Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite

Bed bugs have been a nuisance in Ellensburg, but quick action against and infestation can lessen their presence

Jack Belcher, News Editor

In recent years the amount of bed bugs in the United States has skyrocketed. Experts believe that this is due to more densely populated areas and the increasing popularity of travel. Experts in Kittitas say that they would have to deal with bed bugs very rarely, and that most calls about bed bugs would be false alarms. That was ten years ago. Now, they receive bed bug calls up to ten times a week.

Bed bugs are small, brown insects that feed off humans. A life span of a these insects is around a year, during which time a female bed bug can lay up to 500 eggs. These insects can live unnoticed for months, due to their nocturnal nature and the fact that they usually hide under the covers.

The surge in the amount of bed bugs in recent years has led to pest control companies, like Pointe Pest Control in Yakima, to create a department  focused entirely on eliminating bed bugs.

“… A lot of people don’t even notice that they’ve been bit by bed bugs because they don’t have an allergic reaction to them, so some people live with them for a very long time,” Daniel Guzman, a pest exterminator at Pointe Pest Control said.

Guzman is not a member of the bed bug department at Pointe, but he has dealt with them in the past. He also knows that bed bugs don’t like to travel  far from their food source, which is humans. This means that the best place to look for a bed bug is in your bed. While looking for bed bugs around your bed appears to be obvious, there are some specific places that you should look, such as the seams of the mattress as well as the headboard. Also be aware of any bite marks that have appeared on your skin. Remember to check beds at hotels when you’re traveling.

Other exterminators say that once you find bed bugs, it is critical that you report them. The best way to be bed bug free is to identify the problem early. These exterminators have been to apartments where people know about a bed bug infestation but have been afraid to report it for fear of being evicted

This only makes the problem worse, and someone is eventually going to notice, at which point the resident is in even more trouble, due to the fact that they knew about the infestation and did nothing.

Bed bugs do not discriminate when finding a place to live, as having a clean or dirty living space doesn’t affect them in the slightest. This is because these insects do not eat food scraps, or live in the garbage, and usually come into a house or apartment via furniture or clothing.

Many apartment managers understand that bed bugs don’t discriminate when finding a place to infest. While the apartment managers of University Park & Place, the Meadows, and Cascade Village claim to have never had a personal incident involving bed bugs, they have similar procedures for dealing with the issue. All three of these apartment complexes require that residents sign a contract regarding any future bed bugs infestations.

According to Marie Turner, apartment manager of Cascade Village, the resident responsible for the outbreak would be charged for the cost of the extermination, but would not be evicted from the apartments. Turner stresses that this would only be the case if it could be proven during a professional inspection that the tenant was responsible for the infestation.

Shyanne Brown, leasing consultant for University Park & Place Apartments said that they give out brochures regarding bed bugs to all of their residents.

“I would compare it to our mold addendum, whereas if you see the mold you let us know so that we can help fix that,” Brown said.

Community manager of The Meadows apartments, Amanda Sanford, said that if a resident notices bed bugs at any time they have to tell the manager. The resident would then be held responsible for the cost of the extermination, but there would be no other penalties. The idea being that residents let the apartment manager know as soon as possible so that the problem can be dealt with before it gets out of control.

While bed bugs feed on human blood, there has never been an instance of them spreading any diseases to humans. Although they do not pose a serious health risk to people, it is still critical that they are dealt with as soon as possible.

Bed bugs are difficult to exterminate without professional help. Extermination requires killing the insects with heat, and many pest control companies will bring in heaters that cook the bed bugs alive, essentially turning a bedroom into an oven.