Don’t Let Fleas and Ticks Hound You

Hot weather brings the start of flea and tick season. May through September is the worst time of the year for fleas and ticks. In the U.S. there are more than 200 species of fleas and 200 different types of ticks just waiting for you or your pet to walk by. Fleas and ticks are usually brought into homes by dogs and cats. Your pet can get them from contact with an infected animal at the dog park or from brushing up against them while burrowing in the brush. My neighbor’s dogs got them from squirrels that traipsed across his lawn, shedding fleas in their wake which then hopped onto the dogs.

A single adult female flea can lay 50 eggs in one day; a female tick, twice that number. One dog can carry as many as 5,000 fleas on its body, says Scott Spear, Petsmart operation manager. “When your dog digests that flea they can get tape worm which can lead to all other sorts of problems. Ticks can lead to Lyme disease.” More than 16,000 American are infected with Lyme disease from deer ticks each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Protect your pet with flea drops or collars. If your pet brings fleas or ticks into your home, don’t place your family at risk. Consult a pest control professional before the situation gets out of hand.

How to Eradicate Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are hard to get rid of. They multiply quickly with several generations usually present in a single infestation. About the size of an apple seed, these nocturnal pests hide in tiny cracks and crevices, behind baseboards and wallpaper, under floorboards, inside bedside clocks and telephones — anywhere cozy and dark. They spread easily as they did at Fox News Channel (see our June 4 post). When they get a toe-hold in a place of business like they did at Fox or a multi-unit apartment building or hotel, it can take herculean efforts to track down each source of infestation and eradicate every last bug. If you don’t, the prolific little devils will just start spreading again.

Traditional pesticide treatments are sometimes not enough, particularly if your business or home is infected by the growing number of pesticide-resistant bed bugs. Cryonite is the answer. Stern Environmental customers have been singing the praises of Cryonite since we introduced it to the New York-New Jersey area. A totally non-toxic bed bug killer, Cryonite kills insects by rapid freezing. The carbon dioxide vapor gets into minute crevices where bed bugs hide, freezing and killing them before they can escape. Unlike pesticides, Cryonite kills bed bugs in all stages of development, including eggs. Click here for more information on Cryonite, the revolutionary bed bug eradication treatment.

Rumor:Rats in New York City

For decades the people of New York City have claimed that rats live in the municipality. However nobody has actually seen one. Well, since it has been estimated that more than 60 million rats live in the city perhaps a few have been seen. The most conservative estimate claims that more than 250,000 share the city with other creatures and humans.

Some citizens claim they have seen rats the size of bull dogs. The scary hippopotamus size rat left years ago to live in Paris.

One exterminator claims Manhattan rats have the appearance of cats while Brooklyn rats actually look like rats. I don’t know if his Manhattan comment was dripping with silliness.

Years ago Joseph Mitchell wrote about the rats of New York city and boasted that the brown Norwegian rat is the most numerous, the dirtiest, the largest and the most fierce of the rat species. Your sweater wearing pet tiger may want to avoid them.

Thousands of licensed pest control professionals utilizing gas masks search for them on a nightly basis, clogging holes , putting out traps and fumigating. If the rat control specialists decided to move to Florida perhaps the city would have a few billion rats. Be nice to the rat exterminators. 

How Bed Bugs Spread

Bed bugs are prolific breeders. In their brief one-year lifespan, they can lay as many as 500 eggs. It doesn’t take long for a little problem to become a major infestation. Once in a building they can spread from room to room on people’s clothing, on mail delivery and housekeeping carts or inside briefcases, luggage or backpacks. They move easily through wall voids, electrical and plumbing conduits, vents and ducts, infecting first the rooms next door and above and below the originally infected room. It’s easy to see how bed bugs carried in by an employee or visitor can quickly become a major headache, particularly in apartment buildings, hotels, condos and businesses.

The recent bed bug suit at Fox News Channel (see our May 30 post) is a case in point. The bed bug infestation there likely started with one individual bringing bed bugs into one room in the building. In a place where employees and visitors come and go daily, it can be incredibly difficult to eradicate bed bugs. If an infested room is treated, the little blood suckers simply migrate to another room. They can be transported home by employees who then bring them back to work with them the next day. In fact, in a similar case a persistent infestation at one company was eventually tracked back to an employee’s home. It wasn’t until the bed bugs were eradicated from this staffer’s home that the problem at his workplace could be successfully eliminated.

Next time: How to eliminate bed bugs

Don’t Let Bed Bugs Spoil Your Vacation

With the end of the school year in sight, families are digging out the maps and starting to plan their summer vacations. Students on spring break are getting in one last fling before final exams. Americans are traveling across the country and sleeping in beds far from home. Unfortunately, some of those beds will already be inhabited by an unexpected and unwelcome guest – bedbugs.

The person who slept in your hotel room bed last night might have left you an unpleasant gift: tiny insects that hide in and near beds, creeping out at night to feed on human blood. Reports of bed bug infestations are increasing at hotels, motels, resorts, cruise ships and hostels across America. Adept hitchhikers, bed bugs are easily transported. Carried in by one traveler, they can infest a hotel room and go home with the next guest before they are discovered. You can even pick up these noxious pests on airplanes, trains, buses and taxis if you’re unlucky enough to take a seat recently vacated by an infested person.

Bed bugs are one souvenir you don’t want to bring home from vacation. When you travel, carefully inspect the room for signs of bed bugs before bringing your belongings into the room, advises New York City bed bug expert Douglas Stern. Here’’s what to look for:

• Pull back bedspreads and blankets and check the sheets for tiny brown or reddish spots and smears, the fecal and blood stains that indicate bed bug activity. Inspect mattresses thoroughly for active bugs and stains, particularly at seams and welts.

• Look for brown spots and rust-colored stains around electrical outlets, air duct grilles, behind headboards, on bedside furniture and lamps.

• Check for whitish nymph molts and old exoskeletons at the edges of carpets and along baseboards.

If you see any indication of bed bugs, ask for another room or go to a different hotel. Bed bugs travel easily through wall voids and ducts, so don’t accept a room adjacent to or directly above or below the suspect room.

During your stay, Stern offers these tips for keeping your vacation bed bug free:

• Keep suitcases off the floor on a rack.

• Don’t leave belongings on the beds or floor. Bring plastic trash bags to keep belongings safe.

• When you get home, wash clothes in hot water and dry on high heat. Vacuum suitcases and store away from the bedroom. Wrap the vacuum bag in plastic and dispose of outside immediately.

For more information on bed bugs and what to do if you get them, visit the bedbug expert Stern Environmental Group.