If my crystal ball is correct we will be seing a large uptick in litigation regarding bedbugs in the future — both tenants suing landlords for not dealing with the bedbug infestations and landlords suing tenants for bringing the critters into the landord’s property. There have already been lots of lawsuits regarding bedbugs, many of which I have touched on in a prior blog post. If you need some basic information on bedbugs please refer to my first post which includes a very good Powerpoint presentation from Giertsen Company of Wisconsin on bedbugs and how to control and eradicate an infestation.
In my continuing quest to learn more about theses pests — yes, it is true I do not have any children yet, so I have some extra time on my hands : ) —- I came across some articles about bedbugs that were written by Dini M. Miller, Ph.D. from Virginia Tech’s Department of Entomology, which are extremely thorough and answered many questions that I had on the topic but could not find answers to in other publications.
The one question I can still not find the answer to is what is the proper spelling of bedbugs — is it bed bug or bedbug???
Dr. Miller’s articles include:
This article addresses what bedbugs look like during the different phases of their lives, what a bedbug’s molted skin looks like, where you can find molted skin in your home, how to identify a bedbug’s fecal spots (yeah, lets just call it what it is — poop), where to look for the poop, and how to identify bed bug aggregations (i.e. get togethers, pow-wows, parties, family reunions, shin-digs etc. ).
This article contains some great information on how to prevent bringing bedbugs home with you when you are traveling. Specific tips are given on how to inspect a hotel room before you sleep there and how to prevent bedbugs from crawling into your luggage. I guess I will never be unpacking my clothes from my suitcase during a trip again. The article also addresses why you should avoid used furniture. Visitors to your home may have these little hitchhikers on them and Dr. Miller addresses this issue and what you can do to minimize this from happeneing aside from becoming a recluse and not allowing anyone to visit you ever again. The article talks about encountering bedbugs at laundromats and at the workplace.
Learn everything that you ever wanted to know about bedbugs’ feeding, mating behavior, egg production, nymph development time, and an adult bedbug’s life span. Did you know that a bedbug must take a meal before it can molt and enter the next phase of its life?
I was disheartened to read there is no labeled insecticide product that is capable of eliminating a bed bug infestation on its own. In order to kill an infestation, they must be attacked from many angles with many different products or devices. This article discusses (1) liquid insecticide sprays, (2) areosol insecticide sprays, (3) insecticidal dusts, (4) insect growth regulators (IGR’s), and (5) repellants.
Dr. Miller addresses the topics of removing clutter, using dissolvable laundry bags, using bed bug detectors (The ClimbUp device), vacuuming, steam, pressurized carbon dioxide snow, diatomaceous earth, mattress encasements, and heating systems (the gold standard) to assist in the eradication of bed bugs.
It is reccomended that all apartment staff receive bedbug training so that they will know how to identify a bed bug infestation and how to respond to any complaints of bedbugs from tenants. Also addressed is how to establish a community-wide bed bug awareness program and the need to overcome the stigma of bed bugs in order to deal with the widespread infestations throughout the country. Dr. Miller also gives suggestions on how to respond to a complaint of a bed bugs from a tenant living in a multi-unit apartment complex and what to expect regarding control of the problem. Also discussed are the roles that adjacent units and vacant units will play in an infestation in a large apartment complex.
While this article specificallly addresses bed bugs and hotels, many of the suggested plans that are discussed could apply equally well to apartment complexes. Dr. Miller discusses what to do when you receive a complaint of bedbugs, what to do when you suspect a room is infested, how to treat the rooms adjacent to an infested room, and what to do with employee areas.
If you are interested in learning more about all things bedbug, or if you are dealing with a bedbug infestation personally, I would highly reccomed these articles by Dr. Miler. I have read lots of information on bed bugs over the past year and these articles are some of the best that I have encountered.