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Archive for the ‘Bed Bugs’ Category

The Many Bed Bug Relatives

The common bed bug belongs to the relatively small genus Cimex in the order Hemiptera. Only around 90 insect species belonging to the Cimex genus have been documented worldwide, but the Hemiptera order is one of the most species-rich insect orders in the arthropod community. Insects belonging to the Hemiptera order are commonly referred to as “true bugs,” and somewhere between 50,000 and 80,000 true bug species have been documented worldwide. True bugs are characterized by their needle-like mouthparts that are designed for piercing tissue and sucking out internal fluids like a straw. Most true bugs use their mouthparts to pierce plant tissue for the purpose of sucking out various types of sweet-tasting sap, but some true bug species use their mouthparts for bloodsucking.

The most well known true bugs include cicadas, aphids, leafhoppers, and brown marmorated stink bugs. With the exception of the common bed bug, the most well known bloodsucking true bugs in the US include kissing bugs in the Triatoma genus, and other Cimex species like tropical bed bugs, chimney swifts, swallow bugs, and bat bugs. Several herbivore species of true bugs are known for biting humans when they become disturbed or are mishandled. These occasional biting, but non-bloodsucking true bug species include wheel bugs, minute pirate bugs, thrips, masked hunters, and assassin bugs. Bites inflicted by herbivore true bugs are extremely painful due to the relatively large size of their piercing mouthparts, and most bites occur when gardeners reach into dense vegetation and unknowingly disturb the insects.

Herbivore true bug bites are reportedly around ten times more painful than wasp stings, and the pain that results from these bites can last for days or weeks. In rare cases, herbivore true bug bites may also trigger serious allergic reactions, such as throat swelling that closes the airway, which requires the administration of epinephrine within a 15 minute time frame following the bite. Kissing bugs invade southern homes where they bite sleeping humans, sometimes resulting in the transmission of a parasite, T. cruzi, that causes chagas disease. Kissing bugs infect tens of thousand of people in South America with chagas disease annually, but the disease is quite rare in the US. However, the most recent case of chagas infection in the US occurred in Louisiana. Although bed bugs are considered the most pestiferous true bug pests, they are not known to transmit disease.


Have you ever woken up in the morning to find fresh bug bites on your skin?




J&J Exterminating offers tips to avoid bed bugs during upcoming travels

Summer is here, which means millions of Americans are eagerly gearing up for vacation. However, before hitting the road to enjoy some rest and relaxation, J&J Exterminating, encourages travelers to learn and practice bed bug prevention tips to help avoid bringing home these unwanted souvenirs.

Bed bugs can turn a relaxing vacation into a nightmare, especially if they return home with you. Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to control, but taking precautions, such as inspecting hotel rooms, beach rentals and cabins prior to settling in, is a critical first step in helping travelers avoid coming into contact with these blood-sucking pests.

Keep these tips from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) top-of-mind when traveling this summer:

  • Thoroughly inspect the entire hotel room or rental before unpacking, including behind headboards, and around the bottom of cushions and seams of other furniture.
  • Pull back bed sheets and inspect mattress seams and box springs, particularly the corners, for pepper-like stains or shed bed bug skins. 
  • Use a large plastic trash bag or a protective cover to store your luggage during your stay.
  • Do not place luggage on upholstered surfaces. The safest place is typically in the bathroom in the middle of a tile floor or on a luggage rack after it has been thoroughly inspected. Do not use a luggage rack if it has hollow legs, where bed bugs may hide unseen.
  • If any pests are spotted, notify management and change rooms or properties immediately. If staying in a hotel, be sure your new room is not adjacent to the possibly infested room.
  • When you return home, inspect and vacuum your suitcases thoroughly before bringing them into the home. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which will kill any bed bugs.
  • Wash all your clothes – even the items not worn – in hot water or dry on high heat.

If you suspect that bed bugs may have hitchhiked a ride into your abode, contact us to recommend a course of treatment.

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Illicit And Dangerous Bed Bug Control Methods Residents Must Avoid

Nobody is happy to learn that their home has become infested with insect pests, and this is particularly true when it comes to dreaded bed bug infestations. When bed bugs first emerged after their 50 year absence from homes in the US, pest control professionals were ill-equipped to eradicate the bloodsucking pests. Luckily, the advent of heat treatments, desiccants, and other extermination methods allow modern pest control professionals to reliably control bed bug pests. However, many homeowners assume that these pests remain just as difficult to eliminate from homes as they ever have been. Due to this common misconception, it is not uncommon for homeowners to resort to do-it-yourself bed bug eradication tactics after learning that their property has become infested. Unfortunately, of the more than 300 bed bug eradication methods approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, very few are available to consumers who lack a license to handle insecticides and operate bed bug eradication devices. Because of this, many homeowners attempt to eradicate bed bug infestations on their own with wildly unsuccessful results.

With or without realizing it, many homeowners adopt bed bug control methods that are technically illegal and/or dangerous. For example, the use of illegal forms of diatomaceous earth among homeowners has been well documented, and some residents have been so bold as to gain access to and use insecticides that require a license to handle. Many forms of diatomaceous earth, which are dust desiccants, are not approved by the EPA, and therefore, are illegal to use even by pest control professionals, let alone unlicensed consumers. Diatomaceous earth, boric acid and other dessicates are applied as a powder to cracks, crevices and other tiny indoor harborages where bed bugs commonly hide. This can be dangerous, as legal diatomaceous earth has been formulated to prevent its inhalation by humans, while all other forms of the dust are labeled as carcinogens that are believed to contribute to lung cancer. Many homeowners have even applied rubbing alcohol to bed bug-infested mattresses and furniture, which has led to house fires. While bed bugs are highly unlikely to be eliminated from homes without professional intervention, those who insist on DYI treatments should refer to the EPA website’s list of bed bug treatments that are approved for consumer use.

Have you ever attempted a DYI bed bug eradication tactic?

Are Bed Bug Infestation Rates In The US Increasing Or Decreasing With Time, And How Are Louisiana Lawmakers Combatting The Pests?

Last year the National Pest Management Association conducted a nationwide survey of pest control professionals in order to determine the prevalence of bed bug pest issues within homes and buildings in the US. According to the results, 97 percent of pest control professionals surveyed claimed to have managed bed bug infestations during 2018, and 70 percent claimed that bed bug infestations had become more common during this time. That same year, 91 percent of pest control professionals managed bed bug infestations within single family homes; 89 percent managed the pests in apartments and condominiums, and 68 percent managed infestations in hotels and motels.

According to the results of a 2011 nationwide survey that asked American homeowners about their experiences with bed bugs, 20 percent claimed to have fallen victim to a bed bug infestation within their home, or they know someone who has encountered bed bugs within their home or within a hotel or motel. This survey also revealed that bed bugs had established a sizable population in all 50 states only 10 to 15 years after the pests reemerged in the country. More specifically, 17 percent of respondents living in the northeast claimed to have encountered bed bugs, while 19 percent of western respondents reported bed bug encounters, and 20 percent of respondents in both midwestern and southern regions claimed to have encountered the pests.

Not long after it became clear that bed bugs were going to reestablish a sizable population in the US, pest control professionals, urban entomologists, and public health officials launched a bed bug awareness campaign that aimed to educate Americans about bed bug control tactics. This campaign worked, as a subsequent series of surveys conducted throughout the country a little more than a decade ago revealed that nearly ⅓ of all Americans began to practice bed bug control tactics after hearing the warnings. The most common bed bug control tactic involved the inspection and laundering of all potentially infested articles of clothing that had been taken into hotels during vacations. New Orleans consistently appears on professionally compiled lists of the most bed bug-infested cities in the US, and unfortunately, bed bug infestations are only becoming more common in every area of the US, particularly in Louisiana where bed bug infestations are epidemic. However, Louisiana state lawmakers have been aggressive about combating bed bugs in the state and the rest of the country, as they established the Louisiana Bed Bug Task Force which works with other state and federal entities to develop area-wide bed bug control programs.

Have you managed to avoid bed bug pest issues within your home?

Researchers Believe That Bed Bugs May Trigger Respiratory Difficulties, And Living Within Infested Conditions May Contribute To The Development Of Asthma

Several studies have clearly demonstrated that certain arthropods that thrive within human settings contribute to the development of allergic conditions, particularly asthma. These medically important arthropod pests include cockroaches, dust mites, and carpet beetles, and now experts believe that bed bugs may also induce allergic conditions in people living within infested homes. This would not be surprising, as all arthropods are associated with allergens, and bed bugs usually maintain an abundant presence around beds and furniture where humans frequently make contact with their feces, shed skins, body fragments, and other forms of bed bug debris. Although more research on this topic is needed, numerous studies carried out all over the world have shown that people living in bed bug infested conditions for prolonged periods of time develop rashes and respiratory problems not unlike the allergy symptoms associated with cockroaches and dust mites.

One medical case study described how a patient’s frequent asthma attacks ceased only after a bed bug control program was initiated within his home. Pest control professionals and residents who undertake DIY bed bug control measures within homes can increase their exposure to bed bug allergens in the air by disturbing bed bug harborages. For example, using a vacuum for bed bug removal and post-infestation cleaning can cause both live and dead bed bugs, as well as their feces and shed skins, to disperse through the air where they are likely to be inhaled. When operating within infested homes, pest control professionals often wear a face mask and use vacuum cleaners with a HEPA filter in order to protect themselves from exposure to airborne arthropod allergens. It is also important to note that arthropod allergens remain within homes long after infestations have been eradicated, which is why homes must be thoroughly sanitized following the completion of successful pest control programs. While sanitizing homes, residents should take measures to avoid inhaling airborne particles that may contain arthropod allergens, such as shed skins, excrement, dead eggs, and body fragments in the air.

Have you ever experienced breathing problems or skin irritation while cleaning homes where insect pests were once active?

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