Bed Bugs On the Move This Thanksgiving Season

Bed Bug Travel Tips Prevention - Johnson Pest ControlAs Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, Americans will be making travel plans to celebrate with relatives and friends, both near and far. With the increased amount of travel occurring during the next couple of months, we like to remind our friends to be on the lookout for signs of bed bugs. Having an awareness of bed bugs while traveling will help you avoid spreading these hitchhiking pests—or, even worse, bringing them home.

According to a 2015 survey from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and University of Kentucky, bed bugs aren’t going anywhere. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of pest control professionals reported that bed bug infestations continue to rise, and three-fourths (74 percent) reported encountering infestations in hotels and motels.

Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to manage. Bed bugs are resourceful bugs that can easily hitch a ride in suitcases, on clothing and in other human belongings, allowing them to spread quickly and infest homes, transportation systems, offices and any other place where people gather.

The NPMA offers the following tips for avoiding bed bugs while traveling:

  • Pull back hotel bed sheets and inspect the mattress seams for stains, spots or bugs. Also check behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs.
  • Immediately notify management of any signs of bed bugs and ask for a new room.
  • Ensure the new room is not adjacent and/or directly above or below the original room.  Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through walls via electrical sockets.
  • Place luggage in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of the trip to keep bed bugs out.
  • Upon returning home, inspect luggage before bringing it inside and vacuum cases thoroughly before putting them away.
  • Dry all fabric items (even those that have not been worn) in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes to ensure any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers or closet.

If bed bugs do find their way into your home, do not attempt to deal with the infestation on your own. We’ve seen way too many people put themselves in dangerous situations while trying to eliminate a bed bug problem. For peace of mind, it’s best to call a professional for an assessment and treatment.

Contact us today to find out more about bed bug prevention or to talk to someone about a suspected problem.

Bed Bug Tips

Bed Bug Pictures - Life Cycle of a Bed Bug
The bed bug life cycle is constant and you might see all stages of bed bugs in your home. The smaller nymph stages can be hard to notice unless specifically inspecting for bed bugs.

We found these bed bug tips from Dr. Tedd Mitchell of Texas Tech University to be particular helpful for the winter months.

Bed Bug Tips

Check your bed frequently. Look for the small reddish-brown bugs with a flashlight at night. Newly hatched bugs are smaller than a stitch hole and may not be seen with the naked eye. However, adult bed bugs can grow to the size of an apple seed.

Travel smart. According to a study by the University of Kentucky, nearly 100 percent of hotels and motels will have a problem with bed bugs at one time or another. Check for bed bugs before you take your clothes out of your luggage and go to sleep. When you get home after a trip, wash all of your laundry from traveling immediately with warm water, and do not mix it with the rest of your laundry.

Remove clutter. Experts believe that the majority of infestations originate because the home is messy. It is important to wash laundry and not let it pile up on the floor, put on fresh bedding regularly and remove barriers from upholstered furniture that may leave it unused for long periods of time.

Winter is not the prime season for bed bugs, but it is a great time to take steps to prevent future infestations in the warmer months. Resolve to remove clutter and clean furniture and bedding now. If you suspect you have a problem, call an expert immediately or the infestation may get worse. For maintaining good health, I’m Dr. Tedd Mitchell.

Worst Cities for Bed Bugs in 2013

Worst Bed Bug Cities of 2013It isn’t any new news that bed bugs are on the rise. Twenty years ago we had long since forgotten what “sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” actually meant. Today we find them in all types of places. Orkin at the start of the year put out their rankings of the worst cities for bed bugs. This was based on their national market data, which is a good marker. However it is not independent research with all the various controls. Still, it’s fun to look at and take notice.

Worst Cities for Bed Bugs in 2013

This is the numbered list with a (+ or -) the number of spots the city moved up or down. Notice that Nashville and Charlotte have moved up a significant spot. Our friends at All-American Pest Control, in Nashville, are treating multiple bed bug cases on a weekly basis. Big surprise is the drop for New York City which was a hotbed for years. Proof that good treatments can help to turn the tide on these bugs.

  1. Chicago
  2. Los Angeles (+1)
  3. Columbus, Ohio (+3)
  4. Detroit (-2)
  5. Cincinnati
  6. Cleveland/Akron/Canton (+2)
  7. Dayton (+4)
  8. Washington D.C. (-1)
  9. Denver (-5)
  10. Indianapolis (+6)
  11. Richmond/Petersburg, Va. (+1)
  12. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, N.C. (+3)
  13. Dallas/Ft. Worth (-4)
  14. Syracuse, N.Y. (+7)
  15. Atlanta (+14)
  16. Houston (+2)
  17. New York (-7)
  18. Seattle/Tacoma (-5)
  19. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (-5)
  20. Boston (+2)
  21. Milwaukee (-2)
  22. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (+3)
  23. Nashville (+17)
  24. Pittsburgh (+12)
  25. Charlotte (+18)
  26. San Diego (+6)
  27. Baltimore (-7)
  28. Phoenix (+7)
  29. Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa (+4)
  30. Charleston/Huntington, W. Va. (+1)

So what if you are going to be traveling to any of these places? First off, do not freak out. This data doesn’t guarantee that you are going to find bed bugs at every turn of your family trip or vacation. However, precautions on any trip are helpful in keeping bed bugs at bay. Read up on our tips to preventing bed bugs in your home, which has some great travel tips. Check out BedBugRegistry to see if where you are traveling to has any prior issues which could warrant a few good questions.

Tips to Prevent Bed Bugs in Your Home

Tips to Prevent Bed Bugs In Your Home | Johnson Pest Exterminators Knoxville, Maryville, SeviervilleBed bugs are out there and becoming evermore the problem. How you can you protect yourself from getting bed bugs in your home? There is never a guarantee for keeping bed bugs from your home, but following these tips to prevent bed bugs in your home will help for sure.

  • Know a little bit about what are bed bugs and how bed bugs operate will help you. We’ve covered bed bugs in a number of places on our website.
  • Never, never, never, ever pick up furniture from the side of the road or an unknown source and bring it into your home, church, or business. This might seem like a no-brainer, but people do this all the time. College students seem to have this practice down to a science and will often times bring bed bugs into their dorms and then bring them home. If you do not know the origins of some furniture then let it be. Even if it is a huge leather recliner sofa that’d be perfect to start off your ‘man cave’ just let it stay there. You can buy that leather recliner sofa new for what you might spend in getting rid of bed bugs.
  • Check before you travel. If you travel a lot then you can check whether or not the hotel you are going to has had bed bug related issues. All levels of hotels have had bed bug issues, so staying at the Ritz Carlton versus the Hampton Inn (we really like the Hampton, no slight there) will not alone protect you. Use Bed Bug Registry ahead of your travel to see if there is anything you should be concerned about. Many hotels these days will have a pest control company (such as ours) who is regularly inspecting and treating possible bed bug situations. Though this bed bug treatment practice might be alarming, it is a good thing to know that your hotel is actively looking and treating for bed bugs. The other option is a hotel that is turning that ‘blind eye’ to the possible problem.
  • Inspect your hotel room. Sheets are changed regularly in a hotel, so you will most likely not find bed bugs there. You can look onto the head board, box spring, and the mattress for some of those blood and fecal smears, not to mention actual bed bugs. Peal back the mattress folds and look under the buttons to see if there is anything hiding in there. Take off the headboard to inspect behind there. Usually this is attached to the wall (have yet to stay at hotel where this wasn’t the case) and is not unreasonably heavy. These least disturbed areas will give you a quick idea if there was/is an issue with the room. Inspecting a dorm or summer camp place is a legitimate practice as well.
  • When traveling you can keep your luggage and clothes off the ground on the bag caddie. You can even go one step further and put all your luggage in the tub of the bathroom. Bed bugs need something to climb to get to your luggage or clothes in order to ‘hitchhike’ back to your house. They do not do very well climbing slick surfaces which would keep them from finding their way into your luggage.
  • Heat everything first. One of the most thorough and proven techniques for killing bed bugs is to kill them with heat. If you are home from a trip (college, camp, travel, etc.), then pull all your clothes and items (that can withstand this) and put them in the dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes. This will kill possible bed bugs. Do not wash the clothes first, the water temperature is never hot enough to kill bed bugs. Leaving clothes around for a day or so and then trying this will probably be ineffective as they will have moved off the clothes to find food (your family). So heat everything right when you get home.
  • Clean and steam regularly. If you are keeping your house clean by vacuuming and steaming then you will do your psyche good for having a clean home, but you are also setting up some real protection for your home. Steam cleaning will raise the temperature in areas that bed bugs hide. If hot enough the steam cleaning can kill off the bugs, at the very least it will set them into an active frenzy that will let you know their presence. From there you should call on a professional pest service that knows how to treat and get rid of bed bugs. We would like to think you’d call us.
  • Don’t try and do a heat treatment on your house/apartment, do alcohol application treatments, or burn your furniture in the yard to treat on your own. Yes, people have tried this with disastrous results. Give us a call and we will be able to perform a thorough inspection of the dwelling, isolate areas of possible activity, safely and professionally treat and remove bed bugs without you becoming a next Associated Press headline.