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Pro Perspective: Keeping those pesky bed bugs away

Randy Adcock
Thursday, May 2, 2013

As the saying goes, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

With the tourism season upon us, travelers need to be aware of the risks of unintentionally bringing those bugs back along with souvenirs from the travels to far away places.

In the middle part of the 20th century, we nearly eradicated bed bugs in the United States. But over the past two decades the pest has been on the rise again. Experts have given a variety of reasons for the reemergence. Pesticides have become more insect specific. A product that just kills ants replaced a product that once killed ants, bed bugs and other insects, for example.

Also, more people travel overseas and more foreign tourists visit here, bringing them in that way. The bugs hop a ride on luggage and then infest wherever the luggage resides.

It’s not a bug that arrives under dirty conditions. In fact, bed bugs were a problem for the wealthy during medieval times because they had the warmer homes. Today, some of the finest hotels in the United States have had to deal with infestations and maintain a treatment regimen to keep the pests away.

The bugs are tiny with a reddish, brown color. Their bites can take time to show up on a person. When they do, it looks like three bites in a row – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

They can hide themselves quite well in bedding as well as crevices of any kind around a house.

Controlling bed bugs isn’t easy and takes time. A homeowner can’t get rid of the bugs on their own because of their ability to hide. It takes someone with technical knowledge and extensive training to destroy any bed bug infestation.

There are different ways of treating for bed bugs. It usually involves a combination of an extreme temperature and a pesticide. In our industry, it’s referred to as “integrated pest management.”

Bed bugs die when exposed to heat or very cold temperatures. We use heat and steam at Midstate Termite & Pest Control to deal with bed bugs. In our view, steam is the best method of getting into cracks and crevices.

The pesticide creates a residual to kill bugs missed by the steam or reintroduced into a room. This treatment needs to be done once a month and maintained over six months.

Homeowners are part of the treatment plan. Washing the bedding kills bugs hidden in the seams and eggs that may be there. High dryer heat does the trick as well. Then, when you travel, ask hotels or management of whatever lodging you’ve chosen about their treatment plan for bed bugs.

If they say they don’t need one, it’s probably a good idea to shift to an alternative because it’s not a matter of if but when bed bugs appear.

You don’t want to risk bringing home some uninvited guests from your trip.

Randy Adcock is the owner of Midstate Termite & Pest Control, a full-service pest control company serving the Upper Cumberland. Adcock can be reached by calling toll free 877-526-4222 or visiting

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