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Ocean County and Bed Bugs: The Boys are Back in Town

2012 October 11
by admin

Bed bugs are back and they’re nastier than ever. Wherever there is a transient human population, bed bugs are sure to follow.  Motels, hotels, airports, taxis, health care facilities, movie theaters, dormitories, and apartments are all tailor-made for bed bugs to transfer to among the human population and set up new infestation sites.  As a result, summer at the Jersey shore means more than a human population spike. With all of the incoming visitors looking for summer sun and relaxation, there are likely traveling bed bugs as well. During the summer months, Ocean County residents should be extra cautious when going to the movies or trying on clothes at the Mall. It is common for bed bugs to hitchhike into homes and then set up shop to use you and your family as hosts for their blood meals. Socioeconomic status is not a factor in bed bug infestations nor is hygiene issues. Bed bugs are interested in human blood — nothing more, nothing less.  So anyone can wind up with an infestation.  Five-star hotels and oceanfront estates can all find themselves with bed bugs.  Because of the close living arrangements in apartments, bed bugs are common in such dwellings and easily move from one apartment to the next.

Up until the mid-1940s, bed bugs were a common and widespread pest in this country.  At that time, DDT and other broad-spectrum, very long-lived pesticides came into use.  These were used so widely against all kinds of pests, and were so effective against bed bugs, that bed bug problems became virtually nonexistent for a number of decades.  But bed bugs have once again reared their blood-sucking heads.  The speculation as to why bed bugs have returned includes such theories as increased international travel and the banning of DDT.  But whatever the reason, they are back in record numbers and recorded infestations continue to grow.   Unfortunately, New Jersey, with its dense population and close proximity to New York City, the unofficial bed bug capital based on reported infestations, has been particularly hard hit with the resurgence of these insects.

And it’s not just Northern New Jersey that has a bed bug problem. Bed bugs have infiltrated every county in New Jersey with a vengeance. It seems that Ocean County has received more than its fair share. Cowleys Termite and Pest Control has handled a significant number of bug infestations in Ocean County. Unfortunately, every year, the infestation numbers continue to increase.

On November 9, 2011, Asbury Park Press reported that Lakewood High School found a pair of bed bugs in the school.  According to the schools protocol, the Ocean County Health Department was called and the seven-page memo that outlines how bed bugs must be dealt with was followed completely.  Officials reported that the school was sanitized and a letter was sent to parents explaining how to recognize bed bugs and what to do afterwards. Because schools are a common place where a transient population comes into close contact with each other, they should be considered as a potential bed bug-transfer facility.

More common, bed bugs have a special affinity for hotels and motels where guests sleep on the same mattresses separated by (hopefully) a thin layer of newly washed sheets. When vacationing, be aware of bed bug risks and learn how to do a quick bed bug check before making yourself at home.  Also, if you have summer guests staying at area shore hotels, tactfully ensure that they are not bringing bugs into your home.

Bed bugs are a high priority concern for the Ocean County Health Department.  According to an article published in the Jackson Family & Community Magazine, the Department has been working diligently through raising awareness and education to help Ocean County residents, businesses, schools, and towns handle bed bug infestations should they arise and to take steps beforehand to prevent it.  In this article, according to Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Public Health Cooodinator, the best way to eliminate bugs one identified is to contact a state DEP licensed pest professional to identify and treat the infestation. Advised Regenye, “The one thing we strongly do not recommend is attempting to handle the problem yourself. Avoid at all costs the use of do-it-yourself techniques and off the shelf products.”  More often than not, home remedies just spread the bugs throughout the home and make the problem worse.

Leslie Terjesen, Public Information Officer for Ocean County Health Department, also quoted in this article, noted that developing an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) is the best  way to prevent or eliminate bedbugs. “IPM is the use of all possible methods in a logical combination that minimizes risk of pesticide exposure, safeguards the environment and maximizes effectiveness,” she said. “The first step is making sure you are dealing with bed bugs. Secondly, you want to clean and eliminate clutter. Third, you want to vacuum thoroughly, and then clean out the vacuum bag.  In addition to cleaning, vacuuming, trying to eliminate bed bug habitats, pesticides are an option but should be the last option and they need to be applied with a NJDEP licensed pest control operator.” Terjesen noted that the Ocean County Health Department has available many informational brochures and literature pertaining to bed bug prevention and treatment.

If you are looking for bed bug control in Ocean County, give Cowleys a call today.

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