Sunday, May 26, 2013
Bed Bug Numbers Explode Across Alaska
Exterminators say bed bugs are on the rise across Alaska and Anchorage is no exception.
Original article posted July 14, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTVA-CBS 11 News) Exterminators say bed bugs are on the rise across Alaska and Anchorage is no exception.
"They have been here for some time in small amounts, but like the rest of the nation and the world, we are seeing a large increase in the last year or so," says Ken Perry, General Manager for Paratax Pied Piper Pest Control.
Perry says there are many reasons the bed bug population is exploding, including less effective pesticides and controlling techniques. The biggest offender is travel.
"The biggest issue with bed bugs is in the travel industry. Predominantly hotels, motels, that sort of environment or people who have traveled. Bed bugs do not move unless they are carried somewhere," says Perry. So just how big is the problem?
"Our jobs have probably risen. I did a survey last week and I think the numbers we came up with were about 800 percent," Perry says.
The explosion of bed bugs is bringing victims out from the woodwork and to the doors of pest control businesses.
"This poor lady's daughter moved into a rooming house and ended up with a bad bed bug problem. She wanted to bring all of her stuff here because she is moving her to another unit," says Perry.
"My daughter called me and kept saying she had bites on her and we assumed that they were mosquito bites because of the time she had told us about it," says Irene Addison-Walls, mother of the bed bug victim. But, it wasn't mosquitoes that bit her daughter.
"She picked them up thinking it was an outside bug and she took it to the land lady and she said, 'Oh, those look like bed bugs' and I said, 'Oh my gosh!'" says Addison-Walls. "Oh my gosh" is the immediate reaction of most, but exterminators say there are ways of dealing with the situation.
"Don't be afraid of bed bugs. It's not like the whole world is being taken over. Use caution, call an expert if you have a question and we will be willing to spend time on the phone with you and talk you though it," says Perry.
"A lot of hype now has got people very concerned which is good, but on the other hand it has probably raised fears that it doesn't need to. Probably 40 percent of the calls that I take, I am able to reassure people based on what they are telling me. That they don't have a bed bug problem," Perry says. If you do have a bed bug problem, there are options.
"We have bags designed to heat whatever is in them up to 140 degrees and hold that temperature because all stages of the bed bugs will be gone in 140 degrees if you maintain it for a few hours," says Perry. There are also products you can buy such as sprays, mattress covers and talc containers.
"If you suspect the area you were at has bedbugs, when you return, don't bring your materials directly into the house. Put them somewhere where they can be addressed first," says Perry. If you have been traveling, make sure to the first thing you address is your suitcase.
"For instance if you have a suitcase, unpack it into a plastic bag. Take everything you've got and wash it in hot water. Dry it in warm air as much as possible," Perry says.
Another simple thing you can do to be more bed bug aware is make sure you have white sheets on your bed. That way you can easily check to see the brownish-red stains that bed bugs leave behind.
Also when traveling, do your homework on the hotel or motel where you are staying to make sure they haven't had any prior bed bug problems.