Are You a Bed Bug Blood Donor?

bed bug blood donorDon’t laugh at “Thanks for Sharing” cliché because you might just save someone from a horribly expensive experience. Not knowing about bed bugs might also cause needless emotional problems as well.

There are scores of people throughout the world that are donating their blood on a daily basis to bed bugs. Through this oblivious donation, the bed bugs grow through five stages of development, then become breeding adults and continue to spread.

Unfortunately, these people have no clue they are possible spreaders and carriers of bed bugs. Yes, it is those who are getting bit but do not react to the saliva of the bed bug.

No harm no fowl attitude as they say creates complacency because there are no obvious reactions to the bites, so there is no reason to act or be alarmed.

These people do not search for the obvious signs when they change their sheets or consciously check items or luggage when traveling. Unaware, people continue their life as normal with no rhyme or reason to do anything different. You honestly cannot point a finger at someone and hold him or her responsible if they are ignorant to the possibilities.

What if you ignored termites in your home? If you let it go long enough, you can very well have a structural collapse like the house in Tennessee recently.

If you know about bed bugs and you do not share what you know about bed bugs with a friend, and they get them and come over and you get them from them, who is to blame?

Do not be one of those that say afterwards, darn I knew it, but I did not do what I was supposed to do. I should have or I could have, does not count anymore when you are writing the check for pest control.

This is where subtle but barefaced education comes into play. Have you ever sat in front of a television where the news reporter placed something in front of you and you had that aha moment? Surprisingly, that is how some people who have bed bugs and do not know it, react when they read about bed bugs. It is those aha moments that send them reflecting on signs and symptoms that they actually saw, but thought nothing of them.

I once sat in a room of 75 people who were all staff members for a hotel. After the bed bug education segment, the room opened up for questions. Several hands rose in the middle of the room. These were from housekeepers who took care of changing and preparing rooms for guests. After the questions period was finished, the pest controller and I stared at each other with no surprise and agreed on the fact that the two in the middle had bed bugs. Each of them, although they did not admit to it had one of those aha moment and we knew it by the questions that were asked.

If you are reading this, this is the time to start learning about the signs of bed bugs. Take a little time and check to see if you can find any signs of bed bugs in your home, office or schools. If more people would take the time to check, then just maybe we can get ahead of the problem.

Please help by creating a mass bed bug public awareness campaign in your area, calls us for educational materials for all your employees, friends, relatives, churches or schools.

Together we can, and will make a difference!

I Have Carpet Beetles and Was Treated For Bed Bugs!

Is it really a bed bug

Yes, the title says it all. This is not something to take lightly, as the treatment methods for bed bugs vs. carpet beetles are on different ends of the spectrum.

Untrained pest control operators are finding carpet beetles, telling their customers they are bed bugs, and treating! By the amount of calls I received on this lately, makes me think it is an “emerging trend”. I hope not. Many of these techs still do not know the difference between a carpet beetle and a bed bug.

Identifying the pest in question is the first step in any pest elimination program. This is why schooling and experience speak loud in pest control. We have over 800,000 different species of pests worldwide, which only a small handful of the “normal” types of bugs are found in our homes and businesses. It would be impossible for pest control technicians to know all of them. It is when they find something questionable that they need to take the specimen back to their entomologists for identification.

Identifying the pest accurately is a critical juncture so that proper control methods are developed. What works for one pest does not work for another. In order to design an accurate treatment protocol, biology, life cycle, environmental facts and behavior habits of the pest take precedence.

Bed bugs are new to many and demand a serious learning curve. I personally cannot imagine a company allowing a technician to go out and treat, when they were not, “unquestionably” certain whether it was a bed bug or not.

With all the news, often people automatically think that any bug they see is a bed bug. I often receive pictures of bugs through email over the Internet. Some of these pictures are blurred, too small, not on a visible background and more.

WP_20141014_003Last night around midnight as a man was crawling into bed he found a bug. He immediately scanned the Internet and found me. I asked him to take a picture of the bug and send it to me. I received a beautiful picture of an earwig. Obvious pincher on the back end and very clear, I was happy to tell the man without any doubt that it was not a bed bug.

Then again, some pictures are perfect specimens that show details that identify them as bed bugs. Although I have years of experience, I never make comment on these without sending them out to entomologists on our Scientific Advisory Board. I would not ever want to be uncertain or be liable for making a mistake over a picture. I always suggest to the client, before they freak out, to take the bug to a local vector control, state agricultural division, send it to US Identify or a pest control company who has an entomologist on staff with a microscope for identification. Many bugs are so similar that only under a microscope can one see the details for proper identification.

Wash and wear bed bug treatments

Maybe it is time that consumers do ask more questions of their treatment professionals up front. One of the most important considerations involving us interviewing a prospective member as a service provider is, where they got their education on bed bugs. This is crucial. Taking a quickie one or two day seminar on bed bugs does not qualify a technician to know all about bed bugs. Pictures on a power point do not show the actual sizes. People are blown away when they see an actual bed bug in a first or second instar stage.

Are these treatment professionals suitably trained and consistently re-trained in not only detection, but also eradication methods. What experiences have they? How many jobs have they done, what is their success ratio? If they ever question a pest, do they have resources back at the offices to help identify them and verify their findings?

Bed bugs require a standard of care beyond most other pests we deal with nowadays and not always are these standards obtainable in every case. Considerations of building occupancy and structures, age of building, previous bed bug infestations, occupations of those who live there, whether or not there are disabled or handicapped, affordability, any health or sensitivity issues, and the list goes on.

Rightfully, the days of wash and wear for all, when a quick squirt of chemicals on baseboards are gone. When it comes to bed bugs, one must acquire the skills needed to combat these bloodsuckers with comprehensive skilled methods.

Having bed bug detection dogs help tremendously in finding the odors accompanying bed bugs. If in doubt, these dogs can help identify bed bugs where a human cannot. Again, once the dog alerts on the scent, it is now up to the technician to “find” the bug before any treatment can be scheduled.

Across-the-board, the process of dealing with bed bugs will continue to face challenges for many and throughout time and experience; they will become more adept in their findings and identification of this pest. Identification and eradication of bed bugs is not always easy. One should never treat for bed bugs without conclusive evidence that the “bug” being treated is, in essence, a bed bug.

Be careful out there guys and girls and make sure it is a bed bug before you treat.

Have a great day!

 

IBBRA Rants on Pest Control – So Much More Than a “Job”

Picture1I remember a few years back, that getting a license or certificate to become a pest control technician, was as easy as taking a one-day cram and taking your state test the next day. Then you would ride around with a more experienced tech to do an apprenticeship for a month or so. When you finished that, you would go for your Branch 2 level, take another test and now you are a professional.

Throughout the years, the landscape for treating for pests in general has changed. Pest control is a sophisticated business of technology and requires more than just basic scientific and practical solutions for pest control. It requires experience, schooling, more experience, more schooling and more experience.

Our environments have changed over the years to include much more than we previously had as far as belongings and populations have grown. With the great amounts of International travel, new pest are introduced to us we never had before.

  • Having so much more “stuff” now requires pest control to figure out how to treat more things
  • Hording environments are growing where people cannot let go of pest ridden items
  • People “hide” things or “lie” and cry broke, when if you offered them a new 80” flat screen for $500.00 they would get that money together in a heart beat
  • Clutter fills peoples home in ways that were hardly ever seen before
  • Aging buildings have structure problems that are great habitats for pests to hide, causing lengthy and on-going treatments in order to get them all.
  • People are allowing pest problems to exacerbate longer before addressing them, causing the pest controller to perform close to miracles to rid them.
  • Coordinated elimination efforts fail for lack of customer attention, coupled with sheer laziness on part of the clients
  • With the ever-increasing growth of populations, come more possibilities for parasite pests in places that did not exist in the past.
  • Moreover, let us not forget the increasing chemical resistance we are facing with many pests.

Today’s pest professionals face a technical competence level challenge that “upped the ante” for required intellect. With the growing concern and controversy over toxic chemicals and increase in sensitivity issues, these pest control technicians have a huge responsibility hanging over their heads for extreme wisdom in application. Like a doctor choosing a prescription for a patient, their ability to choose safe methods of application takes experience, aptitude, extreme deliberation, combined with an interview and knowledge of all parties involved so that all aspects are covered.

Pest control – they always have to pull a rabbit out of their hats

You all have heard jokes surrounding bar tenders being “shrinks”. Why pay for it when you can go to your local bar and get it free. Ah, well let us add pest control to the mix. Their abilities go way beyond just getting rid of pests; especially with bed bugs, they now have to listen to “stories” that surround bed bugs including whose fault or who brought them in, my girl/boyfriend, and cousin or X husband, yada, yada. I can’t, they won’t, she did this to me, he did that and this is the outcome…

Add, nightmares, mental problems, medical issues, all their personal problems and pest control is now a captive audience. For those old-timers in the industry, (I know you are sitting there nodding your head in familiarity), they certainly have earned their “Public Shrink PhDs” and have become astute in being a personal counselor.

In addition, let us not forget the litigious world we live in, when if you are not successful, you now are a target for a lawsuit. It seems that everything now days requires more attention, extreme communications, identifying and verifying, proof, videos or recordings, documentation and most of all solid bulletproof contracts to cover you butts.

Public Entitlement Issues

I am not writing this part for the industry, I am writing this for the public.

Although most of our hotline callers are sincerely asking what they can do to make this horrible nightmare go away, and are willing to do their part. However, there are those other            self-centered, selfish people who have serious “entitlement” issues. This is where they think that because they pay X amount of dollars for a service, they do not have to do anything to help towards the success of the program.

I have listened to people whine and moan about “they told me that I have to clean, bag or remove” this or that”, I don’t have time for this, who do they think they are or what am I paying for?”

Listen up people, did you tend to forget, other than in some circumstances, it was YOU, which brought in the bed bugs. As a joke in the industry, those who run into these types of people often say it is the people that should be eliminated not the bugs.

Aside from entitlement issues, people have little, to no respect, for those who are working towards helping them. Pest control can jump through hoops, spend hours educating them, lower their price, put in hours for treatment and throw in a couple of perks while they’re at it, but for some people, it is just never good enough. You will NEVER see these people reach in their pockets to hand to offer the pest control more money for their services or write a sincere thank you letter, that’s for sure. They just “expect it”.

In multi-unit properties, this disregard has a severe domino effect, where others sharing walls now have to deal with their neighbors lack of involvement.

It is rare that I put my opinion out there because my blogs originate from calls from our hotline and conversations with other experts, but from me, to all these “entitled” people who take advantage of our industry, get off you lazy asses and get it together. Because the day may come, where you seriously need help and because you are who you are, there will be no one that will want to help you.

Like I have mentioned in previous blogs, there are two side to a coin and if everyone would try their best to all get on one side and pull together, this just might be a little easier for all.

I would like to take this time to thank all our pest control hero’s and bed bug detection services (men and women) that do their very best to help people. My thumb is up to you.

Although its hard and seems thankless at times, we appreciate all that you do!

www.ibbra.org 888-9-NOBEDBUGS or 888-966-2332

What’s Worst – Fleas, Flies, Mosquitoes, Cockroaches, or BED BUGS?

What is worseIn recent years, we have witnessed a growing concern in the resurgence of bed bugs. Any pest that intrudes on our lives, gives people an “ick factor”, but knowing which pest causes the most problems is important.

Of over 800,000 species of insects on earth, bed bugs are most adaptable to our human environment. Bed bugs have become the most relevant and important pest to the pest control industry and through these few facts below, you will know why.

 

 

Fleas:

    • Prefer pets but will feed on humans
    • Can jump 14-16 inches horizontally and 7-8 inches vertically
    • Can nest in carpet, flooring or upholstery
    • Can remain in pupa stage for up to a year
    • Sensitive to temperature
    • Vector- Carrier of parasites and disease (plague – typhus)
    • Relatively easy to eliminate in homes

Flies:

  • Certain flies (stable fly) can bite and suck blood, others are scavengers
  • Mechanical vectors of many diseases through vomit or fecal matter
  • Short life cycle (Average adult lives about 20 days)
  • Relatively easy to eliminate in homes

Mosquitoes:

  • Only females suck blood
  • Vectors of malaria, dengue, encephalitis, yellow fever
  • Drawn to still water or water edges (breeding ground)
  • Most active at night
  • Continuous breeding in warm weather Mid to late summer – early autumn
  • Bite both animals and humans
  • Controllable through chemicals

German Cockroaches: Batting high on the list of the most persistent insects to eliminate, is the German cockroach

  • They are structural infesters, that lay many eggs than most other insects that infest structures
  • The female carries the egg capsule during the whole time the embryos are developing within the eggs (This protects them so that more are likely to hatch)
  • Because of size, easily concealed in small areas so they remain protected
  • High population density
  • Pheromones cause higher aggregations
  • Persistent
  • Resistant to chemical issues
  • Contaminates food
  • Disease transmitter
  • Controllable through cleaning and bating

Bed Bugs:

  • Known as one of the most persistent insects to eliminate – rivals the “cockroach”
  • Human (preferred) parasites, easily transmitted – very successful hitchhiking abilities (any place – any time)
  • Impressive reproduction in ambient temperatures with regular blood meals
  • Structural invaders (Cryptic and reclusive in nature – because of size, easily concealed in small areas so they remain protected)
  • Normally hide in day light and come out at night (depending on size of infestation /occupant’s life style)
  • Bites cause welts and irritations to some -some not affected by the bites
  • Resistant to chemical issues
  • Can go for great lengths of time before noticed
  • Clean or dirty environments make no difference
  • A year round pest
  • Huge nuisance pest (Can easily be re-introduced)
  • Leaves obvious tell-tale signs
  • Can grow exponentially in six to nine months (50,000+)
  • Can lay dormant for great periods of time
  • Causes psychological stress, social shame and embarrassment and exacerbates established mental issues
  • Can cause “responsibility” issues
  • Not vectors (Can be “mechanical” transmitters)
  • Extremely costly and time consuming to eliminate
  • Found in any environment – no one is immune to them

Any way you look at it, bed bugs are what bad dreams consist of.

Please take the time to learn as much as you can about bed bugs so you, your family or friends do not suffer through a bad infestation. Finding them early will save you so much more than just money. Share the information you have learned and do not forget, you can always count on us or any of our service providers!

Bed Bug Hotline 888-9-NOBEDBUGS or 888-966-2332

Why I Do Bed Bugs – Part 2

Bed Bug Hot LineFor the following weeks, I continued to read up on anything I could get my hands on about bed bugs. My wounds still itched like crazy, oozed and scabbed over, and during my sleep, I would re-open them without knowing. I did everything from soaking in warm baths with Epsom salts, covered my body with anti-biotic creams, calamine lotion and tee tree oils to assist in the healing of them.

A month later, I received an email from the manager of the Quality Inn and Suites, on Dysart Road in Goodyear, Az. where I co-existed with all these bed bugs.

It reads as follows:

Dear Miss Donovan,

I’m concerned about the issues you experienced at our hotel during your recent visit. I’m writing to thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to my attention.

We accommodate many guests each evening, and the principal goal of our hotel is to provide dependable service to each at a reasonable price. Consequently, it is disappointing to learn that you’re unhappy. Please accept my sincere apology.

A hotel is defined by the quality of service that it provides to its guests. Because our success is measured by how our guests evaluate our services and facilities, I want you to know that the comments and suggestions we receive are taken seriously. They tell us what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong and how we can improve. Your willingness to share your recent experience is genuinely appreciated.

To my understanding, you have stated that you had bed bug bites on you. As we had mentioned at departure of your stay that we will check the room, and upon checking we did not find any trace of bed bugs in the room or on the mattress. We have recently renovated all the guest rooms and all the bedding in the rooms are new.

Please be assured that the issues you have raised have been addressed, and that appropriate action has been taken. We take pride in our hotel, and do our best to prevent problems from recurring.

We would like to demonstrate the true quality of our service by extending to you a one-night complimentary stay, subject to availability. At your convenience, please contact me directly to arrange your reservation, and simply present this letter to the front desk staff upon check-in.

Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with us. There’s no excuse for anything less than complete guest satisfaction.

We look forward to serving you again in the near future.

Sincerely,

Dave Chetty/General Manager

Quality Inn and Suites

950 N. Dysart Road

Goodyear, Az. 85338

www.qualityinnphoenix.com

At this point, you can imagine how shocked I was to receive a letter stating, “I was unhappy and to my understanding, you have stated that you had bed bug bites on you”, from the manager.

Number one, I never made the statement I was unhappy, actually to the contrary, I told her I slept well, and number two, the word Bed Bug never passed my mouth, because I had no idea what a bed bug was.

Do you think that just “maybe” they have been dealing with bed bugs for a while? Obviously, this standard “knee jerk” type letter accompanies anyone who complains of a “bite” and not addresses the guest personally.

I ignored the letter, placed it in a file for the time being and continued my studies. I thought to myself, there must be thousands of people that are dealing with the same thing that I have.

I got my hands on and read a 583-page document called the Usinger Monograph of Cimicidae (Hemiptera- Heteroptera) Volume VII by Robert L. Usinger University of California, Berkeley, Copyright 1966 by the Entomological Society of America

Fascinating reading. Every time I found a word I did not understand, I stopped and looked it up. What a great education! I re-read the book several times and the “big bed bug picture” started to make sense and come together in my mind.

I then began finding those who are in the industry and other professionals who could share information about bed bugs with me. Most people were kind and helpful but then again there were those who could not take the time or they did not know and did not want to admit it.

I mostly targeted Universities, Professors, PhD’s, Scientists and Entomologists. I anxiously took notes and compared their findings. What I found was only a couple of them were astonishingly disciplined in bed bugs. Moreover, the others were working on them but what was amazing is that, all of them saw that we were facing a very serious problem in the future.

I contacted Steve Doggett from the UK who had written the first Standard Operating Procedures for bed bugs. Again very interesting to know that the UK had been dealing with these suckers for years before we started to have an outbreak here in the US. Actually its called  The European Code of Practice (ECoPv2) and he’s already on the third edition. A bit of a learning curve for them as well.

My library grew daily and the calls continued.

Once I discovered the bed bugs history and the fact that we were without bed bugs for decades, it was no wonder the world had its panties in a ruffle over them. Very few really knew what the  bug was all about.

Bed bugs were new for Hotels, most of the PCOs (accept old-timers) has had not had the occasion to deal with them and the public certainly knew nothing of them accept stories from the past.

OK, so now we have a bug that not many know much about, coupled with a serious resistance to chemicals and here we go on an amazing journey into the unknown with people turning away and trying to cover the realities.

I dedicated every waking moment to compiling everything I could on bed bugs and wrote a 48-page introduction document to help people understand what we were up against. I would go to bed at night with a pad of paper and pen on my nightstand for thoughts. I embraced different scenarios and situations where there could be potential problems, jotted them down and researched to help find solutions.

Then one day, I made the decision to start a Bed Bug Hotline for others to call if they had an experience as I did. Calls started coming in on a regular basis from people discovering bed bugs in hotel across the nation, and from those who took bed bugs home after a trip.

Meanwhile, I set up appointments with the Center of Disease control, Vector Control, my local Major and got my butt into pest control school.

Wow! The CDC had not a clue and told me to see Vector Control, (which I did); Vector control told me to go to the CDC. Are you laughing yet? Here is where the finger pointing started.

Surely, the school would help me with the other details I thought to myself.

Then off to pest control school. I sat through the morning classes and when we broke for lunch, I walked past the owner and he asked me how I liked the class so far. I replied great and I could not wait for the bed bug segment. He stared at me and smiled and said, “We have no segment on bed bugs – the state has not changed its curriculum or test for 25 years”.

I ran to my car, pulled out one of my books, handed it to him and left for lunch. When I returned, he asked me if I would come in and teach at the school. Of course, I had no time for that, left my book behind, and told him to use it.

The Hotline continued to ring daily and before I knew it, I filmed on TV in Los Angeles, CA, bringing my awareness in front of many.

Why I Do Bed Bugs Continued in Part 3