Published: Sunday, March 25, 2012, 2:06 PM
KALAMAZOO – Searching for bed bugs may be something to consider while spring cleaning this year because the blood-sucking insects are not going away.
“We are as busy with bed bug work this year as we were last year and actually a little bit more,” said Jim Nelson, the district manager for Rose Pest Solutions. “Certainly in assisted living and senior citizen homes and student housing, that’s the predominant intensity for bed bugs right now.”
Nelson said the company is seeing an increase in calls from single-family homes, as well.
Rollins Corp. pest-control released its 2011 list for the top 50 cities with bed bugs and the Kalamazoo/Grand Rapids/Battle Creek region was ranked 39 in the nation. The good news: the region dropped 17 places from its ranking in the 2010 survey.
Detroit was ranked No. 3 for having such a high number of bed bug treatments in 2011.
The report says there has been a 33.6 percent increase in bed bug business compared to 2010.
Nelson wasn't surprised the region made the top 50.
He said bed bug business has been steady throughout the winter.
“If you're proactive in your attempt to control bed bugs you can be effective, but the problem is people who have them get embarrassed and won’t report them to the property managers because they think they’ll have to pay for them and they keep their mouth shut,” he said.
Nelson said the problems is continuing to spread, in part, by people picking up furniture and infested mattresses off curbs without checking for bugs.
ALL ABOUT BED BUGS
What are bed bugs? Small, brownish insects visible to the naked eye that feed on the blood of sleeping persons at night.
Can I get diseases from bed bugs? There are currently no known cases of disease associated with bed bug bites. Bites usually look like little red bumps, sometimes resembling mosquito bites. Most people have mild allergic reactions resulting in small, itchy welts.
How do bed bugs get into beds? They are often carried on objects and clothing. They hide in tight cracks and crevices on or near people’s beds and come out at night.
How do I get rid of them? See the Michigan Department of Community Health’s website -- michigan.gov/bedbugs -- for informational pamphlets, guidance and links to a list of state licensed pest management professionals.
Source: Michigan Department of Community Health
To prevent bed bugs, here are a few steps you can take:
Rid rooms of clutter and vacuum regularly.
If staying in a hotel, check in and around beds thoroughly for the pests. Keep luggage off the floor and use a luggage rack or counter space instead.
If returning home from a trip, check luggage and clothing thoroughly for bed bugs before bringing them into a residence.
Cover mattresses and box springs with encasings that cannot be penetrated by bed bugs.
If you suspect bed bugs have infested your house, here are signs to look for and what to do:
Keep an eye out for bumps on the skin that are red like mosquito bites and appear in a row or straight line on the upper torso.
Watch for blood spotting on sheets and blankets.
Do a visual inspection of your sheets and mattresses to see if you can spot the pests. They are easily seen and are typically the size and color of an appleseed. They can hide between a mattress top and its ribbons, as well as behind photos on walls, and behind headboards and footboards and bedroom furniture, among other places.
Call a local pest-control company for a more thorough inspection and/or remediation. Local pest control companies said there are no over-the-counter pesticides available to combat bed bugs.
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