BedBug Chasers of Cedar Rapids recently treated a bedbug-infested home in Fairfax, Iowa.
Dubuque and East Dubuque, Iowa are seeing an increase in Bed Bug Problems!
Great article featured on THOnline.com about the BedBug Chasers of Cedar Rapids team at work!
BedBug Chasers, of Cedar Rapids, recently treated a bedbug-infested home in Fairfax, Iowa.
BY THOMAS J. BARTON Telegraph Herald
Dubuque and East Dubuque, Ill., residents lately have found it more and more difficult to sleep tight as a growing number of bedbugs bite.
Eastern Iowa pest- control firms have seen a recent influx of bedbugs, as well as their nearly identical ancestor the bat bug.
“We could almost solely do bedbug treatments and ignore all of our other revenue streams and still stay afloat,” said Jeff Voss, partner at Voss Pest Control in Dubuque. “This year alone, we’ve already surpassed all the bedbug treatments we did in 2014. So far, we’ve done less than 100 treatments this year, but it’s snowballing.”
Charles Jones, operations manager for BedBug Chasers out of Marion, Iowa, said the company is addressing more homes and businesses infested with bedbugs every year. In just the last month, the company has performed 25 heat treatments to remedy home infestations in Dubuque and East Dubuque, and are adding more jobs weekly.
The tiny, roach-like insects feed on human blood and leave itchy, red welts. They often come out to feed at night and hide during the day in the crevices of mattresses and furniture.
Bed bugs do not transmit disease, however, people’s immune response to the bites can vary widely, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. In the most serious cases, bedbug bites can cause a rapid, whole-body allergic reaction that causes swelling and difficulties breathing.
Their predecessor, the bat bug, feeds primarily on the blood of bats, but will also bite humans if given the opportunity, and requires its own treatment methods.
While the City of Dubuque does not track bedbug or bat bug complaints, the blood-sucking parasites have become increasingly prevalent over the past five years, according to city Public Health Specialist Mary Rose Corrigan.
The increase and ease of domestic and international travel and commerce have helped fuel their spread, she wrote, hitching rides on luggage, clothing and other items when people stay at locations where infestations are common.
Clutter, resistance to common insecticides and a growing appeal of secondhand and vintage clothing and furniture also contribute.
City of Dubuque Environmental Sanitarian Tim Link recommends people be leery of buying or taking used furniture, and inspect items thoroughly. People who buy clothing at a garage sale or thrift shop should put the dry clothes into a dryer for a full, high-heat cycle so the heat can kill any bedbugs that might be there, he said.
Lack of affordable, effective treatment methods, too, have fueled their spread, according to Corrigan.
Cost of bed bug treatments by a professional can easily exceed $1,000, depending on the type of treatment and size of the home or building.
“People are less apt to treat it right away,” Voss said. “They don’t have the money for the treatments, and landlords are hesitant to do treatments because of the price tag on it. The problems get worse and worse, and bedbugs are good hitchhikers. So by the time we get called, they have spread to several units.”
Household insect sprays break down quickly and bugs can hide in nooks and crannies sprays can’t reach. Bug bombs, as well, can irritate the insects, causing them to scatter and spread the infestation, said Jones, of Bedbug Chasers.
His company uses special heaters and fans to turn homes into a 122-degree convection oven that bakes the bedbugs, as well as their nymphs and eggs, over an 8- to 12-hour period.
The cost of which can run in excess of $3,000. Ridding a home of bed bugs is even costlier — $6,000 to $13,000 — requiring removal of attic insulation the bugs use to shield themselves from heat treatment and chemical applications, Jones said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends people speak with a professional to learn what type of treatment would be best for them, which might include heat treatment or a combination of pesticide and non-pesticide options.