Twenty-five years ago, we probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation. That’s because, for a reasonably brief period of time (from about 1940-2000), bed bugs were largely under control. So, what happened? Why are they problematic again?
These critters have harassed humans for a long time. A really long time. In the 1990s, fossilized bed bugs were found in an Egyptian archaeology site, ones more than 3,500 years old. Research partially funded by the Alfred Sloan Foundation even shares how ancient Egyptians tried casting spells to make bed bugs go away.
Greek writer Aristophanes, who died about 2,500 years ago, included bed bugs in several plays, and these critters are even included in the Jew Talmud. They likely arrived in today’s United States by way of the Mayflower, and then continued to bother people for centuries. People built peat fires to try to smoke out bed bug infestations. They poured boiling water on their furniture and scattered plant ash on them. They also tried to fumigate with cyanide but that led to numerous human fatalities.
In 1939, though, there was a significant breakthrough. Paul Hermann Muller, a Swiss chemist, discovered how DDT effectively killed insects. The use of the now-banned DDT and other chemical pesticides then kept the bed bug population under control for about 60 years.
Enter the bed bug that’s resistant to pesticides.
This has led to this nasty pest’s comeback. In 2016, a Rutgers study showed that one in eight budget-priced apartments in New Jersey had bed bug infestations.
Some people believe that good housekeeping will keep bed bugs away. Although it’s true that cleanliness can help to discourage pests, overall, it’s a myth that this will keep bed bugs away. Think about it. They’re coming into homes and businesses to feed off of people, not the humans’ food supply.
To help prevent them from coming into your home, pay attention to what you’re bringing inside. Bed bugs can ride along on used mattresses and other furniture, on suitcases—even on your clothing. Then, once safely inside, critters can get comfortable quite quickly, and then reproduce.
So, to prevent that from happening, thoroughly inspect items you bring into the house. Besides the used furniture and mattresses, check out curtains/draperies, box springs, and more. It can help to have pest control professionals examine these items before you bring them into the home. When traveling, avoid using soft luggage. It’s harder for the bed bugs to travel on hard suitcases. Use a flashlight at each hotel room you enter, and carefully inspect bedding. Upon arriving back home from a trip, vacuum out the suitcases.
If you live in an area where there are plenty of hotels and tourism opportunities, then the turnover of guests may make it more likely for the transfer of bed bugs, as well. This list can include parts of Orange Park, Jacksonville Beach, Mandarin, World Golf Village, and Ponte Vedra Beach, as five examples. As noted above, this is not an indication of a lack of cleanliness.
Here’s another myth. Some people believe that, if they don’t have signs of bed bug bites, then they don’t have an infestation. While it’s true that many people can get red welts on exposed skin after a bite, this isn’t universally true. For whatever reason, some people may not have visible signs of a bed bug bite, while others won’t have evidence of one for weeks. Go figure!
It can help to look for other signs of an infestation. For example, the adults are about the size of an apple seed, so they can be visible to the naked eye. However, they can slide behind objects quickly and quietly, whether that’s a bed frame, baseboard, or something else. You might find shed skin on your mattress or small dark stains. If you see any signs of an infestation, consider a home inspection.
When it’s time to kill bed bugs, it’s time to call in the pros. At Turner Pest Control, we provide a close inspection of your home, including around the spots they like to hide. This will give our trained technicians an understanding of your bed bug infestation, and we’ll then provide you with a customized treatment plan and a free, detailed estimate for our bed bug removal services. You can find more information about our services in our Ultimate Guide to Pest Control in Jacksonville, Florida.
To get rid of bed bugs, we now have the latest technology solution for bed bug removal: Thermal Remediation. Here are some specifics. This treatment:
We provide the very best bed bug treatments while providing quality customer service. We started doing that at our company’s founding in 1971 and that’s still our key focus. As our technologies change, our commitment to our customers’ lives and community is as strong today as ever—and will remain our top commitment going forward.
Turner Pest Control is: