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Anchorage bed bug seminar offers solutions to pest epidemic

By KTVA CBS 11 News 10:46 AM August 26, 2014

Are bed bugs biting Alaska? A free seminar Tuesday afternoon in Anchorage aims to answer all your questions about those minuscule pests.

Jeff White, an entomologist and BedBug Central’s director of innovation and Ken Perry, owner of Pied Piper’s Pest Control joined Daybreak Tuesday to tell us all about the bug.

There are many misconceptions about the blood-sucking insects.

“People sometimes think you can’t even see them,” White said. “They’re a quarter-inch long, oval, flat and reddish-brown. They look a lot like ticks and are usually associated with your bed or where you sleep, like beds or couches. They come from other infested environments. You have to usually bring them in.”

Perry believes there’s a growing bed bug epidemic right here in Alaska.

“We’ve seen huge increases all around the state over the last several years,” he said. “It’s actually hit all through the travel industry and in multifamily dwellings as well as in single-family dwellings. We’re just a hot spot here in Alaska because we’re in the center of movement. People come and go all the time.”

White started working with bed bugs in 2006 and has a master’s degree in entomology. He started to travel the country speaking about the topic. White has been featured as a bed bug expert on shows like ABC’s “The View,” Animal Planet’s “Infested!” and NBC’s “Dateline.”

The seminar is for anyone who’s interested in learning about bed bugs.

“It’s also geared toward people who are working in areas where bed bugs could be exposed to them: the hotel industry, multifamily housing and apartments,” White said.

“It’s also for renters, too, who are concerned about the problem and want to know what they can do, especially if the landlord won’t do anything,” Perry added.

White now develops his own products to beat the bug.

“One of the things you want to focus on is looking at non-chemical stuff,” he said. “Pesticides work, but a lot of bed bugs are resistant to some level of pesticides. We have things like bedding encasements, you can wrap your mattress and box springs in them and protect your bedding and make it easier to see them. We’ve got interception devices that go under the legs of beds and catches bugs as they travel to and from, making the bugs easier to find. Our newest product is the Volcano, an active lure that attracts bed bugs to it.”

The free bed bug seminar will be hosted by Pied Piper Pest Control Tuesday, Aug. 26 from 1-4 p.m. at the Millennium Hotel.

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