Tip of the Month by John Lawrence
THE UNWANTED GUEST
I have seen a big ramp up for this year’s tourist season and by all indications it should be a good one. But this comes with some risk one of which is the subject of this month’s Tip of the Month.
The unwanted guest that nasty little bed bug. That hitchhiked in with a guest from abroad. I wrote an article about bed bugs a couple of years ago and with new staff on board and tourist on the way it is a good time to brush up on the issue.
So What Are They?
Bed Bugs are parasitic insects of the Cimicid family that feed exclusively on human blood. They are mostly nocturnal. They can cause skin rashes, allergic symptoms and psychological effects. They have been with us for thousands of years they were almost eradicated in the 1940’s in the developed world, but they have become resistant to pesticides and have made a comeback, they are here to stay.
We are all afraid of them.
Where Do They Come From
California and Washington have a high concentration of bed bugs this put us at risk of an outbreak here in Oregon. But as you can see from the map they can come from anywhere.
• How do we keep them out of our place of business
• Actually we can’t, but we can be proactive
• What about the guests that see them
These are all real issues and they carry a lot of weight. This problem must be properly addressed to avoid a negative outcome.
So Now What
As business owners and managers it is crucial to train your employees to know how to spot bed bugs as soon as they arrive. There needs be policies in place to deal with guests or residents that have encountered them. Have protocol call in place to get rid of them.
Bed Bug Prevention (Early Detection)
There is no way to stop bed bugs from being brought into your facility. New folks are arriving every day from all over the world, and bringing their potentially infested personal items with them. You can be bed bug free one day and infested the next.
So prevention relies on early detection. Bed bugs must be detected very quickly after they are brought in, hopefully before they bite someone.
We have the equipment to help you facilitate an early bed bug detection program to prevent an infestation. All employees in every department should receive bed bug identification training. Why everyone? Because your employees are located all over the facility and if everybody is looking for bed bugs there is greater chance that they will be discover quickly. Also keep in mind that guests are not the only people capable of bringing bed bugs into your facility.
How to Get Rid Of Them
Some pest control firms utilize specialized heating equipment to de-infest furnishings, rooms, and entire dwellings. The procedure involves heating up the infested item or area to temperatures lethal to bed bugs. Portable heaters and fans are used to gradually heat the air to 120 - 130°F while monitoring with strategically placed sensors. By carefully controlling the temperature, bugs and eggs are killed wherever they may be. When dealing with high temperatures it very important to check with the fire suppression company to make sure that you DO NOT EXCEED THE WORKING TEMPERATURE OF THE SPRINKLERS and remove all aerosol products.
While the former methods are helpful, insecticides are widely used by most pest control companies. A variety of EPA-registered materials are available formulated as liquids, dusts and aerosols. Baits used to control ants and cockroaches are ineffective in this case since bed bugs feed on blood. Professional-use insecticides such as Temprid®, Transport® and Phantom® tend to be more effective than bed bug sprays sold by retailers. Bleach, alcohol, cigarette lighters, etc. should NOT be used to control bed bugs. Besides being ineffective, such actions can result in fires and other dangerous outcomes.
It is extremely important that no employee ever attempt to treat bed bugs themselves. Making pesticide applications in a facility when you are not a certified applicator is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Also, attempting to treat bed bugs when you have no experience will interfere with your pest management company’s treatment plan and potentially increase the bed bug problem. Always have bed bug infestations treated by an experienced pest management company. If your current company does not have bed bug experience, call us for suggestions or an inspection.
Sources for this article came from the following:
Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
Dini M. Miller, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech
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