Bedbugs are equal opportunity
pests. Exterminators report they've gotten rid
of bedbug infestations in Fortune 500 companies
and low-priced hotels. They've been found in
movie theatres in good neighborhoods and bad.
People can pick the bugs up
through human contact; from mattresses in hotel
rooms; even a park bench. Kids can bring them
home from camp or sleepovers.
How do you figure out if
you've got them? Bedbugs are wingless creatures
that are up to a quarter inch long. You can
actually see them with the naked eye. They have
a little bit of a red tinge to them. They are
flat and oval in shape.
You know if you've been bit
by them if you get small, itchy, red bumps that
appear in clusters or in a row.
You can double check that
they are not look-alike insects by going on
It's very difficult
to get rid of them.
One pest control expert we
spoke to is clear about the best way to do it.
John Russell, at Action Bed
Bug Control, says you must use a two-pronged
"Applying chemicals by
itself," says Russell "is not enough. You have
to also incorporate steam or freezing."
His company also uses highly
trained dogs to pick up the presence of bedbugs.
"Dogs are 95-98% accurate,"
says Russell. "They get the same kind of
training as bomb-sniffing, drug-sniffing or
arson dogs. Instead they sniff for bedbugs. Dogs
smell in parts per trillion."
They're also fast.
"Dogs can go through a hotel
room in two minutes. They can detect even the
eggs," says Russell.
"Humans are only 30% accurate
and one hotel room could take a person up to a
half hour. They've got to actually see them.
They have to tear up headboards, go through
That takes time. And Russell
cautions it is usually never a one-time
"We usually have to retreat
at least once. We also give a 90-day warranty."
Bedbugs are tough.
"They don't want to leave,"
said Russell, "we are their only food source.
They're not looking to be found during the
daytime and unfortunately most technicians only
work during the day. So if they're hiding it's
going to be tough to find them."
If you want to try and get
rid of them yourself first remove all sheets and
bedspreads and even the bed skirt if you have
one. Put them in plastic bags and freeze them.
If you'd rather go the steaming route, put them
all in the washer on a hot water cycle and wash
everything every three days until the
infestation is gone. Also take a look at every
piece of furniture in the room and if you spot
them, scrub every surface.
Vacuum and dispose of
the vacuum bag immediately.
If you can't do the job
yourself call a pest control service.
The extermination process is
very expensive. The cost of getting rid of
bedbugs in a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan
can run you a $1,000.
Make sure any extermination
service you use is licensed. They are licensed
by the state.
To contact John Russell's company go to their