this is sufficient. Others vacuum their mattresses in hopes they will remove dust mites or other bugs if they are present.

When we think about bed bugs, our skin begins to crawl. Just the thought of tiny blood-sucking insects crawling all over our body while we are asleep causes many of us to double check our bed before we get comfortable.

A Fearless Solution to a Pesky Problem

These bugs are definitely pests. They can be very difficult to eliminate once they have made our home, their home. They hide during the daytime in the small, dark cracks in our homes. They are nearly impossible to remove.

There is no need to fear: the solution is to avoid an infestation to begin with. A special mattress cover designed to avoid an infestation of these bloodsucking insects. Even if you are already dealing with an infestation, a cover for your mattress will still help alleviate the problem.

A protective cover is the initial step in ridding yourself of these tiny blood sucking insects or preventing them altogether. At this point in time, with the increasing rate of serious infestations, literally everyone is at risk.

The best mattress cover is a zippered encasement that is designed specifically to assist with the control of these pests. A zippered encasement will help make the process much easier for the extermination. If you aren’t infested, it can assist you in keeping your home free of them.

Infestations are Continuing to Grow and Everyone is Vulnerable

Predictions are that infestations will continue to increase through the year 2016. It has been said that the yearly infestation peak will be in the month of August.

It has been a common belief that they only reside in unkempt and dirty homes. This is not true. They have the fortitude to survive and flourish anywhere as long as they have a food source. This includes even the tidiest homes.

In the past few years, the infestations have reached levels that are considered to be an epidemic in the United States. The infestation rate is anticipated to double every year!

Why are They on the Rise?

Experts believe that the increased incidences of infestations are due to several things. Some believe that it is due to the ease of foreign travel, decreases in the countermeasures that homeowners are taking to prevent an invasion, and an increase in the use of second-hand furniture and clothing.

These uninvited guests’ find it very easy to enter your home. They will travel by attaching themselves to your clothes and body, in your luggage, or from the apartment next door. If you don’t notice them right away and they are given time to actually infest your home, getting rid of them is not an easy task.

The Longer the Infestation Goes On, the More Difficult it is to Eradicate

The worst part is that the longer your infestation continues the more expensive and difficult the process of extermination becomes. That is why preventing the infestation to begin with is the best answer to this potential problem. The way to assist in doing that is to get a mattress cover for all the beds in your home.

Without a mattress cover, it will usually take 3 to 6 months for homeowners to realize they have a bug problem that needs attention. This will make the extermination process quicker and easier. When the infestation is realized early on, it is much easier to terminate the problem.

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As you hear more and more stories of bed bugs popping up it is important to know of prevention and removal tips.  People of all ages should be aware of these things.  That is where the article below comes in.  Schools have begun teaching bed bug prevention to children in efforts to keep bed bugs out of the schools.  Read about this in the article from Entomology Today.

Teaching Curriculum for Bed Bug Prevention Proves Its Worth

When the big yellow bus arrives at school in the morning, it could be unloading more than just kids. In communities where bed bugs (Cimex lectularius Linnaeus) are present, children’s book bags are one of their favorite places to hitch a ride to a new home.

Preventing this kind of spread is a core element of integrated pest management (IPM) practices, but it requires education that changes people’s behavior. Bed Bugs and Book Bags, an experiential-learning curriculum available for free from the Jacksonville Bed Bug Task Force and the University of Florida, meets students at their level to instill awareness and knowledge about bed bug prevention.

As reported in a two-part series in 2016 in American Entomologist (read Part I and Part II), the curriculum was developed in response to a call to action from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2009. In some cases, schools that have resorted to pesticides to manage bed bug introductions have experienced further problems such as pesticide-related illness, and thus developing a curriculum was a “teachable moment to educate the public about the potential for IPM to reduce the incidence of transferring bed bugs from homes to schools,” according to authors Corraine A. McNeill of the Division of Science and Mathematics at Union College; Erin Harlow of the University of Florida Duval County Extension; and Rebecca Baldwin, Roberto M. Pereira, T. Grady Roberts, and Philip G. Koehler of the UF Department of Entomology.

Between 2011 and 2014, a collaborative group of insect scientists, educators, pest management professionals, public health officials, and social service agencies built and tested the curriculum on the principles of the 4-H experiential learning model and standards set by the Florida Department of Education.

It’s more than just a pamphlet or flyer; the third- through fifth-grade curriculum is a 103-page document that comprises a teacher’s guide and three learning topics with 10 lesson plans. Learning concepts include hygiene and health, critical thinking and understanding, environmental understanding, and more. Hands-on activities include crosswords, word searches, scavenger hunts, and card games.

Pilot testing of the curriculum showed positive learning outcomes across a variety of audiences. Teachers and fifth-graders showed the strongest knowledge gains between pre- and post-curriculum tests, but 4-H agents, master gardeners, and even pest management professionals in the pilot study showed knowledge gains via the bed bug curriculum.

That points to the curriculum’s value beyond its original young target audience. “Nearly half of the educators (47 percent) who downloaded the curriculum do not teach in typical classrooms. Their focus is on the general adult population,” the authors note. “Based on observations from delivering the curriculum across Florida, information from the curriculum will be incorporated into programs in shelters, churches, and a wide range of community facilities.”


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This year, a tropical species of bed bug reemerged in Florida after not being seen in the United States in over 60 years.  Now that there are two species of bed bugs residing in the country, research is being done comparing and contrasting them.  Read the article below by Brittany Campbell of Pest Control Technology to learn of those similarities and differences.


The New (Old) Bed Bugs: Tropical Bed Bugs

Bed Bug Supplement – Bed Bug Supplement

Tropical bed bugs are appearing again in Florida after a 70-year absence.

December 13, 2016
Brittany Campbell

Brittany Campbell

There are two species of bed bugs that have been resurging worldwide in the past two decades: tropical bed bugs (Cimex hemipterus) and common bed bugs (Cimex lectularius). Both species feed predominantly on humans and have similar behaviors; they both hide and aggregate in cracks and crevices; they both suck blood; and they both have the same life cycle — starting as eggs, developing into five different instars and finally molting to an adult.

Both of these species also are important from a public health perspective because their bites can cause itchy, rash-like reactions and many people who experience bed bugs often suffer from psychological distress. This distress has been reported as ranging from loss of sleep, anxiety, to even depression. Although tropical bed bugs and common bed bugs are similar, these species do have some marked differences.

First, both species seem to dominate in different areas of the world. The tropical bed bug, as the name suggests, lives in more tropical regions. This species dominates in areas of Asia, Africa and South America. The common bed bug dominates in more temperate climates and is the species we are the most familiar with in the United States. Thus far, the common bed bug has spread to all 50 states. A recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association with the University of Kentucky showed that two out of three pest management professionals in the United States believe that bed bug infestations are still increasing in number.

Bed bugs, regardless of the species, are moved around by people. The resurgence of bed bugs has been attributed to travel, increased insecticide resistance and changes in pesticide practices. Undoubtedly, the introduction of one species is similar to the other; they are both moved around the world in people’s luggage, backpacks, purses and other belongings. Therefore, tropical bed bugs certainly have been brought into the United States periodically, but have yet to either skyrocket in number like the common bed bug or they may have just been overlooked.

The common bed bug is on the left with the U-shaped pronotum, The tropical bed bug is on the right with a less U-shaped pronounced pronotum.

HOW THEY’RE DIFFERENT. A tropical bed bug infestation would look just like a common bed bug infestation. You would see live bugs potentially, depending on the level of infestation, and these live bugs would look just like a common bed bug to the untrained eye/without a microscope. You may even see the dark black fecal spots as well as the exuvia, or shed skins — remember both species are similar. However, once you get the bed bugs under a microscope — or maybe even a good hand lens — then you would see the tell-tale difference. The tropical bed bug’s “neck” or pronotum, just behind the head, is a different shape than the common bed bug. The common bed bug has a more excavated, or u-shaped pronotum.

The tropical bed bug has often been said to be in the United States, but no recent publications or documents have reported this since the 1940s until recently. After a 70-year absence, we (University of Florida researchers) received a sample of bed bugs that didn’t look quite like we were accustomed to seeing. After careful examination, we realized we had tropical bed bugs and then contacted the homeowners. According to the homeowners, no one in the house had traveled out of the United States or Florida. Thus, it seems like the tropical bed bug had established elsewhere in Florida and the homeowners had unknowingly brought them into their home.

Identification can be accomplished when the bed bugs are magnified. However, the differences are not pronounced, so it would be best to send samples to an extension office associated with a university. Many of the identification keys are not very straightforward and require the pronotum to be measured to ensure positive identification, especially in specimens where the pronotum shape cannot be easily differentiated between the two species.

FINAL THOUGHTS. There is still little known about tropical bed bugs. Much less research has been performed with this species compared to the common bed bug. It has been suggested that tropical bed bugs lay fewer eggs but develop faster than common bed bugs, potentially explaining their distribution differences world-wide. However, bed bug development times can vary when temperatures fluctuate or fluctuate even when bed bugs have been exposed to different insecticides. For instance, bed bugs with high levels of pyrethroid resistance have been shown to lay fewer eggs than their less-resistant relatives.

A tropical bed bug.

For now, until more research has been conducted, the same control measures that are are used against common bed bugs should potentially work against tropical bed bugs. Their similar biology should still allow many of the tools that we have found to work previously to be effective, including heat treatments, fumigation and chemicals. Of course, resistance is still an issue with tropical bed bugs, so rotating products may be necessary to gain control.

While tropical bed bugs have been documented in Florida, they have the potential to spread to other areas of the United States. Subtropical areas in other southern states could harbor this species, and homes with temperature-controlled climates inside also could help this species spread beyond its normal tropical distribution. Proper identification and awareness will help researchers and the industry alike determine whether this species will continue to spread and to determine if it is currently prevalent in other areas and potentially has been overlooked.

The author, Brittany Campbell, is a UF/IFAS doctoral student in entomology.

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