In October, a Glendale woman made headlines – and was featured on the Channel 15 news – when she posted photos and video of bed bugs she found on her seat in a local movie theater. The theater closed temporarily to deal with the bed bug infestation, but the reality is, finding bed bugs in public areas is incredibly common. Even though we often see bed bugs in the news, people still seem surprised when it happens.
Maybe their surprise is due to the fact that we call them “bed bugs”. In reality, you find these nasty critters anyplace they enjoy easy access to warm bodies. A lot of people assume that means hotels, and, while you can pick up bed bugs at a hotel, you’re more likely to find them in your doctor’s office, church, or library. And, yes, your favorite movie theater.
How Does this Happen?
Unfortunately, transferring bed bugs is as simple as walking around. When someone has a bed bug infestation in their home, they often carry those bugs on their person. Once that happens, the bug is mobile, going anywhere the host goes.
Even though it may seem like a bed bug infestation spontaneously occurs overnight, it’s often the result of you serving as the unwitting transportation for bugs that someone else brought into a building. If you don’t notice the bug (an easy thing to do, even if you’re bitten), you might bring it home with you.
How to Identify a Bed Bug
Bed bugs are wingless, with oval-shaped, flat bodies. Adults have pads that resemble wings, but they are not functional. They are brown in color (though they appear more reddish after feeding) and around 5 mm long. Newly-hatched bed bugs are called nymphs and are much smaller, about the same size as the head of a pin. They appear white or light tan until they feed, when they take on the reddish hue of the adults.
All bed bugs move slowly and, once grown, are easy to see with the naked eye. Look in the crevices of seats and beds, where they like to hide when not feeding. You also find them in the “hardware” of furniture, i.e. bed frames, box springs, and headboards.
Signs to look for include:
- Blood stains (yours) on sheets and pajamas
- Fecal stains (resembling small brown spots) on mattress and bedding
- Shedding: skins, exoskeletons, or shells
The mark of a bed bug bite closely resembles that of a mosquito or flea, so it may be difficult to identify. Common bed bug bite symptoms include:
- A localized rash
- Burning or itching
- Multiple bites in a straight line
- Raised, red welts
Protecting Your Home
Since it’s so easy to carry them to public spaces, preventing bed bugs is nearly impossible. Even if you carefully inspect every seat before you sit on it, you never know when a guest in your home brought along a few uninvited pests.
To make matters more difficult, there is no effective repellent such as you find with other pests. The only real way to prevent bed bugs is through diligence and monitoring.
- After staying in a hotel, transfer the clothes from your suitcase immediately to the dryer, as high heat is one of the most effective bed bug killers.
- If you use public laundry facilities, transfer items in a plastic bag and inspect washers and dryers before using them.
- Inspect used furniture before you buy it.
- Take a close look at seats in movie theaters and other public areas (as well as nearby seats, if possible).
- Vacuum frequently and remove clutter from your home, which gives them fewer places to hide.
- You can also make a few home improvements to guard against bed bugs, such as sealing cracks and crevices around light sockets, electrical outlets, and baseboards.
Getting Rid of a Bed Bug Infestation
While there are products on the market for the DIY enthusiast, this is a problem that really requires professional intervention. However, if you do insist on doing it yourself, you must plan carefully, perform ample product research, and exercise extreme caution, particularly if you use a fogger. Exterminating bed bugs requires fairly extreme tactics, making it incredibly easy to damage your home, your belongings, and the people and pets living there if you don’t know what you’re doing. And, with all that, you may still not solve your bed bug problem.
If you think you have bed bugs, call Arizona Pest Solutions. We’ll conduct a thorough inspection of your home and, if we find evidence of a bed bug infestation, discuss treatment options. Our methods are both safe and effective.
Top 50 Worst Bed Bug Cities
Pest Control Technology, an industry source for news and technology, ranks Phoenix #26 in the US for bed bug problems. The #1 spot goes to Baltimore followed by Washington DC and Chicago. View the top 50 cities for the worst bed bug infestation.
|1. Baltimore (+9)|
|2. Washington, D.C. (+1)|
|3. Chicago (-2)|
|4. New York|
|5. Columbus, Ohio|
|6. Los Angeles (-4)|
|9. Philadelphia (-3)|
|10. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (+4)|
|11. Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (-2)|
|12. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (-1)|
|13. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio (-1)|
|14. Indianapolis (+1)|
|15. Dallas-Ft. Worth (-2)|
|16. Atlanta (+3)|
|18. Buffalo, N.Y. (+2)|
|19. Charlotte, N.C. (-3)|
|20. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va. (+10)|
|21. Knoxville, Tenn. (+3)|
|22. Denver (-4)|
|23. Nashville, Tenn. (-1)|
|24. Pittsburgh (+5)|
|25. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C. (-4)|
|26. Phoenix (-3)|
|27. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich. (+5)|
|28. Boston (-3)|
|29. Milwaukee (-3)|
|30. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (+12)|
|31. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (+3)|
|32. Dayton, Ohio (-4)|
|33. Omaha, Neb. (+3)|
|34. Seattle-Tacoma (-6)|
|35. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (-4)|
|36. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (-1)|
|37. St. Louis (+3)|
|38. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa (+3)|
|39. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (+11)|
|40. Syracuse, N.Y. (+6)|
|41. Louisville, Ky. (-2)|
|42. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, N.C.|
|43. Lexington, Ky. (-10)|
|44. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla. (-6)|
|45. Kansas City, Mo. (-1)|
|46. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (-3)|
|47. Salt Lake City, Utah|
|48. Honolulu, Hawaii|
|49. Las Vegas|
|50. Portland, Ore|
Source: Pest Control Technology