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Bed Bug FREE Holidays

Every year, we open our homes to spend the holidays with close friends and family. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, millions of people travel by plane, train or automobile to spend time with their loved ones. But in addition to clean sheets and towels, holiday hosts should also prepare their homes for an unexpected visitor known to hitchhike with travelers: bed bugs.

With the 2011 Holiday Season officially upon us, BBFS thought we’d take a minute to share some Travel Tips to avoid the vampire hitchhikers and enjoy a Bed Bug FREE Holiday. With a little education, awareness and diligence you can be sure that aren’t bringing any unwanted guests home for the holidays.

Bed bugs cling to baggage, backpacks and clothing, and have been found on airplanes, in hotels and on buses. Travelers are easily susceptible to the pests without even knowing it. And once they are brought into a home, it can be extremely difficult and costly to get rid of them.

Traveling ( or Planes,Trains & Automobiles )

Unfortunately, with the increases in reported bed bug cases in major forms of transportation comes the realization that many of the business “road warriors” that frequent our more infested cities have assisted in the spread of the bed bugs this year. That means that if you are flying, renting a car or taking the train, you should take a few steps to protect yourself AND your luggage this holiday season.

  1. Take a Look: When getting to your assigned seat, your rental car or your train car, take the time to visually inspect any areas where you will be sitting, standing or laying down for an extended periods of time. Use a flashlight if possible to check creases, cracks and crevices for evidence of bed bugs such as stains, nymphs and/or shed cask skins.
  2. Watch your backside: Protect yourself by investing in some temporary seat covers which provide additional protection, can be cleaned and reused and which offer some peace of mind for the truly paranoid
  3. Bag It and Tag It: Protect your luggage by investing in some encasements for your bags or at least bring some plastic or ziploc bags to temporarily hold your bags while they are placed on the floors of planes, trains, buses or rental cars.
  4. Stop ‘Em at the Door: Bed Bugs biting you en route isn’t the problem, its bringing them home to setup shop at your place, your parents place or at a friends. The way to keep this from happening is with stringent preventive measures. Establish a “bed bug checkpoint” for all of your travel items. Don’t bring luggage or carry-ons inside your home, but empty them outside and wash clothes and anything else that’s washable. A hot dryer will also kill bedbugs, so dry anything you don’t want to wash. Keeping your luggage wrapped in plastic and in the trunk of a car in the sun will give some added protection and peace of mind.

Staying Abroad: ( Hotel Hell )

Prior to checking in, visit BedBugRegistry.com, to research past reports about your location. Understand that The Bed Bug Registry is a 100% user-generated site with little or no reporting management. As with anything on the web, it should be taken with a grain of salt (or in the case of Bed Bugs, a spoonful of DE). Contact hotel management before checking in, to find out their policies and procedures for handling bed bugs. Having a proactive prevention and maintenance plan in place is key to successful elimination.

Be aware and observant of your surroundings. Investigate all areas you plan on lying down, sitting or standing still in, for any extended period of time. This is important, since bed bugs are attracted to the heat and carbon dioxide your body produces.

Inspect rooms you are visiting:

  • Use a flashlight to look for bugs or blood spots in corners, cracks and crevices
  • Behind the headboard (lift off brackets on the wall)
  • Along the seams, crevices and piping around the mattress
  • Under the mattress pad and under the sheets
  • Along the edges and underneath the box spring
  • Around joints in bedside tables (including drawers) and pictures above the bed

Steps you can take:

  • Never set luggage on the bed or floor
  • When entering a foreign room, place luggage in the bathtub and do an inspection, then store luggage on racks set away from the wall or hang items up
  • Bring your own hangers for items that will be pressed or hung up
  • Visually inspect the ironing board PRIOR to using it, there have been reports of bed bugs on these items since they are often removed/cleaned with the hotel linens causing exposures.
When you get home:
  • Put any suspect items in sealed plastic bags until you can heat treat them or have them professionally treated with Sulfuryl Flouride.
  • Put everything you can into the dryer on HIGH (122 degrees minimum for 60 minutes)

Staying Home (ugh! The “in-law” are coming Home for the Holidays )

If you’re having guests at your house for the holidays, follow the tips below to help minimize the chance of bed bugs hitchhiking in on them.

  • Before guests arrive, reduce clutter and vacuum floors, rugs and curtains.
  • Also, encase every mattress, box spring and pillow with protectors that feature bed bug proof fabric and reinforced seams and zippers.
  • Don’t allow anyone to wear shoes inside the home. Leave shoes outside, place them in sealed plastic bins or bags and/or heat treat them in the dryer.
  • Keep a designated place where guests can keep their coats, purses, etc. and do not place belongings on couches, beds, etc.
  • Have your home pre-treated by a referred pest control operator before the holidays for added protection.

We here at BBFS hope this information helps you have the best possible 2011 Holiday Season if your staying home and having guests, if your traveling for family/friends, or if you are simply getting away for some gourmet turkey fixings or winter wonderland fun. Help spread the word and share this blog and information with your closest friends & family. Happy Holidays from BBFS!

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CDC Study: One Death, 100+ Illnesses linked to Bed Bug Targeting Insecticides

Thinking about tackling that bed bug problem in your building by yourself? You might want to think again or at least get a second opinion before you pull the pin on that “bug bomb” in your hand. According to a recent report by the CDC and EPA, from 2003-2010 nearly 111 cases of illness and one fatality were attributed to insecticides used in targeting Bed Bugs (Cimex Lectularius). Here is a brief summary of the findings:

Bed bug populations and infestations are increasing in the United States and internationally (3,5). Bed bug infestations often are treated with insecticides, but insecticide resistance is a problem, and excessive use of insecticides or use of insecticides contrary to label directions can raise the potential for human toxicity. To assess the frequency of illness from insecticides used to control bed bugs, relevant cases from 2003–2010 were sought from the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR)-Pesticides program and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). Cases were identified in seven states: California, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Texas, and Washington. A total of 111 illnesses associated with bed bug–related insecticide use were identified; although 90 (81%) were low severity, one fatality occurred. Pyrethroids, pyrethrins, or both were implicated in 99 (89%) of the cases, including the fatality. The most common factors contributing to illness were excessive insecticide application, failure to wash or change pesticide-treated bedding, and inadequate notification of pesticide application. Although few cases of illnesses associated with insecticides used to control bed bugs have been reported, recommendations to prevent this problem from escalating include educating the public about effective bed bug management.

Although the number of acute illnesses from insecticides used to control bed bugs does not suggest a large public health burden, increases in bed bug populations that are resistant to commonly available insecticides might result in increased misuse of pesticides. Public health recommendations to prevent illnesses associated with insecticides used to control bed bugs include media campaigns to educate the public about bed bug–related issues, including nonchemical methods to control bed bugs, methods to prevent bed bug infestation (e.g., avoiding the purchase of used mattresses and box springs), and prudent use of effective insecticides (3). Persons who have a bed bug infestation should be encouraged to seek the services of a certified applicator who uses an IPM approach to avoid pesticide misuse. Persons applying insecticides should follow product instructions for safe and appropriate use. Insecticide labels that are easy to read and understand also can help prevent illnesses associated with bed bug control.

Many of the reported cases were do-it-yourselfers who misused the chemicals or used the wrong product.  Most of the cases were in New York City, the apparent epicenter of the recent U.S. bed bug comeback. For more information on safely treating your bed bug problem, contact BBFS at 1-877-966-4824 (No-ITCH) or visit our EDUCATION section on the BBFS website!

Top 10 Bed Bug Infestation Spots

bed bugs, bed bug fumigation, bed bugs top 10, BBFS

Bed Bugs are no longer restricted to people's homes and apartments. Watching out for potential bed bug infestation points during your day can greatly reduce your risk of infestation.

Sure, we’ve all heard the nursery rhyme, and we’ve all seen the pictures of rooms cluttered with bed bugs, their nasty skins and droppings, and read the news stories about bed bug infestations, their resistance to pesticides and how they are increasing to pandemic levels throughout the United States. But you are still thinking that you only have to worry about Bed Bugs at home and at Hotels right? RIGHT? Wrong. Here is a Travel Channel list of the Top 10 Bed Bug Infestation Spots (where you are most likely to be exposed and/or bring these little vampire hitchhikers home).

  1. Public Libraries
  2. Retail Stores
  3. Movie Theaters
  4. Planes, Trains and Buses
  5. Daycares, Schools and Colleges
  6. Places of Worship
  7. Business Offices
  8. Laundry Facilities
  9. Hospitals and Nursing Homes
  10. Consignment, Thrift and Rental Stores

In other news, Vikane (Sulfuryl Flouride) Fumigation is 100% effective against all life stages of the pesky bed bug, including the hard to control egg stage. One single fumigation treatment to a structure, a container or a moving/rental truck and/or its belongings can eradicate the source population, prevent any pesticide resistant generations from continuing to unnaturally evolve, and make future preventative measures (such as a defined Integrated Pest Management program) more successful. DOW Vikane Fumigation is the only 100% effective eradication method for all stages of bug infestation that leaves no detectable residue.

Bed Bug Fumigation Specialists (BBFS) is the industry leading Vikane Fumigation Treatment Service specializing in bed bugs, termites, clothes moths, powder post beetles and other pest infestations. With over 40 years of collective fumigation experience, BBFS is the company with the record you can count on. Our professionals have safely completed more than 50,000 fumigations in our history, including over 2500 successful bed bug eradications in NYC alone. BBFS is also a recipient of DOW AgroSciences Commitment to Excellence (CTE) award for safely administering Vikane for thousands of customers.

July is Here and So are the New York Bed Bugs…and Ticks Too?

July is Here and So are the New York Bed Bugs…and Ticks Too?.

 

As expected, Assured Environments, New York’s largest pest management company, has had an increase in bed bug service requests recently. But the recent outbreak of ticks in New York and surge in tick-related calls within the past two weeks has surpassed the levels of the past 25 years and have left many in the industry and the area concerned.

 

As many had expected, and some others predicted, bed bugs have returned to New York this summer. However, the issue that really has Assured Environments perplexed is the uncanny amount of tick-related calls that have been received this year.

Assured Environments – the largest, privately owned pest solutions-company in New York – has seen bed bug resurgence again this summer. “Bed bug calls lagged in the early part of this year but are now starting to cause problems again for many New Yorkers,” explains Barry Beck, COO of Assured Environments. In June and July alone, Assured has handled over 330 bed bug service calls. “This increase of calls is not unexpected as the reproductive cycle of bed bugs is faster in warmer months, leading to more infestations and cause for concern.”

However, the pest control industry veteran is astonished with the latest outbreak of an uncommon NYC household pest: ticks. “In my 30-plus years in this industry I have never seen anything like this. We just received 4 independent calls regarding ticks yesterday alone,” says Beck. Already this year, Assured Environments has provided service for 8-times as many tick-related calls than in previous years.

 

UNNATURAL Selection: Bed Bugs now HARDER to kill!

Lab researchers have shown that today’s generation of bed bugs can survive 1000x higher the lethal dose of chemicals of only a decade ago. Recently, the Ohio State University released the first genetic study of bed bugs, which showed that bed bugs are developing a variety ways to resist the chemicals being used to control them. That means that the pesticides being used in the growing bed bug war are actually making our opponents STRONGER! Check out this video from Wall Street Journal Science Writer, Robert Lee Hought.

“While bedbugs are poised to become one of the major household pests across the United States in the coming years, we know very little about their genetic makeup and their mechanisms of resistance to insecticides,” said Omprakash Mittapalli, corresponding author of  the study and an assistant professor of entomology with the university’sOhio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Repeated applications of the same killing agent (pesticide) spurs a form of evolution, called Unnatural Selection. Any subsequent generations of the same bed bug population (ie: 1 single BB egg survives or one egg laying adult survives) then the next generations have the encoded information on how to increase their resiliency to that same agent. Evidence of this can be seen in the regional practices and techniques within the Pest Control industry. In New York City, the bed bugs found there are 250x more resilient to the most common pesticides versus their cousins from the south in Florida. 250x more resilient!!! Experts say that this is one of the key reasons that bed bugs are making a resurgence worldwide.

Bed Bug Fumigation Specialists, Vikane, Fume Cube

In other news, Vikane (Sulfuryl Flouride) Fumigation is 100% effective against all life stages of the pesky bed bug, including the hard to control egg stage. One single fumigation treatment to a structure and/or its belongings can eradicate the source population, prevent any pesticide resistant generations from continuing to unnaturally evolve, and make future preventative measures (such as a defined Integrated Pest Management program). DOW Vikane Fumigation is the only 100% effective eradication method for all stages of bug infestation that leaves no detectable residue.

Bed Bug Fumigation Specialists (BBFS) is the industry leading Vikane Fumigation Treatment Service specializing in bed bugs, termites, clothes moths, powder post beetles and other pest infestations. With over 40 years of collective fumigation experience, BBFS is the company with the record you can count on. Our professionals have safely completed more than 50,000 fumigations in our history, including over 2500 successful bed bug eradications in NYC alone. BBFS is also a recipient of DOW AgroSciences Commitment to Excellence (CTE) award for safely administering Vikane for thousands of customers.