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Jerry Aragon Ph.D (Phunny humor Doctor)

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Bed Bugs! No Need To Panic!
by Jerry Aragon Ph.D (Phunny humor Doctor)   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, February 24, 2012
Posted: Friday, October 01, 2010

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In 2010, there is an infestation of bed bugs in many parts of the country, and the following article deals with the problem...the do's and don't of what to do.

Of more than 180 articles I have written over the last four years...about a dozen of them have been paraphrased or quoted directly from, so that I get the facts right.  I have done this, because of the importance of the topic...and have included articles on homelessness; prescribed drugs; weight gain; teen court and so forth. 

The following  (copyrighted) article is quoted directly from the published source online, and the writer is Paul McRandle.  (October 1, 2010)

From: OnEarth.org:  Questions and answers with intregrated pest management expert Tom Green. 

 "Bed bugs are crawling into even the cleanest houses, apartment buildings and hotels across the country and around the world.  The fear of getting them may leave you grasping for the deadliest pesticides known to the Internet.  But, Tom Green, founder of the IPM Institute of North America, says there's no need to panic

An expert in intregrated pest management, which seeks to control infestations without with uneeded pesticide use.  Green says the best solution is to keep calm and to carry on.  There are safe options to keep bed bugs from biting. 

Q.  Bed bugs have been painted as an implacable pest for which the usual chemical remedies, such as Raid, don't work.  How accurate is this picture? 

First of all...although dealing with bed bugs can be anxiety-provoking and expensive...they don't carry disease...and that's an important poing to make!  Mosquitos are a more important public health threat than bed bugs, but they haven't caused the kind of public hysteria because we're familiar with how to treat them. 

We all know what mosquitos look like and how to deal with them, and we just need to get to that point with bed bugs.  In agriculture, new pests are introduced on a regular basis, so this is certainly something that entomologists are used to dealing with.  Some of the chemical measures that used to work for bed bugs don't work as well anymore, because the bugs have built a resistence. 

But, there are still a lot of creative options.  I don't believe there's a reason to bring back anymore of the toxic products that the EPA (Envoronmental Protection Agency) has eliminated for use within residential structures.  We have enough options already. 

Q.  How quickly can bed bugs move from one apartment to the next, and what should city dwellers look for to avoid infestation? 

Apartment dwellers should contact their landlords immediately, if they have a problem.  A paper published by Rutgerts entomologist Changlu Wang, shows that whatever bed bugs infest an apartment, there's a 50 percent chance that the adjoining apartment will also be infested.  Bed bugs practice traumatic insemination...the male punctures the female's abdomen, because there is no oriface there...and some of the females die.  So, once a female has mated, they have a big incentive to avoid males...and not get speared again!  As a result, they move quickly and spread, etc. 

Bed bugs only feed on human blood...their bite us usually painless, may leave no mark and happens at night when you're asleep; so if you're not aware of the other signs, you may not realize that you're infested, knowing what they look like, so that if you reconize them is very important. 

When bed bugs feed, a high percentage of the time they'll also execute dark blood-colored fecal spots.  Look for those on sheets and mattresses.  Also, the majority of bed bugs will be pretty close to the bed.  So, you want to inspect behind the headboard and look along the seams in the sheets and mattrasses, wherever you have a stich-line.  It's a good idea for people just to check these things when thay change the sheets, etc.  That way you don't end up with a large infestation before you realize you have a problem. 

Q.  So, if you have a problem...how do you get rid of them? 

Because they hide in crevices and other hard-to-reach places, it's hard to hire a certified IPM professional, who will deal with a number of techniques, to remove the immediate problem and reduce the likelihood of infestation.  Heat-treatment, for example, can be very effictive, followed by sealing points of entry from adjacent apartments. 

You can start by cacuuming up those bed bugs...revealed by your inspection...seal the vacuum bag and dispose when done, check the vacuum hose to make sure it's clear and that there are no bed bugs trapped on clumps of dust that they might crawl away when the vacuum is turned off. 

Once you've vacuumed the mattress, wrapping it in a bug-proof mattress encasement is really a great idea.  They have minimal seams, so they prevent bed bugs from gathering, and tight-sealing zippers, which bed bugs can't get in or out of.  As a result, your bed can't be infested and any remaining eggs remaining inside, won't pose a threat, and will remain inside and die after hatching.  There's no need to spray the mattress if you are going to use the encasement.

As soft-bodied insects, bed bugs aren't that hard to kill.  If you disturbe the wax on their bodies, they dry out pretty quickly and die.  A number of pesticides use this approach.  For example; Some paint oil-based products dissolve the waxxy cuticle.  They act quickly, but you have to get rid of all the bed bugs while wet.  There are other chemical products...like the pyrethroids that will work when they're dry.

Diatomaceous earth is an active ingrediant in several pesticides often available at hardware stores that abrades the waxxy cuticle on bed bugs and causes them to die.  It's not quick-acting and may take up to ten days, but it can be placed on wall voids...away from people and animals...where it will work for long time against bed bugs. 

Q.  What treatment should be avoided?

 Foggers...such as 'bug bombs' are not effective against bed bugs and create a huge potential for exposing your family to toxic pesticides.  And, they can cause explosions and fire if you don't follow the insturctions properly...including turning off pilots lights, etc.  Bombing doesn't work...the pesticides do not reach where many of the bugs are hiding. 

Your exterminator may arrive with a canister of liquid pesticide and a spray wand to squirt the pesticide on the surface of the base-board, tiles, and wherever bugs congregate.  That's also not effective treatment for bed bugs and leaves a residue on surfaces that people come in contact with, especially kids who tend to crawl around and put their fingers in their mouths, etc.

A better option, is to apply the pesticide directly into the cracks and crevices where bed bugs hang out...using a spray can with a straw or dust applicator that minimizes the amount of pesticide left on the exposed surface.  Again, certified IPM professionals will have the right products, tools, and equipment to make any applications properly.

If you're going to use a pesticide...the idea is limiting applications to wall voids, crack and crevices...while the next worse for creating potential human exposure to the pesticide, is using the wand to spray surfaces and the absolute 'NO' is the fogger! 

Q.  If you want someone to get rid of bed bugs, without filling your home with chemicals, what kind of certification can you ask to see? 

Certification requirements for commerical pesticide applications vary from state to state, and some of them are pretty minimal.  New York has some of the most rigorous , but it's still not what it could be in terms of requiring IPM (Integrated Pest Management) 

There are some companies, that do a really good job in training their technicians, and there are others whose focus is on applying products, rather than trying to implement long-term techniques like mattress encasement and sealing off entry points.

Of course, I recommend Green Shield, which is run by the IPM Institute of North America, (a non-profit) and certifies environmentally preferable control companies.  It's important that before certification the companies performance is actually verified, so we visit each company on-site as well as accompany technicians to accounts to ensure compliance with required practices. 

Q. What do you do when you travel to avoid bringing home bed bugs? 

When I go into a hotel room, I'll spend five minutes checking the headboard, the mattress and the sheets up to the headboard.  I'll put my suitcase on the luggage rack because bed bugs are less likely to crawl up the metal legs of the rack.  The problem is, someone may have brought bed bugs in their luggage and used the rack...so you want to inspect the rack, too.  One thing you can do is to plug in the blow-dryer, and blow it around the headboard...the heat can cause the bed bugs to come out.  A lot of times, headboards are mounted on the wall, and you can lift the headboard out and look behind it.  It's not 100 percent guarantee that you will find them...but it's worth looking.  To be safe when you get home, take your suitcase straight to the laundry room and wash and dry your clothes right away."

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