Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How to "do it yourself" bedbug elimination!

Bed Bug Elimination

It's a clear fact that our generation is being revisited by a plague that pestered a generation long ago. That plague is bed bugs. The almost microscope bug that bleeds us dry and leaves it's presences know by ugly bite marks and stained bedsheets!

The question has been asked about how to get rid of bedbugs ourselves without hiring a pest control company who will charge us an arm and a leg as the bedbugs eat them both!

Think of bedbug control as a weekend project. It will by no means be a fast spray behind the bed and you're free and clear. Bedbugs multiply pretty quickly and if they are not treated quickly they can take a strong hold which makes them a little difficult to control.

Steps to take are as follow:

Do as much contact killing as you can with a product labeled for bedbugs like Eaton's Bedbug Killer or Bedlam or Sterifab.

Turn the mattress and boxspring on it's side and spray all areas where there is activity. Then spray the cracks and crevices. Try to get a hold of a product called Suspend SC or CY-KICK CS as it is labeled for bedbugs. Mix it as the label directs you to in a gallon sprayer. Treat the entire perimeter of all the rooms and treat on the underneath side of furniture as well. Pull out drawers and wash and dry clean all cloths, then treat the inside and backside of all drawers. Be careful not to stain areas with the spray, you may need to test spray certain areas first as not to stain them or get a hold of a good crack and crevices can spray for these areas. Treat in closets, in all cracks and crevices, and treat behind picture frames, again using lots of caution not to harm or destroy the thing you are spraying. With a good insect dust labeled for bedbugs you will need to take the covers of the light switches and outlets off and treat in these areas. You may also have to pull the carpet back away from the wall and treat the area between the tackboard and the wall. Do this procedure for all the rooms in the house...not just the bedroom as bedbugs travel and hide in all rooms.

As you can see this process is very involved and many times does require the help of a professional. These folks have all the labeled chemicals that will work against these blood sucking bastards!

The most important thing in bedbug control is being thorough and treating every inch of the room. Because these bugs hide like pros you need to treat alarm clocks, behind pictures, radios, televisions, hollowed curtain rods, behind baseboards, molding, wallpaper that is peeling back, doorknobs, hangers, ceiling fans. The list goes on and on. Prepare yourself for a long battle that in the end you will most definitely win!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Biggest batch of box elder bugs

Biggest batch of box elder bugs since 1988

ST. PAUL (AP) - Bug experts say recent weather conditions will give the Twin Cities area its biggest hatch of box elder bugs since 1988.

"It appears that conditions were just right," said entomologist Jeffrey Hahn. "We had the warm spring and then the dry summer - conditions that are right for a big hatch."

Experts say if one black-and-orange bug is found, chances are thousands more are nearby. They often cover the bark on female box elder trees and sometimes blanket other maples.

The bugs are more of a nuisance than anything, and they don't bite people.

Hahn said there are ways to keep them from invading a house.

"Caulk and seal," Hahn said. "After that, a judicious use of pesticides" is the best way to fight back. Many homeowners also spray box elders with a mixture of laundry soap or dish detergent and water.

This year's large hatch comes as Minneota celebrates its 125th anniversary and its annual Boxelder Bug Days - a festival famous for its box elder bug races.

Bill Holm, a Minneota resident and literature and writing professor at Southwest Minnesota State University at Marshall, wrote about the bugs in "Boxelder Bug Variations," a 1985 collection of poems, prose and music.

Learn to live with them, Holm suggested. "They don't do any real damage."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Warm fall and winter weather brings bloxelder bugs

It's been crisp and cool and feelin' like fall when suddenly Indian Summer hits and the crisp air turns spring like again. The temperatures go up to the high 70's and even 80's and with the warm weather comes the dreaded boxelder bugs. Boxelder bugs or Halloween bugs as people call them because of their orange and black bodies over winter in the wall voids and cracks and crevices of buildings. When warm weather hits they start to become active and become a bother in office buildings, homes , and schools. People complain of seeing them in the lights of drop ceiling covers and flying around the office. They tend to cluster on the sunny side of buildings becoming a bother to people trying to enter the buildings. Some ways to help control them inside is to use a vacuum cleaner with a hose and vacuum them as you see them. Outside people spray them down with soapy water or hot water. Truth is..The boxelder bug is one of the hardest bugs to get rid of in my opinion and anyone who has experienced a problem with them would agree with me I'm sure.

Peppermint a pleasure for people but a turnoff for mice

Peppermint a pleasure for people but a turnoff for mice
by ARA Content

The scurrying of tiny mice feet on a kitchen floor or the not-so-subtle droppings in the corner of the living room are enough to make even the most grounded homeowners shudder and launch into a wild-goose chase to find the mice that have invaded their home.

As the weather turns cooler, mice begin to seek cozier surroundings — including homes.

Even seemingly well-sealed homes are susceptible to mice during the fall and winter months. Mice are excellent swimmers and climbers. They are able to jump over a foot off the floor and can squeeze through openings as small as 1/4 of an inch — roughly the diameter of a pencil.

To rid the house of mice, homeowners often find themselves having to trap and poison the little critters. But poison baits can be harmful to children and pets.

Fortunately there is a natural alternative to these rodenticides. Natural peppermint essential oil (also known as “oil of peppermint”) offers a safe, effective and humane way to discourage these damaging and potentially disease-carrying rodents from entering homes.

“Although the scent is pleasing to humans, mice are repelled by the scent of natural peppermint essential oil,” said Mindy Seiffert, aromatherapy category manager for Aura Cacia. “The oil drives mice away without the danger of poisoning pets or young children.”

To discourage the animals from entering, Seiffert recommends putting a few drops of peppermint essential oil on cotton balls and placing them around the house in areas where mice might enter the home or hide. Homeowners can also sprinkle the oil directly on floors and walls and items, or make a scented spray with two teaspoons of oil per cup of water.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bed Bug Question

Posted on Sun, Sep. 10, 2006email thisprint this
Travelers can bring bed bugs to cleanest homes and hotels• Q: A man who works for me has red marks all over his body. His wife is covered in them, too. They recently moved into an efficiency on South Beach.

Action Line: Tell us what's causing this.


via phone

• A: It sounds as if they're suffering from bed bug bites. The good news is that they don't transmit diseases, but they may cause an allergic reaction and be intensely itchy.

The increased incidence in developed nations has made the news recently; bed bugs are being reported everywhere from filthy flophouses to the cleanest of high-end hotels.

Try to find an experienced local exterminator through the National Pest Management Association's website, It may take three visits over a period of months.

Bed bugs are tiny (less than ¼-inch), rusty-red and flat until they're engorged with blood. They only emerge at night, hiding during the day. They can live for a year without food. Pretreatment preparation is vital for success. Start by checking the mattress seams for spots or streaks of brown or black staining, eggs, and maybe adult bugs. The bugs stay close to their human hosts, so they'll be concentrated near the bed, but as the infestation grows, they'll find places further away to hide.

High heat effectively kills them; bed linens, clothes, stuffed toys and the like must be laundered in the hottest water possible and dried at the highest heat. If they can't be laundered, disposal is the best option. Carpets and rugs need frequent steam cleaning.

Consider discarding the mattress and box spring if there's a heavy infestation; treating the interior effectively is difficult. The bed frame and all furniture should be thoroughly examined. Use a vacuum cleaner on everything, particularly cracks and crevices along floors, walls, door frames and the like. All furniture needs to be carefully scrutinized, which means turning it upside down and may mean taking it apart. Cut down on clutter to reduce the number of hiding places.

(If you replace the bed, and until you're sure you've beaten the infestation, tape two-sided sticky tape on the legs -- the bugs can't fly or jump -- or place them on plastic furniture rests inside shallow containers of water. Make sure the bed isn't in contact with the wall or other furniture.)

Once this has been done, an exterminator can treat the home. If you do it yourself, be very careful of the pesticides involved; many must not be used inside or around children and pets. Pesticides based on pyrethrins are the safest bet.

Check further at so you'll know how your enemy operates. You'll find links to other helpful websites at the end of the article.

Why are we seeing a resurgence of bed bugs, and how do they get inside our homes?

Their presence was an accepted part of life until the advent of DDT, which was very effective in killing them. After it was banned, they slowly made a comeback, probably by accompanying travelers from developing nations. Some parts of the country -- New York City, for instance -- have experienced a significant increase in just a few years.

The bugs simply hitch a ride in clothes or suitcases. One tip is to keep clothes in travel bags away from beds. In the days before DDT, it was common for people to check their hotel bed for bed bugs.

Buying used furniture and/or bedding at garage sales or flea markets is another way to bring them home. They can also arrive in a brand new mattress that's delivered alongside an old mattress collected from another home. If you're buying new, ensure that the mattress will be encased in plastic before delivery.

Residents of apartment buildings may be particularly vulnerable because bed bugs in one unit will eventually crawl to others.

In many ways, it's the psychological aspect of an infestation that's the hardest thing to handle. Bed bugs induce strong feelings of embarrassment. People feel desperately unclean, afraid to sleep in their own homes and are too embarrassed to tell anyone, let alone invite friends over. Learn fact from fiction, and consider counseling if they're making your life miserable.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Words to live by

Killer Bees & Fire Ants & Skeeters, Oh My!

As We Head Into Labor Day Weekend - How Much Do You Know About These
Residents of Local Parks, Campgrounds or Your Own Backyard?

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ --

Fact: Insects and snakes are important to the balance of nature.
Fact: More people die from insect bites than from snakebites.
Fact: Most insect bites can be prevented.
Fact: The California Poison Control System is a fast, easy way to get the
information you need about these and any other poison-related
While many insects can bite or sting, most are more bothersome than
dangerous, but how do you know which is which? Bites from fleas, mosquitoes
and the common housefly can cause pain, itching and swelling at the site --
an unpleasant experience but not necessarily dangerous, unless an infection
occurs. Some bites and stings from particularly aggressive insects, like
Africanized honey bees ("killer" bees), West Nile virus-carrying
mosquitoes, black widow spiders, and fire ants, and from the few poisonous
snakes in California can be particularly uncomfortable or painful. However,
when treated promptly, they are rarely fatal.
The California Poison Control System (CPCS) is available at
1-800-222-1222 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions
relating to treatment and any other questions relating to bites and stings.
As unseasonably warm weather increases the insect population, the
following are some tips to keep everyone -- particularly children -- safe:
o Do not leave food, drinks or garbage out and uncovered. Many bees and
wasps are attracted to the smell of fruit juices, soda pop, leather,
perspiration and rotting food.
o Remove any standing water where mosquitoes may breed, and at dusk wear
long sleeves and pants and apply a repellent with DEET.
o Avoid wearing perfumes and other floral scents (so you don't smell like
a flower).
o Avoid wearing bright floral patterned clothes (so you don't look like a
o Do not walk barefoot.
o Do not plant shrubs or flowers that attract bees, such as star jasmine
or bottlebrush, next to swimming pools, decks or patios.
o Be careful where spiders live, such as woodpiles, garages and other dark
places and carefully remove any spider webs you may see.
o Shake all shoes, clothing, towels and bedding that have been sitting
around as insects and scorpions may crawl into the folds to hide.
o Run from swarming bees.
o Call a professional bee removal company to remove a hive of any kind.
o If extremely allergic to bee or wasp stings, wear a Medic-Alert bracelet
and ask a physician about prescribing an emergency bee-sting kit to have
on hand.
o Snakes, even rattlesnakes, are not naturally aggressive, so do nothing
to annoy one.
o If you or your child is bitten by a snake, or reacts strongly to an
insect bite, go to an emergency room for treatment.
Most importantly, if your child is bitten or stung, respond
intelligently and calmly. The California Poison Control System can answer
any questions any time. If breathing difficulties, difficulties swallowing
and/or body-wide itching develop, you should immediately call 9-1-1 for
assistance. Otherwise, wash the bite or sting area well with soap and water
to help prevent infection. If stung or bitten on fingers or hand, remove
any rings or jewelry in case of swelling. Your local pharmacist can help
recommend the best over-the-counter medications to help treat insect and
spider bites.
The CPCS has four divisions located at UC Davis Medical Center in
Sacramento, San Francisco General Hospital in San Francisco, Children's
Hospital Central California in Fresno/Madera and the UC San Diego Medical
Center in San Diego. The CPCS is part of the University of California San
Francisco School of Pharmacy and responsible to the California Emergency
Medical Services Authority.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Bed Bug Article

Don't let the bed bugs bite
Katie Sparks
Issue date: 9/6/06 Section: Features
PrintEmail Article Tools Page 1 of 1

It appears to be no myth. The old saying parents used after tucking in their children has come to shed new light. Tiny organisms are raiding beds across the country and at the current rate, may soon come to a room near students.

Over the past several years, bedbug infestations have increased in numbers.

According to Chris Haggerty, a supervisor at American Pest Control, Inc. in Bloomington, his company has dealt with more cases with each passing year.

"There is no question it's growing," Haggerty said. "We saw our first case about four years ago. The next year we had two or three cases and the following year we had several cases. This year we've seen even more than that."

Haggerty explained that these types of insects used to be prevalent in the United States before World War II but were virtually eliminated with the use of DDT, a pesticide that prevented insects from destroying crops.

"Once Eastern Europe reopened and people started traveling to places like China more freely, these bugs were able to spread their territory," Haggerty said.

These organisms can be seen with the naked eye along the outer parts of bedding material. They resemble a brownish and flat insect that seeks to feed on the blood of humans.

"The best way to tell is to strip your bedding down and look for either feces, which looks like dried up blood spots along the seams of the mattress, or look for the insect," Dan Norman, owner of Pride Pest Control in Bloomington, said.

Despite what one may think, sanitation is only part of the equation.

"Bedbugs are not necessarily from filth. They are not feeding on dirty things the way that roaches do," Haggerty explained. "But the more stuff you have and the more clutter, the more places there are for them to hide."

Haggerty said common places bedbugs burrow in are mattress edges where the seams are located, in tiny cracks in the headboard and also in the box spring.

"Inside of a box spring is the wood frame where there are lots of places for them to hide," Haggerty said.

"When we do a job, one of the things we insist upon is throwing the box spring out. You cannot treat that well enough," he added.

With the discontinued use of DDT, the tiny insects were given another chance to breed.

"Bedbugs are extremely difficult to find and kill. The materials we have nowadays are good but are not designed for bedbugs," Haggerty said.

"They can go for a year without a blood meal when they are in a hibernation mode. You think you've gotten rid of them and 10 months later they are in the same room." Norman said his company sprayed in four various places in town in the last six months.

He said bedbugs are known to cause itchy sores at times but most likely are not harmful. He added that in a lot of ways, these types of bites are similar to the bite of a mosquito. Haggerty said there is lack of evidence when it comes to bedbugs and a correlation with disease transmission.

At the current time of year, both Norman and Haggerty have not treated any bedbug complaints in the dorms but said it may be a possible threat in the future.

Both said that motels commonly have been known to carry these types of infestations.

"The best thing to do when you're staying over night somewhere is to inspect the mattress and look for the red blood spots," Haggerty said.

"If you find that, refuse to stay in that room and get your luggage out of there as quickly as possible. Try not to stay in a place that has those bugs because there is a very good chance you will bring them home."

"I haven't heard any reports from our clinics on bedbugs currently," Jim Almeda, health educator with the Health Promotion Office, said.

Almeda added that if students find themselves with a bedbug problem to try and minimize it by washing their sheets in hot water and calling in a specialist if the problem worsens.

Students around campus may not be as educated as they could be. Doug Brennan, sophomore psychology major, said he wasn't even sure if they were real.

"I once knew someone who washed their sheets everyday because they thought they would get them," Brennan said.

"All I know is that they're nasty little suckers, " Matthew McHugh, sophomore business major, said. "They bite you when you sleep."

For Brian Bak, freshman construction management, the only thing he knew was a basic fact.

"Bedbugs can climb into places that you don't want them to," Bak said.

Mark Miskell, sophomore history education major said he's not a big fan of bedbugs.

"I heard they can multiply like rabbits and can be very hard to get rid of," he said. "I've always wondered if they could eat people alive," he added.

Aside from inspecting bed furniture, just being aware of these nighttime critters may be the only way of stopping them.

Myth or not, one thing is for sure. When the light goes out, try not to let the bedbugs bite.

Personal side note

I am currently having our annual block party and can't even sit outside because every can of soda or bottle of beer is attracting bees!!! Even though I am an exterminator...I HATE BEES!!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bed Bug Stories

With so much going on in the pest control world with bed bugs...I was just wondering if any readers have had or are haiving problems with bed bugs? Post your stories in the comments section.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mouse proofing our house

One thing to consider with the cool weather right around the corner is where will all the rodents outside be spending the winter? With all the vegetation dying outside and the air getting cooler these mice and rats will be looking to vacation in your happy house hotel. What can you do to help prevent this? One thing is to take a stroll around the outside perimeter of you house to look for possible entry points. Remember, a mouse can fit thru a hole the size of a pencil point. You should caulk around any pipes and wires entering the home that have gaps around them, any holes in the wall you should cement, garage doors and entry doors should all close and be flush to the ground. If need be buy a door sweep and replace the weather stripping at the bottom of your garage door. Doing some of these things should help you stay rodent free.