For Arizona residents, exposure to a variety of pests comes with the territory. But one thing is sure: no one gets used to bed bugs. In fact, some people will go to extreme measures to get rid of them. According to pest control professional Ken Fredrick, some people have been known to get so desperate that they spray their mattress with gasoline or kerosene to fend off a bed bug outbreak. To be sure, this practice is far more dangerous than the bed bugs themselves. In this post we will discuss why there are so many bed bugs and how you can safely get rid of the ones you have and minimize the risk of getting more.
Bed Bug Outbreak: How Did They Get Here?
Arizona is in the top 10 on the list of states experiencing an increase in bed bug outbreaks. Bed bugs have been on the rise all across the country, spreading rapidly over the last 20 years. Chances are you have likely known someone who has stayed in a hotel and awakened the next morning covered in welts on their arms or legs, but now you are the one with the bites, and it’s your bed! How did they get there?
Bed bugs are not native to the United States and were nearly eradicated from North America using mass treatments of highly toxic insecticides. In the last two decades, the following factors have led to the wider spread of bed bugs:
- increasing travel
- lack of public knowledge about bed bugs
- changes in pesticide targeting
- resistance to chemicals that once killed them
- bed bugs’ ability to hitchhike successfully
Bed bugs are master hitchhikers, able to latch on to shoes, suitcases, or jump into a box or other item that can provide a ride to their new home. Bed bugs will make a home in a house, an apartment, a hotel room, school, retail store, or office building. You are just as likely to find them in cracks and wall crevices as your mattress or box spring.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
If you believe you may have a bed bug outbreak– don’t panic. Avoid throwing out furniture or mattresses, removing carpets, or trying any DIY bug treatments. These can cause bed bugs to move into other areas of your house and deeper into the walls. Bed bugs are resistant to many DIY insecticide treatments.
Ken Frederick, the owner of Conquistador Pest, has a few tips on how to deal with bed bugs.
- Make sure you correctly identify the bugs. Look for evidence such as brown dots on mattresses and sheets, eggs, or the bugs themselves.
- Next, contact an experienced professional pest control service to eradicate your bed bug issue. Pest control professionals have proven methods for eliminating bed bug outbreaks, using professional-grade equipment and products such as dusting powders, chemicals, heat, and steam.
- Vacuum all floors, beds, furniture, crevices, cracks, and wall areas. Seal the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic trash bag and dispose of it immediately.
- Place bedding, clothing, stuffed animals, and other fabric items in a dryer set on high for 30 minutes. This will kill any bugs or eggs on the items.
- Mattresses and box springs should be encased in bed bug proof covers. A pest control professional can provide additional guidelines for treating household items and belongings.
If you live in an apartment, be sure to notify your landlord of the issue. Bed bugs can travel through walls to other parts of the building. Be careful to also avoid carrying the pests to other areas, such as your place of work. Check your clothing and limit the number of items you carry with you.
How to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home
The best way to avoid a bed bug outbreak is to keep them from traveling into your home.
- If you are traveling, inspect the room, including box springs, behind headboards, and under dresser drawers. Inspect your clothing and suitcases carefully when packing and unpacking. If you suspect that you have been exposed to bed bugs, seal any exposed items in plastic bags until they can be properly treated with heat or cold temperatures.
- Do not pick up beds or furniture left on the street for disposal. Bed bugs can travel on wooden furniture and electronics as easily as textile items.
If you do happen to bring along an unwanted hitchhiker, don’t panic. Call (520) 624-5901 and speak with the knowledgeable technicians at Conquistador Pest & Termite. We’ll have your home bed bug free as quickly and efficiently as possible.