Bed bug populations in the U.S. have increased 500% in the past few years and are now found in all 50 states. In New York City and the surrounding New York and New Jersey counties, bed bugs have reached epidemic proportions.
A persistent human companion throughout history, bed bugs were common in the U.S. before World War II but were effectively eliminated by the widespread use of DDT in the 1950s. The banning of DDT in the 1970s, coupled with increased international air travel from countries where bed bugs were still prolific, allowed these blood-sucking pests to reinfest the U.S. Between 2004 and 2009, the number of bed bug infestations reported in New York City increased from 500 to 10,000. Bed bug infestations are now regularly reported in New York and New Jersey single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, hotels, schools, hospitals, retail stores, office buildings, trains, moving vans, movie theaters, even buses and taxis.
What Bed Bugs Look Like And Where They Hide
The size of an apple seed, bed bugs are not attracted by food or filth but by the human bodies on which they feed. These insects are as likely to be found in upscale Manhattan condominiums as public housing projects. Bed bugs are spread by contact with an infested person or his belongings. Adept hitchhikers, bed bugs can be brought into buildings on clothing, backpacks, moving boxes, suitcases, second-hand furniture, used mattresses, etc. Reddish-brown with flat, oval bodies, these wingless insects grow from egg to adult in just 4 to 6 weeks, quickly multiplying and spreading through multi-unit buildings like apartments, hotels and college dorms via vents, electrical and plumbing conduits, housekeeping carts and laundry facilities. Considered a nuisance pest, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, although many victims endure severe psychosomatic stress and rare cases of serious allergic reaction have occurred.
Bed bugs do not live on humans but hide in tiny cracks and crevices in or near their victims’ beds, crawling out at night to feed on the blood of sleeping humans. Bed bugs must ingest a blood meal before molting or reproducing. Waking up with itchy, red, mosquito-like bites is usually the first indication of a bed bug infestation, although only 50% of victims react to bites. Bites are usually grouped in tight clusters or rows and may not appear for 3 to 14 days after exposure. Other signs of bed bug infestation include discovery of live bugs, cast molts, dark fecal spotting on sheets and mattresses (particularly along seams and welts), and an unpleasant sweet odor.
Bed Bug Extermination
Eliminating bed bug infestations is a job for pest control professionals. Bed bugs are impervious to home and garden pesticides. Attempts to kill bed bugs by improperly using such products indoors spreads infestations and places families or employees at risk.
Successful bed bug elimination requires a multi-pronged approach. When you contact Titan Environmental, a licensed pest control technician will arrive to evaluate the extent of your bed bug infestation and immediately treat floor and ceiling perimeters to prevent spreading. Customers receive a detailed preparation checklist and a service date is scheduled. Proper preparation before extermination is critical to successfully eliminating bed bugs. Infected rooms, including closets, must be free of clutter to enable pest control technicians to thoroughly treat every nook and cranny where bed bugs hide.
Titan Environmental has developed a highly effective procedure to eliminate bed bugs that includes vacuuming, steaming and application of a proprietary mix of contact and residual pesticides. In concert with premises treatment, we offer offsite fumigation to kill bed bugs that may be hiding in furniture, mattresses, electronics and other possessions. Luggage fumigation after traveling is also available to residential bed bug customers, providing peace of mind that their home will remain bed bug-free.