Thursday, May 27, 2010

Creepy critters in your couch, carpets and mattress

Even if you sleep alone, you’re still sharing your bed. Mattresses harbor a variety of tiny critters. Dust mites are microscope bugs that thrive on dead skin cells from humans and pets.

A typical mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside. A single dust mite produces about 20 waste droppings each day. The proteins in the combination of feces and shed skin are what cause people to have allerigic reactions, which can range from itchy eyes to asthma attacks. Ten percent of the weight of a two year old pillow can be from dead mites and their droppings. Mites are in your carpets and couches, but they prefer warm, moist surroundings such as the inside of a mattress when someone is on it.

The most effective way to control dust mites is to enclose the mattress top and sides with an airtight plastic or polyurethane cover, and wash your sheets, pillows and blankets in very hot water

Bed bugs are another critter that can hide in your mattress. These are small insects that feed on blood from humans and other mammals and are active at night when people are sleeping. Adult bed bugs have flat, rusty red oval bodies, are about the size of an apple seed, and often hide in cracks in furniture, floors or walls.

A homeowner needs to hire a licensed pest control company that to treat bed bugs. It is important to combine insecticide treatments with laundering bed linens, vacuuming rooms and cleaning mattresses.

Sourced: Atlanta Home & Living ExaminerKelly George

Bed bugs bite Bakersfield man at local motel

Bed bugs bite Bakersfield man at local motel
John Medeiros contacted 17 News claiming that enormous welts on his back and arms came from a local motel room that was infested with bed bugs. The Kern County Environmental Health Department is taking this complaint very seriously, because once the bed bugs bite, the likelihood they will travel other places is very high. Medeiros says the large welts appeared all over his arms and back after he stayed at a local motel last week. He says a doctor told him he was bitten by bed bugs and Medeiros says there is no doubt in his mind it came from the motel bed. I thought it was like a flea or fly or something like that, Medeiros said. I swatted it and a couple minutes later the same thing, and this time I pressed on it and it was a reddish-brownish bug. The room Medeiros stayed in last week was occupied so 17 News couldn't inspect it for bed bugs. However, just three doors down, we inspected the seams of a different motel mattress and looked under the bed for any signs of bed bugs. Bed bugs also like to hide behind the headboard which in this case didn't move because it was screwed into the wall. None of the tiny bugs were found in that room, but Environmental Health Director Matt Constantine says that doesn't mean the motel is in the clear. It's sometimes difficult to find them and depending on where they're hiding or living, that could present a challenge to identifying if they are present, Constantine said. There were reports of bed bugs at this motel in 2008, but because of the possible adverse effect it would have on his business, 17 News is not naming the motel until Constantine confirms that there were in fact bed bugs in that room. The environmental health team will inspect the motel tomorrow and search Mediero's room for any signs of the critters. Mediero says he has hired an attorney and is seeking reimbursement for medical expenses and all of his personal belongings which he said he was forced to throw away because they were infested with bed bugs. We will let you know what the health department's inspection reveals.

Sourced: KGET-TV

Monday, May 24, 2010

Presence of 'bed bugs' inside buses troubles passengers

Presence of 'bed bugs' inside buses troubles passengers

Aizawl, May 23 2010: In what could be termed as 'troublesome' for the passengers boarding night and day bus services, numbers of bed bug on the seats of these buses have created uneasiness and troubled to the passengers.
This is probably due to lack of proper maintenance by the concerned persons.

The passengers who complaint about the presence of bed bug inside the buses were from Capital Travels and Network Travels, two biggest travel operators in Mizoram.

More complaint was received from the passengers who boarded deluxe buses plying to Guwahati and Shillong.

According to sources, even bus service in the state are also infested with the same problems.

One passenger said, "Due to convenience and a sort of relax, I boarded Deluxe Bus over Sumo services, but its complete restless as I have been disturbed all the way by bed bug" .

Meantime, tour operators are not to be blamed all.

Employee at the Capital Travels informed Newmai News Network that complaint of the presence of bug inside the buses was received since 2008 .

Though till now there is written complaint, but the tours operators have received numbers of verbal complaint regarding the menace.

"We are also at a loss.

We tried our level best to kill these bugs but we could somehow not succeed till now.

We also used various types of insecticides." According to Capital Travels, bugs were disappeared for sometime after spraying insecticides but they gradually comes up again after a week or so.

The same reason also goes to Network Travels who operates bus service to Guwahati and Shillong.

"We washed the seats clothes and cover with boiling water, sprayed insecticides and also cleaned inside everytime.

But after few days, they (bed bugs) spranged up again.

We are really confused." As has been stated, government and private buses in Mizoram are not aloof from this menace.

Though there is not much complaint on the presence of bugs, but their (bugs) presence are felt by the passengers.

In the meantime, it is learned that there are few prankster who played pranks by putting bugs at the cleaned buses as a matter of fun.

One driver said, "There is a limit, enough is enough.

Its not so funny to disturb passengers.

Its very sad that there are person who engaged in this type of fun".

It is learned that these pranksters are their co-drivers.

Meanwhile, State Transport Service (STA), who looks after motor service in Mizoram have said that they do not necessarily check and look the condition of buses servicing outside the state.

But they regularly check their permit, said sources.

Source: Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network

Nashville woman files suit with Rent-a-Center over bedbugs

Nashville woman files suit with Rent-a-Center over bedbugs

This seems to be the week for bed bug lawsuits.

The Tennesseean reports that Evangela Cowan of Nashville is suing Rent-a-Center, claiming the furniture she rented (including a mattress) gave her bed bugs.

She is suing for $575,000. The Tennesseean also reports on the company’s response:

Xavier Dominicis, a Rent-A-Center spokesman, said he could not comment about Cowan’s suit, but did agree to speak about the company’s sanitation practices regarding returned merchandise.

“We use a number of agents to sanitize the equipment,” Dominicis said. “The company follows state guidelines. We inspect everything before it goes out and when it comes back.”

The spokesman said bedbugs are a rarity.

“Occasionally, we’ll get a bedbug here and there and we’ll aid the customer when needed,” Dominicis said.

But Cowan says Rent-A-Center has never attempted to help.

“I explained the situation to them,” she said. “And, they just looked at me. They were completely unconcerned. I actually left in tears.”

I would very much like to know more about the protocols used to sanitize furniture returned to Rent-a-Center. First, visual inspections are very difficult — even for those trained to find bed bugs and patient enough to do lengthy searches. Second, the statement “we use a number of agents to sanitize the equipment” suggests to my mind the use of sprays.

My understanding of bed bug treatment is that no spray can render an item bed bug-free with 100% reliability — far from it, in fact. I am also not aware of Tennessee’s guidelines on this matter, but unless they require all previously rented items to be treated using thermal methods or sulfuryl fluoride (Vikane) gas, or frozen for several days at low temperatures, the treatment is unlikely to guarantee bed bugs are not present.

It is not true that bed bugs are a rarity in our society, and it stands to reason they’re becoming more common among renters of furniture, just as they are in the population at large. Furniture rental companies need to develop foolproof methods of ensuring all rented items are bed bug-free.

Sourced: by nobugsonme on July 24, 2009

Bed bugs from furniture rentals? Fox 41 in Louisville investigates

Bed bugs from furniture rentals? Fox 41 in Louisville investigates

Fox 41 News in Louisville, Kentucky spoke with a man claiming to be a Rent-A-Center employee, who says that the company’s bed bug policy is not followed.

“The bug problem in Louisville is pretty bad,” said “Jeff” who claims to be a Rent-A-Center employee.

“It was maybe one place a year, but now we’re getting this one a week. There’s no bleach spray, there’s absolutely nothing done for bed bugs I took over a location and my first two days on the job was fighting bed bugs,” said Jeff.

His job is not in pest control, “Jeff” says he is a manager of Rent-A-Centers in Louisville.

“Personally I wouldn’t rent furniture,” said “Jeff”.

Jeff also tells Fox 41 that when mattresses are brought in or moved, new and old are placed site by side.

If I were going to rent or purchase used items (or new items from a store that sells used items), I would want to be certain that they were thermally treated (in order to completely eliminate bed bugs). I would want to be sure that items so treated were not stored or shipped alongside infested items, and that trucks were also thermally treated after used items were hauled.

While it’s always possible that “Jeff’” doesn’t really work for Rent-A-Center, Fox also got input from the company itself:

As part of the Fox 41 investigation, Jennifer Baileys contacted Rent-A-Center’s corporate office in Texas. Company Spokesperson Xavier Dominicis said no one at any of the stores in Louisville would be available to talk on camera and that Fox 41 would not be permitted inside any of the stores.

Dominicis did offer information about Rent-A-Centers bed bug policy. He said all stores use a product called Steri-Fab to fight bed bugs.

“This Steri-Fab do you feel that this really does work and knock out any potential problems,” asked Baileys. “It’s the best product on the market right now,” said Dominicis.

OPC Pest Control in Louisville backs up that claim. Manager Kevin Mills said Steri-Fab will kill bed bugs when sprayed directly on the bug, but like all products on the market it will not fix the problem.

As I understand it, Steri-Fab is a contact kill spray with some residual effect.

It would be very difficult — if not impossible — to kill all bed bugs in a sofa, mattress and box spring, or other items by spraying them directly, because of the difficulty of reaching bed bugs inside items, where they hide easily.
Also, the Fox reporter’s advice that used furniture shoppers inspect a sofa on the outside and in the creases with a good flashlight is not bad, but is hardly sufficient to ensure people don’t purchase furniture with bed bugs harboring inside.

It is theoretically possible to treat items and trucks in order to remove bed bugs. Thermal methods, done properly, work well. They would be a possibility for many of the items rental firms carry.

In order to protect their business interests, it’s important that furniture rental (and sales) firms take methods to properly prevent bed bugs from being transmitted from the firm to customers, or from one customer to the next.

Sourced: by nobugsonme on May 24, 2010 · 1 comment

in Louisville, bed bugs, furniture rentals, kentucky

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Here’s another bedbug story; even if it is a year old, I just heard it so it’s news to me.
I begin by saying that I like Etobicoke; it is the part of Toronto that seems most neighbourly to me. Some of the neighbours are Old Toronto; some are Newfoundlanders; there is the usual mix of others from all over; and, thanks to the cruelties of history, there are also many Chechens.

Zulikhan is one of these.

She is a single mother of four boys, ages 3 to 12; they live in a 10-storey apartment building on the private market, and not in public housing.

We met at the community health centre on Lakeshore at Islington the other day. I spoke to her with the help of a Russian-speaking social worker.

Here’s the story.

In Etobicoke, you don’t say no to your neighbours, and so it was that Zulikhan agreed to store some furniture for a friend. You guessed it.

Bedbugs in the dresser.

Not long after, Zulikhan noticed bites on her youngest child. She had no idea it was bedbugs. “I thought it was mosquitoes. They were eating him alive. He was swollen. He had a terrible reaction.”

She had been bringing the boy to daycare, where the daycare workers saw the bites; how could they not? The daycare workers were concerned; how could they not be?

Zulikhan said, “They told me to go to the doctor. They said if I didn’t do anything they would call Children’s Aid.”

I find it hard to fathom that any daycare worker, anywhere in this town, would not have suspected bedbugs right off the bat. I find it harder to fathom that they would threaten Zulikhan with what might well have led to the removal of her child.

Bad to be a stranger in a strange land; worse to be visited by a plague; worst, to be threatened with the removal of your youngest son.

Zulikhan said, “We went to doctor. He gave cream for the itch. He said to apply, and the itch would go away.”

See, that’s also a problem:

Any nurse or doctor in this town, on seeing a child with bites resembling a rash, has simply got to figure bedbugs into the equation and call Public Health.

So what finally happened?

Zulikhan said, “I talked to someone here at the health centre — another Chechen — and that person told me about bedbugs.”

An aside: the Chechen for bedbug is “klop”; the plural, bedbugs, is “klopy.”

Zulikhan told her landlord about the klopy, and the landlord arranged for two sprayings; that’s a good landlord.

But the spraying didn’t work.

Zulikhan said, “I was desperate. I didn’t want to keep spraying . . . I found some information on the Internet, a Russian website. It said they are killed by the cold. I took the mattresses outside on the balcony for a week; all our clothes, the drapes.”

I am uncertain about that method.

She said, “The dresser, I threw it out; all the children’s furniture, I threw it out. My bedroom furniture, I steamed. We slept on the floor.”

Steaming works, along with rigorous cleaning and washing and vacuuming and caulking and checking everything all the time.

Ultimately, Zulikhan got rid of the bugs, and she eventually was able to replace the furniture that she had to throw out. Happy ending?

Yes and no.

I remain convinced that daycare workers and doctors in this town still don’t know how to recognize bedbug bites for what they are. And I know for certain that most people in this town still don’t know where to turn for help.

Sourced By: Joe Fiorito

545 beds for children built during blitz

Americorps project helps children who need a good night's sleep

Nearly 1,000 volunteers came together in Frankfort for a 24-hour blitz that ended Sunday at noon to build beds for needy school-age children.

When the sawdust settled at the AmeriCorps Build-A-Bed project, about 545 beds were ready to be donated across Kentucky, said project spokesman David Bachert. an AmeriCorps remedial reading teacher.

Every bed and mattress will be accompanied by a care package that includes a set of sheets, a handmade quilt, a night light, books, a stuffed toy and toiletries, Bachert said.

This was the second year for Build-A-Bed. Last year, volunteers assembled a total of 50 beds at five locations around the state. This year, for greater efficiency, they centralized their work in a hangar at the Kentucky National Guard headquarters in the capital.

Volunteers want to help low-income children get the good night's sleep that other people might take for granted, Bachert said. Sleep deprivation can lead to health problems in children, he said.

"There are a lot of kids in Kentucky who have to share beds," Bachert said. "Or they maybe don't have a real bed, they sleep on the floor on an air mattress. Or they lost their bed to bed bugs or in a fire or something like the flooding we saw last week."

AmeriCorps will truck the beds to 18 drop-off locations across Kentucky, where additional volunteers can deliver them to local families.

Bachert said children were selected for the program based on referrals from the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Red Cross and other agencies.

Sourced By John Cheves / herald-leader

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bed Bug Outbreak

Bed bug outbreak at Mesa shelter fraying nerves.

Tiny blood-sucking bed bugs are causing big problems at Mesa's East Valley Men's Shelter, fraying nerves and increasing tensions as repeated extermination efforts have failed.

A New Leaf, the Mesa non-profit that operates the East Valley's only homeless shelter, finds itself on the defensive as some residents accuse the agency of mounting an inadequate response to a 6-month-old infestation problem.

"They're forgetting that we're human beings. You can't treat us like cattle," resident Kevin Braggs said. "They did nothing to control the problem until I started writing to the press."

But Mike Hughes, chief executive officer of A New Leaf, said the agency has hired two exterminators, spent thousands of dollars and ratcheted up efforts to kill the bugs without resorting to overkill.

"We are committed to the people here. Unfortunately, the things we'd done before were not working," Hughes said. "We're going to do whatever is necessary. We don't want this to be an ongoing problem. It's got to be fixed."

In a letter to Maricopa County Environmental Services, A New Leaf said its current extermination plan will cost $6,000 to $7,500 and a long-term solution, which would include stripping the building of wooden dividers between beds and wooden beds, would cost $75,000 to $90,000.

The bugs are suspected of hiding in wooden furnishings, which would be replaced by metal dividers and beds. Hughes is trying to avoid this step but will resort to it in three or four months if
nothing else works.

"We'd rather put that money to better use at the facility," Hughes said.

Shelter manager Connie Hallett said removing all the wood likely would displace the 84 men who live there.

But Braggs said a more extensive effort is required now.

"When you go to bed, you can't sleep at night because they are eating you up," said Braggs, an ex-Marine who has been bitten on his neck, arms and legs. "They're not there at 2 a.m. to hear people smacking themselves in their sleep."

Some residents are so desperate that they are smuggling cans of pesticide into the shelter. Hallett said that practice is unnecessary because the shelter sprays for bugs and washes all bedding whenever a resident reports an outbreak.

Craig Levy, an epidemiologist with the Arizona Health Department, said there's no evidence that bed bugs spread disease, but he can understand why the homeless men are irritated.

Levy said the bugs feed on human blood and "it's not a pleasant thought."

Shelters are a perfect environment to attract bed bugs because they serve a transient population, he said.

But the bugs also have been reported in hotels and a private homes, an apparent consequence of bans worldwide on powerful pesticides that also were destructive to the environment.

The Mesa outbreak "does not surprise me because bed bugs are spreading all over the place," Levy said.

Maricopa County Environmental Services already has closed an investigation of an anonymous complaint filed by someone at the center. The case was closed after the shelter acknowledged the problem and committed to working to eliminate it, spokeswoman Jeanene Fowler said.

Eradication efforts have included replacing all mattresses. Belongings were been taken outside in hopes the heat would kill the bugs.

A second exterminator had the men leave their belongings inside and the entire building was fogged with pesticide. A follow-up fogging is planned soon.

A few policies also have been changed. All new residents must put their clothes in a dryer in hopes of killing more bugs.

Source: Jim Walsh / The Arizona Republic

Trained dogs sniff out pests in homes

Trained dogs sniff out pests in homes.

Canines are able to hunt down bed bugs, termites and other infestations.

When the termite inspector arrived at the Orange County, N.C. home, he didn't immediately strap on a backpack filled with chemicals or crawl on his hands and knees into the depths of the garage, shining a flashlight into the corners.

Instead, he opened the door of his car so Silas, an energetic black dog of Labrador and terrier ancestry, could hop out and get to work.

Rick Wade, a professional dog trainer and pest-control agent, walked Silas around the outside of the house, commanding him to sniff for termites. About six weeks earlier, while homeowner Ed Jenkins was in the midst of remodeling an upstairs bathroom, termites were discovered beneath the shower. Terminix workers treated the areas where they could find termites but had trouble discovering the infestation's entry point into the house.

So Silas was called in to help. Specially trained to sniff for termites and bed bugs, Silas represents a small but growing trend in the pest-control world: employees that work for food, or even a few minutes chewing on a rolled up towel.

"They can find them where we can't," Wade said of the bug-sniffing canines that search for microscopic pests and their even tinier eggs.

"We're looking for them, and the dogs are smelling them."

The emergence of pest-sniffing dogs mirrors the national resurgence of bed bugs, said Greg Baumann, who is based in Raleigh, N.C. and is the senior scientist for the National Pest Management Association.

Recent years have seen the number of bed bug infestations rise, with apartment buildings, dormitories and hotels falling victim to insects that are less than one-quarter inch long and extremely difficult to find.

That's where the wet noses come in.

"It's an ideal situation for a scent-detecting canine," said Baumann, who added that studies have shown the dogs to be more than 95 percent accurate.

Ned Dillon, deputy director of structural pest control programs for the state of North Carolina, figures there are fewer than one dozen pest-sniffing dogs in the state.

Source: Matt Ehlers / Raleigh News and Observer