Sharing certain characteristics with vampires, this member of the cimicidae family of insects is always an uninvited guest that moves into your home unannounced – takes up residence in your bed (your sanctuary) - and multiplies like crazy…
Jeopardy wait (thinking…) BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
What is a Bed Bug Alex? CORRECT …
the right answer will give you no points, no dollars and whole lot of hassle. Let’s talk about sshhhhhhhhhh bed bugs. The conversation will be most effective if it includes Borough leaders, School leaders, County, State leaders each and every landlord / tenant / homeowner / business.
Remember, “it takes a village to raise a child” ? Well….it takes a village AND an army of good exterminators to keep our families safe from bed bugs but but but it’s so embarrassing – like airing your private moments in public. Yeah, I know. Renters are contacting me daily, they are MORTIFIED by their circumstances and THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT THESE BLOOD SUCKING LITTLE FREAKS OF NATURE.
There’s an automatic fear factor these insects inspire in everyone whose had or just heard about these micro-monsters. Stay tuned and let’s examine the facts. Starting with their history – hint: (they’ve been around FOREVER, as in 400 B.C./Ancient Greece. Hey – they might have helped shaped Aristole’s views on physical science)!!
I’m not going to go into their history here. If you have them, you likely don’t give a damn about their world travels or their forefathers. So I’ll leave you on your own to read the brief history below – or NOT:
Bed bugs are the shameless hitchhikers of the world. They travel in purses, computers, computer cases, suitcases – any place that has a crevice or a comfy nook, including clothing. If you live in an apartment house or attached housing – they will find you if your neighbors have them too. So don’t dwell too much about how you got them, you’ll never settle on the answer that satisfies.
Often, the first sign that you have them is a puzzler:
Over a bowl of Cheerios at the kitchen table one morning you, or a member of your family, is mindlessly scratching at welts or bumps that seem to appear overnight. Never mind…it’s probably mosquito bites, you think to yourself. But it goes on day after day new spots in new places….THAT’S A BIG CLUE.
Stay calm and don’t panic. Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease but they CAN take a toll on your sense of well-being. Go easy on yourself, these little buggers don’t discriminate – they like the blood of the rich and the poor alike. Good housekeepers or not-so-good, young and old are all perfect hosts to the bed bug. Everyone reacts differently to them.
Next: How to Find Bed Bugs in Apartments this is where the fun begins. From here, finding and treating an infestation requires team work and attention to minute detail.
DO NOT SKIP THIS ARTICLE.
What to do now? If you are a homeowner, contact a reputable exterminator. If you are a tenant, contact your landlord and request a reputable exterminator. By reputable, we mean someone who isn’t going to be enticed to accept a $100 bill from the landlord to SAY that they have done the treatment.
Treatment isn’t cheap and it’s not always 100% effective but if done incorrectly it’s NEVER effective.
So, who should pay for it?
Note: a local exterminator shared a story about Wells Fargo who took back a property in default. Riddled with bed bugs, they paid to exterminate the next door neighbors attached home too. THAT’S THE SPIRIT!!!
“My landlord said I am responsible for them, but I say the bugs were already here when we moved in.” There is no way to tell who’s right – compromise is the key – after all – bed bugs will be just as happy to move into a McMansion as they are in your rental. It’s in everyone’s best interest to work together, including the landlords/tenants/homeowners of attached dwellings.
and that is where our local, county and state officials come into the scene…
“The bedbug population has increased by 500% in the past several years,” said Senator Farnese. “Philadelphia ranks second only to New York in terms of the severity of the problem. We must do what we can to protect people against exposure to these pests.” I’m not convinced that a new law is the answer, who will enforce it? But I do believe our leaders can take a stand on educating the public. In Pottstown, there is a big information gap for sure.
Treatment is done with insecticides and always requires more than one visit. If your landlord or exterminator tells you otherwise, let them know that YOU know it’s not so and point them to this blog. I’ve talked with local professionals and I will give references.
Now for the BIG bombshell: Maybe you’ve told yourself that you are not Martha Stewart, (by way of saying you’re a lousy housekeeper). Maybe you teeter on the edge of becoming a star on one of the “Hoarders” programs. If you EVER EVER hope to be free of bed bugs you will have to look these issues SQUARE in the eye. If you don’t keep your home clean and you have lots of clutter…
YOUR ENVIRONMENT WILL NOT RESPOND TO TREATMENT. And, that’s bug-a-boo Numero Uno for exterminators.
If you are not willing to clean house don’t waste your money or your landlords money because NOTHING will change. Get used to the discomfort and the welts – the bed bugs are there to stay. I’ve seen enough to know that there is huge room for improvement from a lot of renters in Pottstown.
You have a responsibility to follow all the advice you are given by the pest control company and your landlord.
On the bright side, sometimes the things we dread most are the things that actually bring us to the brink of self-actualization.
Make no mistake, bed bugs are a community challenge and one that requires everyone to get to know their neighbors and to work together.
Every pest control company I spoke with agrees that Pottstown has an infestation of bed bugs.
Here are some tips from the pros:
-if you have to put infested mattresses and furnishings out for trash pickup PUT A SIGN ON THEM so others won’t pick them up and take them home. ***The borough should formulate a plan for disposal.
-do be cautious about bringing used furnishings, clothing, toys or pillows into your home. If you buy used clothing bring it into the house in a sealed plastic bag. Immediately put the clothing/pillows/stuffed animals, etc…into the dryer, on high for 20 minutes. The heat will kill bed bugs and their eggs.
-don’t ask your guests to strip naked at the door before they enter your home. This gesture will not be well received. But, if you are a friend, don’t avoid the people you know who are dealing with bed bugs…be a real friend, lend a hand while taking precautions to safeguard your own home. Tell them about this blog.
IF YOU HAVE A COCKROACH OR RODENT PROBLEM and your landlord refuses to take care of it, CALL Montgomery County Health Department. They will inspect and issue a citation to the property owner if they find evidence of an infestation. They do not handle bed bug complains however. (Pottstown) 610-970-5040
For referrals to reputable exterminators email me: firstname.lastname@example.org