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by Alliance Environmental · November 02, 2011

Bed Bugs: Prevention and Treatment

I would normally take a day off bed bugs, but I wanted to cross-post the article now that it is up on Amber Property Management’s blog.  Here you go:

Bed bugs are all over the news and it’s easy to get freaked out about the possibility of picking up an infestation from a hotel stay or movie theater seat. 

Please do not succumb to the temptation to be fearful about bed bugs.  There are lots of things you can do to prevent a bed bug infestation and new treatments for bed bugs are safer, greener and more effective than ever.

Bed Bug Myths

As you can imagine, I keep up with the latest news about bed bugs and I see a lot of misinformation go by.  But with the increase in bed bug encounters comes an increase in bed bug research and a lot of that misinformation has been debunked, as it were.

* Myth: Bed bugs can live years without feeding.
Truth: Bed bugs can live months without feeding, it is true, but not years.
* Myth: Bed bugs carry disease like fleas.
Truth: Bed bugs do not carry disease.
* Myth: Bed bugs are highly contagious
Truth: The contagiousness of bed bugs is vastly overstated.
* Myth: Bed bugs can only be killed by powerful insecticides.
Truth: There are many alternatives to insecticides and the chemicals themselves can be very dangerous.

How to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation

* Inspect any furniture before bringing it in, even if it is new.  Many furniture stores have been infested.
* Don’t pick up discarded furniture from the street
* Check the bed and bed frame of any hotel room you stay in for signs of bed bugs before you unpack

Bed Bug Treatments

If you discover you have a bed bug infestation, there are lots of DIY bed bug treatments out there, but pest control professionals agree that bed bugs are the most difficult insects to eradicate once they have a foothold in your home.  There have been over 100 illnesses and one reported death from misuse of bed bug insecticides by consumers.  It is best to stay calm and call in a professional.  They will inspect your home and evaluate what is needed to kill all the pests and put your mind at ease. 

If you choose insecticide treatment, keep in mind that you will have to vacate the structure for an extended period (up to three days, depending on the treatment) and be sure to wash all of your bed linens in hot water before using them again.

A more recent addition to the bed bug treatment arsenal is heat.  Heat is the only non-chemical way to successfully treat entire structures for bed bugs.  Freezing, electrogun and microwave treatments can only be used on small areas.  An added benefit to heat treatment, you can enter your structure safely immediately after the process is complete. 
Alliance Environmental Group uses a process called ThermaPureHeat(r) to treat structures for bed bugs.  This heat treatment offers many advantages over insecticide treatments:

* No toxic chemicals
* No three day move out
* No odor
* No bagging of food before treatment
* No harm to people or pets
* Fewer complaints from neighbors

The most important thing to remember if you encounter a bed bug is that is not going to be with you forever.  There are ways of preventing it from entering your home and safe ways to kill it if it does.

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions.  She welcomes your comments!  For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!

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