Category Archives: Bed Bugs

Don’t Bug Me: Does Atlanta, GA Have a Bed Bug Problem?

Bedtime should be a calming, serene part of the day, a time for relaxation and quiet. But it’s hard to feel relaxed and cozy if you’re sharing your sleeping space with bed bugs. Americans spent an estimated $70 million in 2004 to get rid of bed bugs. That number jumped to a whopping $446 million in 2013, according to leading pest control reports.

Atlanta’s Sizable Bed Bug Problem

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Atlanta is a city rich in culture and history. Its unique beauty has served as a backdrop for some of the most important events in American history, including the Civil War. However, now Georgia is fighting another kind of war: bed bug infestations. According to data, Atlanta ranks at No. 25 among the top U.S. cities struggling with bed bugs. A 2014 survey revealed that almost 40% of renters listed bed bugs as the critter they’d most hate to have in their home – and with good reason. In the last five years, Georgia has continued to receive high rankings on bed bug infestation lists. Bed bugs are invading Georgia hotel rooms as well. According to the Bed Bug Registry, there were over 500 reported incidents of Georgia hotels with bed bug issues (http://www.bedbugregistry.com/location/GA).

No Southern Hospitality for Bed Bugs

While bed bugs don’t necessarily cause disease, that’s no reason to show them southern hospitality! Bed bugs can cause a host of extreme issues for the Atlanta residents, including anemia, stress, infections, and, of course, itchy and red welt-like bites. Female bed bugs can lay hundreds of eggs in one lifetime, so preventing or stopping an infestation is crucial.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

Bed Bug
Bed bugs often leave a trail of blood spots or fecal matter around the bed or mattress. They sometimes hide inside plush toys or furniture. They can also be found in small crevices or cracks in the surrounding room. Bed bugs are tiny and hard to see, so call our licensed Truly Nolen Atlanta professionals to help you identify them.

If you have identified the bed bugs, there are some actions you can take. Heat will kill bed bugs, so wash bedding in hot water and dry in a hot dryer. Put the items that can’t be washed, such as shoes or stuffed animals, in the dryer on the highest heat setting for at least a half hour. Bed Bugs can hide in clothing or even in stacks of paper, so reduce the clutter around your bed. While bed bugs are attracted to clutter, they aren’t attracted to dirt or unsanitary living conditions. They’re attracted to blood, warmth, darkness, and carbon dioxide.

Vacuum your mattress and bedroom thoroughly and be careful to dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag in a sealed plastic bag before throwing it away. What if your mattress is infested? Either get rid of it entirely or invest in a zippered, fully sealed mattress cover. If the cover is left on for over a year, it will successfully contain and kill any remaining bed bugs.

Bed Bugs on the Go

Bed bugs may enjoy hitching a ride back from a family vacation or entering your home by way of second hand padded furniture. If you find evidence of bed bugs while traveling, inform a hotel staff member right away. To protect your home against a possible bed bug invasion, vacuum your travel bags and wash all clothing from the trip in hot water. Keep your suitcases off the carpeted floor, wooden luggage racks, or bed when in hotel rooms: bed bugs often hide in these areas.

Be Vigilant Against Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are more than just a pesky nuisance – they pose a unique threat to Atlanta’s population, contributing to many health issues such as anemia, infections, and possible allergies, which, in turn, may cause anaphylaxis. Finding one bed bug means that there may be thousands more where it came from. Take proactive steps to prevent these tiny critters from taking over your bed, your wallet, and your life.

Truly Nolen Atlanta has been exterminating pests in the Atlanta metro area for over a decade and nationally for over 75 years. Call us at 678-561-2847 to set up a home inspection and get the kind of deep sleep you deserve.

Bed Bugs In Atlanta, GA-A Historical Look at Prevention

Bed Bug
Despite their small size, bed bugs can cause big problems for almost everyone. Notorious for their pervasive nature, these blood sucking parasites are extremely difficult to get rid of yet can easily infest their current environment in the blink of an eye. Residents of Atlanta, Georgia can attest to this all too well as the city has seen a dramatic resurgence in recent years with bed bugs being reported everywhere from nursing homes, dorm rooms and schools to hospitals, residences, offices and more.

A common misconception with this insect is that its presence is indicative of lack of hygiene or unsanitary living conditions. This is simply not the case as bed bugs can infest even the cleanest of homes and due to their excellent hitchhiking abilities, can also quickly spread this infestation to nearby environments.

Although Atlanta is known to welcome throngs of visitors to the city each year, the increase in bed bugs is most definitely an unwelcomed activity. Ironically enough, the nature in which bed bugs can invade and spread, may be attributed to the frequent travelers that come and go every year. Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta is one of the busiest airports in the country, giving bed bugs the perfect opportunity to travel to and fro, unknown to the very travelers that are carrying them.

Truly Nolen of West Atlanta, GA holds a magnifying glass up to the major issue of these small, nuisance causing insects and takes a look at the historical aspect of bed bug prevention.

Hey Bed Bugs! Why Atlanta?

While there is more than one contributing factor to the prevalence of bed bugs in Atlanta, the Georgia Department of Public Health Environmental program identifies several probable causes for the increase of bed bugs in the city including:

  • Worldwide increase in bed bug activity
  • Frequent introductions of bed bugs during international travel
  • Changes in pest management practices and resistance to pesticides
  • Lack of public awareness, which can lead to the increase in the spread of bed bugs

So, why Atlanta? Although bed bugs are found in all 50 states, the population density in Atlanta is enough to provide easy avenues for bed bugs to transfer from household to household as the Metro Atlanta Chamber cites more than 5.3 million people residing in the city with nearly 150,000 businesses. In addition to the regular population, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau gives astounding numbers as the city boasts over 42 million visitors annually. Bed bugs can easily transition from suitcases and hotel rooms as either through the bug itself or their eggs, latching on to an unsuspecting victim only to be re-introduced to someone else.

Bed Bugs – Atlanta’s Unwelcomed Visitors

bedbug
Bed bugs were always considered to be a common public health pest throughout the world. Though not dangerous, a bed bug infestation is time consuming and stressful on anyone who is affected. First brought to the United States by early colonists, bed bugs were busy wreaking havoc for many years until new pest control methods were adopted and people became more aware of preventative measures and best practices in the form of washing machines and vacuum usage.

Conducted by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky, the 2015 Bugs Without Borders survey found that “bed bug infestations in the United States continue at high rates, with 99.6 percent of respondents having treated for bed bugs in the past year. That number – which has been consistent for the past few years – is significantly higher than 15 years ago, when only 25 percent of pest professionals reported treating for bed bugs.”

Major Milestones in Eradication

Developed in the 1940’s shortly after World War 2, DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) was one of the first chemicals used as pesticide. It was used as an effective pest control method for farms and homes and was largely responsible for the drastic decline in bed bug infestations. In 1972 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deemed its effects harmful on the environment, as well as posed health risks to humans and discontinued its usage.

Back then, DDT and Malathion were used on a wide-scale to combat bed bug infestations, however, since that time innovations and advances in pest control methods have introduced new products to the market. The EPA has over 300 registered products that are safe for consumer usage, with some for specific use by pest control professionals to aid in the eradication of bed bugs. Although new products have been introduced, regulatory agencies have also limited the availability of stronger insecticides.

Back to Basics- Bed Bugs 101

Bed bugs do not fall into the category of dangerous, disease transmitting pests, however, they are considered to be a public health pest that can have physical, emotional and financial repercussions.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency outlines the negative impact that a bed bug infestation can have, including:

  • Allergic reactions to their bites, which can be severe. Effects ranging from no reaction to a small bite mark to, in rare cases, anaphylaxis (severe, whole-body reaction).
  • Secondary infections of the skin from the bite reaction, such as impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphangitis.
  • Mental health impacts on people living in infested homes. Reported effects include anxiety, insomnia and systemic reactions.

Bed Bug Identification

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Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are oval in shape, with flattened, wingless bodies. Typically a reddish brown or brown, they also appear to be a dull red color once they are engorged after feeding on warm-blooded animals or humans. At first glance, they can often be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches and can range between 1/4” and 3/8” long.

Bed Bug Habitat

Due to their flattened bodies, bed bugs are able to fit into small cracks and crevices and can go unnoticed for extended periods of time. Unlike ants, bed bugs do not colonize or live in nests, instead choosing to stay close to where people sleep at night as they are drawn to warmth. This means that bed frames, mattresses and headboards are the perfect places for bed bugs to inhabit.

Bed Bug Habits

Bed bugs can enter a home, office or school in many different ways including:

  • Renting or buying used furniture
  • Transported in luggage from an infested area
  • Direct human contact with areas already infested ( example: other homes or hotels)

Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation

The immediate bite from a bed bug is painless, so victims will often be aware that they have been bitten several hours or even days after. The most obvious signs of a bed bug infestation are bite marks on exposed areas of the body. In addition to bite marks, there are other tell tale signs that bed bugs may be lurking nearby such as a musty odor, rust colored spots on mattresses or sheets and bed bug exoskeletons left behind.

Bed Bug Treatment

Since bed bugs typically bite their victims at night, this gives them time to gorge for up to 10 minutes at a time, the result of which are raised welts accompanied by severe itching. In rare cases, bed bug bites can cause serious reactions, but generally speaking their bites are not considered a serious threat. If you have been bitten, it is best to avoid scratching the area if possible. Antiseptic lotions are also helpful to help with the itching.

Bed Bug Prevention

Bed Bug Prevention
Truly Nolen of West Atlanta can provide homeowners and commercial property owners with a free inspection to determine if bed bugs are a threat to your immediate environment. If there is a potential bed bug infestation brewing, it is important that professional help be sought out right away as this eliminates the threat of the infestation growing and spreading to other areas.

At Truly Nolen, our pest professionals are up to taking on the challenge of eliminating this difficult pest with effective methods and consistent follow up to ensure proper removal. Until our team of pest experts can come out to inspect and treat your home, here are some tips to help keep bed bugs from becoming an unwanted guest:

  • Wash sheets, mattress covers and bedding in hot soapy water on a regular basis.
  • When traveling, inspect your hotel room with a flashlight thoroughly before unpacking. This includes inside dressers, headboards, hotel bed sheets and chairs.
  • Upon returning to your home, carefully inspect your suitcase before bringing it into the house. Suitcases should be cleaned and vacuumed, and all clothes (clean and dirty) should be washed in hot water, and dried immediately.
  • Most important, upon first signs of an infestation, contact your Truly Nolen West Atlanta pest expert to schedule an immediate inspection. The suspected area should be left alone until your pest professional arrives for further analysis.

Bed bugs are a challenging pest and for many homeowners, the emotional headache and financial impact can take its toll. Contact your West Atlanta Truly Nolen pest specialist today at (404) 939-7277 to schedule your inspection and let our experts provide the best in bed bug control to help keep your family safe and happy.

Bed Bugs: What You Should Know

Bed Bug

2015 surveys conducted by NPMA and the University of Kentucky found startling facts/statistics regarding bed bug:

  • 99.6% of pest control professionals treated bed bugs last year
  • Bed bugs are found in all 50 states: From hotels to hospitals, to dorm rooms, and even prosthetic limbs!
  • Although bed bugs are not a “seasonal” pest, 2/3 of all instances were reported during summer months

Who’s At Risk?

  • Frequent travelers, recent travelers, and residents living in cities that have high tourist activity like Orlando, San Diego, and New York

How Do I Get Bed Bugs?

  • Attached to clothing
  • Attach to luggage/baggage
  • Hotel bedding
  • Hotel furniture

How Can I Tell I Have Them?

  • Cluster of red, itchy bite marks in an area after sleeping
  • Small red to reddish brown spots either in bedding or on walls
  • Molted bed bug skins or their white, sticky eggs/empty eggshells

What Should I Do?

  • Wash bedding in hot water (113 degrees and above)
  • Avoid placing clothing in hotel room dresser
  • Keep luggage from touching hotel beds by placing it on luggage rack
  • Unpack luggage without bringing bags inside house
  • Contact your local Truly Nolen pest control expert

Summer Household Pest Control Checklist for Columbus, OH

The transition from spring to summer is peak time for household pest activity. Truly Nolen of Columbus, OH wants to make sure that Columbus homeowners stay pest free this summer, giving you more time to spend outdoors without worrying about pests indoors. To ensure that Columbus residents are prepared for an increase in pest activity, Truly Nolen has created a checklist to help homeowners remain pest free this summer.

Summer Pests Checklist

Summer Lovin’- Common Pests Found in Ohio

Although homeowners should be watchful of pests all throughout the year, it is important to keep an eye out for pests that may have kept a low profile during winter. Pests who go into hiding in winter months to stay warm, are now emerging, eager to reproduce and expand their habitats. Here, we take a look at a few pests that Columbus residents may start to see more of than they might like during the summer!

Spiders

Brown Recluse Spider
Most of the species of spiders found in Ohio are not poisonous and are considered more of a nuisance rather than a threat. However, where there is one bug, there are two, three or more and spiders are usually a sign of bigger pest problems.

German & Oriental Cockroaches

German Oriental Cockroach
Perhaps two of the more common species, German and Oriental roaches thrive in hot, humid climates making summer the perfect opportunity for these guys to be out and about. German roaches prefer to be indoors, and will always make their way to food and water sources, whereas Oriental roaches can also be found in the immediate exterior portions of your home. Since they carry pathogens and allergens in their cast skins and in their droppings, it is important for homeowners to immediately address any sightings of German or Oriental roaches to avoid further infestation.

Centipedes

centipede
Although treatment of centipedes should start from the exterior, these creepy crawlies can make their way indoors into basements and crawlspaces. Centipedes do not pose a threat to homeowners, but they are a nuisance as they can populate quickly if left alone for an extended period of time.

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter Ant
Carpenter ants use their strong jaws to chew through wooden structures, leaving behind a trail of sawdust wherever they go. Damp, soft wood makes the perfect environment for them as they can easily chew out holes to construct their nests.

Rodents

Rodent
Rat and mice activity will increase since they have hibernated during the winter months, only to emerge in full force from spring into summer. As rodent population increases due to the warmer weather, homeowners should be aware of the warning signs left behind by rats and mice that indicate their presence in and around your home.

Bed Bugs

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As you travel this summer, be weary of hitchhiking bed bugs. No hotel is immune from bed bugs so be sure to inspect the mattress and under the sheets of your hotel bed to make sure there are no signs of bed bugs or their blood. Bed bugs can easily attach themselves to your luggage, clothes, laptop cases and more.

Mosquitoes

mosquito
The hot summer weather is perfect for mosquitoes especially when there are backyard barbeques and pool parties. Be sure there isn’t standing water around your home where mosquitoes tend to breed and keep areas clean and free from crumbs.

Common Types of Construction for Ohio Homes

Along with the natural beauty of the state, Ohio homes also boast charming construction design elements indicative of the Midwest. These unique features are enjoyed by Columbus homeowners, but are also considered vulnerable areas that can attract pests:

  • Wooden siding, porches and decking
  • Crawl spaces
  • Basements and attics
  • Fireplaces
  • Wooden door frames , windows and roof shingles on older homes
  • Lush landscaping and mulch placed close to the home

Tips to Keep Pests Out This Summer

While many pests are considered to be nothing more than a nuisance, there are those that pose more of a risk to the health and safety of homeowners. Truly Nolen recommends the following for helping to keep pests at a minimum wherever possible:

  • Avoid piles of debris on both interior and exterior of the home to deter pests.
  • Trim shrubs and trees that may have overhanging branches that touch the exterior walls or roof line of the home as these provide an easy gateway for pests to travel.
  • Holes or gaps in screens, doors, windows or foundations should be sealed to keep pests from entering.
  • Basements and crawlspaces should be frequently monitored for indications of possible infestation.
  • Existing cobwebs should be removed to prevent additional spiders.
  • Dark, damp areas such as under the sinks and near faucets should be monitored carefully for roaches.
  • Keeping countertops clean at night and sealing exposed food and water are good ways to keep pests from enjoying a midnight snack.

When do I call my Truly Nolen Pest Professional?

Although homeowners can take steps to ensure that their home remains pest free this summer, there are some pest problems that need the help of a certified, trained professional. One or two pest sightings may be tolerated by most homeowners, but without a thorough inspection, it is difficult to assess whether or not there are more pests behind the scenes.

To err on the side of caution, homeowners should be vigilant when observing possible signs of pest activity and contact a trained professional in the early stages so that the problem does not worsen as time goes on, eventually becoming a full blown infestation.

Using advanced application methods and techniques, Truly Nolen’s innovative Four Seasons Pest Control approach addresses the changes in pest behavior from season to season. Our trained technicians know what to look for, how to be proactive and how to treat an existing infestation. Call Truly Nolen of Columbus to keep your home pest free this summer and all year round.

Back to School Pesky Critters

By Scott Svenheim, ACE
Spokesperson and Associate Certified Entomologist, Truly Nolen of America 

With the back-to-school season nearing, parents have already started to think about preparing their kids – and how can anyone forget that the start of school is looming with commercials already airing!

With pesky critters like bed bugs, head lice and mosquitoes becoming more prevalent in our communities, parents need to take the necessary precautions to avoid infecting their homes.

back-to-school

Bed bugs are nocturnal and have the capabilities to climb softer surfaces such as that duffle bag you sent your children to camp with. Here are some tips to avoid allowing a possible bed bug infestation in your home:

  • Leave luggage outside, in a garage or a secluded area away from other soft materials where they can’t find a way to transfer to another item in your home.
  • Wash and/or Dry possibly infected clothing separately and with hot water, or medium temperature at least 20 minutes.

Head lice is one itchy problem and another pest that can easily hop from one head of hair to another. When your child arrives back from camp, make sure to conduct a thorough screening of his/her scalp with a fine-tooth comb. Many convenience stores will have specialty combs available for purchase. Signs your child may have head lice include:

  • Scratching
  • Small red bumps or sores from scratching
  • Adult lice or eggs on hair strands

Mosquito bites are one of the most common and with viruses like Chikungunya spreading quickly through the United States every bump and bite is worth inspecting. Check any suspicious bumps and circle them with a marker – this will allow you to monitor the bite to ensure it doesn’t get any larger, red or swollen.

If bed bugs or other pests become a bigger issue in your home, call your local pest control company who will be able to assess the level of infestation and recommend necessary courses of treatment.


About Scott Svenheim and Truly Nolen
Scott Svenheim, an expert for Truly Nolen of America and Associate Certified Entomologist, has 27 years of experience in the pest control industry.  Scott brings an informative as well as unique and entertaining perspective to consumers’ pest problems in the 21st century. Founded in 1938, Tucson, Arizona-based Truly Nolen of America is the largest family owned pest control company in the United States. Truly Nolen has over 80 branch offices in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The company also has independently owned and operated franchises in an ever-growing number of territories including Kentucky, Georgia, New Jersey, Canada, Puerto Rico and 60 countries. For more information, please visit www.trulynolen.com.

National Pest Management Month: Four Common Pests to Watch Out For

We all know the feeling of the cringe-worthy moment when we hear little scurries across the floorboards, or see teeny droppings in our cupboards and run to call for the first available pest control service appointment.

For more than 30 years, the National Pest Management Association has celebrated the month of April as ‘National Pest Management Month’ to recognize pest management professionals for their efforts in protecting individuals’ health and property from those cringe-worthy moments. With spring season upon us, now is a good time to brush up on four common household nuisances and how to prevent or identify an infestation.

So the next time you see a creepy crawler and wonder what it is, keep in mind these four common pests:

Ants: Ranging from reddish browns to blacks and even yellow, ants are common throughout the year. No matter the climate, ants have an arduous way about them, making their homes in the tiniest of places. As the number one nuisance in the U.S., ants are capable of infesting office buildings, homes and restaurants. Ants are often attracted by sweets and proteins, so keep spills, pet food and other foods cleaned up and/or containers tightly sealed.

Termites: Termites live in colonies that can grow to large numbers. Their usual methods of infesting a home can include entering through cracks in concrete floors from underground, a space as small as 1/64th of an inch or larger. Termites can also be carried in through infested wood such as old furniture, firewood or building materials. Both Subterranean and Drywood termite colonies even have members equipped with wings, being able to fly into a home and begin a new colony. Make sure to have your home thoroughly inspected yearly by a professional to spot termites and/or damage before it’s too late.

Spiders: Varying greatly in size, spiders are often the sign of a more serious insect infestation. As carnivorous hunters, spiders feast on insects such as ants and crickets and hide in cracks and crevices under well-protected areas inside or outside the home. Being popular all year round, the best way to reduce the risk of spider invasions is to remove clutter, repair windows and screens and dust regularly.

Bed Bugs: Bed bugs are known to be travelers, packing away in your suitcase until the most opportune moment to make themselves cozy in your home. Living up to one and a half years, bed bugs produce between one and eight eggs daily. Since you can’t feel the bite of a bed bug, homeowners should be aware of inflamed bites with clusters or rows. Inspect your surroundings carefully when traveling to avoid bringing bed bugs home with you.

More Bugs: The Unwelcome Impact of Climate Change

What does the ever-changing weather patterns have to do with pest control? Quite a bit, actually. As northern parts of the country are experiencing extremely low temperatures, and other areas are oddly warmer than usual, the change in our typical seasonal patterns raises a red flag for changes in pest activity.

Irregular changes in the weather, such as spikes in cold temperatures, have the potential to significantly diminish a pest predator’s population, affecting the balance of the ecosystem and allowing pests to thrive and flourish as they take advantage and adapt without anyone to threaten their livelihood. As the populations of predators decrease, pests are able to recuperate from the weather change significantly quicker.

The impact of climate change on insects and humans is far reaching – forest and food crops could be affected and diseases spread by insects could have a wider range. Nature has a delicate balance and it doesn’t take much – a slight temperature variation, or even a movement in the course of a river – to cause changes that move throughout an ecosystem.

Since mosquitoes are the most common carriers of malaria and yellow fever, dramatic increases in these diseases would be likely. Moreover, both the National Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization report that current treatments for malaria and yellow fever are becoming less effective, leading to the potential for plague-like levels of these diseases, unlike anything seen since the U.S. Civil War.

Pests like the cockroach, bed bug, scorpion and mosquito are among the most adaptable and successful life forms on earth. For example, cockroaches are among the oldest living creatures. They survived the Ice Age, and are believed to have persisted for more than 350 million years. With that record of success, we can be sure they will adapt and thrive in changing climate patterns.

Bed bugs have been around since the 11th century and have learned to live and adapt as humans do while acclimating and adjusting to the warmer and milder climates, creating a new page in their pest evolution. In the southern part of the country, these nomadic pests have caused infestations to rise exponentially, threatening vacationers’ favorite sunny spots and bringing home with them unwanted house guests.

We know that there is a strong, direct relationship between the level of insect populations and fluctuating temperatures. As variations in the seasons become more evident, predictions for pest activity in 2013 reflect similarly to what we’ve seen in 2012. And since 2012 was one of the hottest years on record, what we can expect in 2013 is a continuation of abnormal pest activity.

Landlords and tenants must cooperate to remove bed bugs

Bed bugs are some of the most tenacious pests that can infest a typical home or apartment building. Often times it takes several attempts to fully remove them, since they tend to burrow into every upholstered item in the home. Not only this, but they also lay their eggs in droves so even after all living bugs are killed, there may be a resurgence weeks later. Landlords and tenants often turn to professional pest control to effectively exterminate the pests.

Chicago
Landlords and lawmakers are fighting over the responsibility of removing bed bugs from buildings. Members of the Chicago Housing Committee are pushing legislation that would cost landlords $1,000 per day that they do not seek professional pest control to rid their buildings of bed bugs. Landlords, however, are complaining that it takes the entire building’s tenants’ cooperation to remove the bed bugs. If even one tenant does not thoroughly clean his of her clothing and other personal items, the building may become infested again and the process will repeat. One landlord claimed he had tried several times to remove the pests but to no avail since the tenants did not follow instructions. He was forced to call the exterminator again.

Tenants in all manner of living arrangements are feeling the consequences of bed bug infestation. While the insects do not directly cause disease in their victims, they do drink their blood and can cause painful rashes for some who are allergic. In some cases, these allergic reactions can even weaken the immune system enough to allow potentially serious infections to develop.

Urban menace
Beg bugs have a particularly easy time traveling from home to home in the city since they are able to gain transportation with people unnoticed. Bed bugs will often hide in a person’s clothes and can thus travel between places like apartments, offices, movie theaters and hotels. Infested furniture also tends to get thrown out and this discarded furniture is often picked up by people who are unaware of the risk, says a fact sheet from Chicago’s Safer Pest Control Project. Any item discarded with bed bugs in it should be marked as such to avoid spreading the pest.

The sheet also recommends talking to a pest control professional before using any chemicals or throwing anything out. Certain chemicals may be harmful and many items can be salvaged from bed bugs.

Facts and myths about bed bugs

Some major cities have recently had to contend with bed bug infestations but many people are not able to separate truth from fact when it comes to extermination. 

Household products
Bed bugs do live in beds, as well as most upholstered furniture and in clothing. Once they have infested an area, only professional exterminators can effectively eliminate bed bug populations. Many products claim that they can kill bed bugs, but they are not nearly as effective as professional grade products that are typically not available to consumers. Products like insect foggers available from hardware stores are not only often ineffective, they can cause the bugs to disperse and spread out within a room or home. Foggers can also cause allergic reactions that are on par with the irritation caused by bed bugs in some cases.

While many believe wrapping their mattress and box spring in plastic can kill bed bugs, this is simply not true: It may help prevent them from settling in the mattress, but they will find somewhere else to live according to the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene. New York City was one of the cities hit worst by bed bugs in recent years.

Bed bug bites
Bed bugs affect people differently. While some will develop itchy rashes similar to mosquito bites, others show no signs of bites according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with no visible reaction to bed bugs often do not know that they are dealing with an infestation until they see the bugs, which are slightly smaller than an apple seed and reddish-brown in color. 

Fortunately, bed bugs have not been shown to transmit disease like other pests. However, they are still considered a public health threat by the CDC. Certain people may become more prone to skin infections due to allergic reactions to the bites, and an infestation can severely and adversely affect a person’s mental well-being.

Bed bug removal 
Bed bugs can be laundered out of clothing. Furniture can often be treated and used again. However, the pests lay thousands of eggs and it is virtually impossible to eliminate them all with simple washing alone. This is where it becomes necessary to contact a pest control professional rather than relying on over-the-counter products that may not be entirely effective.

Bed bugs wreak havoc in Indiana and Kentucky

Residents of the Asheville Housing Authority complex in Aston Park, Indiana, are troubled by a lingering bed bug problem, reports local ABC affiliate WLOS. After dealing with a large bed bug infestation in 2011, authority officials have told the station the problem hasn't worsened and is under control and that they've only received one complaint recently. However, bed bugs remain an ongoing concern for residents.

Occupants of public housing complexes in New Albany, Kentucky, are facing the the same problem, states local news station WHAS 11. The housing authority has recently brought in pest management professionals to search more than 1,000 homes.

Bed bugs have become a  major issue for homeowners and communities across the country, notably in the Midwest and the South. City officials in a Louisville, Kentucky suburb met earlier this week to discuss recent infestation reports, according to WDRB, which covers news for areas of Kentucky and Indiana.

The suburb of Shelbyville code enforcement officer Darryl Williams said bed bug cases in the area are mostly sporadic and occur in apartment complexes. He conducts building inspections weekly.

"We started having problems with mattresses sitting on the side of the roads. We had couches, chairs sitting on the side of the road," Williams told the news service.

Bed bugs are particularly troublesome because they bite and they populate quickly. Many Shelbyville residents are realizing how difficult getting rid of them is without professional help.

"It has to be a professional pesticide company that comes in and does it," said Williams. "It just can't be an individual."

City officials are holding a meeting on Thursday night to discuss pest management and property owner education initiatives.

Because bed bugs infestations are among the most troublesome pest problems, homeowners and landlords should take precautionary measures to catch them early on. It's important to call a pest management professional promptly upon seeing bed bugs, bites or pepper-like flakes of shedded skin on furniture and in fabric or carpeting.