Bed Bug Professionals: Thomas: I’m Thomas Ballantyne with Bulwark Exterminating. This is A.J. Richards with K-9 Bed Bug Inspectors. A.J. Richards: Yes. Thomas: And it’s K-9BedBugInspectors.com. We have in front of us live bed bugs. A.J.: Yep. He’s alive. Thomas: So bed bugs do exist in Arizona. We had a home we treated, or inspected yesterday. A.J. actually does inspections for bed bugs with his dogs. His dogs have been trained to sniff out bed bugs, their scent, a very effective way of determining whether you actually have bed bugs or not. So, this little guy here is ready to feed and so he’s moving around pretty quick. A.J. actually has an allergic reaction to bed bugs. He‘s let them feed on him before. Do you have a, where’s your arm? Is it still… A.J.: Yeah, you can still see the scarring. This is all scarring right here, the brown, that’s about two months old, these patches. Over here on this side, that’s the latest feeding, actually by this guy about two, three weeks ago. So, he’s hungry. So that’s what’s left. Thomas: He hasn’t been fed for two or three weeks, and you’ve got to keep him alive so you can continue to train your dogs. A.J.: Yep. Thomas: Yep. That’s what all these little vials are for. So, at any rate, I know when you go into these houses, you’ve got to be a little freaked out, you know, thinking you might be able to pick some of these up with your shoes… A.J.: Yeah. Thomas: …or what not. A.J.: Yeah, always, always. So, I mean, I’ve got to be very careful, not only myself, but my dogs… Thomas: Right. A.J.: …because they hide in their fur, that kind of thing. So, we’ve got to be real cautious that we don’t take them home. I’m, I’m, I can tell you that my wife wouldn’t be satisfied with living conditions if I brought these guys to the house. Thomas: *Laughs.* You don’t want to do a video on how fast a home gets infested. A.J.: Right. Thomas: So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to recommend to A.J. that he protect himself. And I believe this will do it. This is bug repellent. Nothing fancy, but… A.J.: Over the counter, typical stuff. Thomas: …over the counter, typical stuff. This one doesn’t have any DEET in it. This is a fragrance-free, Picaridin is the active ingredient. So, what we’re going to do, since this guy’s ready to feed, typically if you put him on your arm, he’d immediately begin to feed, I’m going to spray my arm down with this, let it dry, and then we’re going to put it on my arm and see if he actually will try to feed. Do we need to, uh… A.J.: Rub it in there a little bit. Thomas: I need to rub it in there, but I can’t…can I use my other hand? A.J.: Yeah, just don’t use your forearm. Thomas: Okay. We’re trying to keep it separate so that, I am actually going to let it feed on me. I know, kind of gross. But, we’re going to use my other arm to see if it will feed on me as soon as I put it on my other arm. So… A.J.: Thank goodness that’s fragrance free. Thomas: Yeah. A.J.: Yeah. Thomas: *Laughs* I know. A.J.: Good? So I find that they like that real meaty part of the forearm, so we’re going to put him right there, and he should go right to it. So, if he keeps moving, the he’s probably trying to avoid the spray, I would say, because anytime I’ve done it, instantly. And we’ll see on your other arm if that holds true. Thomas: Yeah, he’s not biting. Oh, oh! Oh, just kidding. A.J.: *Laughs* Thomas: Nothing. Actually, when he bites, you can’t even feel it, right? Because they inject their… A.J.: Right, the saliva on the tip of their little sucker has a little anticoagulant, so the blood flows freely and an anesthetic so you don’t feel it. Thomas: Oooh, it kind of tickles actually. A.J.: Yeah. But, uh, yeah, it looks like he’s trying to avoid, avoid your arm. Shall we see what happens on the other one? Thomas: Yeah. I, I’m pretty happy with not being bitten right now, so…so do you speculate that the um, uh, the bug repellent is damaging to the bug, or is it just literally a repellent? A.J.: I, I would say, my best, you know, speculation would be that they’re just avoiding it. Thomas: Okay. I really don’t want to do this right now. I really don’t want a little vampire stuck in my arm. Look at that, dude. A.J.: There you go. Thomas: Ah! Seriously. Oh! A.J.: Straight to eating. Straight to eating. Thomas: Uh! Okay, you can take him off now. Ah! A.J.: You can’t even feel him. You got… Thomas: I know! I know! Man, I just don’t like him sitting there. A.J.: Thomas, you’ve got to let him fill up. Thomas: No, look at that dude, this is gross! A.J.: You can’t, just think, it’s like a mosquito, Thomas: No! A.J.: Yeah. You’ve got to let it… Thomas: I don’t like mosquitoes. I’ll squash it right now. Can I slap it real quick? A.J.: No, I need him. Are you done? Thomas: Okay. Yeah, I’m done. Dude, I was done five seconds ago. Ah, come on! Thanks. A.J.: Alright, well, I’ll go ahead and feed him because I need him. And then I’ll let you guys see, we’ll watch and see the change in the size. But, you noticed, he wouldn’t even leave the paper as soon as he reached it, see? I had to kind of drag him off. See? There you go. Drag him off the paper because… Thomas: He’d already started feeding. A.J.: He was starting to feed, and um, that actually happens in real life. They don’t necessarily crawl on you as much as they will just reach up from the bed. So you’ll see people if they lay on their side, you’ll see dots all down their side because, there, like he’s doing right there, they’re just going to reach up and feed and then walk away so they’re in a line. So, um… Thomas: So it’s not like bad manners not to actually sit on the arm, huh? A.J.: Yeah, it’s not bad manners. So, anyway… Thomas: He’s just trying to be polite. A.J.: You know, I can actually feel… Thomas: No elbows on the table. A.J.: Yeah, I can actually feel him right now and the camera wouldn’t pick it up, but you can see his little straw-like sucker sticking into my arm. -Bulwark Exterminating Pest Control & Bed Bugs
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.
Bed Bug Professionals: AJ Richards: There he moved again. When he finishes a capillary and drains a capillary, he’ll move to another spot. It’s probably not smart of me to move him again because now I have two big welts, but can you see that? If you look from the side, you can see him looking straight down in and his sucker’s stabbed right into me right now. Cameraman: I can see it from here. I’m not sure if the picture, if the camera can pick it up. Thomas: I think you’re the sucker, I don’t think he’s the sucker. *Laughs* Look at that. I think he’s getting a little fatter. AJ: Oh! I’m feeling that one. That one hurt. If I was asleep, I probably wouldn’t have felt it, but I’m watching him so I can definitely feel it inside there. I’ll let it go long enough if you want to see it fill up. He’ll go to twice his size. Thomas: Don’t we already have a video of that? AJ: We did a baby, so it wasn’t as visible. Thomas: Oh yeah. This is an adult right here, huh? AJ: Yep. If you watch his color change, he used to have just one brown spot right down the center. See how it’s filling up? Thomas: And that’s your blood filling up in there, huh? AJ Richards: Yep, that’s all blood. Thomas: If you blow on him right now, is it going to bother him? AJ: I don’t know, try it. Thomas: No, doesn’t seem to care. AJ: So, a feeding, a typical feeding actually would take about fifteen minutes. Thomas: Fifteen minutes? AJ: Uh huh. For him to get completely engorged, fifteen minutes. So, he’ll feed, drain a capillary, move, feed, drain a capillary, that’s why a lot of times… Thomas: I know that fifteen is like the max on You Tube. AJ: Yeah, I do know, so we can… Thomas: I just don’t think that’s going to work. AJ: Maybe we can do a time lapse, huh? *Laughs* Thomas: A time lapse. *Laughs* AJ: Uh, but uh, that’s why when you’ll see typical markings from a bed bug is in a line. Usually three or four, because they’re cleaning out a capillary, they’re dropping down, you know, stick it in another capillary, draining it until they’re full, so, um, and once they feed, they actually won’t need to feed for uh, you know, about three or four days. Thomas: So, what do you think? Do you think the bug repellent worked then, pretty good? AJ: I would say it did. Cameraman: They have to eat that often? Thomas: Should we try the other arm? AJ: Yeah. Well, no, they don’t have to eat that often. Yeah, let’s see if we can confirm it. Thomas: Let’s go ahead and spray this arm over here. AJ: They don’t have to feed that long. Put it right there. Thomas: Very good. I gotcha, right here. AJ: Oops, thanks man. Thomas: Dude, do you feel these things, dude? That’s nice. AJ: Popeye. *Laughs* Thomas: Woo hoo! AJ: Making me feel weird. Thomas: That’s what the arm will do for you. I know, sorry. AJ: *Laughs* Thomas: At least it’s not sun tanning oil or something all over you, AJ. AJ: Right. That’s not too bad. Thomas: He’s getting pretty big, dude, he might not even want to feed at this point, I guess, but... AJ: Well, we’ll try. He’ll double in size and, and he doesn’t know when his next meal is, so I would actually speculate that he’ll keep going as long as the blood meal’s there, until he’s full. So, let’s see if we can bring him over here. Thomas: Just put the paper down and see if he even crawls off. Look at that, he seriously doesn’t… AJ Richards: He’s refusing it. Thomas: Yeah, I bet if you put the paper back up there, he’ll climb up on the paper, too. AJ Richards: Notice the shape change? He’s a little bit more elongated…. Thomas: Yeah, put him back over again, see if he feeds again. AJ: …than he was when he started. He was a little more round. And that’s very common, they go from more of a tick shape to, the call it a cigar shape. Thomas: Look at that, dude. AJ Richards: He’s feeding upside down. Thomas: Yeah, AJ Richards: Can you see that? Cameraman: Not really well in the camera, but yeah. AJ: Look at that. Thomas: Yeah, he full on, just, the repellent, the bug repellent works. AJ: Yeah. That’s copyrighted, by the way. *Laughs* Thomas: Yeah, first, you heard it here first. AJ: Bed bug repellent coming your way. Thomas: That’s right. Cameraman: That’s really cool. Thomas: We’re going to insert it into some fragrance so that we have fragrance kind. AJ: Yeah. Thomas: I’m thinking like, uh, CK One, we’ll call it K-9 One. AJ: K-9 One, there you go. AJ: You know, an application, really, the only application for something like that would be, you’ve got them at your house, or you’re paranoid, so maybe you want to spray yourself down, or an inspector, myself. Knowing that that works, I’m going to be soaked in bed bug repellent as I go in to do inspections because, that’s actually… Thomas: Yeah, I went in there with you yesterday, and I, so the reason why this all started is I went in there with him yesterday and my wife would kill me, I mean just kill me if… AJ Richards: If he brought those home. Thomas: Yeah, exactly. Not only that, but the house we went to was pretty, pretty bad, I mean, really bad, I mean, we’ve got some footage we’ll show you on that, but I didn’t want to get any, so I sprayed myself down. And AJ didn’t believe, didn’t know it’d work or not, but he still would’ve… AJ: I played it safe, didn’t I? *Laughs* Thomas: Yeah, you’re not going to take any chances, are you? AJ: No. Thomas: I mean, if there’s a chance it’s going to work… AJ Richards: Yeah. Thomas: So, there you go. AJ Richards: Spray it on my shoes and the bottom of my pants. Thomas: I just might be using this to, uh, using this anytime I go to the movies, theaters now, or in hotels. AJ Richards: In hotels, yeah. Thomas: Why take a risk, I mean, that’s like, if you get a bed bug infestation in your home, it’s a couple thousand dollars. AJ Richards: Yeah, if you, if you have a problem and most people realize what they have until it’s an infestation, and at that point, they’re talking an easy minimum of fifteen hundred to two thousand dollars on an average size home. If you catch it early enough, there are chemical treatments and steam treatments that can be successful for a quarter of that price, but like I said, most people don’t realize what it is until they’ve got an infestation and, and then it’s too late, so, and the one time you don’t take a precaution, you know, it’s probably that time that you’re going to get it, so… Thomas: Dude, look at him. He’s huge. AJ Richards: See how much bigger he is now? Thomas: Yeah. AJ Richards: And he’s dark red. He’ll get, see how, look at the back of him, how, oh, there he goes. Thomas: Oh! Oh! He just pooped on there. Oh, sorry. AJ Richards: So, he just … Thomas: No breathing on the… AJ Richards: He just defecated. That’s my blood. And that’s something you want to watch for, say you have white sheets, which I recommend by the way, it’s easier to spot, if you see that on your white sheet, Thomas: No pun intended. *Laughs* AJ Richards: If you see that on your white sheets, then you start looking. Call in a dog; call in a professional, whatever it takes. But, you want to find that right away. Like I said, you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars potentially. Thomas: Yeah, he totally doesn’t look like a tick anymore. Like when I first looked at him, he looked just like a tick, but I mean, he’s like a little accordion back there that just fills up. AJ Richards: Yeah. And… Thomas: And just poops it right out. AJ Richards: Notice he’s, notice he’s not trying to feed anymore. He’s pretty much full. Thomas: Yeah. AJ Richards: I mean, he’s got his blood meal. Now he’s just trying to find a place to hide. Thomas: Good, let’s put him away. AJ Richards: Let’s do it. Thomas: I’m done with him. That was pretty nasty. I didn’t like having that on my arm one bit. AJ Richards: I noticed. Thomas: Alright, at any rate, I’m a happy camper. Go buy some today. AJ: *Laughs* Thomas: I think that’s a wrap. See you guys. AJ Richards: That’s a wrap. Thomas: Check back in sometime. -Bulwark Exterminating Pest Control & Bed Bugs