FAIRBORN — Bedbugs aren’t particular about which homes they will impact. Fairborn, as well as the entire area, has been particularly affected by the blood-eating bugs.
“A big misconception is that people get bed bugs from being dirty — that is just not the case,” said Eric Scherzinger, sales and marketing manager for Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control in Fairborn, via email. “They also do not discriminate socioeconomically, as we find them in multi-million dollar houses and low income housing. Bed bugs are not a pest that will simply go away; the problem will just keep getting worse when you get them.”
With the assistance of chemicals and/or heating techniques, an impacted home can be freed of the bugs. Scherzinger said he has observed individuals setting their homes on fire in an attempt to treat the infestations themselves, as reported by the media.
In an extreme case, Scherzinger saw a 180-unit apartment building with approximately 140 of the units experiencing a bedbug infestation. One hundred of the impacted units were deemed a “heavy” infestation, in which bedbugs could be observed crawling across infants’ faces in the middle of the day, and the bugs had made their way onto patios and shared hallway areas. Six weeks after the initial inspection, the health department condemned the entire complex.
“This is not a pest that is easy to take care of, and is not one people can typically treat themselves,” Scherzinger said. “The thing not to do is panic and throw everything away. Most of the time everything can be saved, and throwing things away will not take care of the problem. I wouldn’t think people would want the additional expense of buying all new things as well.”
The critter’s biology protects them from easily being exterminated. They will normally hide until they are ready to feed, and one treatment from an exterminator is not enough to fully rid a home of the issue, as the eggs have a protective layer that is resistant to most treatment products.
“Bedbugs are true hitch hikers, meaning you have to pick them up somewhere,” Scherzinger said. “Think of all the places people might go in a day where someone else could have been before then — the doctor’s office, public transportation, the library, schools and the store, then if a guest comes over to your house or you go on vacation and stay in a hotel — these are all common places that we have helped people figure out where they picked up bedbugs at. Typically when someone is sitting or lying down for an extended period of time, they are more likely to attract bedbugs if they are in the area. However, they can always be picked up in passing.”
Adult bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed, while babies and eggs are much smaller and are more difficult to observe. Scherzinger said signs of having such an infestation include actually seeing the bugs inside of the home, black dots within congregated areas and blood stains on mattresses as a result of squishing the bugs from rolling on them while sleeping.
“Bed bugs are most likely to be found within three to five feet of the bed but can also be in couches and chairs,” he said. “About 60 to 65 percent of the population have a reaction of some type to the bites, while other people don’t show any signs of being bitten; it will vary person to person … The bites look very similar to mosquito bites, so they can be confused.”
Alcohol has the ability to kill the bugs on contact, but it has no residual effect. Therefore, Scherzinger said it is not an effective way to treat an infested home. Store-bought bedbug products act as a contact killer as well. The Ohio State University has conducted research regarding bedbug “foggers,” and Scherzinger said they have been proven to be ineffective.
“We (Scherzinger) offer two different types of treatments,” Scherzinger said. “First, the conventional treatment of using products only to treat for bed bugs. This is a very intense process with a lot of preparation work to be done. For example, you have to launder all of your clothes, empty out all the dressers, de-clutter your house and get everything off the floor except furniture. It is almost like moving out of your house for two months since this method of treatment takes four every-other-week visits. The other treatment method that we offer that is unique to Scherzinger is our ‘heatigation’ service… We use high power specialty-crafted electric heaters and high-powered fans to raise the temperature to between 125 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit and hold it there for four to six hours.
This treatment kills all stages of bedbugs, from egg to adult, in one day with minimal preparation to be done. It also comes with a warranty and we come back 10 to 15 days later to verify we have taken care of the problem.”
Editor’s note: The Fairborn Daily Herald staff will continue to share information on this subject matter next week, talking to local health officials and other experts on the matter. If you have a story to share contact Whitney Vickers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-878-3993.