What Your Bed Bugs Like

Two studies have shed new light on bed bug behavior, backing with hard science the field observations of experienced NYC bed bug exterminators. Scientists report that bed bugs like to hang around in groups and they prefer summer’s heat to winter’s cold.

Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that groups of bed bug nymphs develop 2.2 days faster than solitary nymphs. Researchers also found that the speed of nymph development was not dependent on the presence of adult insects. “The observations that adults do not appear to contribute to nymph development suggests that eggs can survive and found new infestations without any adults,” lead researcher Dr. Coby Schal explained to PCT Online. Schal and his team are now looking for the sensory cues that trigger faster bed bug growth in social groups. Eventually their research may lead to better bed bug extermination methods.

While bed bugs are active year round and infestations can and do occur during every month of the year, Penn Medicine researchers found a noticeable seasonal pattern in the frequency of reported bed bug infestation. As reported on Time.com, bed bug infestations rise during the warm months of summer, peaking in August, and decline during the cold winter months, reaching their lowest point in February. No reason for the seasonal fluctuations in bed bug activity was determined, but researchers speculated that the insects may reproduce more quickly in warmer temperatures.

Don’t let bed bugs get the bite on you. Call Stern’s bed bug extermination experts.

Chicago Tops List of Worst Bed Bug Cities

Whew! For the first time New York City failed to make the list of the nation’s Top 10 Worst Bed Bug Cities. Once considered Ground Zero in the bed bug wars, the Big Apple didn’t even make the top 15 this year, dropping 7 places to come in at #17. Chicago took the top spot on Orkin’s annual worst bed bug cities list, a repeat performance by the Windy City which moved into the top spot last year. Ohio trumped the country with more cities in the Top 10 than any other state. With an unprecedented four cities in the Top 10, every major city in Ohio made the list of Top 50.

If you’re bed bug phobic, here are the cities you’ll want to avoid:

1. Chicago

2. Los Angeles

3. Columbus, OH

4. Detroit

5. Cincinnati, OH

6. Cleveland/Akron/Canton, OH

7. Dayton, OH

8. Washington D.C.

9. Denver

10. Indianapolis

11. Richmond/Petersburg, VA

12. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, NC

13. Dallas/Ft. Worth

14. Syracuse, NY

15. Atlanta

16. Houston

17. New York City

18. Seattle/Tacoma

19. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose

20. Boston

(Click to see the full list of 50 cities on MarketWatch.)

The drop in ranking doesn’t mean that bed bugs have left New York, but it does indicate the city’s consumer education efforts are paying off and that NYC hotel owners, apartment/condo managers and business owners have become smarter about treating and preventing bed bug infestations.

Connecticut Ramping Up to Implement Nation’s First Mattress Recycling Law

Bed bugs have turned used mattresses into a potential health problem. When New York City launched its first consumer awareness program against bed bugs, warning people about the possible infestation of second-hand mattresses was a major focus. The spread of bed bugs through the Big Apple was being accelerated by people taking home mattresses discarded for trash collection. Consumer education has reigned in the practice in New York and other metro areas, but finding a way to safely collect and dispose of bed bug-infested mattresses has remained a problem.

A new Connecticut law creating the nation’s first mattress recycling program could solve the mattress disposal issue and serve as a model for similar laws in other states. Developed with input from the International Sleep Products Association, the law has created a non-profit council to oversee and manage a mattress recycling program that will collect, transport, process and recycle discarded mattresses. Designed to be self-supporting, the program will be funded by the addition of a small fee, called a “mattress stewardship fee,” to be added to the purchase price of every mattress sold in the Connecticut. The law also provides for monetary incentive to encourage consumer participation.

Implementation of Connecticut’s mattress recycling program is scheduled for July, so it may be another year before the program’s effectiveness can be judged. The best way to protect your mattress from bed bug infestation remains bed bug-proof mattress covers and box spring encasements.

Problems with Rats and Mice Plague Nearly 1 in 3 U.S. Homes

Nearly one-third of Americans have a mice or rat problem in their home, apartment or condominium, according to a new infographic by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). Rodents invade 21 million U.S. homes each winter. Half of all rodent infestations are discovered in the kitchen where readily available food attracts mice and rats; but once rodents enter, they may nest anywhere.

According to NPMA surveys, here’s where licensed pest control professionals typically find rodents in multi-family living areas:

50% kitchen

27% basement

25% living room

24% attic or garage

22% bedroom

11% bathroom

9% other areas

Keeping rodents out, particularly during the cold winter months when they are most likely to invade New Jersey and New York apartments, duplexes and businesses, can be extremely difficult. Mice can squeeze through a dime-size opening, and rats can wriggle through a space the size of a quarter. These pests can also enter buildings through electrical and plumbing conduits or storm drains and can even drop from trees and enter through roof vents.

Rodents are a problem throughout the U.S. but are most numerous in the Northeast and particularly in population-dense metropolitan areas such as New York City and northern New Jersey. Rats and mice present a serious health threat to humans, spreading salmonella and carrying disease-causing parasites, including ticks, fleas and lice.

Stern’s experienced techs can treat your multi-family housing units or commercial building to protect them from further rodent invasion.

How Cold Does It Have to Get to Kill Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are sensitive to extreme temperatures. When correctly applied by an expert bed bug exterminator, both high heat and freezing cold can and will kill bed bugs. In both cases, a certain temperature must be reached and maintained for a specific period of time to guarantee the death of these insects. However, a recent study indicates that bed bugs may be better that previously believed at protecting themselves against low temperatures.

Like many insects, bed bugs have the ability to shield themselves against injury from cold temperatures by lowering the freezing point of their body fluids. As reported by the Entomological Society of America, a new study has been able to document bed bug behavior at various low temperature exposures and durations, providing pest control professionals with reliable bed bug control data.

Study results validate the instantly lethal effectiveness of Stern’s Cryonite bed bug extermination system. Researchers found that at temperatures below 5 F., bed bugs at all stages of development died within 3.5 days. Decreasing the temperature, shortened the necessary exposure time to guarantee 100% extermination; although some bed bugs were able to survive short exposures to below zero temperatures down to minus 13 F. Our Cryonite system uses a carbon dioxide “snow” super-cooled to a temperature of minus 110 F. which instantly freezes and kills bed bugs at all stages of development, including eggs.