When we think about bed bugs, we usually think about creepy crawly things in our beds when we stay in hotels, but that’s not the only place that suffers from them. Bed bugs go anywhere people go, and unsurprisingly, that can also mean prisons and jails.
While we can leave our hotels and homes for them to be treated, people in jails and prisons are often stuck with the situation they’re in. That means if they’re suffering from bed bugs, they have to suffer until they’re released or until those running the jail or prison choose to do something about it.
Just as there are news items about hotels and motels getting complaints (or even sued) by customers who experienced bed bugs, there are also numerous reports of inmates having to endure bed bug-infested conditions. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent news stories.
Bed Bugs in Jails & Prisons
Bed Bugs in Oklahoma
In May 2021, a pregnant woman detained in Oklahoma County Jail spoke to News 4 about the terrible conditions she faced, that left her concerned for the wellbeing of her unborn child. She reported being held in a cell full of black mold, feces, and bed bugs.
In July 2021, a man leaving the Oklahoma County Jail told News 4 he’d left covered in bed bugs, just a day after the OSDH sent jail administrators a letter removing their right to hold juveniles. Michael Stange, the man in question, told News 4 the bed bugs were huge, “about the size of a dime.” He didn’t want to spread the bed bugs around, so he had to walk to a truck stop and shower off to remove them from his body. This was, unfortunately, just one of the terrible conditions he endured and saw at the jail.
Just four months later, Oklahoma County Jail appeared in the news again for bed bug problems and other related issues. In November 2021, a woman also reported being covered in bed bug bites after being released on bond from the jail. Again, the bed bugs were not the worst of the problems – she was even denied water.
Bed Bugs in South Dakota
Fortunately, things are not as bleak at all county jails as they are in Oklahoma. At Minnehaha County Jail in South Dakota, the wardens acted quickly upon being alerted to the presence of bed bugs in August 2021. Two incarcerated men woke up with bed bugs and Warden Mike Mattson acted as soon as he was told upon arriving to work. “We immediately checked the unit and came up with a plan to have everybody shower, get them new clothes, move them to a new unit and treat the blocks that those gentlemen were in.” A pest control company treated the jail blocks and the men involved were checked over by medical staff.
Jails are an environment in which bed bugs thrive – people are constantly coming and going, and those people are often living transient lifestyles, which means there are plenty of opportunities for the bed bugs to transfer there and away. The good news is that bed bugs can be treated quickly and easily by a professional pest control company, and frequent visits by a professional or K9 unit can ensure that any space, be it public, residential, or commercial, is kept free of bed bugs. To find a bed bug professional near you, click here.
No one wants to share their home with a parasite. Pests are bad enough, but parasites actually feed on you and you need to get rid of them – fast! Bed bugs and scabies are, unfortunately, relatively common invaders of our space. Though equally unwelcome, you need to be able to tell them apart if you are going to eliminate them. The symptoms of bites and itchiness may be in common, but that’s where the similarities end.
What are bed bugs?
Adult bed bugs are small apple seed-shaped and colored insects that love to hide in nooks and crannies and come out at night to feed on your blood. Although they feed on you, they don’t live on you, preferring to find dark dry spaces where they can breed in peace. These include the seams of your mattress, bed linen, clothing, and any crevices they can find.
You’ll know if you have an infestation by these signs:
- Small raised reddish bites on your skin that itch (though a few people do not react to being bitten), often in groups of three to five.
- Small specks of blood on your sheets.
- Bed bug excrement which looks like tiny black specks.
- Some people notice a musty smell, usually in the bedroom.
- Presence of the adults – adult bed bugs can be up to 7 mm long so are perfectly visible if you can find them.
It is important to note that while a small minority of people are hypersensitive to the bites of bed bugs these insects do not transmit disease to their human hosts. Adult bed bugs vary in size but are usually 5-7mm in length.
What is scabies?
Scabies mites are also small critters, but are arthropods, related to ticks and spiders, and have eight legs rather than six. This is rather academic as they are microscopic and can’t be seen by the naked eye. The mites live and feed on you and in you. The pregnant females burrow under your skin to lay their eggs and the larvae make their way back to the surface to grow and spread. Scabies is the term used for an infestation of the scabies mite.
How To Tell If You’ve Got Bed Bugs or Scabies
The bites are the easiest way to differentiate these two parasites:
- Though both bites will usually get red, scabies bites are usually accompanied by pale grayish or skin-colored lines – made by the burrows.
- Bed bug bites are usually in small clusters while scabies bites usually appear as patches, rather like a rash.
- A bed bug bite is raised like a mosquito bite while those of scabies are more like raised lines, blisters, or scales. In fact, scabies can be confused with eczema.
- The bites of scabies usually cause more extreme itchiness than bed bug bites, particularly at night.
- Bed bugs can bite you anywhere on your body and while that is also true of scabies the mites tend to favor folds in the skin – like elbows, armpits, between the fingers, and the waist, for example.
Treatment for Bed Bugs vs Scabies
It is important to know which you are dealing with as the treatments are so different. While a bed bug professional will be able to help rid your home of bed bugs with a heat treatment, the same cannot be said of scabies.
If you suspect you’re dealing with scabies, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible. They will prescribe one of a number of proven topical medications that will get rid of the problem quickly. Often, anyone who has been in close contact with the sufferer will also need treatment.
If you aren’t sure but worry it is scabies, ask your doctor to take a look for you. They’ll be able to help you know whether you need medication or to contact a bed bug professional. If you need the latter, click here to find a bed bug specialist near you.
The bed bug population has long been on the rise – with the ease and cheapness of travel domestically and internationally, bed bugs have also been hitching a ride on our coattails whenever they can, whether it’s to travel from one city to the next or fly across the Atlantic.
This rapid spread was certainly concerning, but then COVID-19 hit us, and the world ground to a stop.
It would make sense that travel restrictions would stem or even stop the spread of bed bugs, especially as so many hotels and other communal spaces were either empty or hyper-vigilant when it came to cleanliness. But did we really see a drop?
COVID-19 and Bed Bugs
COVID-19 forced many of us to stay largely at home, travel plans were canceled, and we stopped meeting up with family and friends. But perhaps one silver lining is that numbers of this pest have reportedly fallen. New York City’s bed bug ranking fell, and entomologists believe that until humans start moving freely again, the numbers will stay low.
Bed bug companies also reported their revenue falling, as people and businesses had less cause to contact them. This wasn’t necessarily entirely due to a lack of bed bugs – many bed bug professionals believe that the desire to continue social distancing was stronger than the need to have an effective bed bug treatment, and so many homes (especially in multifamily units) have repeatedly relied on DIY treatments they could find at local stores. These treatments aren’t completely effective and are often bad for you.
Could we be seeing the back of bed bugs?
While it would be nice to think so, the reality is that they are relatively undetectable, and so they can spread easily from one person to the next before they are detected and killed. They can also live for an entire year without blood, and even the most infrequently visited office likely had one or two people pass through its doors within 2020 and 2021.
In the 1940s bed bugs were almost eradicated by pesticides, but they developed a resistance and people began to realize that spraying such potent pesticides in your residence wasn’t such a good idea.
Bed bugs rose again in the early 2000s when it became easy and cheap to travel almost anywhere. It’s likely that this same resurgence will happen again over the coming years, as we hopefully see international travel open up and become as free as it was just a few years ago.
Are we destined to be stuck with bed bugs?
Yes and no – it’s unlikely we’ll ever completely eradicate bed bugs. They are in the same category as fleas and lice, and they are just so transmittable that it is difficult to imagine there will be a time in the near future when they just don’t exist. That’s not to say we can’t keep the numbers low, however.
If businesses in transport and hospitality keep to a strict bed bug treatment and/or detection regime, they’ll be able to keep bed bug numbers down and stop the spread. If the general population becomes more aware of how to detect bed bugs and how easily they can be treated with heat treatments, we may be able to see numbers stop growing and stay under control.
If you’re interested in learning more about bed bugs, DIY bed bug solutions, or how to find a bed bug professional near you, our site provides a wealth of information on all three. Click here to learn more.
There are a lot of myths surrounding bed bugs such as they like dirt, dampness, the smell of sweat, or urine. None of these are true, but it is true that there are some things that do attract bed bugs.
First, let’s make it clear that anyone can get an infestation of these irritating insects. The most upscale apartment block or most expensive hotel is just as susceptible as more modest accommodation to an invasion of bed bugs. But there are certain things that make this parasite want to share your living space.
5 Things Bed Bugs LOVE About Your Home
1) Carbon dioxide
Bed bugs get their nutrients from blood, preferably human blood, and are naturally attracted to the carbon dioxide that is produced by respiration. One of the reasons they like to feed at night may be because your lack of activity means the carbon dioxide you breathe out has a higher concentration than normal.
2) Unwashed laundry
Laundry that hasn’t been through the washer is liked by bed bugs because it smells of human beings – their source of food. So don’t leave dirty laundry lying around when you travel, or if you share a laundry room in your complex. The good news is that high-temperature washing and drying does usually kill these little beasts, so putting any laundry in a high-heat wash when you get home from vacation may help kill off a hitchhiker or two.
Bed bugs enjoy warmth, and the fact that we heat our homes makes them welcoming habitats. They also associate warmth with living creatures and are drawn towards humans and other animals by the heat they emit. Although bed bugs will bite animals, they far prefer human blood to that of your pets.
4) Dark-colored bed linen
Far from being afraid of the dark, bed bugs like darkness; it makes them feel safe because it provides camouflage. So dark bed sheets might be a mistake and it is probably better to stick to white or light colors if you travel frequently (that includes using public transport or working in different indoor spaces), since they’ll allow you to detect the presence of a bed bug much faster.
5) Nooks and crannies
Bed bugs love the cover provided by nooks and crannies, creases, cracks, and anywhere they can live out of sight. They don’t have to be dirty areas either, just places that keep them from danger. Not only do these locations provide living space, but they also make detection and eradication harder.
Can you prevent bed bugs in the first place?
Sadly, apart from making sure you do the laundry promptly, clearing up, and having light bed sheets there is little you can do to make your home less attractive to this nasty insect. As a living human being, you naturally produce carbon dioxide and warmth and no one wants their home to be cold either.
All you can do is be observant and notice the evidence of the presence of bed bugs as soon as possible. And if you do suspect you have a problem, get it checked out and dealt with ASAP. Bed bugs don’t pack their bags and move on.
Find a bed bug professional to help
If bed bugs have found their way into your home, it’s time to take action. Contact your landlord if you need to, but if you own your home it’s time to take action. The most effective way to get rid of bed bugs is with a heat treatment because it irradicates all pests – eggs and all. To hire professional near you, click here. If you’d prefer DIY, click here to learn more about your options.
Bed bugs are a growing problem worldwide. Once thought a thing of the past in many countries, cheap travel, and home heating have led to something of an explosion of this parasite.
In short, nowhere is safe and anyone can suffer an infestation. And it has nothing to do with hygiene. Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt, they just want food and lodging. That means your blood and your home.
How do you get rid of bed bugs without using chemicals?
If you are unfortunate and start sharing your home with these pests, you will want to get rid of them fast. In times past that meant chemicals. Insecticides can work but are difficult to use efficiently and are toxic. Though there are some on the market that advertise their low toxicity they tend not to be particularly effective against bed bugs.
Fortunately, there is a remedy that is both effective and completely non-toxic: heat. Heat is not only safer than spraying with insecticide, it is also quicker and far more effective.
How do heat treatments work?
Heat treatments essentially use large fans in an enclosed space (typically a room, a number of rooms, or a small apartment) to heat the space to over 120℉ for at least 90 minutes.
By doing this, you destroy not only the adults and nymphs but, most importantly, the eggs. This is something that chemicals won’t do and is why many pest control companies have to come back many times before the problem is solved, leaving you with a room that’s heavily covered in toxins – not good.
Heat treating your home for bed bugs is the one sure way of eliminating the problem in one hit – problem solved.
Are any home remedies effective?
Few people want to drench their houses in poison so what non-toxic options are there? While some home remedies may help catch or repel one or two, you’re simply not going be able to deal with bed bugs with a home remedy. They’re too crafty and they’ll stay far out of your reach until you let your guard down.
How do I heat treat my home to get rid of bed bugs?
To get rid of bed bugs in your home or business to get rid of bed bugs, you have 3 options:
- Hire a pest control company to do the heat treatment for you
- Rent a heat treatment package
- Buy a heat treatment package
Hiring a professional will give you peace of mind and prove affordable, while getting you the results you need. This is a good option if you’re busy and do not believe you’ll need regular heat treatments.
Hiring the equipment needed for heat treatment is another option. That will save you money, but you’ll not have the guidance of professionals ensuring everything is done correctly.
Finally, if you travel regularly for pleasure and/or work or own a hospitality business, buying a heat treatment package may prove the most affordable option for you over the long term.
Find the help you need
Bed bugs multiply quickly – miss a few and you will be back at square one in no time. A first-class pest control company will almost always get it right first time and will often offer a K-9 follow-up just to make sure. If you’re ready to find a bed bug professional near you, click here. If you’d prefer to go the DIY route, click here.
Bed bugs represent a growing portion of the pest control industry. Bed bugs have existed for a long time, but many people still don’t understand how bed bugs continue to wreak havoc on the lives of many.
In this article, we’ll be separating fact from fiction, dispelling some common myths, and answering some frequently asked questions about bed bugs.
Fact or fiction?
Myth: If you come home from vacation and discover that bed bugs have followed you home, have to throw all your furniture out.
False: This depends upon the extent of the infestation and the condition of the furniture. Unless the furniture is already old or severely infested, there’s no need to throw it out. You can have your furniture professionally treated without losing your furniture.
Myth: Bed bugs will jump on you, crawl in your hair, and cling to your skin.
False: Bed bugs cannot jump or fly. There’s a slim chance of bed bugs being in your hair because they have two cat-like claws on the end of their legs and flat, disc-like bodies which make it hard to navigate through hair. They may cling onto you, but you’re most likely to find them clinging onto your clothes (though you probably won’t spot them!).
Myth: Bed bugs only come out at night.
False: This isn’t strictly true or false, but it makes sense that people would believe that. Most people unwittingly make themselves available for bed bugs during the nighttime, but they come out to feed whenever their victim is sleeping. In other words, it’s simply the warmth and scent of humans they’re drawn to, rather than the night. Sleeping during the day won’t make you immune to bed bugs.
Myth: Applying essential oils, Raid, or Hotshot to my body will prevent bed bugs from biting me.
Unproven: This hasn’t been proven and most pest products are poisonous to the skin. Even certain essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil to avoid skin reactions.
Myth: Sticky traps and monitors will detect whether or not a home is infested with bed bugs.
False: Sadly, this is also fiction. No products can detect bed bugs yet- instead, people are the best monitors! Instead of relying on a monitor, regularly inspect your bed, sofa, and other resting places. Change sheets every week, flip your mattress, vacuum box springs, steam bed frames, check the piping and seams, and examine blind spots often.
Myth: Store-bought chemical sprays are a good way to get rid of bed bugs.
False: If you can see the bed bug, you can kill it. Whether you do it with a store-bought chemical spray or your thumb, is up to you. What you can’t kill with those sprays are all the hidden bed bugs and the eggs hiding inside your mattress and in the other nooks and crannies around your home.
Myth: You have to go somewhere unclean to pick them up.
False: Bed bugs don’t care about cleanliness, they only care about whether or not there’s blood to eat! If you’re in a public space where people are sitting for long periods, bed bugs may be present.
It may seem like bed bugs are impenetrable, but with regular checks and proper education, we can minimize our chances of infestation. The International Bed Bug Resource Authority (IBBRA) has been a trusted resource for almost a decade and can direct you to powerful solutions and trusted professionals. To find out about effective DIY solutions click here, or click here to find one of our trusted professionals.