Hints from Heloise: Call a Pro to Kill Bed Bugs

A recent Hints from Heloise column posted this query from “A Reader in Washington”:

“Dear Heloise: Is there an at-home remedy to get rid of bed bugs?”

“Sorry to give you not-so-good news,” Heloise responded. “There really isn’t any home remedy to get rid of bed bugs. Over-the-counter pesticides and bug removal products do not work.”

We’re pleased to see America’s go-to source for reliable home tips spreading the word about do-it-yourself bed bug treatment. Too many people are injuring themselves and putting their families at risk by trying to treat bed bugs themselves. The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention recently reported a noticeable rise in reports of “acute illnesses” related to ”excessive insecticide application” by do-it-yourselfers trying to rid their homes or apartments of these blood-sucking pests.

Bed bugs are impervious to house and garden pesticides. Trying to kill bed bugs with household sprays or bug bombs will only send bed bugs into hiding and fill your home with toxic chemicals that can endanger the health of your family and pets. The only safe and effective methods of ridding your home or office of bed bugs are application of extreme cold using the Cryonite system, extended application of extreme heat or multiple applications of professional pesticides. In all cases, extermination should be performed only by a licensed pest control professional with proven expertise in successful bed bug extermination.

If you have bed bugs, call the bed bug experts at Stern Environmental for fast, non-toxic extermination.

ZappBug Portable Bed Bug Killing Chambers Revolutionize War on Bed Bugs

Bed bug victims throw away millions of dollars of bed bug infested furniture, clothing, luggage and other items every year rather than risk reinfestation. Outside of removing furniture and possessions to offsite locations for professional treatment, which can be expensive; there have been few reliable and affordable options for treating bed bug infested furniture and personal possessions onsite — until now.

Now available from Stern’s online store, ZappBug offers two portable heating chambers for onsite bed bug extermination that are revolutionizing the war on bed bugs. Designed to be portable, affordable, reliable, safe and easy to use by either consumers or professionals, ZappBug heat chambers use killing heat to exterminate bed bugs and their eggs.

Designed for home use, the ZappBug Heater is the perfect solution for treating sensitive items, such as children’s toys, dry-cleanable fabrics and shoes. Large enough to treat small carry-on luggage, the ZappBug Heater offers frequent travelers peace of mind. Buy it from the Stern store for $199.95 with free shipping.

Designed for commercial use, the ZappBug Room is large enough to treat a sofa or shelves of stacked items. Easy to carry, the unit sets up in under 10 minutes. An excellent choice for building managers, condos and coops, store owners, hotels and professional exterminators, the ZappBug Room is available from Stern for $1,495 with free shipping.

Say good-bye to bed bugs and keep your stuff! Buy ZappBug heat chambers from Stern’s online store today.

Fierce Winter Behind Wave of Squirrel Invasions

Tree squirrels like the Eastern gray squirrels found in New York and New Jersey do not hibernate. Even when there is snow on the ground, you’ll see squirrels chasing each other through the trees and scampering around backyards foraging for food. But tree squirrels do not like the kind of frigid, windy weather that has repeatedly visited the East Coast this winter.

When Arctic temperatures descend and howling storms rip through the state, squirrels pile on top of each other to conserve body heat and stay in their leaf-lined nests for days and sometimes weeks until the weather eases. But this winter, the weather has been so extreme that many squirrels have been invading New York and New Jersey homes, seeking better protection against the cold and wind in well-insulated attics. The approach of birthing season has only heightened the animals’ urgency to find safer, warmer shelter before kittens arrive.

Eastern gray squirrels can have two litters a year; the first in February to March and a second in mid- to late-summer. Litter sizes range from 2 to 8 kits (babies are called kits, pups or kittens). Kits are born blind and helpless but mature quickly.

Constant gnawers, squirrels can be extremely destructive if they take up residence in your attic. They carry rabies and disease-bearing parasites and foul insulation. If squirrels move into your home, don’t risk being bitten or coming into contact with contaminated nesting materials. Call Stern’s nuisance animal control experts for professional 24-hour emergency squirrel removal.

Co-Ops: Who Is Responsible for Bed Bug Treatment?

Bed bugs aren’t attracted to filth or food like other problem pests that bedevil New York City co-op residents. Unlike other pests that creep in from outdoors, bed bugs are adept hitchhikers, arriving in the suitcases, briefcases, purses and other personal belongings of co-op residents who have, often unwittingly, come in contact with bed bugs.

Because co-op residents bring in these pests which can then spread rapidly from unit to unit, deciding who is responsible – and who pays – can be a thorny issue. As lawyer Stephen Troup of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin recently pointed out in an article on Habitat.com, it pays to read the fine print about extermination responsibility before moving into a co-op.

New York bed bug laws clearly hold apartment landlords responsible for bed bug extermination in rental units. Because residents of NYC co-op apartments are actually lease-holders, they generally share the same pest-free living space protections afforded apartment dwellers; thus placing pest control responsibility with the co-op board. However, some co-op leases limit board responsibility to common areas, holding individuals responsible for extermination of their unit. Attorney Troup points out that a 2009 court ruling may circumvent such agreements in many cases bouncing extermination responsibility back to the board, although that won’t necessarily protect residents from financial responsibility.

Bottom line: If bed bugs move into your NYC co-op, call Stern’s bed bug experts for fast, effective extermination. No matter who pays, getting it done right will cost you less in the long run.

Bed Bug Heat Treatment Causes Problems for NYC Co-Ops

Heat treatments are frequently touted as an effective way to get rid of bed bugs, but they often fail to live up to the hype, as events at a Manhattan co-op so painfully illustrate. When a resident of a 22-unit NYC co-op discovered bed bugs, he arranged to have his unit heat treated. Afterwards, he reported his apartment to be bed bug-free. But the heat treatment hadn’t actually annihilated the bed bug infestation, it had just forced the insects to scurry next door or, in this case, upstairs into the apartment directly above his

As an exterminator told the upstairs neighbor who inherited the bed bug infestation, heat treatments aren’t usually effective at exterminating bed bugs in apartments or co-ops. “It rarely gets hot enough to kill them and they just travel up through the walls to another location.” Instead of ending the misery, ineffective or inexpertly applied bed bug treatments simply spread the misery. (Click to read Tom Soter’s first-person account of his co-op bed bug woes on Habitat.com.)

Bed bugs are good at hiding and when motivated they can move pretty fast. That’s why it’s so difficult to kill these pests in multi-unit buildings. Moving through air ducts, wall voids, electrical and plumbing conduits, bed bugs simply relocate to avoid heat or pesticides. Cryonite offers another option; one that exterminates bed bugs without spreading infestations. Cryonite is the perfect solution for NYC co-ops. Get the details on our website.