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  Tuesday 21st of September 2021 14:50 PM

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Theyre back. Americas least favorite roommates are moving in at rates previously unheard of. The roommates in question are bed bugs one of the nations most hardy and enduring pests, and source of endless trouble for hotel operators, apartment tenants, and homeowners. Texans are reporting bed bugs at greater numbers than ever before, with exterminators struggling to cope with the quantity.

But when, and more importantly, how did the bugs make it to Texas? Reports of bed bugs in cities such as New York have been common for the last six months, with a number of retail outlets forced to close and an even greater number of residential complexes battling the bugs for months at a time. The annoyance even spread to neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut, annoying residents.

At the same time, the bugs have been a common sight on the opposite seaboard. Residents of San Francisco have been forced to share their mattresses with the unwanted guests for months, as the bugs have taken hold of numerous inner-city residential complexes due to poor fumigation. With the best chemicals now outlawed, the problem appears to be getting worse.

Experts claim that the bugs have entered Texas through tourists, many of whom inadvertently slept in a bed infested with the creatures. Infested mattresses can often contain millions of the micro-bug pests, leading to hotel and apartment dwellers maintaining a small population of the nasty creatures in their clothing without even knowing it. The bugs can then leap from one person to another.

How are bed bugs spreading through Texas?

We now know how the pests got into Texas a state that hasnt seen a major outbreak of bed bugs in almost fifty years. But how are they spreading through Texas? The state maintains a climate that the bugs will undoubtedly find appealing, with high humidity and consistently warm temperatures. The height of winter is unlikely to eliminate the pests, as theyre almost completely resistant to cold.

But despite the states climate, theres little to suggest that theyre able to spread through Texan beds and couches abnormally quickly. Pest control experts have claimed that the bugs are unaffected by warmth, humidity, and extreme cold, save for a few ultra-high heat weaknesses. Save for a truly lethal dose of heat, environmental factors rarely convince the bugs to move on.

It makes sense, then, that the bugs are spreading through Texas in the luggage and clothing of those that have slept in an infested bed. Hotel rooms are major sources of the bugs, with even prestigious addresses likely to house the pests. Shared apartments, temporary holiday rentals, and other houses that are left uncleaned are also sources of the bugs, which nestle into bedsheets and mattresses.

Minimize the risk of spreading bed bugs throughout Texas by carefully checking hotel beds before going to sleep. A recent Statesman article highlighted the importance of examining any hotel rooms before staying. The traveler featured in the article recommended stripping the sheets from a bed and examining the crevices of the mattress, particularly those around the beds headboard.

Which major cities are most at risk for bed bug infestation?

Texas has fared relatively well when it comes to bed bug reports. While New York City leads the nation in bed bug complaints and fumigation requests, most of Texass major cities fall fairly far behind in the rankings. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Seattle are all home to more bed bug outbreaks than Dallas-Fort Worth, despite some of the cities in question housing less people.

That said, there are bed bugs in Texas, particularly in the states more dense and populous centers. A report from My Fox Austin has shown the amount of residential buildings in the area that are homes for bed bugs. Other news outlets in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio have reported on the bugs being present in their cities, although numbers tend to be fairly modest and outbreaks rare.

West Texas has been largely unaffected by the pests, owing to its relative geographic isolation and limited number of densely packed residential buildings. The bugs are likely to live in commercial buildings throughout the state, however, making it important for office workers and professionals to examine their clothing, furniture, and any covered material goods regularly to prevent spreading.

Bed bugs have been gone for years. Why are they back?

The most compelling argument for the bugs return is that the chemicals used as pest preventatives are no longer as powerful or effective as they were just one decade ago. Bed bugs were eradicated in the United States following World War II a milestone that passed over sixty years ago. Due to the recent ban of DDT pest preventatives, the bugs are returning in record numbers.

Outbreaks are most obvious in urban centers, particularly cities that are packed densely with houses and other high-density projects. New Yorks Manhattan Island is considered the nations bug capital, with densely packed residential buildings housing billions of the annoying pests. Luckily, Texas has yet to see an outbreak on the same scale, as the states geographic isolation and low density helps.

Insufficient cleaning has also lead to the bugs return. While bed bugs dont feed on grit or uneaten food, they do thrive in environments that are packed with cotton and other material surfaces. While cleaning goes some way to prevent them from taking hold of a home, any area that provides cracks, folded clothing, and other comfortable spots has the potential to become infested with the bugs.

Bed bugs in the Dallas / Fort Worth area

When extermination company Terminix released its worst bedbug cities list, most Texans were both surprised and relieved to learn that none of their major population centers featured. Cities that bring international travelers in droves topped the list, with New York and Philadelphia taking the top two spots. Strangely, however, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was nowhere to be seen in the studys Top 15.

For residents, that was most certainly a good thing. Outbreaks have been rare in Dallas, although a few isolated incidents have occurred over the past five years. While bed bug call outs have increased in the city and metropolitan area, the amount of infestations is very low when compared to cities in the countrys Northeast and major population centers on the West Coast.

The few infestations that occur are typically treated quickly, with Dallass pest control businesses able to respond to calls promptly and provide effective eradication treatments. As the city is home to thousands of other bug strains cockroaches and mosquitos the most popular it offers a large amount of choice when it comes to pest control businesses and extermination companies.

Bed bugs in Houston

If Texas has a bed bug center, its Houston. The business center is home to millions of people from across the nation, many of whom have taken up residence in its relatively dense inner-city housing buildings. While the bugs are, once again, far from the prevalence level seen in New York City and San Francisco, theyre still a problem for city residents and hotel staff within Houston.

A recent blog post from the Houston Press has highlighted the spread of bugs throughout the city and its surrounding areas. The blog post which is closer to an in-depth preventative guide than a simple opinion piece brings attention to the numerous new methods which pest control experts use to combat the bugs. From excess heat to freeze-powered solutions, its all there.

Some have pointed to the citys business travel industry as a reason for the spread of bed bugs, with energy industry employees frequently using Houston as a travel hub for other points in Texas. While the bugs are becoming a nuisance for suburban housing communities (as this article explains), their presence is mostly limited to dense accommodation and other shared residential buildings.

Bed bugs in San Antonio

Reports of bed bug infestations in San Antonio have increased exponentially in the last two years. A single case in 2007 has turned into hundreds during 2010, with homeowners and apartment dwellers increasingly concerned about the bugs. Theyre also increasingly vigilant about removing the pests from their properties exterminators in the city have been called to more cases than ever before.

A recent case involving bed bugs at the Home Gate Inn Hotel resulted in health department action and a swift cleaning session from the hotels management team. The couple that stayed at the room have incurred close to ten thousand dollars worth of expenses trying to fight the bugs, removing and replacing their old furniture and repeatedly cleaning their clothes and travel luggage.

However, while shocking cases are becoming a more regular occurrence, the bugs are still fairly rare in San Antonio. Exterminators have suggested that residents take preventative measures against the bugs rather than trying to right them after being spotted in a residence. Check hotel beds before sleeping, view cracks and crevices, and ensure you do not stay in an infested hotel.

Bed bugs in Austin

Texass political and cultural capital appears to be running into the same bed bug problems seen in other cities. The insects have been sighted in Austin apartment complexes and residential towers, a local news report has claimed. While the bugs are fairly rare in the city itself, theyre likely to move from one host to another on public transport and through shared clothes and furniture.

Reports have been fairly slow in the city, although they are occurring at a higher rate than in other years. Like many other parts of the United States, Austin has experienced a surge in the prevalence of bed bugs and other nighttime annoyances. Heat treatments are becoming more common for city residents, as traditional pest control sprays rarely affect the bugs due to their hardy nature.

As with other cities, local media outlets have provided information that could help residents battling the annoying pests. This guide and writeup contains a few quick tips for limiting the bugs ability to spread throughout your home. While they remain relatively rare in Austin, the citys travel-friendly reputation may cause them to spread further via hotels, hostels, and other tourist accommodation.

Recent reported outbreaks, and their economic impact

Widespread outbreaks have not affected Texass major cities and population centers, nor have they had any major effect on the states economy. While New York City and other metro areas chose to allocate funds and manpower to eliminate the bugs, the small amount of infestations in Texas has made the important of a task force or special health division fairly debatable.

That said, individual cases can and do have an effect on the commercial properties that house the bugs. One motel in Luddock has reported a significant downturn in business following reports of bed bugs in hotel beds and furniture. The hotel has since sprayed its rooms and removed the bugs, though the negative word of mouth and other rumors have left it relatively low on customers.

I think I have bed bugs. What should I do?

Its important to take immediate action if you do have bed bugs. The first, and most important, step is to ensure that you have an infestation. Check creases in your mattress, areas around electric plugs and sockets, and furniture for the bugs. Their small form and dark brown appearance makes them a tough nuisance to spot, although trains of black feces and discarded shells are a common giveaway.

Secondly, call a professional pest control expert in your area. The bugs are highly resistant to sprays and other consumer solutions. They cant be eradicated like a mosquito or other common pests, only with the resources and skills that a professional exterminator can offer. Complete removal can often require that you discard your clothes, remove your mattress, and even fumigate your residence.

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Texas Bed Bug Hotel and Apartment Reports |

Bed Bug Hotel and Apartment Reports. Click on the city below to find our latest bed bug reports in Texas on hotels. To report a new bed bug incident, navigate to our city page below to see further details.

Recommended tips after hotel check-in: 1. Pick up the mattresses in the rooms and look under it. Check around the edges of the box springs. 2. Check under the box spring. 3. Lift up each headboard an lay it on the bed. Carefully inspect the hole where the headboard was lifted out of. Also, inspect all niches and corners of the headboard. 4. If you decide to stay in the hotel, do not put any clothes in dressers. Keep them in your luggage and your dirty clothes in plastic bags.

My Apartment has an infestation with Fleas and bed bugs. I was being bit every night for an entire week. I reported to Management on 06/08/2020 trhat my apartment was unlivable . I had to throw away m...

A friend and I rented this 2-bedroom unit offered on Airbnb starting May 30. The first week we were there, we weren't in the unit during the day or evenings due to work, so only spent time in one of t...

5/30/20 @ 0230, reported bed bugs to hotel staff and management. Moved to a new room. I was told rooms were put out of service for deep cleaning. ...

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Two Texas Cities Made The Top 20 List For Bed Bugs

LifestyleByJenny Webster Jurica|January 24, 2018

Sleep tight and dont let the bed bugs bite. This old adage might take on a literal meaning if you sleep over often in Houston or the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Unfortunately, both of these Texas metroplexes recently ranked on Orkins Top 20 List for Bed Bug Infestations with Dallas/Fort Worth moving up to a higher (worse) spot on the list.

Dallas/Fort Worth Joined the Top 10

Photo: Flickr/Todd Martin

Taking the top spot for the second year is Baltimore, Maryland. Included on the list for the first time are New Orleans and Flint, Michigan with Dallas/Fort Worth joining the top 10. And while the Big Apple, New York, fell four spots from their 2017 ranking, San Diego and Albany rejoin the community as prominent bed bug locales. To see the complete list of cities on Orkins list, visit their website.

Bed Bugs: Not Just In The Bed

Photo: Flickr/AFPMB

These parasitic insects actually feed on blood from humans and warm-blooded animals to survive. Like ticks, bed bugs are flat, circular, and reddish-brown in color. They are also quite tiny which makes finding them even harder.

Bed bugs arent exclusive to where you lay your head to sleep. They can be found almost anywhere including offices, grocery stores, hotels, and gyms. Theyre also pretty crafty and have been known to hide in luggage, clothing, and even on your body. They wait for the perfect chance to strike, often as you sleep, and can multiply quickly in optimal conditions.

Helpful Tips for Bug-Weary Travelers

Orkin suggests that travelers should be particularly cautious with bed bugs as they run the risk of spreading possible infestations to other locations. They recommend such tricks of the trade as placing your luggage in the bathtub immediately upon checking into a hotel room and then doing a check of the mattress, bedding and other linens for the bugs. If the room appears to be all clear, you can then move your luggage to a more convenient area of your room.

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Two Texas Cities Made The Top 20 List For Bed Bugs

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Target to offer webinar on understanding innovation in pest management – Pest Management Professional magazine

Dr. Bob Davis

Target Specialty Products, a service provider of pest and turf and ornamental solutions in the United States and Canada, will hold a 1-hour webinar on Friday, Feb. 18, at 10:30 a.m. PDT. As part of its Business Growth Webinar Series of 2020, the topic is Understanding Innovation: A Scientific Approach to Pest Management.

BASF Professional & Specialty Solutions has sponsored this months webinar. Dr. Bob Davis, BCE, technical services representative for BASF, will share explore why innovation is critical to human success and how it can help to combat many global issues.

His presentation will cover innovation processes and examples of how pest management professionals can use innovations to help protect the health, well-being and quality of life for society.

Dr. Davis earned his bachelors, masters and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska. His graduate work focused on testing and evaluating termite control materials and techniques. Davis has been in the industry for more than 30 years, including positions as fisheries biologist, pest control operator, pest control technician, extension research specialist, graduate research assistant, technical director for ABC Pest & Lawn Services of Austin, Texas, and technical field representative for Aventis and Bayer Environmental Sciences.

Pest management professionals interested in attending can register for the upcoming webinar here.

This is Targets second webinar of 202o. The first was a webinar, sponsored by Nisus Corp., where Dr. Jamel Sandidge, BCE, shared his knowledge about the biology of some pests and modes of action in the insecticides used during his presentation, Battling Insecticide Resistance.

Targets Business Growth Webinar Series addressed insecticide formulationsthis past fall and solutions fortough summer pestsand bed bugs this past summer. Clickhereto be added to Targets mailing list and notified of future educational opportunities.

Headquartered in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Target Specialty Products operates 44 locations across the United States and Canada.

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Target to offer webinar on understanding innovation in pest management - Pest Management Professional magazine

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Bed Bugs: We’ve Learned a Thing or Two – PCT Magazine

Dr. Austin Frishmans first job in the industry was as a service technician for Clover Exterminators. Here he displays his work shirt from those early days.

Mark Goodman, regional operations manager, Plunketts Pest Control, shared a number of interesting case histories in a session titled, Troubleshooting Tricky Pest Problems.

Educational sessions were packed throughout the three-day event.

Educational sessions were packed throughout the three-day event.

A PMP signs a card congratulating Dr. Michael Potter on his retirement from the University of Kentucky.

KPMA Executive Director Melinda Howells invited PMPs to sign a card congratulating Dr. Michael Potter on his impending retirement from the University of Kentucky.

Consultant Stoy Hedges hosted the Cockroach House of Learning, a multi-hour educational session devoted to one of the industrys most important pests.

Ted Bruesch, technical support manager, Liphatech, shared Rodent Control Lessons of a Lifetime in his well-attended educational session.

Tom Myers, owner of All-Rite Pest Control, discussed Defensive Termite Inspection and Documentation on the first day of the 49th Annual University of Kentucky Pest Control Short Course.

Zach DeVries, assistant professor of urban entomology, told attendees hes looking forward to his new role at the University of Kentucky.

KPMA honored Gary Blankenship, owner of Guarantee Pest Control, Lexington, Ky., with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

The University of Kentucky Pest Control Short Course acknowledged its corporate sponsors with signage in the exhibit hall.

KPMA President Keith Smith thanked Dr. Michael Potter for his years of selfless service to the industry.

Rick Cooper, senior director of technical services, Terminix International, led an educational session devoted to Pest Identification for the Non-Entomologist.

Dr. Michael Potter and wife Ellen.

LEXINGTON, Ky. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants the theme of this years University of Kentucky Pest Control Short Course couldnt have been more fitting. Thats because the man responsible for leading one of the finest regional pest control conferences in North America, Dr. Michael Potter, is an industry giant himself.

After 29 years managing the short course, however, Potter recently announced his retirement. While a firm retirement date has yet to be determined, it will occur sometime next year, allowing Potter and his wife, Ellen, to relocate to Eugene, Ore., to be closer to their adult children.

Ill retain emeritus professor status in our department (a non-salaried position), but will not maintain a physical presence in Lexington, nor day-to-day departmental responsibilities, he wrote in an e-mail following the conference.

We didnt take this decision lightly, Potter said. In fact, he has been working on a succession plan with the university for two years, culminating in the choice of Dr. Zach DeVries, a protege of Dr. Coby Schal at North Carolina State University, to take over Potters role leading the conference. In February, DeVries accepted a tenure-track position as assistant professor of urban entomology at the university.

During the opening ceremonies of this years conference, Kentucky Pest Management Association (KPMA) President Keith Smith thanked Potter for his generous contributions to the industry, presenting the avid fly fisherman with a trip to Hubbards Yellowstone Lodge in Emigrant, Mont., as a token of appreciation for his body of work in support of the association. The five-day trip includes a guided tour of Yellowstone National Park and the Snake River.

Potter said joining the University of Kentucky was the best decision of my life and KPMA members have become his extended family. Whatever good we did, we did it together, he said. While Potter said hell miss overseeing the conference, the university is in really, really good hands thanks to the appointment of DeVries.

We feel we have (recruited) the top young urban entomologist in the U.S., bar none, Potter said. Zach works on all the important critters, so hes going to be a huge help to this state.

For his part, DeVries said hes excited about the prospect of building on Potters legacy and continuing to move the pest management industry forward. I really hope to follow in the footsteps (of Mike Potter) the best I can.

In other news, KPMA honored Gary Blankenship, owner of Guarantee Pest Control, Lexington, Ky., with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In recognizing the second-generation PMP, KPMA Director Chris Christensen said, When I think of Gary Blankenship, I think of selfless service to family and industry. Gary has always been a leader in our industry.

Since 1996, Blankenship has served as chairman of the associations pest control educational fund. In closing, Christensen said, Gary and his wife Lucy run a great business and are benevolent benefactors of a great group of employees.

In kicking off the educational portion of the program, Potter said the topics and speakers for this years short course were the strongest in his 29-year association with the conference. Its possible to see further by standing on the shoulders of giants, he observed, and this years speakers truly are giants in the pest control industry.

The leadoff speakers for the three-day event were industry consultant Stoy Hedges, who hosted a Cockroach Control House of Learning, and industry veteran Ted Bruesch of Liphatech, who shared Lessons of a Lifetime in rodent control.

I started out in this business as a pest control technician (for Wil-Kil Pest Control), Bruesch told attendees, so he understands the challenges faced by service personnel on a daily basis.

Bruesch said rodents are formidable foes, but theyre not as smart as many PMPs think. I hear all the time Ive got a smart rat, but I dont consider rodents as being particularly smart, he said. Their brain is the size of a lima bean and our brain weighs three pounds, so humans have a distinct intellectual advantage. Rodents simply have evolved over time, adopting unique behavioral characteristics that have allowed them to survive. Three behaviors, in particular, have served them well, according to Bruesch, allowing them to survive. They include:

1. Neophobia: Rodents are naturally skittish animals. When PMPs introduce something new to their environment, like a bait station, they are likely to shy away from it, Bruesch observes. What can you do to get around this behavior? Pre-bait, kill and repeat, he said. I want them to think of a bait station as a food source, not a bait station.

2. Social Hierarchy: In a (rodent) colony youre going to have a dominant male and a bunch of dominant females, he said. These alpha rodents, due to their superior physical characteristics, have access to the most food and the best housing. Subordinates (betas) are second in the pecking order and omegas are third. The goal is to take out the alphas by baiting aggressively, Bruesch said, then eliminating subsequent rodents who fill that void, eventually collapsing the colony.

3. Foraging Territories: By understanding the foraging territories of rats and mice, PMPs will place bait stations in the proper location. When youre dealing with mice, you need to have bait stations placed close (together), he said. When it comes to rats you really want those stations full (of bait).

Regardless of the challenges, I truly believe every rodent problem has a solution. You have to take the fight to the critter, Bruesch urged. You have to be aggressive.

In one of the more informative sessions of the three-day event, Mark Goodman, regional operations manager, Plunketts Pest Control, shared a number of interesting case studies in a session titled, Troubleshooting Tricky Pest Problems. Goodman recalled one situation where a technician was unable to control a maggot problem in a large egg production facility.

They called because they had maggots crawling in their production area, a high-stress situation, he said. Upon visiting the account, Goodman asked the usual questions, but nothing popped out as being particularly unusual until he got down on his hands and knees and began to check the silicone seals along a sterile hallway. Finally, we found one plate on a wall where there was some loose silicone, leading to a gap that went outside (the facility). Maggots were making their way up a drainpipe from some chicken dung outside and through the seal. Lesson learned? Sometimes you need to broaden your scope a little bit, Goodman said.

Other speakers on the star-studded program included Dr. Austin Frishman, owner, AMF Pest Management Consulting; Tom Myers, owner, All-Rite Pest Control; Rick Cooper, senior director of technical services, Terminix International; Marty Morgan, business development manager, Douglas Products; Mike Holcomb, consulting entomologist, Technical Directions; Pete Markham, president, A-Mark Pest & Bird Management; Ray Johnson, founder, Johnson Pest Control; Dr. Michael Potter, extension professor, University of Kentucky; Stephen Gates, vice president of technical services, Cooks Pest Control; Dan Collins, regional technical director, McCloud Services; Dr. Zach DeVries, assistant professor of urban entomology, University of Kentucky; and Gary Sigrist, CEO and president, Safeguard Risk Solutions.

Major sponsors of this years event included BASF Corporation and Oldham Chemicals. Additional sponsors included AP&G, Nisus, Bell Laboratories, Syngenta, Bayer, and Corteva Agriscience.

Next years University of Kentucky 50thAnnual Pest Control Short Course is scheduled for Nov. 10-12. Visit for future updates and registration information.

The author is publisher of PCT magazine.

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