Summer has arrived! For many Canadian parents and children, this means traveling time; a fun time. Statistics Canada reports domestic and international travel peaks between July and September, accounting for about 30% of the total years travel. Despite soaring fuel price, the pattern seems to be no different this year. Flight Centre Canada has not seen a reduction of seasoned travelers, as advance booking for packaged holidays this year continues to rise, said Allison Eaton, Communication Manager for Flight Centre North America. Unfortunately, this exciting and fun time could be spoiled by the presence of those small blood-sucking creatures called Bed bugs. And what’s worse is if they manage to make a new home in your residence at the end of your holidays.
This article describes simple steps you could take to protect your children during vacation and prevent bed bugs from getting a free ride to your home. These steps are also applicable to those whose working conditions are conducive to bed bug infestation, such as Health Inspectors, Nurses, and Caregivers at Hospitals, Nursing homes, childcare facilities, Homeless shelters, as well as those who travels for works, such as traveling sales, construction workers, etc.
Bed bugs were considered eradicated from North America and Western Europe after World War II. Until about 10 years ago, bed bug infestation was restricted to unsanitary and crowded living conditions such as homeless shelters and jails. Now, they are widespread and a growing problem throughout North America. In Canada, the BC Provincial Ministry of Health reports a 600% increase of bed bug incidence in Southwestern BC from 2003 to 2005. In February 2008, the Toronto Public Health Department declared war on bed bugs, due to the increasing number of infestations and the potential impact on tourism. Similarly, anticipating its impact on tourism, on June 2008, PEI also declared war on bed bugs.
The cause of this resurgence is still controversial, but mostly blamed on increased international travel, banning insecticides, careless housekeeping and lack of knowledge about bed bugs.
Bed bugs are small, brownish, flat insects, about 2 mm in diameter before feeding and increasing to ~ 4 –7 mm when engorged with blood after feeding. They feed on blood, primarily human blood, but have also been reported feeding on the blood of bats, chickens and rabbits. During feeding, bed bugs release anti coagulant-contained-saliva into their hosts blood stream, to prevent blood coagulation. Human reaction to this saliva – a biologically and enzymatically active protein – that causes various degrees of itching and welts. Fortunately, despite being ectoparasites that feed on blood, there is no evidence that bed bugs spread disease. Theoretically, however, they could act as a disease vector.
Studies have identified about 28 different human pathogens naturally present in bed bugs, including plague and hepatitis B. However, there is no evidence that indicates bed bugs transmit any of these pathogens during feeding. For example, active hepatitis B viral DNA can be detected in bed bugs up to 6 weeks after they were fed with Hepatitis B infected blood. When these infected bed bugs were allowed to feed on experimental animals, hepatitis B viral DNA has never been found in the blood of these test animals. Similarly, live HIV can be detected in bed bug blood up to one hour after they were fed with HIV infested blood, but have never been shown to transmit the virus to the test animals through their feeding mechanism. It is noteworthy, however, that shedding of DNA fragments have been found in bed bugs feces, and the retention of the hepatitis B virus has been detected through the bed bugs normal molt. This finding supports the possibility of mechanical transmission of this virus to humans. For instance, when a sensitive human with a scrape or tear-off skin is exposed to the bed bugs contaminated feces. Luckily, this possibility would most likely occur only in an extremely severe infestation where bed bugs and their feces are everywhere. A severe infestation can be easily avoided by preventing bed bug from dispersing to a new location, including to your home.
Bed bugs rely on humans or animals for their dispersal. Like lice, bed bugs do not fly or crawl for a long distance. Interestingly, unlike lice, bed bugs do not have the ability to live on their hosts without being detected – hiding in hair. This makes bed bugs the only parasite that lives a distance from their hosts. And, this also explains their preference for living in close contact with humans, while maintaining their relative invisibility. Some of their notorious hiding spots are areas under the bed, mattress, furniture, clothing, even cellular phones, and more. It also explains why increasing human travel may contribute to their opportunities of finding new hosts, i.e. by hitchhiking via luggage, clothing, seats in transportation facilities, etc. In addition, many people take advantage of summer time to get rid of their unwanted furniture, mattresses, clothes, etc. Again, bed bugs can be easily spread through these objects. The following steps could prevent bed bugs from getting a free ride during your vacation or through the objects you may bring into your home:
If possible, keep personal clothing in your travel bag, zipped at all time and placed on provided stands away from the bed during your stays.
Avoid using store bought or counter insecticides such as Raid® during your inspection. Immediately stop your inspection once you see bed bugs or signs of bed bugs. Further inspection would only cause them to disperse and hide, making them much more difficult to find. Similarly, when using Raid® or similar aerosol type of insecticides, bed bugs are capable of detecting them and trigger them to escape to a safer zone, which usually means deeper in the mattress or inside the wall or furniture. In addition, the overuse of this insecticide (Pyrethrin) has led to an increase in bed bug resistance. Call a Pest Management Professional to handle your bed bug problem. As in many cases with biological issues, it is normally much cheaper, easier and wiser when it’s dealt with at an early stage.
Have a safe and bed bug free vacation!
You probably already know that most people are repulsed by the simple sight of cockroaches. If you are personally dealing with a cockroach infestation, the feelings of disgust are probably even more intense. Unfortunately, the cold winter weather tends to be one of the reasons this pest ends up in your home in the first place, according to Any Pest. While you may know that you don't want to share your home with cockroaches this winter, there are a number of interesting facts about this pest that you've probably never heard.
Because of the high amount of traffic and the versatility of the facilities, pests are naturally attracted to long-term care institutions. Many nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and other care facilities include on-site kitchens and cafeterias as well as private rooms and common spaces. All of these places are susceptible to attracting pests because of the presence of food, water and viable habitats.
During the summer months, some people love to go camping with family and friends. Yet this fun trip can be ruined with a few unwanted visitors, most notably different types of bugs. Crawling spiders, hungry mosquitoes and buzzing flies can become annoying quickly. How can you avoid these pests when you're outdoors? Consider these tips to keep bugs out of your campsite.
Carpenter ants can chew through the strongest studs and stringers in a house as they hollow the wooden beams out for nesting. The resulting damage can weaken the home's structural support and require expensive repairs. Professional pest control workers can remove a colony of ants, but the best practice for homeowners is to learn the best ways to keep out an ant colony and prevent the problem before it begins.
As the weather cools, you'll probably see fewer pests than you did during the warmer months, but that doesn't mean they're all gone just yet. Some insects can actually come out in full force during the autumn, while others might seek refuge in your warm home. Here are some key tips to keep in mind as fall gets underway:
As the middle of summer approaches, you need to be vigilant about keeping your garden free of pests. Many insects breed during the summertime, which means they're on the lookout for great places to lay their eggs. For many bugs, that means near a source of food. In fact, some species of insects will lay their eggs inside budding vegetables and fruit so their larvae have something to eat as soon as they hatch. That's why you have to keep harmful bugs out without damaging the bugs that could help you, such as bumble bees.
You might have noticed that, with the exception of the kitchen, you find more pests in your bathroom than in the rest of your home. This is because insects and rodents see the bathroom as a convenient watering hole. Pests love leaky pipes and standing water because these offer them a hydrating oasis in the otherwise dry biome that is your house or apartment. And if your bathroom develops mold, all the better for pests, who may eat fungus or use it to lay their eggs.
The kitchen is largest gathering place for pests in a residential home. The reason is simple: pests can grab a bite to eat and take a sip of water while they're here. And when they find such a bountiful place, they will return home to their nests and report the finding - before you know it, your whole pantry is a buffet for ants! The problem could get even worse if a piece of food falls somewhere and begins to rot. Similarly, fruit and vegetables you bring into your home may be harboring unseen pests waiting to hatch.