Dorm Rooms and Bed Bugs

It’s a rite of passage for many college students to be on their own in a dorm or apartment. Parents go to inspect the new place of residency, making sure all is safe. But is it really safe? Dorm room bed bug problems are becoming increasingly more prevalent.

Bed bugs are small insects that are brown to reddish brown in color and broadly oval and flat in shape. Bed bugs harbor in cracks and crevices during the day and come out to feed at night. They prefer to feed on humans but will feed on other warm blooded animals. Typically, they can be found around mattresses, in box springs or their coverings, and in any crevice of a wooden bed frame, such as where members join. Before students move ANY of their belongings into their new home, they should check in and around wall hangings such as picture frames, night stands, stuffed furniture, baseboards, floorboard cracks, behind loose wallpaper, light switches, door and window frames, conduits, etc. Also check mattress covers for small, brownish stains. It would be wise to purchase mattress and box spring encasings as a precaution.

Bed bugs can be introduced into a structure via used furniture, clothing, boxes, suitcases, or other goods that are moved from residence to residence. Keep this in mind when your kids come home from college to visit.  Make sure to check bags and boxes thoroughly before they enter your home.

Bed bugs are most active at night and bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. The face, neck, hands, and arms are common sites for bed bug bites. The bite itself is painless and is not noticed. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign; redness, swelling, and itching commonly occur. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. A peculiarity of bed bug bites is the tendency to find several bites lined up in a row. Infectious disease specialists refer to this as the “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” sign signifying the sequential feeding that occurs from site to site.

Getting rid of bed bugs is not an easy process and most cases of bed bug infestations will require treatment by a pest control expert. If bed bugs are suspected in a dorm room, contact the RA (Residential Adviser) immediately and make sure that they use a pest control expert like Northwest Exterminating.

Do you have a child going off to college this year?

 

Northwest Exterminating
830 Kennesaw Ave MariettaGA30060 USA 
 • 888-466-7849
 

Bugs and Your Health

MosquitoesThe early spring has brought pests out in full force and we suspect that they will not be slowing down anytime soon.  Not only are bugs annoying but they’re a health concern as well.

  • West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, dog heartworm – mosquitoes
  • Lyme disease – ticks
  • Rabies – rodents
  • Allergies & Asthma – cockroaches
  • Food Contamination – cockroaches, mice/rats
  • Salmonella – cockroaches, house flies
  • Skin irritation and rashes – lice, fleas, bed bugs, mites
  • Venomous bites & stings (that can be accompanied by severe or life threatening reactions) – black widow, brown recluse, scorpion, snakes
  • Painful stings (that can be accompanied by severe or life threatening reactions) – fire ants, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps

Pests can carry diseases and cause areas to be unsanitary.  These are issues of concern for both homes and businesses.  Even the cleanest homes can have bug problems in an environment like this.  Carpenter bees, mosquitoes, ants, yellow jackets, silverfish, and other pests have recently been invading properties.  If you’re in the Atlanta, Columbus, Savannah, or Nashville area, call Northwest Exterminating.  Our NorPest Green program was developed exclusively by Northwest Exterminating to get rid of pests using the lowest environmental impact possible.  A Northwest representative will develop a customized plan to target those pests while maintaining the health of your home.

We are strategically placed throughout Georgia and Tennessee to service all areas of Georgia as well as parts of Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina.  Visit us online or call 888.466.7849 to find the location nearest you.

 

 

Spring Fever and Spring Pests

Spring is here and so are the pests.  We’ve talked a lot about the unusually warm weather leading to higher numbers of pest sightings and our Ask the Mouse section on our website has been a great place for readers to ask questions about pests they are seeing.  Mosquitoes, bed bugs, and carpenter bees are among some of the common household pests that are being seen this spring.  Take a look below at some of our most common recent questions.

Why do mosquitoes bite some people more than others?

MosquitoesMosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and can sense it from up to 30 yards away. Researchers are still trying to find out exactly what it is that makes some people more attractive than others. Research has indicated that the amount of carbon dioxide in the breath, pregnancy, body temperature, alcohol and odorant markers based on blood type are the top attractants. Pregnant women are preferable because they exhale more carbon dioxide and tend to run a little warmer than the average person. It is also thought that alcohol increases body heat making a person more appealing. So be careful who you hang around at the next cook out.

My son’s coming home from college. What do I need to do to make sure he doesn’t bring home bed bugs?

bed bugBed bugs are evasive and hard to detect. When your son brings home his clothes, make sure to leave them outside, in a detached building or in the garage. Immediately place the dirty clothes in the washing machine and dry them on high for at least 10 minutes. It is best to keep the luggage out of the house if possible. If you don’t have that option you can place the luggage in black plastic bags and leave them outside in the sun on a hot day. You can also do this with furniture. Bed bugs won’t tolerate temperatures greater than 120 degrees. Since bed bugs are tiny and can get into the smallest cracks, it is best to have a professional to inspect furniture and other items before you bring them into your house.

I found sawdust on my back porch. Does that mean I have termites?

Termites eat the cellulose part of the wood and don’t leave behind sawdust. Chances are you have a different pest, one of the most common is the carpenter bees. Carpenter bees get their name because they excavate clean round entrance holes, close to ½ inch wide, into soft wood such as pine, cedar, cypress and fir. The prefer to attack structural timbers and other wood products such as fascia boards, porch ceilings, decks, railings, siding, shutters, firewood, and other weathered wood.  They tend to avoid wood that is well painted or covered in bark. They do not eat the wood therefore they leave behind the sawdust. They bore into wood to make galleries for nesting. If left untreated, they can cause extensive damage.

What other questions do you have for Northwest Exterminating’s Ask The Mouse section?

Have you seen mosquitoes, bed bugs, carpenter bees, or other pests in or around your home?

 

How to Protect Yourself from Bed Bugs on Spring Break

It is Spring Break time here in Atlanta and the surrounding areas.  It’s a time that parents and kids both look forward to.  A lot of people will be going out of town this spring break and staying in hotels.  I’m sure you’ve seen media reports of bed bug outbreaks across the US.  Hotels are being hit pretty hard with bed bug infestations and it is something that travelers need to be aware of.  The truth is that you are more than likely not going to experience bed bugs in your hotel room or home but it is always best to be educated and aware!

Many wonder why the number of outbreaks has risen in recent years, it is suspected that increase in travel, less effective household pesticides, resistance to pesticides and lack of awareness are among the main reasons.  The key to avoiding bed bugs is early detection.  Make sure you are checking mattresses and other upholstery items when traveling.  Know that bed bugs are not a sign of a sanitation issue with the hotel; they are often brought in by other guests.

Bed Bugs on a mattress cover

What to Look For:

  • Brown or chestnut in color
  • Size of a pencil eraser
  • Eggs are several millimeters and clear to whitish in appearance
  • Droppings and dead skin of bed bugs

How to Search Hotel Rooms for Bed Bugs:

  • Simply call the hotel.  They may not always be forthcoming in their answer but it’s worth a shot.  A lot of hotels will be honest and tell you if they have or haven’t had experiences with bed bugs.
  • Check The Bedbug Registry.  This free data base is a place where bed bug sightings are reported.
  • Pack clothes and shoes in air tight bags in your suitcase.  Keep your items packed away in Ziploc bags inside of your suitcase to protect them from bed bugs.
  • Inspect the bed.  Pull back the sheets and check the mattress, concentrating heavily on the mattress seams, for droppings or skin that has been shed.  Also check the headboard, footboard, sheets, comforter, and pillows for signs of bed bugs.
  • Use the luggage rack.  Do not put your luggage on the bed or on the floor.  Hotels usually provide a luggage rack, if not; place the luggage on a tile floor where it is easier to see bed bugs moving if they are present.
  • Bites on body.  Bed bug bites are not dangerous but do cause allergic reaction.  Bed bugs often bite in a straight line on the body.  You can tell the difference between mosquito and other common pest bites and bed bug bites by the area on your body you have been bitten.  Mosquitoes mainly bite on the arms, legs or other body parts that are left uncovered.  Bed bug bites can be found throughout the body.

The thought of bed bugs and their bites are unnerving to say the least.  However, you may find comfort in knowing that bed bug bites are not dangerous because they do not carry human diseases.  All of that being said, you want to be sure that you do not carry these pests home with you from vacation.  Bed bugs are not only difficult to treat but can be an expensive treatment.

Tips for returning home:

  • Keep luggage in the garage or outside until you can unload your suitcase fully.
  • Wash and dry everything on the hot cycle immediately.  The hot temperatures will kill any bed bugs that may have made the trip with you.
  • Vacuum out suitcase once emptied.
  • Take precautionary measures with your own furniture.  Get a bed bug proof mattress case for your mattress and add traps on the legs of your bed.
  • Inspect frequently.

At the end of the day, we want you to have the best time on your spring break or other vacation.  We just want to make sure that you are not bringing home anything that wasn’t supposed to come home with you.  As we said earlier, the key is to be educated and aware.

If you have more questions on bed bugs or think that your home may have bed bugs, call Northwest Exterminating.  We have a dedicated team of experts that specialize in bed bug treatment.

Other Additional Links:

http://www.callnorthwest.com/pest-control/bed-bug-control/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/2011/07/dorm-rooms-and-bed-bugs/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/learning-center/identify-your-pest/bed-bugs/

http://www.callnorthwest.com/2011/02/npma-releases-bed-bug-best-management-practices-for-pest-professionals/