Category Archives: Pest Database

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.

Seek pest control early to avoid costly bed bug infestations

Of all the pests that frequent American households, bed bugs may be the most troublesome. In addition to biting, these critters multiple rapidly and a large population can become impossible to manage very quickly. In addition, if not treated early, an infestation can become very costly and emotionally draining for residents. Homeowners should confront bed bugs upon first notice by hiring an exterminator.

According to the National Pest Management Association, 99 percent of pest control professionals encountered bed bugs in 2011 and 80 percent said bed bug cases have increased. The organization also states bed bugs can hatch one to five eggs per day, or an average of 540 in a lifetime, making it easy for the number of insects to skyrocket in just a matter of weeks.

These pests nest inside mattresses, box springs, pillows, sofas and other places that provide hideouts, such as tight cracks or crevices. If a population is not dealt with early, homeowners may have to replace all the infested furnishings, which can cost thousand of dollars.

While bed bugs can be killed in a laundry machine on high heat, any affected furniture a homeowner decides to keep must be professionally cleaned, which is also costly. It is possible to avoid this route by hiring a pest control professional who can eliminate the bugs quickly and prevent them from spreading to any expensive furniture.

These bugs aren't extremely dangerous, but their bites can cause an allergic reaction or anemia in some instances. As bites are itchy, excessive scratching can lead to a skin infection, which can amount to hefty treatment costs.

Bed bugs can be hard to notice at first, but after just one sighting, homeowners should call an exterminator to handle the situation. Waiting several days or weeks will only result in the problem worsening and becoming a costly nightmare. Seeking help immediately can help prevent residents from incurring excessive expenses.

San Antonio takes on local beehive

Days before Halloween, San Antonio removed a neighborhood beehive after residents complained of hundreds of bees swarming surrounding homes.

The hive was inside the exterior wall of a vacant house. Ruby Ortiz, who lives next door to the once infested home, told KSAT 12 she was afraid trick-or-treaters would get stung. Ortiz says the bees were entering her home. "They're starting to go into the kids' room, my daughter's room," she said. "They don't want to be in there because there's a whole swarm of bees inside."

Ortiz said she called the city several times over a two-month period, but received no response. She then emailed KSAT, which contacted the Metropolitan Health Department. Code Enforcement sent in a bee removal team.

According to the TV station, the emergency crew cut into the wall to remove honeycomb and bees. At first, the city refrained from intervening because of property rights. However, evidence of public danger reversed the decision.

"Where it could become a safety issue for the residents around there the city is allowed to go in and abate that and we'll charge the owner," the assistant director of Development Services told the station.

Bees can be extremely troublesome for homeowners and present serious danger to anyone who is allergic to their stings. Hives can be quickly and efficiently removed by professional pest control services.

Bed bugs aren’t just bed bugs

While many often associate bed bug dwelling habits with hotels, motels, hostels and inns, there's a reason they can show up in places like movie theaters, dressings rooms and schools, according to the University of Florida News.

Pests can live with minimal food
Bed bugs can not only survive, but thrive on much less human blood than previously believed necessary, according to a University of Florida study, which also found that in just 11 weeks, a pair of the blood-sucking parasites can spawn a large enough population to cause harmful blood loss to a baby. Populations only need four more weeks to significantly affect adults. According to the source, it takes only 3,500 feeding bed bugs to harm a baby and 25,000 to cause problems in an adult.

"By harmful, we mean it’s not killing you, but your body would be stressed," said Roberto Pereira, a research associate scientist of entomology to University of Florida News. "And when your body is stressed, all sorts of things can go wrong. Your blood volume would be low, your iron levels might be too low or you might become anemic."

Pereira and his colleagues tested how the bugs thrived depending on the availability of blood sources, and found that populations grew even when they experienced a limited food supply.

“Basically what we found is that they can live on a diet of weekly snacks,” Pereira said.

The researchers also found that uncontrolled, large bed bug populations can grow four times faster than previously thought in just 11 to 15 weeks.

A growing problem
Bed bug population in the U.S.have surged in the past decade, suspected to be caused by international travel, an increased resistance to pesticides and limited public health programs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The growing number of bed bug reports have prompted some federal, state and local government action. According to CBS News San Francisco, the city recently approved legislation that mandates property owners disclose bed bug history. This move comes as a result of many bed bug reports and complaints from residents.

Homeowners dealing with bed bug problems shouldn't try to tackle the issue on their own. According to the University of Florida study, pest control efforts that fail to kill more than 80 percent of a population are likely to be ineffective in ridding an area of bed bugs, making it extremely important for individuals experiencing an infestation to seek professional intervention from an exterminator.

Crickets causing problems in Southwest

While seemingly harmless, crickets are causing plenty of problems for residents in the Southwest, especially homeowners in Texas who are fed up with the situation. Hordes of the pests have taken over towns, while homes and businesses are swarmed with the hopping insects. Some areas have been experiencing problems with the huge numbers of crickets since this spring, and the warm winter followed by particularly hot weather this summer and fall has only made the problem worse. The crickets have been breeding more than usual, and it's starting to bug people who have homes and offices that are covered in the pests.

Bugs invading towns
The pests are a huge nuisance for homeowners and businesses alike. They tend to gather outside homes and storefronts, and when doors open, the bugs  find a way inside. Once they're indoors, they can cause residents to panic, even though they don't pose a health threat. When many find their way inside, some people are swarmed with so many that they're forced to sweep them back outside with brooms. Some structures are so infested with the pests, people are using leaf blowers to get them off of doors, windows and siding.

It's not just the sheer amount of crickets that's getting to residents – it's also what happens when they die. Although most are pleased when the insect population begins to diminish, this year it's just another annoyance. Particularly rainy weather has made dealing with the dead crickets as bad as dealing with the ones that are alive.

During dry weather, the dead bugs simply blow away and don't cause any trouble. But because of the increased amount of rain, many Texans are finding that the wet, decaying carcasses produce an unpleasant smell that's tough to deal with. Some residents aren't sure which is worse – live crickets covering their homes and trying to get indoors, or dead crickets laying around outside causing a discernable stench.

Keeping crickets away
Live crickets can cause plenty of irritation, especially if they're covering a home and penetrating opened doors and windows. However, homeowners don't have deal with crickets, there are several ways people can keep them off their properties. The Dallas Morning News reported crickets are attracted to bright lights at night, so simply turning them off can keep crickets away from a home. If the lights have to be left on, using yellow bug lights or sodium vapor lamps instead of regular bulbs may also discourage the pests from dropping by and covering a home.

Residents who have found unusually large numbers of crickets indoors may want to consider calling pest control experts to assess the situation. Even though the bugs aren't dangerous, they can be a nuisance, frightening children or even distracting family pets. A professional exterminator can determine what can be done to get rid of the crickets inside a home, and how to prevent problems in the future.

Bed bugs not just a problem in hotels

Many students feel a bit anxious when back-to-school season comes around and it's time to move into their college dormitories. Parents are likely stressed as well, trying to ensure their kids have everything they need before packing the car and driving off to campus. After moving furniture and boxes and making last-minute runs to the store, pupils and their parents may not be prepared to handle yet another problem – dorm-dwelling bed bugs.

Many people used to assume bed bugs were only active in hotels, but that's far from the truth. Bed bugs can live anywhere and spread quite easily, making it hard to prevent unknowingly picking up the pests and bringing them home. College students across the country are finding the unwelcome insects in their new dorm rooms

Pests make their way to campuses
Several students attending the University of Maryland at College Park have discovered bed bugs in their dorm rooms after noticing itchy welts on their skin. Some of the pupils reported the problems immediately, but were dismayed to find that the school took days to respond to requests for assistance removing the bugs, according to the school's newspaper The Diamondback.

This isn't the first time the university has struggled with bed bug problems. The Diamondback reported that some dormitories have had problems with infestations for years. To help combat the issue, school officials added a bed bug clause to their housing contracts in 2011 – students must now prove their rooms are free of pests upon moving out.

While some schools have had ongoing battles with the bugs, some colleges are discovering new issues just weeks after students moved into their buildings. William Paterson University, located in Wayne, New Jersey, has recently discovered an infestation, after a student discovered the pests in her room at the beginning of the semester. The school has taken steps to prevent the spread of the problem, but students have still been advised to wash their bedding and clothing, while also keeping an eye out for any bugs.

It's not just dorm rooms that are at risk – bed bugs can also be found in classrooms and other university buildings. Maryland's Carroll Community College recently discovered some pests on classroom chairs and simulation tables. The school quickly closed the infested classrooms and will reopen them once they are bug free.

Bed bugs can be difficult to eliminate, and those who fear an infestation should always contact pest control professionals. Without the help of an experienced exterminator, the bugs may spread and cause emotional and psychological distress for those dealing with the problem.

Unwelcome guests pester residents

Even though autumn has made an appearance in some parts of the country, many homeowners live in areas that are still experiencing extremely hot, dry conditions. The weather have caused a spike in the amount of cockroach infestations, and residents are frantically seeking pest control experts to rid their homes of the insects.

Weather increasing bug populations
The hot weather creates the ideal conditions for cockroaches to develop quickly and breed. Because many states have experienced heat waves all summer, the roach populations are up dramatically. Even though municipalities don't track the number of pest infestations, insect control companies told San Diego NBC affiliate KNSD that calls concerning cockroaches are up nearly 10 percent.

Like humans, roaches need water to survive. The dry conditions seen by much of the country has deprived the pests of a vital resource. Bugs are crawling out of sewers and finding their way into homes to access water. Homeowners have found roaches in their swimming pools, bathrooms and kitchens trying to find water.

Two types of roaches causing the most problems for homeowners are American cockroaches and black oriental cockroaches, according to KNSD.  Even though these bugs typically stay outdoors, the drought is pushing them inside as they seek water.

Unfortunately, roaches aren't the only pests causing issues for residents. One exterminator told El Paso, Texas, FOX affiliate KFOX that homeowners in that area are experiencing an increase in ant and cricket infestations, in addition to more frequent roach problems.

What to do?
Homeowners can't control the weather, but they can take precautionary measures to prevent insects from entering their homes during hot, dry spells. Residents should ensure there aren't any openings or cracks through which pests can enter their homes, and they should check screens in windows and doors for rips a bug could sneak through. Food and beverages should not be left out – they should be covered or stored in airtight containers to prevent bugs from entering and feasting on leftover food.

If a homeowner discovers a cockroach infestation, it's important to act quickly so the problem does not have time to worsen. Calling a pest control expert is the best and most efficient way to ensure all roaches are eliminated from a home and the pests no longer pose a health threat to residents.

Survey finds West Nile concern among Americans, pest control companies affected

West Nile virus has come on strong this year, leading to an uptick in business for pest control companies.

A recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association revealed that 54 percent of Americans are worried about the West Nile virus, a potentially deadly disease that can be transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

In addition, the survey found that 22 percent of respondents took more steps to protect themselves from mosquitoes than in previous years.

“This year’s unprecedented West Nile Virus epidemic and the alarming amount of fatalities are worrisome for health and pest experts alike," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs at the NPMA. "Our members have received increased calls from homeowners to assist them with mosquito elimination in their back yards and this survey clearly shows the elevated concern experienced by much of the American population. The good news is that mosquito activity will naturally decrease over the next few weeks as the weather cools in much of the country and adult mosquitoes die off.”

The NPMA is currently in transition mode as its executive vice president, Rob Lederer, announced his resignation after 17 years of leading the organization. The resignation is effective immediately and was announced by NPMA President Laura Simpson during a conference call with the association's board of directors.

Mike Rottler, president of a pest control company, told PCT that news of Lederer's resignation came as a shock.

Food manufacturers dealing with fall pests

Pest control is a major issue among homeowners across the country, but business owners also have to take protective measures when it comes to preventing bugs, insects and other pest infestations.

In the food manufacturing industry, safety is paramount and keeping unwanted pests at bay is a priority for every food manufacturer. With the summer heat fading into an autumn chill, food plant managers are taking proactive steps to keep their products safe.

"Depending on geographical location, winter can provide some relief from exterior pest pressures. However, certain parts of the U.S. will see year-round pressures from outdoor insects," Patricia Hottel, technical director at a pest management company, told FoodProcessing.com. "There are definitely some seasonal pest differences in the temperate climates. There are several types of fall invading pests to expect as summer comes to a close. Several of these pests invade structures in search of a place to overwinter."

Many pests are influenced by the temperature and other aspects of the seasons, with some more prevalent in the fall and harvest season. The news source states that these pests include rodents, boxelder bugs, foreign grain beetles, brown marmorated stink bugs, cluster flies, multicolored Asian lady beetles and more.

"Each season brings different opportunities for pests to find food, water and shelter within or around food processing, packaging or handling facilities," Dale Bauerkemper, vice president of operating companies at a pest control company in Wisconsin, told the news source. "Although chemical applications can offer some immediate relief, environmental control methods that drop the relative humidity levels, removing the water pests need to survive, are required for real long-term resolution."

What to do as a business owner
As a home and/or business owner, you should take whatever steps are necessary to rid any potential pest issues. Contacting pest control professionals can be the easiest and most effective way to eliminate your bug or insect issue.

Although there are personal pest control measures that can be undertaken to remedy the situation, these are not always effective and some may not be safe. Working with a trained professionals may solve pest problems more quickly and offer much-needed peace of mind.

How to protect yourself from bed bugs while traveling

Summer vacation season may be winding down, but fall weekend getaways and holiday travel are right around the corner. While most people consider a vacation a relaxing, refreshing break, a trip can turn into a nightmare if you return home to discover you've brought bed bugs back with you. It's easy to pick up these unwanted souvenirs, and they are notoriously difficult to get rid of without help from professional exterminators. Remember that it is important to take precautionary steps to ensure your next trip doesn't leave you with bed bug bites or an infested house!

Check your room
If you're staying at a hotel, it's imperative to check your room for any signs of bed bugs as soon as you arrive. The pests have many different hiding places, but as their name suggests, they are often found around beds. Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress, and don't forget to examine the corners and seams, where it's easy for bed bugs to hide.

Don't stop after checking just the mattress – there are plenty of other places bed bugs like to lurk. Look over the box spring, headboard and even the nightstand. Don't forget to check the sofa bed if your room has one. The bugs can also live in carpeting, so scan the floor for bugs as well. Did you bring a flashlight? Use it to help you inspect the room. If you don't have one, you can use a flashlight app on a family member's smartphone.

What are you looking for?
You can examine the entire hotel room closely, but that won't really help you if you aren't sure of exactly what you're looking for. When checking the room, look for the pests themselves, which are flat and brown. Young bed bugs may be harder to spot, since they are nearly colorless and blend into white sheets and mattresses.

Search for more than just living bugs. You'll also want to examine the hotel room for other evidence of the insects. Look for cast skins, which the young bugs shed as they grow. Do you notice any small stains on the mattress or near the bed? It may be blood from bites or bed bug fecal matter. If you find any live bugs or evidence of an infestation, it's important to request a room change or find a new hotel before a pest finds its way into your luggage!

Keeping your luggage pest free
While it's crucial to inspect a room for signs of bed bugs, it isn't always a guaranteed way to ensure there are no pests present in the room. These insects are adept at hiding, and they can be easy to miss.

It may be tempting to drop your luggage on the floor or bed after a long plane ride or exhausting car trip, but avoid putting suitcases and bags in those two spots at all costs. Pests can easily crawl into your luggage if it's placed on the bed or carpeting. Instead, put your bags on luggage racks, on a table or even in the bathroom, where bed bugs rarely hide. Some experts even advise covering luggage with a trash bag so no pests are able to crawl inside.

Bed bugs can hide in clothes, and spread throughout your bags, so travelers are advised to keep clothing they have worn inside the hotel in sealed plastic bags before stowing it in their suitcases. Because they come into direct contact with the bed, vacationers should be especially careful about ensuring their pajamas are sealed before being packed up.

Avoid bringing home bugs
Even if you've taken every precaution to avoid bed bugs, sometimes they can still sneak into your luggage or clothing unnoticed. Keep your house pest free by unpacking your luggage in the garage when you return home – this will ensure the critters have nothing to grab and prevent them from spreading.

Closely examine each piece of clothing and your suitcase for any bugs that may have hitchhiked back to your home. Even if everything looks pest free, it's a good idea to wash and dry all items you brought with you. This will kill any bugs that you may have missed. When you've finished unpacking, don't store that suitcase in your closet. Leave it in the garage just in case any pests are still hiding in the seams. Missing just a bug or two could result in the pests spreading throughout your home.

Taking precautionary measures is the first step in preventing a bed bug infestation. Unfortunately, it is still possible to wind up with a pest problem after returning home from a trip. In this instance, a pest control professional can recommend the best treatment to rid your home of bed bugs.