Tag Archives: bedbugs

Thanks, Darwin: Bed Bug Evolution

Bed bugs have always been with us. Where humans have lived, bed bugs have fed off their blood–for millennia. Human blood hasn’t changed, but have bed bugs? Bed bug evolution!

Bed Bug History

Bed bugs probably started out as bat bugs–living off the warm blooded bats in caves. When humans moved into the caves with the bats, the bed bug evolution took over and moved their parasitical lives over to the larger creatures, perfectly understandable. We offered much more food than bats.

As the human population grew and became more mobile, living in villages, town and cities and traveling to distant lands, bed bugs too found new places to live and new countries to explore.

By 100 A.D., they were a well-known presence in Italy, in 600 A.D. in China, in the 1200s in Germany and the 1400s in France. Heat that was generated from cooking and sleeping fires afforded the bugs a comfortable life in the wealthiest families residing in castles and the less fortunate working class living in huts. —Bedbugs.org

Bed bugs were at one time believed to have medicinal value for ear infections and snake bites, and even hysteria. We think they probably caused more hysteria than they cured–like today!

Bed bugs came to America with the settlers and made the New World their new home. By the early 20th Century, most people had personal experience with bed bugs, but by the 1950’s, bed bugs were hard to find.

DDT was very successful at eradicating bed bugs and other pests, but, of course, it turned out to be dangerous to other creatures as well and in 1972 its use was banned due to its cancer-causing properties and the damage it was doing to bird populations like the Bald Eagles in the US.

Bed Bugs Today

Bed bugs didn’t just come back from DDT, they came back stronger. Populations that survived to today have thicker exoskeletons with waxier surfaces that resist pesticides better. They also have faster metabolisms to deal with those chemicals more quickly, before they can kill. Bed bugs in other countries had longer exposures to DDT and developed even better resistance to pesticides. When they travel from those places to cities, they are very hard to eradicate.

What can you do about today’s bed bugs?

Modern bed bugs are pesticide resistant. And DDT is no longer an option. The safest and most effective treatment for today’s bed bugs is high temperatures. Heat kills bed bugs and their eggs without pesticides. Whether a bed bug is a weakling from the 1800’s or a 21st Century megabug, heat will still do the job!

7 Biggest Bed Bug Myths

What do you know about bed bugs? There are a lot of bed bug myths hiding in corners and we are determined to find them and put them to rest. Here’s the straight scoop about these annoying pests!

7 Bed Bug Myths:

  1. Bed Bugs only feed at night–Bed bugs don’t like the light, but they can bite any time there is an opportunity.
  2. If your home is clean, you won’t get bed bugs–Bed bugs are equal opportunity eaters, they don’t care if your house is small or large, clean or dirty. If they get in and find human blood, they will set up housekeeping.
  3. Bed Bug bites will show up right away–Bed bug bites can take as long as a 7-10 days to show on your skin. By the time you see bite marks, the infestation can be pretty far along. Better to go by inspection of bed linens, mattress seams and other easy places for them to hide.
  4. Bed bugs carry disease, like mosquitos–Bed bugs have not been proven to carry disease, although the jury is still out on a protozoan. However, bed bug bites (and scratching them) can cause infections.
  5. Bed bugs cannot travel from floor to bed–Although bed bugs neither fly nor jump, they do crawl and they can crawl not only from floor to bed but from apartment to apartment, drawn by your exhaled carbon dioxide.
  6. Bed bugs only live in beds–Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately bed bugs can live in any upholstered furniture and hide behind pictures on the walls, in bedside table drawers and travel in suitcases.
  7. Bug bombs will kill bed bugs–Not only are bug bombs ineffective against bed bugs, they can be dangerous if not used strictly according to instructions. Often people who discover they have bed bugs get very upset and overreact when trying DIY solutions, neglecting health and safety in a desire to deal with the infestation as quickly as possible.

What is the quickest and most effective treatment for bed bugs? Heat! Thermapure Heat kills bed bugs–and their eggs–in one treatment without dangerous chemical pesticides. Contact us for more information!


Bed Bug Tips for Renters

When you move into a new apartment or rental house, you start all over–new paint, new appliances, maybe even new carpets.  Everything looks beautiful and pristine, almost like no one has ever lived there before.

But it is possible that someone is still living there and you just don’t know it.

Bed bugs are difficult to eradicate on your own or with pesticides, and easy to overlook when you’re excited about finding the perfect new place.  Here are some bed bug tips for renters to help you avoid having a bed bug problem in your new residence:

Ask the Landlord about Bed Bugs

Bring someone with you when you meet with your landlord so that there is a witness to the fact that you asked and what his or her answer was in case of a problem later. And don’t be shy. It’s a question every potential tenant should be asking: have there ever been bed bugs in this building?

Get a Bed Bug Inspection

This might sound like an extra expense when you are spending a lot on moving, but it could save you a lot of trouble later on.  If you don’t want to tell your landlord you are having the place inspected, bring your inspector along as a friend when you are doing a final look around before you sign the lease.

If you don’t want to bring in an inspector, be sure to do a thorough inspection yourself before you sign on the dotted line. Check baseboards, inside drawers, behind anything hanging on the walls.

Don’t Keep the News to Yourself

In multifamily housing, if one apartment has bed bugs, they all could have them–now or in the future. Bed bugs are not your fault, so don’t be embarrassed. Do make sure that the landlord and the other tenants have been informed in writing. Having bed bugs doesn’t mean you’re dirty or a bad housekeeper.  It’s just something that happens.  A lot.  But your landlord is responsible for treating the infestation.  Nip them in the bud! Communication is essential.

Tell the Health or Housing Department

And file a claim. Authorities need to know, too!

Take Pictures of the Bed Bugs and Your Bites

As much as you want to forget all about it, you need to have a record of your infestation and its effects. Also make sure your doctor puts the incident in your medical records.

We sincerely hope that you never encounter a bed bug, at home or anywhere else!

And best wishes in your new home!

Heat vs. DIY: Bed Bug Remedies

No one wants bed bugs and once a infestation is discovered, it’s hard not to panic and do the first thing you think of. But you may be doing more harm than good. Let’s talk about the options.

DIY Bed Bug Remedies

  1. Sprays–Late-night infomercials advertise them all the time. Order this amazing spray and you will kill every bed bug and keep them away forever! The small print says they kill bed bugs “on contact” and they do, but what they don’t tell you is most of the bed bugs in your infestation won’t have direct contact with the spray because they are hiding in cracks and crevices, in upholstery, behind pictures and in seams of mattresses. And their eggs are hidden even better. If that spray doesn’t touch the bug, it won’t kill the bug.
  2. Bombs–A fog of killer chemicals while you go out sounds like it will reach everywhere. Unfortunately Ohio University researchers have found that the pesticides in foggers don’t even kill bed bugs out in the open, let alone the ones hiding in cracks or upholstery. They also leave nasty chemical residue all over the surfaces in your home. Bug bombs can also scatter insects rather than kill them. They cause bed bugs to find new locations, spreading an infestation. Frequent use can also lead to pesticide resistance. The bugs that survive a fogger will lay resistant eggs. 
  3. Essential Oils–We come across articles quite often about using essential oils to kill bed bugs. A recent study took a look at the efficacy of essential oils and found that few killed even 50% of bed bugs after direct exposure for days and none of them had any repellent effect.

Best Bed Bug Remedy

Heat is the best remedy for bed bugs, without question. Why?

  • Heat works in a few hours, not a few days.
  • Heat reaches everywhere bugs and their eggs can hide, even inside walls.
  • Heat leaves no chemical residue.
  • Heat does not require you to move out of your home while it dissipates.
  • Heat does not destroy food, textiles, or personal property.
  • Heat kills bugs at every stage of development, even eggs.

You cannot do an effective heat treatment for bed bugs yourself, but you can call Alliance for quick, professional bed bug eradication. Don’t panic and make the wrong choice. You’ll just end up with more bugs–and bites!–later.