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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

I Scream, You Scream (AKA: Not just in the sheets)

It’s Bed Bug Awareness Week. I’ve posted quite a bit about bed bugs and written numerous articles (here, here, and here) and if you are in the pest control field, I don’t have to tell you what a bed bug looks like or what it eats. If you aren’t, there is great info here. That doesn’t mean there is nothing to write about.

According to the most recent bed bug “state of the market” survey, the number of companies offering bed bug services has steadily grown to 86% and it is about 13% of their revenue. That includes lots of homes and multi-family housing. Over the last year, bed bugs have refused to stay in their room, they are spreading to many other types of accounts.

Here is a rundown:

Planes, trains, and automobiles – the Honolulu airport shut down a number of gates due to bed bug issues. I know plane tickets are expensive so they were just trying to hitch a ride. This is exactly what happens: they hitch a ride on suitcases and sometimes people. And who wouldn’t want a trip to Hawaii? They decided to take the train to Connecticut and were found in a seating area at the station.

Restaurants – this one in Las Vegas. It’s coffee shops too, workers in an NYC Starbucks walked out to protest. Apparently, the bed bugs just needed a high caffeine drink!

Healthcare – this hospital in Toronto shut down for a period. Though I haven’t seen it in the news lately, I’ve dealt with bed bug issues in a dialysis center.

Libraries – who wouldn’t want a good read? Unfortunately for two libraries in California, they got something extra when books were returned. In my state, Georgia, a library was closed for a period when they found bed bugs in chairs. Another one was shut down for a week after finding the literary bugs. A library in Miami found one “dying” bed bug and promised they checked everywhere for others and didn’t find any. The bugs were just dropping in when a Washington library found them in a book drop area.

Retail – the giant is not immune! Bed bugs were reportedly found in an Amazon Kentucky warehouse, though later reports dispute it. A Walmart in Vermont also dealt with a bed bug problem. (Target in Illinois was suspected, but no evidence was ever found.)

Schools – Pensylvania had the experience in a grade school and they graduated to a high school in Missouri. They are not deterred by cold, the bugs were found in an elementary school in Maine. Once again, my state of Georgia shows up with an elementary school with bed bugs. Maybe they should be teaching entomology at these schools?

Public buildings – I remember a few years back when a man dumped a bunch of bed bugs on a town clerk or something like that. This past year, my state shows up again with bed bugs in a courthouse. While maybe not a public building, bed bugs are rampant in many jails. (Why does Georgia keep coming up?!?!) An Arizona courthouse made the news with bed bugs and closed for a bit.

In the wild? – this story is wild. A motel in Alabama decided to just dump their bed bug-infested mattresses in the woods. The cleanup was estimated at $10K.

All of this news is entertaining and it holds a few deeper lessons. Bed bugs aren’t doing it just in the bedroom. They are hitchhikers and will use suitcases, clothes, wheelchairs, and even people to move them from one site to the next. There is nowhere “safe” from bed bugs: wherever people are, there is the potential for someone to drop them off. This is especially true for sites that people spend lots of time at. Schools, airports, libraries, and more have people sitting there for long periods of time.

Hopefully, these transporting bed bugs are found early so the problem is relatively small and easy to deal with. Having professionals helps, this hospital in France estimated it cost them over $400,000 to get rid of their problem.

If you have problems*, contact us, we can help with all the research, science, knowledge, and training you could ever need.

*(pest problems, there is really only so much we can help with)

Urban Pest Consulting

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