Category Archives: Pest Database

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.

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.

Pests to look out for in the early spring

Warmer weather introduces new challenges in terms of pest control. As winter wears on and spring approaches, homeowners may want to check for signs of infestations.

Carpenter ants are a common issue in the spring. They are more than just a nuisance- they are known to cause structural damage in homes. Spotting one or two ants isn’t indicative of a nest, but homeowners would still benefit from checking for their presence. Ants tend to congregate near the spot that they entered the building. The SnoValley Star suggests looking around where wiring comes through the wall, around windows in the basement, and small, out of the way spaces. Carpenter ants are known to nest in wood, and can often be found in walls and ceilings.

Wasp nests can also pose a new threat in the springtime. The University of Michigan warns that yellow jackets tend to nest in attics, walls, and under eaves. The only way to verify an infestation is if the insects are spotted flying in and out of a crack in the walls. Paper wasps, one of the more common species, are typically found on horizontal surfaces such as beams, overhangs and supports in places such as attics, garages and tool sheds. Both types of wasps gravitate toward quiet, out​-of-the-way areas, but can be dangerous if they choose to stay in the walls of a home.

If a nest is spotted, but no wasps were seen in the area, it’s possible that the nest is dead or inactive. Wasps only use their nests for one season, so it may be that the nest is not in use. It’s better to have an exterminator come and look at the nest before attempting to remove it, however, to avoid the risk of getting stung.

One of the most common pests early on in spring is the termite. These pests are nearly impossible to spot, and the best method of prevention is to have a house inspection each spring. According to Business Wire, they can chew through most flooring materials in addition to wallpaper, making them able to invade a home with ease. Tips for termite control include keeping the areas around a house’s foundation dry, keeping holes sealed and stacking lumber away from structures.

Ask an exterminator agency to send a professional to evaluate the risk of pests for your home if you’re concerned about infestations as spring approaches.

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.

Cold Draws Cockroaches Inside, Increases Health Risk

Children More Susceptible to Allergic, Asthmatic Reactions

They’re creepy crawlers that make most of us go “eeww!” However, cockroaches pose a much greater risk to our health than simple disgust at a sighting, in particular for those who suffer from allergies and asthma. In fact, cockroaches are known to spread 33 kinds of bacteria and more than a dozen other disease-causing organisms, including E. coli and salmonella. And now, as the height of the cold-weather season sets in and we (and cockroaches) spend more times indoors, the risk increases.

“Cockroaches are one of the most common indoor pests and many people are sensitive to the allergens that come with them,” said Scott Svenheim, an Associate Certified Entomologist at Truly Nolen. “They’re found in the cleanest of homes in all types of neighborhoods, particularly in crowded cities with a lot of older buildings.”

For those who are sensitive to cockroach allergens, the proteins found in their saliva increases the likelihood of an allergic reaction. The body and droppings of cockroaches also contain allergenic proteins. Recent studies suggest that exposure to cockroach allergen can increase the severity of asthma symptoms, and one in five children in the U.S. have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens, according to The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Truly Nolen encourages everyone to take proactive steps to prevent cockroach infestations during the winter to help keep families healthy and safe:

Preventive Strategies

  • Keep food and garbage in closed, tight-lidded containers.
  • Never leave food out in the kitchen.
  • Eliminate water sources that attract pests, such as leaky faucets and drain pipes.
  • Do not leave out pet food or dirty food bowls.
  • Pay extra attention to kitchens and bathrooms – especially under appliances and sinks due to food and moisture found in and around plumbing fixtures.
  • Mop the kitchen floor and wash countertops at least once a week.
  • Plug up crevices around the house through which cockroaches can enter.

Limit the spread of food around the house and especially keep it out of bedrooms.

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.