Bedbugs “Attend” Princeton University
In early October, students in a Princeton University dormitory discovered a bedbug infestation in Rockefeller College’s Holder Hall and had to be relocated while a pest control firm was called in to eliminate it. Bed bugs were first reported in Holder Hall in September.
“The infestation,” said Leonard Douglen, Executive Director of the New Jersey Pest Management Association, “reportedly was the result of a piece of personal furniture brought into the dorm by one of the students and is a good example of how bed bugs can migrate from place to place.”
“There is no place where humans live or work that is immune to a bed bug infestation,” said Douglen, “and this problem has now spread to all fifty states since they became a significant pest problem as the new century began, invading homes, apartments, dormitories, hotels, and just about anywhere humans lay down to sleep. Bedbugs can detect a body in the room or in one nearby.
Bed bugs get their name from their favorite place to hide out, a mattress, box spring, and bed frame. They can be found in any dark, warm place in a home, apartment, or workplace.
“There has been a dramatic increase” in calls to pest management firms concerning bedbug problems in recent years, Douglen estimates that bedbug-related calls throughout New Jersey has increased 30% to 40% since 2000.
“Bedbugs cannot be exterminated with off-the-shelf pesticides,” said Douglen. “Only a professional pest management firm has the knowledge and the EPA-approved pesticides to rid a home or other structure of bedbugs and it usually takes several trips to do it.”
Douglen noted that pest management professionals frequently recommend purchasing plastic cases for mattresses that will trap any existing bedbug infestation and keep out a new one. “The plastic must be at least three millimeters thick.”
“The good news is that bedbugs do not spread diseases in the same way as mosquitoes or other pest insects. This doesn’t mean, however, that being bitten by them doesn’t cause a lot of itching and discomfort.”
“The problem is attributed to the increase in international travel. People coming into New Jersey and other States from foreign nations bring them in via their luggage. From there, they can spread to anywhere people stay for the night.”
Not only do Americans travel abroad in large numbers, but millions of foreigners visit the United States every year.
The quarter-inch long bugs feed primarily on humans at night when they are asleep. Some people have no reactions to the bites, but others experience swelling and redness where they are bitten. While bedbugs do not spread disease, they do leave behind tiny droppings of blood and give off a sickly sweet odor.
Bedbugs can live for more than a year without eating and can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to almost 113 degrees Fahrenheit. This increases the difficulty of eliminating them.
Female bedbugs lay from 200 to 500 eggs, attaching them with a glue-like substance. They hatch in about ten days. Though they do not grow larger than a small seed, they go through five nymph stages, each of which requires a single blood meal before molting. They can suck up to six times their weight and feeding takes from three to ten minutes. Bedbugs produce three to four generations within a year’s time.
Founded in 1941, the association’s member firms are also members of the National Pest Management Association. The association maintains a website at www.njpma.com where consumers can find listings of member firms
Leonard Douglen @ 800-524-9942
Disseminated by The Caruba Organization
Alan Caruba @ (973) 763-6392