Bed Bugs! What You Need to Know

Bed bugs are being discovered on a daily basis here in the Middle Tennessee region. In houses, apartments, hotels and even retail outlets, it appears that everyone is a target. Bed bugs have been feeding on humans since the beginning of recorded history. The bed bugs were nearly eliminated from the United States until the past ten years. Now we hear reports of them on a daily basis. I am going to discuss how you may transport the bed bugs, ways you can identify the bed bugs, and steps you can take to help prevent an infestation.

bed bugs
Adult Bed Bugs

First, we need to be able to identify a bed bug. The bed bug is nocturnal, or active at night. They hide in cracks and crevices until the lights go out, then they come out and hunt for a blood meal. The bed bugs do leave behind signs that they are present. If you pull back the bedding on a mattress or bedspring, you want to look for rust colored staining on the mattress, usually along the seams and edges, or between the mattress and boxspring. You also may see live, active bed bugs when you are searching! Also, look at the cracks and crevices around the headboard. You may end up staring one in the eyes! If you find bed bugs at a hotel, I would request a different room immediately. If bed bugs are discovered at your home, it is time to call in the professionals.

A few tips on traveling to a hotel: A. Don’t place your luggage on the bed, keep it on the opposite wall away from the bed. B. Check the mattress and headboard as described above as soon as you arrive at the room. C. Leave, with your bags, as soon as you find evidence of bedbugs. You might even take a few photos with your phone to document what you find as management may need to see proof.

Bed bugs, spent skins, eggs and carcasses
Bed bugs, spent skins, eggs and carcasses

Now, let us talk transportation. How are you going to move these bed bugs into your home? Unfortunately, the bed bug is a master at hitching a ride. The bed bug can be transported in a purse, on electronics, in clothing, bedding, personal belongings, and even in your car. We have had reports of bed bugs joining the party by traveling to a sleepover in a sleeping bag or backpack of young children.  I suggest that you are very careful about buying used furniture, clothing, and appliances from thrift stores, yard sales, or as a gift from a friend. Unless you know the place is bed bug free, you are taking a huge risk. We have heard from many customers stories of a friend or relative moving in and bringing an infestation of bed bugs with them. Or, they say how they got a great deal on a bedroom set, just to find out they now have a bed bug infestation. Saving a few dollars on the front end may cost you thousands later. Be careful and fully inspect the items before you take possession of them.

I receive questions about how to rid a home or room of bed bugs. While it can be done, it is tough to do it as a homeowner. A professional will have the proper tools, training, and products on hand to have the best success eliminating the bed bug infestation. It is always easiest to solve a bed bug problem when it first presents itself, so don’t wait a few weeks or months to see if they just “go away.” The Bug Man has trained technicians ready to protect your home from bed bugs. Contact us for more information.

What Pests Eat When They Are In Your House: A Food Chain Factoid

Have you ever stopped to wonder what bugs eat? You know you see ants in your kitchen from time to time, but what are they after? And what in the world do spiders think they can find inside your house? What’s so delicious about hanging out in the corners of your rooms?

 

Here’s a quick food chain factoid for what pests eat when they are in your house!

 

Cricket

Cricket

Crickets: Fabrics, especially those full of perspiration

Cockroaches: Sweets, cheeses, meats, grease, and starches. Vegetables and fruits. Household items like leather, beer, glue, dried skin, books, paper, human dander, and a lot more

Brown Recluse Spiders: Other bugs, like cockroaches and crickets

Black Widow Spiders: Their mates! (Actually, that’s a myth. They don’t eat their mates). But they do eat other insects.

Carpenter Bees: Wood! Nope. They actually don’t eat wood. They just bore into wood to lay their eggs. They eat pollen.

Ants: Sweets, eggs, oils, and fats

Bed Bugs: You. They feast on you for a blood meal. They will also dine on animals.

Termite

termite

Fruit Flies: Decaying fruits and vegetables

House Flies: Liquids. They can also turn solids into liquids and then eat the liquid form of that food.

Silverfish: Paper, glue, clothing, flour, and oats

House Centipedes: Flies, spiders, and plant tissue

Fleas: Cats, dogs and humans

Rodents: Grains, fruits, seeds, chocolate, random items in your trashcan

Termites: Cellulose: A polysaccharide consisting of long unbranched chains of linked glucose units: the main constituent of plant cell walls and used in making paper, rayon, and film

After reading this diverse list of what pests eat, it makes a lot of sense that they’d look for food inside your home. To keep pests out, call The Bug Man. You can reach us by phone at 615.217.7284 or find us online at Facebook.com/TheBugManTN orTwitter.com/TheBugManTN.

When You Travel This Summer, Don’t Bring Bed Bugs Back With You

Summer is almost here! We’ve already had an active year in the pest world because of our mild winter. Now, as we gear up for summer vacation travel, there are is yet another pest to be aware of: Bed bugs!

As we have talked about in previous blogs, bed bugs are making a comeback (see the end of this post for a list of our other blogs on bed bugs). For your peace of mind and for the safety of your family, we’ve put together a handy list of travel tips for you.

  • When you stay in a hotel room, store your suitcases on the racks provided. Don’t place your luggage on the bed, don’t put your clothes in the dressers and don’t store your luggage on the floor.
  • Bring a bag to put your dirty clothes in. Rather than storing your used clothes on the floor, store them off the floor and off the bed, just like your clean clothes. You could use grocery sacks or disposable garment bags.
  • Check the furniture and the mattresses for signs of bed bugs. Look for black or red spots on the mattress and furniture. These spots are signs of fecal matter from bed bugs.
  • If you suspect that you have bed bugs, notify the hotel staff immediately. Request a room that is not adjacent to the one you already have. Ask for a room that isn’t a direct neighbor to the room with the bed bugs.
  • Before you go on a trip, look for hotel reviews online. Check to see if anyone else has reported bed bugs.
  • Upon your return to your home, wash your clothes immediately. Washing your clothes and then drying them on a high-heat setting in the dryer would help to eliminate bed bugs if you happened to pick them up on your travels.

Thanks for reading! If you ever have any questions about pest control, please post a comment for us. We’re available via the phone at 615.217.7284, on Facebook.com/TheBugManTN and on Twitter.com/TheBugManTN. Or, you can email us at service@thebugman.us.

Safe travels!

Here are our other blogs about bed bugs:

How Do I Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

An Open Letter to Traveling Musicians

Snug as a Bed Bug in a Rug: Tips for Dealing with Bed Bugs

How Do I Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

We’re receiving more calls than ever about bed bugs. There is lots of information out there on the internet about bed bugs. What’s the best way to get rid of bed bugs? Our blog offers helpful advice on what to do when you encounter them.

Bed bugs have made a comeback in a REALLY BIG WAY.

Just this morning, as we had our morning cups of coffee, The Bug Man staff discussed bed bugs. We are receiving more calls for bed bugs than we’ve ever had.

Find us on Pinterest.com/TheBugManTN

Back in the day, we’d get maybe one or two calls a year about bed bugs. Now we get one or two calls per week. That’s a big difference!

Now that the internet is so prevalent in our culture, you can find tons of different ways to take care of bed bugs. If you Google, “How do I get rid of bed bugs,” you’ll find home remedies, ads promoting pest control companies, and suggestions on what you can do.

In this economy, everyone is looking to save precious pennies, epecially in Middle Tennessee. It’s tempting to just go with the cheapest thing that you find. But how do you know if it will work? How do you know it won’t hurt your family?

Without the guidance and assistance of a pest professional, you don’t know.

So, let’s go with what we do know:

    • Home remedies for bed bugs are often dangerous
    • Bed bugs are incredibly difficult to get rid of
    • Treating just one room for bed bugs is usually not effective
    • In most instances, at least two rooms (the bedroom and the living room) need to be treated
    • If you’ve had bed bugs, you need to get a bed bug certified mattress cover/box spring cover
    • When in doubt, ask questions. If you’re unsure of if you have bed bugs, give The Bug Man call at 615.217.7284. We will help you identify what you’re dealing with and recommend a method of treatment.

An Open Letter to Traveling Musicians

Lindsay–our social media gal and former member of the Christian publishing arena–shares her cares and concerns for traveling musicians. Why? Bed bugs. That’s why.

Although musicians live lives of notoriety, that does not make them immune to the threat of bed bugs. Those hitchhiking blood suckers show no favoritism. They don’t care who you are or what you do or how many albums you sold.

In the last week, two of the artists I follow on Twitter sent a tweet about bed bugs. At first, I felt sorry for them. Bed bugs are annoying. They can lead to panic and hysteria. And the marks of their meals leave welts on the humans on whom they feast.

Soon, my feeling of sympathy was replaced with a rising sense of duty to tell the rest of the music world about bed bugs. music notes

You see, I used to work in the Christian publishing industry. That’s actually the reason I moved to Nashvegas. I’ve met a lot of popular artists. I reviewed their CDs and attended their shows. I cared–and still do care–about them.

Without further adieu, here are my recommendations as a music lover and pest control professional:

* Each manager, publicist, and booking agent should explicitly explain the threat of bed bugs to their artists. Perhaps–between all the parties involved–the severity of the message will be conveyed. It may seem ridiculous to do that, but the threat of bed bugs is real!

* Update your tour rider. Specifically request that all of your accommodations are bed bug free. Seriously.

* Designate a personal assistant or crew member to check for signs of bed bugs at each venue. This includes rented transportation, green rooms, and especially hotels. Instruct one of the members of your crew to check for bed bugs before you unpack your clothing. For tips on what to look for, read our blog Snug as a Bed Bug in a Rug: Tips for Dealing with Bed Bugs.

* If you discover bed bugs in a hotel room, request a room that does not neighbor the original room. And try to move to a different floor. If one room has bed bugs, they can travel through the wall outlets to neighboring rooms.

* When traveling, never store your suitcase on a couch, bed, or the floor. Place the suitcase on a table or on one of the pop up suitcase holders usually available in hotel rooms.

* When you get home from tour, immediately wash all of your clothing! Often the heat of the washing/drying process will kill any bugs that are present.

* Tell other artists about the threat of bed bugs. This is a story worth swapping. You may save your fellow traveler some serious coin by informing them.

* If you discover bed bugs in your home, call a pest management professional. I’m not saying this because I work for a pest control company and I want you to call us. I’m saying this because I love you and I’ve read too many articles about DIY bed bug treatments gone bad.

* If you need more information on this subject, post a comment or call us at 615-217-7284. We will gladly teach you what to look for when you’re traveling. We can tell you all about the signs of bed bugs.

We’d love to discuss this with you and offer any educational resources you may need. If you live in the Nashville area, we may even be able to arrange a meeting with artists, record labels, managers, booking agents, etc. And if we’re feeling really ambitious, perhaps a seminar at GMA Week.

If you’re still reading and you are or you’re associated with a  country/rock/alternative/emo/punk/screamo/metal/kidz bop/opera/etc. music star, I also care about you. This blog’s for you, too.

It’s also for movie stars. Or TV stars.

Or anyone. Any human. Benefits to all! 🙂

Garage Sale Goodies and Bed Bug Bites

Be cautious when searching for that great bargain at the local garage sale. You could be bringing bed bugs and roaches to your home. I drove by my first yard sale of the season this afternoon while cruising through Murfreesboro on Highway 96. You’d think that gazing at the steals-of-a-deals and knick-knacks strewn about on the lawn would bring me feelings of joy and delight.

I did not feel those warm, fuzzy feelings. Instead, I was provoked.

Why the provocation? Allow me to offer you an explanation.

In addition to the goodies out for sale on the lawn, I also saw furniture. I was then reminded that bed bugs and roaches often hang out in used couches, chairs, appliances, and beds. Sometimes bed bugs can even be transferred in used clothing.

Most bargain shoppers are unaware of the dangers of bugs as they shop. We’re not writing this blog in an attempt to scare you away from your neighborhood garage sale. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to provide for you and your family. But we are informing you on bug basics for bargain shopping.

If you purchase any clothes at a garage sale/yard sale/thrift store/etc., wash them before you wear them. The heat of the clothes washing and drying process kills a possible bug threat.

If you see a piece of used furniture that you simply must buy because it’s such a great deal, thoroughly inspect it before you buy it. Look in the seams of the fabric. Lift up the cushions. Inspect the crevices. Look underneath the furniture.

If you’re shopping for mattresses–especially used mattresses–look for any tiny blood stains or dark spots. Comb through the cracks and crevices of this cushioned comfort.

The exhilarating feeling of getting a great deal can easily fade upon discovering a pest infestation because of a lack of diligence while shopping.

The Ant Institute

Ants are one of the peskiest pest problems. To learn more about ants and how to protect and safeguard your home or business against them, visit the very informative website for The Ant Institute.Ants are one of the peskiest pest problems. To learn more about ants and how to protect and safeguard your home or business against them, visit the very informative website for The Ant Institute.

To learn more about termites, visit The Termite Institute.

For bed bugs, visit The Bed Bug Institute.

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