Holiday Travel and Bed Bugs

Millions of people will be traveling this holiday season, and many of those travelers will be college students coming home. So, it would be good to consider the risk of bed bugs and their traveling habits.

Bed bugs love college too; many people coming and going, passersby, and sleep overs. So many opportunities, it’s a relative smorgasbord to these little vampires! Then kids come home and with them, possibly an uninvited bed bug hitch hiker.

Bed bugs are no joke. They do not discriminate, and they are seriously out for blood. Just one female bed bug can lay 1-5 eggs each day and up to 500 in a lifetime, about 4-12 months. Eggs are about 1/16” or 1mm in size. They hatch in about 7 days and are fully grown adults that can reproduce in about 5-6 weeks. Once hatched, they need blood to grow and can feed up to once a day. They feed usually at night when people or animals are sleeping.

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Figures ref: www.cdc.gov

So, take into consideration these few tips:

  1. Inspect your college student’s luggage when they get home. Inspect all folds, crevices, zippers, handles, etc. Don’t forget the inside of the luggage as well and use a flashlight. If you do find eggs or bugs, it’s important to contain them. Call us immediately for more detailed advice.
  2. Wash his or her clothes. One measure of insurance is to wash all his or her clothes as soon as he/she arrives. Use a hot wash and the hottest dryer temperature available. This will kill all stages of bed bugs.
  3. After he or she has been home for several days, inspect the furniture and areas surrounding the bed, looking for eggs, bugs, or mysterious dark spots that weren’t there before.
  4. After your guest has left, thoroughly clean and vacuum the room or area they were sleeping in, paying close attention to small crevices where they may hide, and throw away the vacuum bag afterward.

You may feel a little paranoid after following these tips. Don’t. Really, all you’re doing is managing the risk that bed bugs will become established in your home. They weren’t invited, and we want you to keep it that way.

Thanks for reading. We at Garfield Pest Control hope you are enjoying your holiday season and hope it continues into the new year.

Ticks in Winter

If you’re like me, you may have been trying to wrap up some outside chores before the snow really starts to set in. And even though the temps are starting to trend low, I thought it would be worth mentioning a couple things you may appreciate for your safety.

It’s cold, so we shouldn’t have to worry about ticks and the disease they can transmit, right? Wrong!

The black legged tick (aka: Deer Tick) is the common tick that transmits Lyme disease. This rascal stays active all through winter as long as the temperature is above freezing. So, we shouldn’t let our guard down, even in the winter months. Interesting note: the deer tick doesn’t get the disease from deer. It gets it from small rodents like mice and then subsequently transmits it when feeds on other mammals, like you and me. So, any prevention strategies used to reduce tick feeding on mice will help reduce the risk of tick exposure.

Some believe that ticks can jump out of trees when they sense carbon dioxide. This is commonly regarded as a myth. Ticks will climb tall grass or similar vegetation to find a traveling host. So, any vegetation you can rub against could be a time when they grab on and climb. Regardless, as a general rule, if you spend any time outside on any given day, it’s a good idea to check for ticks, and even shower or bath before going to bed that night to ensure you don’t have an uninvited guest.

Images ref: CDC.gov

Uninvited Holiday Guests

The Holiday season is a wonderful time of year when family and friends visit and share their time together. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year when unwanted guests try to invite themselves into our homes. Mice, spiders, and stinkbugs are just a few of them that never get the invite. This past year was a very busy year for mice and now that it’s getting cold, they are coming in for the winter. Here are a few points to consider about mice:

  1. Mice are limited by the size of their head. Mice make entry into home areas and sometimes people are dumbfounded that they got in. But the fact is that mice can squeeze their bodies through a space like gel limited only by the size of their skulls. Sealing up those cracks and holes will stop their entry.
  1. Mice can’t control their bladder. They will piddle uncontrollably as they move about. If you see droppings, there is likely urine in that area and others. Their urine can be a source of disease. It’s important to clean and disinfect an area where you’ve seen droppings. If you find an area with many droppings, take care not to sweep aggressively and create airborne contaminants that you could possibly inhale.
  1. Mice like the security of a wall next to them when they travel. Mice will most often travel along a wall or baseboard. They don’t like being out in the open where they can be seen or worse, caught by a predator. They have oils on their fur which will come off on the wall surface as they travel. If you see dirty marks along walls or baseboards, you may have uninvited guests.

You work hard to enjoy the company of your friends and family in your home. If you have uninvited guests (the kind with 4, 6 or 8 legs, not 2) and you need help removing them, give us a call. We’d be happy to give you a free inspection and recommendations to resolve your pest problem.

From our home at Garfield Pest Control to yours, we hope you have a very warm and joyful Thanksgiving.