Fight the Bite of Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

(NAPS, August 2004) – The phrase “Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite,” may be truer than you think. Studies show that bed bugs are biting.

According to a recent survey of more than 150 pest control companies in the United States, conducted by Pest Control Technology magazine, more than 70 percent that offer bed bug control services have seen an increase in bed bug calls over the last 18 months.

Specifically, Orkin, Inc. has treated for bed bug infestations in 35 states and is predicting a 25 to 30 percent rise in bed bug infestations over the next four to five years.

The resurgence of these hitchhikers began in hotels, followed by infestations in homes, apartments, dormitories, condominiums and cruise ships. Once indoors, bed bugs spread from room to room—on clothing and luggage and even through pipes and vacuum cleaners. What’s more, cleanliness has nothing to do with bed bugs.

“Bed bugs are on the rise and are a serious issue for everyone,” said Frank Meek, board certified entomologist and technical director for Orkin, Inc. “Orkin has treated multiple infestations in the past year from small hotels and apartment complexes to luxurious tourist destinations and homes.”

Bed bugs are flat, brown and oval in shape until after they bite; then they fill out and turn a reddish color. The adult is about 3/16-inch long, or about the size of an apple seed. Though these nocturnal insects are not known to cause disease, they harbor hepatitis and leave itchy, bloody welts on our skin.

Meek suggests checking for common signs of bed bug infestations when traveling, or if you suspect that you have a problem.

•  Carefully inspect luggage and clothing for hiding insects.

•  Check sheets for brown or red spots.

•  Monitor for a musty, sweet odor, like soda pop syrup (produced from a large infestation).

•  Look for itchy, bloody welts on the skin.

Bed bugs are extremely difficult to kill. In fact, adult bed bugs can live for a year without eating, and they can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to almost 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Successfully treating for bed bugs requires the use of a licensed, pest control professional with specific training and experience.

For more information regarding bed bugs or other pests, or to receive a free home inspection, call 1-800-800-ORKIN or visit