We all know how disgusting and traumatic bed bugs can be. They cause anxiety, panic and can be extremely difficult to get rid of. They seem to infect every corner of the Earth and love a good trip. The key to never getting bed bugs is understanding how to search, identify and prevent them. This bed bug prevention guide provided by Bed Bug Force NYC illustrates some of the basic precautions to take when traveling and how to handle your luggage upon arrival at hotels and when you're coming home.
Obviously, to be able to prevent bed bugs you need to know what they look like and how to identify them. The main ways to identify if there is a bed bug problem is by looking around the bed and mattress seams for black specks that seem to resemble pepper flakes. These are bed bug feces and are a sure sign that there is a bed bug presence. Bed bugs themselves are rather flat with a slight elliptical shape to them with a reddish-brown color. They are usually no bigger than an apple seed in size.
There are some basic things you should do before embarking on your trip like:
Pack a flashlight - You'll need one to inspect for bed bugs in your hotel room and around the bed where you plan on sleeping.
Use a hardshell or collapsible suitcase - Hardshells usually are easy to clean and don't have seams where bed bugs can hide. If a hard-shell isn't possible than a collapsible type suitcase is another option as these can be washed easily upon arriving home.
Bring a plastic bag (optional) - If you want to be extra careful, bring a large garbage bag to put your suitcase in during your trip. This will make it even more difficult for bed bugs to get into your luggage.
Read reviews carefully - Of course doing your due diligence on any place you plan on staying in is paramount. Any reviews that mention bed bugs should be taken seriously. Avoid any place with reviews mentioning bed bugs at any point during the establishment's history, even if the review is old.
Upon arriving at your hotel, hostel or wherever you're staying immediately put your luggage in a bathroom during the inspection process. Bathrooms are much safer to store your luggage in since they are usually full of slippery surfaces and tiles that bed bugs do not like. This will give you some time to inspect your room thoroughly before bringing your luggage into the actual hotel room main area.
You'll want to be as thorough as possible with your inspection of your room. Areas you'll want to check are:
Once you've determined that room is clear, you can bring your luggage out from the bathroom into your room. Even though you may think that you are clear if you didn't see anything during your inspection, you still want to be careful. Keep all of your luggage off of the floors, preferably on a desk or table that can't easily be climbed up on from the ground.
Bed bugs are hitchhikers and they love to travel. That means that they can also end up in rental cars and get into any items you may have stored in the trunk or inside the car. After picking up your rental, do a quick sweep of the trunk, inside and tire areas to ensure there are no bed bugs hiding out in the rental. Check under spare tires as well for any remnants of past or present bed bug infestations.
Never assume that you came home bed-bug free. It's always best to assume that you DID come home with bed bugs and get in the habit of handling your items as such upon arriving home. Some basic things to do when you're coming home from your trip include:
Wash all your clothing in hot water. Even the clothing you didn't wear. - If any bed bugs slipped in during any point of your trip, they will be killed during the wash.
Before bringing your luggage into your home, do a thorough inspection outside with a flashlight and a keen eye. The last thing you want to do is bring a single bed bug into your home from not checking your luggage thoroughly. You'll want to inspect all necessary parts of your suitcase where bed bugs may be hiding such as:
After following these basic steps and educating yourself on how to identify bed bugs and prevent them, you'll be able to travel the world and have peace of mind knowing that your chances of bringing bed bugs home with you are very slim. Staying alert and being diligent in your efforts will ensure you have many safe travels that are free of bed bugs. Check out the infographic below that helps illustrate the bed bug prevention process. And of course for any bed bug related situations be sure to talk to an expert at Bulwark Exterminating for possible bed bug treatment options.
Summer is in full swing, and pests like ants, scorpions, cockroaches, bedbugs, ticks, spiders, and snails are all looking to put a damper on our summer fun. Over the years, victims of these pests have been frantically searching for effective pest control remedies to combat these unwanted invaders. Some work; some don’t. Some are just plain bizarre. Here are the top ten most bizarre pest control remedies:
Bet you didn't know that Home Improvement’s Al Borland was virtually a tick magnet. Blood-sucking ticks hide out in the trees and bushes on your property, waiting for an unsuspecting host to brush up against them… FYI that blood host is YOU or your pets. A little known fact; these ticks are known to jump onto flannel as they are attracted to the fibers. Tick Remedy: To get rid of ticks on your property, drag pieces of flannel tied to rope or string throughout your yard. Make sure the flannel passes through all the shrubbery in your yard, as these are the areas ticks lurk. You can hang your flannel shirt in a tree as well. The ticks will jump onto the flannel for a ride. When you’re done, check the flannel for ticks. Carefully remove them and place them in a bowl of disinfectant (bleach/water). If the number of ticks stuck to the flannel is substantial, disinfect the entire piece and dispose of it. Note: Fleas are also attracted to flannel.
Spider Remedy: Haven’t you heard the saying, “A pack a day keeps the spiders away?” The chemicals in cigarette smoke are bad for bugs, especially spiders, just like they are bad for humans. While cigarettes are effective killers of all things living, we don’t recommend picking up smoking to control your spider infestations. Read more about smoking being bad for bugs.
Snail & Slug Remedy:Are you in need of an inexpensive and simple method to get rid of garden slugs and snails? Simply buy them a beer. As it turns out, snails and slugs love beer just as much as the average person. Place empty pie tins randomly throughout your garden, and fill them about ½ an inch full of your favorite beer. Slugs and snails will slime their way into the pie tin, but will not be able to get out. Check the tins every morning, replace the stale beer, and discard the captured slugs and snails.
Ant & Roach Remedy:Having problems with ants or cockroaches… Just feed them cat food! While the thought alone of eating cat food would kill just about anybody, it’s especially effective at killing ants and roaches. Technically, it’s not the cat food that kills the pests, but the boric acid you mix with it. Here’s what you need:
¼ Cup Grape Jelly 1 Small Can Wet Cat Food 1 Teaspoon Boric Acid
Directions:Mix all three ingredients together. Place small spoonfuls of the cat food near foraging ants and cockroaches. In the case of ants; not only will they eat the deadly poison, but will also bring some back for the Queen ant to munch on. If baited successfully, the ants in the nest should be exterminated within a couple days. The cockroaches will also die after ingesting the boric acid laced cat food.
Wasp Remedy:Wasps are one of the worst summertime pests. That sentiment is magnified if you ever have to deal with a wasp’s nest on your property. One solution is to buy or build your own fake wasp nest. It’s like a scarecrow for wasps! Many kinds of wasp are extremely territorial and will not build a nest within 200 yards of another one. Hang a scarecrow nest in the front yard, and one in back. Now you can enjoy your outdoor picnics!
Garden Pest Remedy:Tired of nuisance pests attacking your garden plants? Simply treat the bugs to bug juice! Collect by hand the nuisance pests, bugs, grubs or snails from your garden. Place the bugs into a blender, add water, and cover. Flip the switch, and make a bug smoothie. Dilute the bug smoothie, one part to twenty parts of water, to make bug juice. Pour the concoction into a spray bottle, and spray the juice on the leaves on the plants and flowers in your garden and backyard. This homemade bug juice/spray will keep the nuisance pests away.
Ant Remedy: If you are seeing trails of ants outside your home, or are even seeing some mounds or nests popping up, the answer may be simple… Feed the ants breakfast. Sprinkle a box of Cream Of Wheat near ant mounds or nests, and wherever you see foraging trails. The ants will gobble down the yummy breakfast cereal, and EXPLODE! The grains of wheat will expand in the ant’s stomach, causing them to burst. With any luck the ants will take some of the cereal down to the queen, and share. Note: Cornmeal is an equally effective substitute for treating ants.
Bedbug Remedy: Worried about bedbugs feeding on you while you sleep? Just let them feed on somebody else. For centuries the wealthy and prosperous, especially royalty and nobility, would hire servants to sleep on their floors near their beds. The thought is that blood-sucking bedbugs would feed on the dirtier and less affluent host. This practice still continues today in countries like India. Of course we know today that bedbugs play no favorites, and even frequently infest the beds of celebrities.
Bedbug Remedy: Research from the UK suggests that my wife should stop shaving her legs, as hairy skin can help prevent bedbugs from biting. Worried about getting bit by bugs like mosquitoes, bedbugs, or ticks on your face or neck… just grow a long beard. I’m talking a Duck Dynasty style beard. The UK study showed that body hair is highly beneficial to people, because it helps deter bed bugs in two ways: by increasing the time it takes for the insect to find a suitable spot to start sucking blood, and by helping people feel them crawling on the hair; across their skin. The next time you go on vacation, make sure it’s not ruined by bedbugs by growing out your body hair.
Scorpion Remedy: One of the best scorpion exterminators around just happens to be a chicken. Scorpions are like candy to a chicken. Set a few clucking chickens free in your yard everyday and watch as they hunt the stinging scorpions. When your property is clear, return them to their coup. Just make sure all of your chickens are hens, or your neighbors will really love you come 5:00 AM! Unfortunately, chickens can do very little for any scorpions inside your home, unless you want to deal with feathers, and excessive bird droppings on your kitchen floor!
If the thought of buying a bunch of chickens to patrol your property, growing out your leg or armpit hair, picking up smoking, or making bug smoothies is too much to fathom; look for an easier and more effective alternative to combat your pests. Get Bulwark Pest Control instead.
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.
Bulwark Exterminating created this video with AJ Richards testing bug repellent against bed bugs. Could the solution to the EPA spending $550,000 on research be that simple? Does bug repellent prevent bed bugs? 1st test is in and the results look promising. Bedbug repellent just might solve the nation's woes of the spreading bedbug epidemic. From the bedbug dog sniffing team in Phoenix AZ, and your local pest control company, Bulwark Exterminating, this is one video you will want to watch. Wouldn't it be great to know that bug repellent can keep your home bedbug free? After round one the results seem positive. The second part of this video we test the repellent after a short feeding to see if it works again. AJ Richards, owner of K9 Bedbug Inspectors, allowed this common bed bugto latch onto his untreated forearm. The bug did indeed begin the blood sucking process. Richards then moved the bug to his opposite arm treated with an advanced formula insect repellent, containing 7% Picaridin. The bed bug scattered around Richards’ arm, refusing to attach itself. Once returned to the original untreated arm, the tiny insect immediately resumed its feeding.
The bedbug did indeed avoid the sprayed arms on both test subject. Well call me crazy, but carrying some bug repellent in my suitcase is now a no-brainer. Spraying down my luggage with bedbug repellent? Yep. Spraying down my clothes prior to going to a movie theater that doesn't carry a bedbug inspection seal? Yep. I would even consider spraying myself down prior to ridding a mass transit vehicle at night, airplanes included. Getting a bedbug infestation is not an enjoyable experience. Treating a bedbug infestation can cost a couple of thousand dollars. Yes, two successful trials, and our hopes are soaring. Bedbug repellent here we come. But this is just the preliminary tests. We are currently under way testing how long the repellent will be effective in detouring the bed bugs. Will it last through the night? Is it only affective for 10 minutes?