Preventing a Bed Bug Infestation When You Return Home From Traveling

Written By: Admin

Archive For: August 2013

Category Name: bed bugs

Bed bug infestations continue to increase every year, and this can pose a stressful problem if your home becomes infected. Bed bug bites can cause rashes, itchiness, and possible severe allergic reactions depending on how your body reacts to a bite. Unfortunately, humans can not feel a bed bug biting them, so you can be resting peacefully, but wake up covered in rashes!

It is very common for bed bugs to invade your home after they latch onto your luggage while you are on vacation.  Here is a step-by-step guide to make sure you do not take bed bugs home when you return from travelling!

Inspect Hotel Room for Bed Bugs

  1. Always place your luggage bag on a rack with steel legs in your hotel room. Steel is too slick for bed bugs to climb.
  2. Temporarily remove the sheets from the bed and inspect the piping on the mattress for bed bugs and insects.
  3. After you have inspected the mattress, inspect the bed’s headboard and the nightstands.

With these steps, you can prevent bringing home bedbugs from vacation.

Preventing Bed Bugs When You Return Home

In case you may have not seen bed bugs in your hotel room, here is another process to make sure there are none on your luggage when you do return home. Remember, never unpack your bags in a bed room or living room of any kind.

  1. Take your luggage bags with everything inside of it into your garage. If you do not have a garage, take it into the kitchen or an outside parking lot.
  2. Take all of the clothing you took for travelling, including the clothes you are wearing once you get home, and place it all inside a plastic bag.
  3. Take the bag directly to the washer and wash all clothes, even if they were unused. If the clothing travelled, WASH IT. Use the highest temperature water and drier setting that you can use without ruining your clothing.
  4. Go back to your empty suitcase and vacuum it both inside and out to remove bed bugs.
  5. Dispose the vacuum bag in a trash can that is outside. If the vacuum is bagless, dump the contents of the vacuum in a trash can outside.
  6. For further precautions, put alcohol on a cotton ball, and rub the cotton ball on narrow crevices of your luggage that your vacuum could not go in between.

For anything you can’t wash (ex. shoes), place it in a bag and leave the bag in a garage or out in the sun for a minimum of one day in order to kill the bed bugs. High temperatures kill bed bugs.  If you can’t find a high temperature location to place the bag, carefully inspect the items for bed bugs before you place them in your home.

Never place luggage or clothes on your bed.

For a visual demonstration, here is a video:

Bed Bug Lawsuits, Apartment Buildings & Headaches

Written By: Admin

Archive For: August 2013

Category Name: bed bugs

Owning an apartment building can come with a variety of headaches.  Hot water heaters can go bad and rupture, air conditioning and heating units can go out.  Those issues are just the tip of the iceberg.  A new problem has emerged, which is making life even more difficult for apartment landlords and their tenants.  What issue is causing so much trouble?  Two words: bed bugs.

Bed Bug Lawsuits for How Much Money??!!

Bed bugs have become a serious issue in the rental world, and they will likely get worse before they get better.  A recent headline caught many apartment landlords’ attention:  “Tenants File $10 Million Lawsuit Due to Bed Bugs and Other Apartment Problems.”  Believe it or not, that is a real headline.  If you’re an apartment landlord or property owner, this is a scary concept and one that should definitely get your attention.

Back in December of 2011, tenants of the Cordova Estates Apartments in Rancho Cordova, California said they had reached their breaking point with bed bugs and filed a $10 million lawsuit.  The price tag might seem surreal, until further reading shows that the suit didn’t involve one or two tenants, but a whopping 97!  This also underscores how serious the problem of bed bugs currently is in the rental housing community.  Undetected and unaddressed bed bugs can spread quickly when left unchecked.

A Wide Range of Real Estate Woes

As though this lawsuit isn’t enough to get the attention of landlords and rental companies everywhere, there are other lawsuits as well.  For example, a jury in Annapolis, Maryland recently awarded a renter $800,000 over a bed bug infestation, and it took the jury a mere 15 minutes to reach their decision.  According to the Baltimore Sun, the bed bug victim in question, Faika Shaaban, developed a severe rash as soon as she moved into the apartment building.

Lawyer Tom Campbell told the Baltimore Sun, “You are going to see a rapid growth of bedbug claims over the next decade. There are enough lawyers who are getting trained so that people will be able to find lawyers, so that people will find a way to get relief.”  You can be sure that apartment building owners and large rental companies are paying close attention to developments of this nature.  The bottom line is that apartment building owners are not the only ones that may end up having a bite taken out of them!

Additional research about the severity of bed bugs and lawsuits has been compiled and shared at Bedbugs.org.  They’ve outlined some of the biggest cases to date as well as other information on the topic of bed bug infestations in apartments and homes.  They cite several important cases including cases in Staten Island, NY, Nashville, Virginia Beach, VA and a case at Portland State University.  The case at Portland State University is interesting, as it underscores the fact that the issue of bed bugs isn’t just an issue for apartment building landlords, but it is one that also impacts universities and colleges as well due to student housing.

In short, apartment building owners, hotels and even universities and colleges need to be aware of this growing problem and develop strategies for dealing with bed bugs.  Since a bed bug infestation can dramatically and negatively impact many people, it is a problem that isn’t easily swept under the rug.  In the case of bed bugs, it is highly prudent for apartment building owners, hotels, universities and colleges to take preventative measures well in advance of a problem.  Failure to do so could be highly costly and problematic.  Be proactive by contacting a bed bug specialist who can assist you in detecting and treating bed bugs before bed bug lawsuits become an issue.

Bed Bugs in Schools? What Next?

Written By: Admin

Archive For: August 2013

Category Name: bed bugs

Maybe you liked school, but if you didn’t, brace yourself for an idea so horrible that it is difficult to contemplate.  Bed bugs in schools. Whether you loved your years spent in school or absolutely hated them, one fact is certain: bed bugs would not have improved your experience.  Unfortunately, students across the country are being forced to add a “B” to the “Three R’s,” and that “B” stands for bed bugs!

Ask any mom, and she will quickly tell you that if there is cold or flu making its way through a school system, the odds are pretty good that her child will also get a case of the sniffles.  However, bugs are a different issue, regardless of whether we’re discussing head lice or bed bugs.  A child’s immune system, of course, plays a role in whether or not he or she will develop a cold or flu.  But one’s immunity has nothing to do with whether or not bed bugs jump on board in a backpack and take a little ride to your home, where they’ll take up residence.

How bad is the problem of bed bugs in schools?  Many states now have bed bug programs and educational programs with tips for what to do about these icky bugs.  Two factors have greatly contributed to this slowly building potential nightmare.  The first is that bed bugs, like most bugs, breed very quickly. The second factor is that they can be carried on a long list of different items.  The Maine School System points out the bed bugs can be carried to school by students or even staff (yes, let’s blame it on the teachers!) via “backpacks, clothing, furniture, or other belongings.”  So, in other words, stopping bed bugs seems impossible.

How are schools handling the very real and serious issue of bed bugs?  That is also a potential problem where the cure would be worse than the disease.  The number one solution that many schools gravitate towards is pesticides, which, of course, could be quite problematic for many reasons.

The Maine School System cites Penn State University on their site and strongly encourages schools to resist the use of pesticides when attempting to treat a bed bug issue.  They explain, “Resist demands that may arise to ‘spray the school’ for bed bugs, even if this comes from a contracted pest control service. Because of the isolated nature of any potential infestation, bed bugs’ habits, their resistance to most commonly used pesticides and the constant likelihood of re-infestation by new hitchhikers, pesticides do not solve the problem.”  It would seem that pesticides are not the answer when addressing the issue of bed bugs in schools.  So what is the answer?

Bed bugs in schools are a trickier issue than dealing with bed bugs in a more isolated environment, such as a home.  More people, goods and materials are moving in and out of a school than a home.  All of this adds up to one big headache for parents, students and most definitely schools.

School systems facing a bed bug problem in school have a significant problem on their hands, but the good news is that the bugs are not indestructible.  The University of Minnesota is tackling the problem of bed bugs in schools and have outlined a few excellent recommendations.  At the top of the list is finding the problem and then proceeding to isolate it. The offending item or items should be placed in a ziplock bag, student items should be inspected and the infected areas cleaned.  Vacuuming can also be helpful, but it is necessary to follow specific methods in order for cleaning to be effective.  Surprisingly, special bed bug detecting dogs can be brought in to literally “sniff out” the problem.

Houston, We Have a Bed Bug Problem

Written By: Admin

Archive For: August 2013

Category Name: bed bugs

Houston has long been seen as an epicenter for commerce and new innovations. Yet, perplexingly, it is also now seen as a hotbed of another kind of activity – bed bugs.  Obviously, Houston doesn’t want to earn a reputation for being home to billions of unfriendly bed bugs.  But that is the current state of affairs for one of America’s most iconic cities.

What is happening in Houston that has caused such an increase in the bed bug population?  Surely, it’s more than the old “everything is bigger in Texas” argument?  Let’s dive in and try to determine what exactly is happening in the Lone Star State.

First, it is important to step back and realize that until recently, bed bugs were mostly a thing of the past.  In fact, bed bugs had almost become an urban myth to most people.  Yet, they have returned in force and are hitting Houston pretty hard.

Yet, Texas can rejoice, sort of, as it turns out Houston doesn’t top the list for US cities with the largest population of bed bugs.  A recently compiled “Top 15” list of cities with the most bed bugs indicates that Houston actually comes in 15th.  In fact, even Dallas ranks higher.  Here is the full list, courtesy of  KTRK-TV Houston.

1. Sacramento

2. Milwaukee

3. Las Vegas

4. Columbus

5. Baltimore

6. Riverside-San Bernardino

7. St. Louis

8. Cleveland

9. Louisville

10. Denver

11. Los Angeles

12. San Francisco

13. Dallas-Ft. Worth

14. Nashville

15.  Houston

Travel is a Major Factor in the Spread of Bed Bugs

Confusion remains as to where all of these bed bugs are coming from.  Travel seems to be a major contributor to the problem.  Travelers taking trips overseas have become increasingly common.  While the United States mostly wiped out its bed bug problem in the 1950s and 1960s, the same can’t be said for the rest of the world.

The globalization of the marketplace, coupled with affordable interactional air travel has led to more than people seeing the world.  Travelers are bring home more than stories and pictures, they are also bringing home little friends on their clothing and in their luggage.  Gross, yes, but it is also an old story as people throughout history have brought new diseases and literally bugs along with them when traveling.

Bed Bugs Love to Check into Hotels Too

The Kentucky Director for the Department of Public Health, Guy F. Delius stated recently, “Bed bugs were almost eradicated (in the late 1950s and 1960s) but they are making a comeback now because more people are traveling, riding buses and planes and staying in hotels all over the world and bring things back to the United States with them.”  Hotels are another problem for those who travel, as hotels around the world are having a great deal of trouble dealing with bed bugs.  If you want to report a hotel that is a bed bug hotspot or just check out what hotels may have extra bed bugs to spare, then visit The Bedbug Registry.

Good Precautionary Measures to Prevent Bed Bugs

If you travel and are worried about bed bugs, and you should be, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk.  One step is to place your suitcase, along with travel clothing, in a plastic trash bag and leave these items out in the sun for a couple of days.  This will kill any bed bugs that might have been taking a ride with you.  You will also want to wash your clothing in hot water as well.

Anywhere people congregate, such as school, apartment complexes or hotels, can help breed germs and, as it turns out, bed bugs as well.  Fighting bed bugs might not be something you ever wanted to do and it might not be easy, but with some planning, it is possible.

If you’re concerned that bed bugs might have hitched a ride home with you during your last trip, call a bed bug expert for a free inspection.

Landlord May Be Biggest Issue When Dealing with Bed Bug Problem

Written By: Admin

Archive For: June 2013

Category Name: bed bugs

Have you been waking up in the mornings with itchy red bumps? Are you finding mysterious spots on your bed and have no idea how they got there? It’s likely that you are the victim of those notorious night stalkers known as bed bugs.  If you live in an apartment, you may be surprised to learn that it’s not always up to the landlord to treat your bed bug problem.

What should I do if I think I have bed bugs?

If you suspect that you might have bed bugs, your first course of action should be to call a pest control expert that specializes in bed bugs.  A proper diagnosis is the first step to get rid of bed bugs.  A reputable bed bug pest control service will quickly send someone to examine your home and may even use a bed bug detector dog to verify an infestation.

Once the bed bug problem has been properly diagnosed, treating bed bugs can be complicated, especially if you rent your living space.  Many people mistakenly believe that bed bugs are a problem that ‘dirty’ people have and are embarrassed to report the issue to their landlord.  This is in an incorrect assumption.

Rising levels of bed bug problems in Austin and throughout the country have shown that all classes of society suffer from bed bugs.  Business travelers bring them home in their suitcases just as easily as someone purchasing second-hand furniture can introduce them to a new living space.

Is a landlord required to treat bed bugs in apartment?

Be sure to document when you reported bed bugs to your landlord.  Also take pictures of any bugs you have found and the damage they have left behind, including soiled bed linens and bites.  Laws vary in different states, but it is not uncommon for landlords to expect tenants to treat their own bed bug problems. If you encounter resistance or your landlord is refusing to treat bed bug problems, review your lease to see if you have any legal course of action.

Can I sue my landlord for bed bugs?

Lawsuits stemming from bed bug complaints are on the rise around the country.  Hotel guests have sued large hotel chains, including the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, for bed bug incidents.  Several people have won lawsuits against their landlords that include compensation for replacement of household belongings, pain and suffering and mental anguish associated with living in a bed bug infested apartment.

Filing a lawsuit is a long and tedious process.  While the suit is ongoing you will continue to be subjected to bed bug bites while you sleep and the infestation will continue to get worse.  The longer the problem is left untreated, the more damage the bed bugs will cause.  As they reproduce they will invade more areas of your home.

Should I move if my landlord won’t treat my bed bug problem?

Moving will not remedy your bed bug problem.  Bed bugs hide in seams of furniture, crevices of mattresses and in couch cushions.  Taking your furniture to a new apartment will not provide relief, because that’s where many of the bed bugs live.  Unless you plan to throw away all of your furniture and start fresh, you will likely experience the same problems in your new home.  Effectively treating bed bugs is the best cure.

A specialized bed bug expert can use heat remediation to heat your entire home to a temperature sufficient to kill bed bugs, their nymphs and the eggs.  If you’ve been suffering from bed bug bites you know that the peace of mind associated with knowing they are all dead and won’t come back is priceless.