Bed bugs are growing but controllable
"I'll guarantee you in the next hour and a half I'll leave you itching and scratching," said Todd Leyse, president of the Twin Cities-based Adam's Pest Control, at a seminar on bed bugs Feb. 23 at Denfeld High School. Leyse, who played basketball...
"I'll guarantee you in the next hour and a half I'll leave you itching and scratching," said Todd Leyse, president of the Twin Cities-based Adam's Pest Control, at a seminar on bed bugs Feb. 23 at Denfeld High School.
Leyse, who played basketball for the University of Minnesota Duluth in the early 1980s, brought up a national news story from earlier that day. Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who mostly sat out an Oklahoma game, said he wasn't feeling well after finding bed bugs in his hotel room.
Leyse doubted the bed bugs actually made Irving ill. "Mosquitos, they spread disease, but bed bugs just don't seem to have the mouth parts to put the diseases from inside their bodies back into our arms. They seem to have like a one-way mouth process, sucks up like a straw but doesn't go back in," he said.
"Still, the presence of bed bugs does freak people out. Why does it freak people out? What did we grow up learning? 'Sleep tight ... '"
"Don't let the bed bugs bite," the audience answered.
According to the Arrowhead Multi-Housing Association, which sponsored the event, one Duluth-area pest control company had 3-5 bed bug calls in 2000, 1,700 in 2014 and 2,000 last year.
Bed bugs are small but visible, typically a brownish red, flat, up to 1/4 inch in size. They feed on sleeping people for around 10 minutes, then go hide wherever they can: behind bed boards, in bed frames, in the folds of mattresses and sheets, the seams of couches, in wall joints, tha backs of computers and electronics and in piles of clothes and belongings.
"Bed bugs love clutter," Leyse said.
Often people don't know they have bed bugs because they don't get a rash. Leyse said 42 percent of people over 65 years of age do not react to bed bug bites, as well as 28 percent of people between the ages of 11 and 65.
Adam's Pest Control uses trained dogs to detect bed bugs. The company treats buildings by bringing in heaters and raising the air temperature to 125 degrees for three hours.
Bed bugs hitchhike from place to place on people's clothes, luggage, bedding and furniture. Typically they do not feed on cats or dogs, but will if people are less accessible, he said.
To prevent bed bugs
• Do not bring home furniture, mattresses, box springs or bed frames found on the street.
• Only get used or rented furniture from a place with a bed bug prevention policy.
• Do not place backpacks, purses or bags on beds, couches or other areas where you rest or sleep.
What not to do if you have bed bugs
• Do not panic. You can control bed bugs with careful inspection and by using proper control methods.
• Do not try to kill bed bugs by using agricultural or garden pesticides. Using outdoor pesticides can make you or your family very sick.
• Do not apply pesticides directly to your body. This could make you very sick.
• Do not use rubbing alcohol, kerosene or gasoline. These chemicals may cause fires.
• Do not throw away your furniture. Beds and other furniture can be treated.
• Do not move things from room to room. This may spread the bugs.
If you do have bed bugs
Call the Minnesota Bed Bug Hotline at (855) 644-2200 or visit bedbugs.umn.edu .