Finding a reason why or how bed bug infestations are on the rise is a question that is in no doubt up for debate. Considering how bed bugs migrate in our belongings it would only make sense to assume that the most popular tourist attractions would be the most heavily infested areas. That being said the epicenter of bed bug activity in the U.S.remains of all places Cincinnati,Ohio. I’m sure Cincinnati is a great city; however it is surely not a tourism hot bed. Here in Arizona, the Grand Canyon alone has approximately 5 million visitors each year not to mention Major League Baseball Spring Training, The U.S. Open, Barrett Jackson Auto Auction and much more. Every year from January through mid-April most hotels are booked solid in the Phoenix/Scottsdale metropolitan area not to mention Sedona and Tucson. Thankfully Arizona has so far had fairly light bed bug activity compared to the rest of the country. Each year however the cases in Arizona rise and I have personally seen a fairly dramatic increase during this past year compared to the years prior.
Where are the bed bugs coming from? I have clients constantly trying to pass blame on different ethnic groups, foreigners and people from different income levels. I always tell them the same thing. I have found bed bugs in 5 star resorts and million dollar homes all the way down to low income housing and budget motels. It has nothing to do with dirt or filth it has everything to do with having warm blood to feed on and we all have that including our pets.
I do believe that once a bed bug infestation is in place lower income households have a much more difficult time eradicating bed bugs because bed bug treatment can be very expensive. Once the infestation takes hold in a residence it can be spread to others rather easily if precautions are not taken.
Here are some precautions you can take to avoid bringing home bed bugs from common hot spots.
- Keep in the back of your mind what the hot spots may be. Hotels, Theatres, Libraries and anywhere else you would have a large turnover of people remaining stationary for long periods of time.
- Get familiar with what you are looking for so if you do encounter a bug you can identify it. This will prevent bed bug hysteria as you will surely encounter different types of bugs everywhere you go. Just because a bug is found on a bed doesn’t mean it is a bed bug!
- Bed bugs like organic materials to colonize in. They are rarely if ever found on furniture solely made from metal or plastics. On the other hand they do very well on wood, wicker and fabrics. If you have a chair that is metal or plastic with fabric cushions then that is where you would look for bed bugs.
- If you are in a high risk hot spot for bed bugs and you want to be extra cautious or if you are positive that you have been exposed to bed bugs the most important thing is to not take them into your home. I have been working around bed bug infestations for almost 3 years and I have never had a bed bug in my house just by following these few steps:
i. Stripping down in my garage and putting my clothes and washable exposed belongings directly in the washer.
ii. Going directly from my garage to the shower.
iii. For belongings that are not washable I either thermally treat them or throw them away. (Tip: if it is summer time and sunny out leave the non-washable items in the vehicle at least one day)
- Last of all; if you are worried about bed bugs and can’t find any evidence consider hiring a third party bed bug detection dog team. They can provide a thorough inspection and either find the issue for you or hopefully prove that you don’t have bed bugs.
Most importantly is that all of us need to realize that there is only so much we can do in regards to being exposed to bed bugs. To think bed bugs will prevent some people from staying in a hotel or going to the movies is sad and I hope these instances are few and far between. We need to keep our eyes open and be smart, but not overreact and let it control our lives.
For more information on our bed bug detection dog services feel free to call us.
Owner / Founder of Cimex K9 & Certified Detection dog trainer