U of M seminar teaches public how to recognize and rid bed bugsUniversity of Minnesota officials offered advice and ideas on stopping the spread of bed bugs in the Duluth area during a recent seminar.
By: Naomi Yaeger, Duluth Budgeteer News
University of Minnesota officials offered advice and ideas on stopping the spread of bed bugs in the Duluth area during a recent seminar.
Officials said the first step in stopping bedbugs was recognizing what they look like. The officials have had calls from people who were worried they had bed bugs, only to learn that they were worried about grasshoppers.
The informational seminar took place on April 3, at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s regional office on Lake Avenue South. Those who attended included landlords, hotel managers, home visitors and nurses.
Bed bugs recently returned to the United States after a nearly 30-year absence. “Increased travel, changing insecticide use and a lack of public awareness brought back the bed bug,” said Stephen Kells, University of Minnesota associate professor of entomology and a nationally known expert on bed bugs. “The bugs feed on the blood of people and certain animals, and they live close to areas where people typically sleep, rest or sit for long periods. They’re most active at night, and some people break out in a rash from the bites, while others see few symptoms beyond a red spot.”
Bed bugs are oval, flattened, brown and wingless, about the size of a wood tick,” Kells said. “The thing that makes them so challenging to detect and control is their ability to squeeze into cracks and crevices, where they go largely unnoticed.” By crawling into travelers’ suitcases and clothes, the bugs can easily and quickly spread to other locations from an infested hotel room or residence.
The seminar was offered by “Let’s Beat the Bed Bug,” a new university phone and email hotline service for people who may deal with bed bugs.
For more information visit www.bedbugs.umn.edu.
Bed Bug Basics
A bed bug is a small insect, about the size of an apple seed. Adult bed bugs are flat, oval and reddish-brown in color.
Bed bugs feed on human blood and can live for up to a year without a meal. They are usually active at night when people are sleeping.
Some people do not react when bitten by bed bugs. Those who do will get small bumps or large itchy welts, depending on the severity of their reaction. Marks from these bites may appear hours or days after the bite. Bites usually occur on skin that is exposed during sleep, and sometimes occur in lines on the skin.
If you think you have bed bugs, check for the bugs, blood stains, droppings, eggs and shed skins where you sit and sleep, in mattresses, box springs, bed frames and bedding, In cracks and crevices in bedroom furniture, floor boards, base boards, windows, door frames and electrical outlets
Remember, bed bugs are very small, flat and fast.
For more information, contact the bed bug hotline at 612-624-2200, 1-855-644-2200, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.bedbugs.umn.edu.
Bed bug prevention tips when traveling
• Pull back hotel bed sheets and inspect the mattress seams, box spring, around and behind the headboard, sofas and chairs, for telltale brownish or reddish spots, shed skins or bugs.
• Avoid putting luggage on the bed or upholstered furniture.
• If changing rooms, be sure the new room is not adjacent to the infested room.
• Use a large plastic bag to store luggage.
• Upon returning home, inspect and vacuum suitcases thoroughly before bringing them into the house.
• Wash clothes – whether worn or not – in hot water, or have them dry cleaned.
• Inspect your college student’s belongings before bringing into your house. Wash clothes immediately in hot water.