Is there really a problem with bed bugs in Phoenix? An adult bed bug (Cimex lectularius) with the typical flattened oval shape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption] Over the last couple of years we have heard numerous reports of how bed bugs are taking over the east coast in cities like New York, Tampa, and Chicago. Seldom, though, do we hear of the growing problems that we face here in Phoenix and throughout Arizona. Marcy and I inspect homes, apartments, condominiums and commercial properties on a daily basis. My partner, Marcy, is a two and a half year old beagle terrier trained to find bed bugs. I started K-9 Bed Bug Inspectors in January of 2011 after working for a local, family-owned and operated pest Control Company for the last 5 years. While working for Bulwark Exterminating I have watched the local bed bug problem grow at a very rapid pace and realized that Phoenix was about to experience a problem that has already plagued so many cities across the nation. So in an effort to help with the problem and educate as many people as possible, I started K-9 Bed Bug Inspectors. K-9 Bed Bug Inspectors are a full service company dedicated specifically to the education, detection and eradication of Bed Bugs. One of the things that I find most interesting as a professional is that the majority of people that I meet in Phoenix still are not aware that we have a problem with bed bugs in our city. This couldn’t be further from the truth and as long as people in Phoenix continue to be uneducated on the severity of the problem that we are facing it will continue to get worse. Some of the biggest misconceptions that people have are that bed bugs only live in dirty or low income homes. Marcy and I have been inspecting homes and businesses all over the valley, including some of the nicest homes in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley and other areas of Phoenix where homes are worth well over a million dollars. Socioeconomics is not a concern for bed bugs all they want is blood so whether your bank account has 5 dollars or 5 million dollars in it, the bed bugs don’t care; we all bleed red and that’s what they are after. In fact, those with the means to travel are prone to carry bed bugs home with them from areas of the country and world with bigger infestations than our home state. With the economy the way it has been and the housing market being hit so hard there are some who have taken the opportunity to invest in foreclosures and turn them into rentals. Most of my clients that are in this position have the most to lose with the current threat of bed bugs because of the potential loss of profits on their investment. Let’s say, for example, that you own a single family home that you are renting out as a small investment and you're taking in $300-$400 dollars after expenses. If that property becomes infested with bed bugs and you don’t have any agreements in place with the tenants then you are responsible for treating your property for the pests. A typical bed bug infestation on a single family home of about 1500 square feet can cost anywhere from $1500-$2500 dollars to treat. That could take months to recoup the loss and start making a profit again. I give this conservative example to illustrate the devastation that bed bugs are having all across the country and now they are in Phoenix and will be here for a long time to come. I estimate that 50% percent of our populations will have dealt with bed bugs over the next 5 years and the problem is not expected to peak for another 10 years. Bed Bugs are being considered a pandemic by the country’s leading entomologists and because of their resilience to the pest control products that are on the market today, bed bugs are proving to be quite the adversary to most pest control companies. Bed Bugs are in Phoenix and are here to stay so do your part in educating yourself and those around you and then maybe just maybe we can avoid the sort of devastation and nightmare that our fellow Americans are living in other cities.