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Back in the late 1950ís we had drive-in movies, the advent of rock-n-roll, and the elimination of bedbugs in the United States.  Bedbugs were eradicated here and elsewhere with the widespread use of DDT.  DDT (Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane) was a synthetic pesticide used to treat a variety of pests including the common bedbug (Cimex lectularius Linnaeus).  DDT had tremendous residual properties and was extremely effective on bedbugs and other pests.  However, the same chemicals that produced long-lasting residual effects on pests, found their way throughout the food chain causing reproductive toxicants to a variety of bird species.

Why the Resurgence?

DDT was banned in the United States in 1972.  Forty years later, bedbug populations in the U.S. have increased by 500% in all types of dwellings including homes, apartments, hotels, movie-theaters, buses and cruise ships.  The cause of the resurgence is still uncertain, but most experts believe it is related to several factors.  One theory is the increase of international travel and the use of new pest control methods that do not affect bedbugs, such as the use of baits rather than residual insecticide spray.  With the creation of roach and ant baits back in the early 1990ís, the uses of residual insecticides were drastically reduced.

What Do They Look Like?

Bedbugs are nocturnal, flightless, flat, oval-shaped parasites, yellow to brownish-red in color, with adults measuring 1/4" to 3/8Ē long.   They are similar in appearance to a flat apple seed or a non-engorged tick.

What Are the Symptoms?

Bedbugs have been known to feed on poultry and domestic animals; however they seem to prefer human blood.  They are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale and feed mostly at night. 

Unlike many insects, bed bugs are not attracted to moisture or poor sanitation.  The symptoms of their bites are red, swollen welts similar to flea or mosquito bites.  Bed Bug bites are identifiable in that their bites follow a trail of three or more consecutive bites, an inch or so apart.  Only 50% of people have this reaction, so there can very-well be an infestation without a victim having any welts.

Bed bugs hide deep in tiny cracks and crevices in and near their victimís beds. Look for adult bugs, shed skins and black fecal stains (peppering) along the tufts of mattresses, under the box springs, behind headboards, along baseboards and under nightstand drawers.

Bed bugs may also harbor behind picture frames, under loose wallpaper and inside alarm clocks, computers, TVs or lamps. Infestations in apartment buildings, hotels, schools and nursing homes are particularly difficult to control as bed bugs spread readily on clothing and cleaning carts and through wall voids and electrical conduits.

How Did I Get Them???

Unlike many insects, bed bugs are not attracted by moisture or poor sanitation.  Bed bugs are pests that enter dwellings by hiding in clothing, luggage or possessions of people who have been exposed to the bugs.  Bed bugs are non-discriminatory and are as likely to invade five-star hotels as well as public housing.  Infestations are common in apartments, condos, residential homes, hotels, motels, office buildings, college dorms, laundry rooms, movie theaters, cruise ships, moving vans, airplanes and taxi cabs.  Victims are most commonly infected via traveling, infected house guests and acquiring pre-owned mattresses, clothing or furniture.

What to Do If You Get Bed Bugs:

A homeowner or non-professional should not attempt to treat bedbugs with over-the counter pesticides or bug bombs.  Many years of research has shown that these products have neither immediate nor residual killing properties, and simply spread bedbugs elsewhere throughout the dwelling.

Luckily over the past decade, some pest control professionals have found clever and effective ways to combat these pests.  First, the dwelling must be inspected by a licensed pest control exterminator.  If the dwelling has multiple units, such as an apartment or condo, then all surrounding units should also be inspected.  The homeowner must then properly prepare the infected areas prior to treatment.  Preparations consist of removing any clutter and washing all clothing, bed linens and curtains.  After washing, the items must be thoroughly dried on high heat and then placed in an air-tight plastic bag.  The homeowner should also thoroughly vacuum the infected areas and immediately discard the vacuum bag outdoors in a sealed plastic bag.

Our modern treatment regimen consists of two visits after the inspection and preparations were made.  If you suspect your home, apartment complex, hotel, or facility has a bedbug problem, call us for a free inspection. The experts at Olympic Pest Services will be happy to answer all of your questions.  Rest assured our pest control professionals can rid your home or business of an infestation and offer you a good night's rest.

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