Bedbugs in NYC, Long Island, and New Jersey
The Resurgence of Bedbugs
During the past decade, we've seen a remarkable increase in the number of bedbug calls in New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey. Our colleagues in other parts of the country also report the same phenomenon.
Once thought to have been essentially eliminated in the United States, bedbugs are now one of the most common pest complaints called in to exterminators from coast to coast. There's even a bedbug blog.
Unfortunately, bedbugs are also one of the most difficult pests to control. These tiny insects come out at night to feed, but hide during the day in any secluded crack or crevice that they can find. Baseboards, ceiling trim, night table drawers, tufts in mattresses and upholstered furniture, box springs, picture frames, electrical outlets, under edges of carpeting... it seems there's no place that these loathsome creatures won't hide.
Opinions differ as to why bedbugs have made such an astounding comeback in recent years. Some point to the increase in air travel to and from countries where bedbugs are endemic, while others point to a shift in pest control techniques away from broad-spectrum sprays, to narrowly-targeted baits and gels that are effective against only a single insect. Most likely, both factors have played a role in the resurgence of bedbugs.
Bedbug Biology and Health Significance
Bedbugs are small, wingless, flattened insects who feed on blood. They reproduce at an impressive rate: Females lay anywhere from one to twelve eggs every day, depositing them in cracks, crevices, and other secluded areas near places where humans sleep. The eggs hatch a week or so later, and the nymphs set out looking for that unlucky human who will provide their first blood meal. Five molts, at least five more blood meals, and a month or so later, the nymphs become adults and the cycle continues.
Bedbugs have recently been linked to the transmission of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). In theory, bedbugs also are suspected of being capable of vectoring several serious diseases including leprosy, leishmaniasis, relapsing fever, hepatitis B, and brucellosis.
Bedbugs can also cause a localized rash that itches for several hours, and a few cases of anaphylaxis (serious allergic reactions) have been reported in susceptible individuals. In addition, bedbug infestations, which can number in the hundreds or even thousands of insects, impart a sickening odor to infested areas.
The City of Cincinnati has an excellent video about bedbugs, which can be found here. (Long download -- please be patient.)
Bedbug Do's and Don'ts
If you believe you have a bedbug problem, there are some things you definitely should and shouldn't do. For example:
Don't spread bedbugs around. If the room you're sleeping in has a bedbug problem, don't simply move to another room or another bed. They'll probably just hitchhike to the new location. Also, because bedbugs can live as long as 18 months without feeding, moving to another room (or even another house) won't make them go away. They'll just be more hungry when you return.
Don't throw everything you own in the garbage. It wouldn't do any good, anyway. Bedbugs hide in the tiniest of cracks and crevices. If you stripped your house down to the bare walls, in all likelihood you would still have bedbugs. They'd be hiding in the cracks. Almost all furnishings, included mattresses and carpets, can be treated by a responsible pest control professional.
Don't try treating a bedbug problem by yourself. Even professional exterminators consider bedbugs among the most challenging pests to control. It is meticulous work that requires a high degree of knowledge of bedbug biology, along with specialized equipment and products that aren't available to the general public. So don't waste you time and money on bombs, sprays, and other do-it-yourself bedbug control products. In all likelihood, you'll just make the problem worse -- and continue being bitten in the process.
Do start cleaning your clothing and personal belongings. You can start with the clothes that are out-of-season. Wash them in the hottest water they can stand (or have them dry-cleaned) and then seal them in heavy-duty plastic bags and store them in an uninfested area. Don't seal clothes or bedding that haven't been treated, though: Bedbugs can live in sealed bags for more than a year.
Do call a professional Pest Control Operator. Only a professional PCO has the knowledge, equipment, and products to effectively eradicate bedbugs. In New York City, Long Island, and central New Jersey, Pest Quest Pest Management is here to help solve even the worst bedbug problems. Contact us today for a confidential, no-obligation consultation.
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