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Bed Bug Basics: 10 Tips to Protect Yourself

Anti-bed bug weapons on display in Rosemont

ABC Local: Anti-bed bug weapons on display in Rosemont

Monday, September 26, 2011

Leah Hope

September 26, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — Bed bugs have become an increasing problem at hotels across the country. This week, dozens of experts invaded Chicago to gather for a summit about how to deal with those pesky bugs. They have some innovative ways to get rid of them.

They are adaptable and not all pesticides work on them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions residents to get professional help for bed bugs. The agency found over 100 people got sick and one woman died after using bed bugs pesticides.

Experts in town this week are swapping information about the latest techniques to keep bed bugs at bay.
The little guys are the stuff of nightmares. Bed bugs can range from the size of a sesame seed to the size of an apple seed. Their food source is you — so what better place to get to you than those overnight hours when we’re sleeping? It’s a veritable buffet for the bugs. As disturbing as that notion may be, they are not life threatening.

“There is awareness of this pest, but people are freaked out and the wrong messages are sticking,” said bed bug central/entomologist Allison Taisey.

Pest control specialists will swarm Rosemont for the next two days for the Bed Bug University North American Summit.

To start, there are special detections devices. There is a kind of coaster for your bed leg: the bugs can crawl in but can’t crawl out. There is an active monitor, which emits heat and CO2 like a person, irresistible to bed bugs.

Mattress and bed spring covers will allow you to see the bugs, as there are no nooks and crannies to hide.

To control the insects:

Heat has proven effective if the item or area is heated to 120 degrees for an hour.
There are portable heaters for rooms.
And there is a device to kill any bed bugs you make have picked up on your journey.

Experts say the key to detecting and controlling the bugs is getting professional help.

“They’re really hard to find for one thing, and the products we have available to us&it takes a trained professional to use them,” said Taisey.

The Safer Pest Control Project has been monitoring pest activity in the Chicago area for 17 years. The project reports bed bugs are particularly a problem in multiple-dwelling structures — public and private.

The project’s executive director says, while the beds bug may not lead to the health problems of other pests, controlling these particular bugs can be more expensive.

“bed bugs, they don’t discern between any economics, cleanliness. It’s like, you are the food, so you are like the most delicious thing they’ve ever met. They need you to survive,” said Safer Pest Control’s Rachel Lerner Rosenberg.

The bugs can be hard to see. The marks can be hard to see. And some people don’t react to bed bugs — so some people may not know they have been bitten.

Some good things to know: they don’t fly, they don’t jump and they are not known to carry disease.

Bed bug information:

Bed Bug Central

City of Chicago

Safer Pest Control Project

(Copyright ©2011 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Bed Bugs Take Over Senior Housing Complex

Fox Chicago:Bed Bugs Take Over Senior Housing Complex

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

By Tisha Lewis, FOX Chicago News

East Chicago, Ind. – Bed bugs have taken over a public housing complex for senior citizens in East Chicago.

Residents of the John Nicosia Housing Complex packed a meeting on Wednesday night, complaining that the bed bug problem popped up eight months ago. Now, 98 percent of the apartments inspected by the East Chicago Health Department ware infested with bed bugs, and the health department has not yet hired an exterminator.

Residents say the bed bug problem started in one unit and quickly spread.

“It was allowed to perpetuate. About eight months ago, I spoke with a manager about the first case I heard about to my knowledge and I asked her to get it under control. Nothing happened,” said resident Sherlene Lowe.

Now the bed bug problem is out of control, with residents taking cell phone videos of bed bugs and showing off red welts on their arms.

Residents said the infestation happened because some were scared to report the issue for fear of being billed hundreds of dollars for extermination services.

I don’t know that any will be displaced yet, we have not procured an exterminator yet. As I said, we have to review each contract to see what is most healthy for residents and what’s going to be most effective,” said Diana Garcia-Burns, director of the East Chicago Health Department.

Garcia-Burns said she’d meet again with the housing authority on Thursday. The extermination companies need at least week to mobilize their team before they can begin service.

Residents were told they should not have to pay for the extermination service.

Stores Selling Bedbug-Infested Mattresses, Says City

NBC Chicago: Stores Selling Bedbug-Infested Mattresses, Says City

Thursday, June 07, 2011

At least five stores in the Chicago area sold new or refurbished mattresses containing bedbugs, city officials said Thursday.

The stores include Mike’s Furniture, Best Mattress Company, TC Furniture, and Guadalajara Furniture.  One of the stores, Best Mattress Company, has been shut down.

City officials launched the investigation after receiving a litany of complaints from itchy and sleep-deprived customers.

“This is an issue of taking advantage of consumers,” said Commissioner Norma Reyes with the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. “Particularly the most-vulnerable consumers in the City of Chicago — seniors and people with limited income.”

In the process of investigating the mattress stores, investigators found hundreds of mattresses being refurbished in unsanitary conditions.  Many of the mattresses were also improperly labeled or not labeled at all, which is a violation of Illinois law.

“In Illinois, a mattress cannot be sold unless it is labeled new, and if it was refurbished, it must say it’s been refurbished,” said Reyes.

One of the affected customers, Yvette Davis, said she began itching two weeks after buying a mattress and box spring from Mike’s Furniture last June. Dozens of bug bites cover her body, she says.

“I knew something was wrong because I was getting bitten too many times and it wasn’t no mosquitoes,” said Davis.

After calling the store to complain, they agreed to send over a replacement set.  Shortly after it arrived, she said, there were more bugs and more bites.

“I’ve been sleeping on the air mattress ever since,” Davis said.

All but one of the mattress stores refused to comment.

But at least Chicago’s not the worst off in the Midwest. On Thursday, the state of Ohio asked for emergency protection to fight their own infestation.

Sleep well, Illinois.


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