How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

If you have bed bugs, don’t wait another minute; call Stern today. Getting rid of bed bugs is not a do-it-yourself project. If you have bed bugs, you need professional help and you need it today before they spread to other parts of your home.

The little buggers are hard to find and they spread like wildfire. If they’re in your bed and you start sleeping on your couch, you’ll have them in your couch too. If you move out, you could carry them with you in your suitcase. If you spray them with Raid, they’ll just move to another comfy spot in your house. The tiny critters are easily spread on clothing, furniture, bedding, suitcases and cardboard boxes. They move easily through wall voids, ductwork and elevator shafts. They hide in the tiniest of cracks and crevices, behind wall paper, behind baseboards, under carpeting and in furniture joints. If you’ve got them, you’re going to need professional help getting rid of them.

In addition to traditional bed bug extermination treatment, Stern Environmental also offers the new, revolutionary Cryonite treatment for bed bugs. Extensively used in Europe and Australia, Cryonite is the most effective bed bug extermination treatment available on the market today. Unlike traditional treatments which need to be repeated to kill hatching eggs, Cryonite kills adults, nymphs and eggs at once without pesticides or toxic residue. Click here to find our more about Cryonite, the safest, most effective way to kill bed bugs on the market today.

How to Tell If You Have Bed Bugs

So you woke up this morning and you feel itchy. You might have bed bugs, but it can be hard to tell. Some people react to bed bug bites and some don’t. The nocturnal pests prefer to snack at night when their prey — you! — is unconscious. Like mosquitoes, they inject an anesthetic as they puncture your skin so as not to disturb your slumber. This allows them to gorge for 5 to 10 minutes before scurrying away. It’s the salivary proteins that are injected when they bite that can cause an allergic skin reaction.

Bed bug bites are round, raised, red welts that can itch intensely for several days. Since bed bugs lay 200 to 500 eggs at a time, you can wind up sharing a bed with a whole horde of the creepy crawlies. You become the main course at a bed bug banquet. Some people develop a “sensitivity syndrome” from repeated bites and experience nervousness, jumpiness and sleeplessness. Visit our bed bug resources page to see bed bug photos and videos.

Since bed bug bites can resemble mosquito and other bug bites, you’ll need to look for other clues to determine whether you have bed bugs. Of course, small, brown or red oval bugs crawling on your mattress are pretty definitive; however, during the daytime bed bugs will hide in tiny cracks and crevices and may not be evident. Look for dark blood stains and fecal smears on mattress welts and seams, in carpeting near your bed, on walls behind headboards, in drawers and along baseboards in your bedroom. Click here for photos. If you think you might have a problem, call Stern today.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are a nuisance parasite that is making a big comeback in America. The small, wingless insects are believed to have evolved from bird and bat nest parasites. A scourge throughout recorded history, like fleas and lice, bed bugs have fed on the blood of humans since time immemorial. In America, the widespread use of synthetic insecticides like DDT nearly wiped them out and bed bugs were virtually nonexistent in the 1990s. But the banning of DDT and increased international travel have brought the nasty critters back to our shores in droves. Last year bed bug infestations were reported in all 50 states and in growing numbers.

About the size of a grain of rice, adult bed bugs are 1/4-inch long with flat, oval, reddish-brown bodies. They mature through five nymphal stages from egg to adult, feeding on human blood at least once to develop from one stage to the next and to reproduce. Adults live 6 to 12 months, usually feeding at least every 3 to 5 days, but can survive for more than a year without feeding. Unbelievably hardy, bed bugs thrive in warm, humid temperatures of 83 to 90 degrees, but can survive in arid climates and temperatures from 5 to 120 degrees.

Click here for more information on bed bugs on the Stern Environmental website. To see pictures of bed bugs and watch a video of a bed bug feeding, click here.

Flying Squirrels Take Wing

A bit of warm weather and the squirrels are out of their nests and into the bird feeders. The ground squirrels are enough of a nuisance, but it’s the bat-like flying squirrel that can really destroy your attic. The small flyers are more like rodents than squirrels in their uncanny ability to squeeze through tiny holes and cracks to gain entry to your warm rafters and eaves.

Heights are no object for these nocturnal critters. They can “fly” — it’s actually a glide — great distances using the distinctive web of skin that connects their front and back legs. Called a patagium, the web is similar to the wing of a bat. These squirrels can glide more than 200 feet — right onto your roof — using their flat tails as a steering rudder. They can enter your attic from roof vents, improperly installed chimney caps and small construction gaps.

Flying squirrels live in large colonies — often 20 or more — which means there are 20 sets of razor-sharp teeth chewing away on your rafters and electrical wires and 20 nasty little bodies using your attic walls and insulation as a litter box. Of course, that’s not what will tip you off first. You’ll call Stern because of the incessant partying. These critters are nocturnal which means the party’s just getting started about the time you’re going to bed. Come 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and your walls will be reverberating with their high-pitched cries and caterwauling. Don’t worry. Stern Environmental Group offers 24-hour emergency squirrel removal. Click here to find out more about squirrels and flying squirrels. Give us a call. You’ll sleep well when you get Stern with your pests.

The Bandits Are Back!

She’s back! We have a neighborhood raccoon who specializes in finding “inconvenient” living quarters. The past few years she’s favored my neighbors’ hollow porch columns, nesting there and raising several broods. For most of the spring she perches on top of the columns, giving my neighbors the evil eye and hissing at them as they enter and exit their home. She’s just protecting her babies (who you can hear crying through the brick walls of the column), but it’s still annoying — and potentially dangerous. Raccoons carry rabies and have been known to charge humans who come too close to their nest.

She spent a winter in my chimney before I had it cleaned and capped. She dug out a burrow under another neighbor’s storage shed and terrorized her inquisitive cat. And now she’s moved into my garage. I don’t go into my garage very often in the winter. It’s an old style barn-door building of questionable structural integrity, but it makes a handy place to store my gardening tools, the bikes and assorted bits of odd lumber. Unsuspecting, I walked into its dark recesses yesterday to fill the bird feeders. From the dim recesses at the back of the garage, I heard a sharp hiss. Then I saw two eyes glowing in the dark. She’s back!

There’s little in the do-it-yourself line you can do that effectively gets rid of raccoons. They’re not easily intimidated by humans. I’ve tried ammonia, mothballs (I can still smell the stink in my attic), ultrasonic gizmos, even a radio blaring Nine Inch Nails. I’ll admit that did get that particular raccoon to leave for awhile, but she came back. I think after a few days, the music kind of grew on her. I thought about trying some of the predator urine sprays you can buy, but after one whiff I decided living with a raccoon might not be so bad.

Raccoons are destructive and leave all kinds of nasty creepy crawlies in their nesting areas. They have a pungent odor you’ll never get out of the floor boards. They’re a critter you don’t want to mess with. If you’re unfortunate enough to be selected as a raccoon’s new home, give Stern a call and let the experts move your “guest” along. Try to do it before she has her litter. Squalling raccoon babies are a sound worse than nails on a chalkboard!