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Bed Bug Control in Dayton, Ohio

Close-up of a bed bug on someone's thumb

Pro Zone Pest Control provides professional bed bug control services in Dayton, Springfield, Northern Cincinnati, and throughout Ohio's Miami Valley. We specialize in non-chemical bed bug control using heat treatment, but we also offer conventional bed bug control using insecticides for those situations where heat treatment is impractical. where the location requires residual protection against bed bug reinfestation, or if the customer prefers it.

Until the 1990s, most exterminators in the United States thought that bed bugs were extinct in the United States. In fact, when bed bug calls starting trickling in, it caught the entire pest management profession by surprise. A lot of us didn't believe it; and frankly, most of us weren't ready for it. Other than for a few grizzled old-timers, most people in the pest control industry in the United States had never even seen a bed bug, much less done a bed bug extermination job.

Because there hadn't been bed bugs here for such a long time, we also didn't have many insecticide products that were labeled for bed bugs -- and the ones that we did have weren't very effective. Bed bugs had been a non-issue here for so long that pesticide companies hadn't bothered to develop products that would be effective against them. The few products that were available were smelly, old-school chemicals that most people nowadays wouldn't want used in their homes anyway.

Here in Ohio, however, we had one advantage: The resurgence of bed bugs started on the East Coast, especially in New York, and to a lesser extent on the West Coast; so it took a while for bed bugs to reach the interior parts of the country like Dayton and the Miami Valley. By the time they made their way to the heartland, Manhattan and Los Angeles already were overrun with bed bugs, and we were able to benefit what they'd learned about controlling them.

Bed Bug Biology

Bed bugs (or bedbugs -- either is considered correct) are small, wingless, blood-feeding parasitic insects who strongly prefer the blood of humans. They also will feed on other mammals when humans aren't available, but that's considered slumming it if you're a bed bug. They have a strong preference for human blood.

Bed bugs develop through gradual metamorphosis with stages of egg, nymph, and adult. There are six instars (molts) during the nymphal stage, and the bed bugs must consume a blood meal before progressing to every next stage in their lives.

Female bed bugs mate only once for life, but they lay between 200 and 500 eggs in batches averaging two or three eggs a day. Egg production begins to slow down as a bed bug ages, usually between three and six months after becoming adults. Bed bugs mate by "traumatic insemination," which means that the male pierces the female's abdomen to inseminate them. Some females die from injuries suffered during the process or from subsequent infections.

Because bed bugs are blood feeders, they don't eat insecticide baits. This is one of the reasons why bed bugs have become such a big problem. Back in the old days, routine treatments for insects like ants and roaches were done using highly-volatile, toxic sprays, and the bed bugs were controlled incidentally to whatever other insects were being treated for. Bed bugs tend to hide in cracks and crevices just like cockroaches do, so the cockroach treatments killed the bed bugs, too.

Modern pest control has shifted to the use of species-specific baits over the past few decades, and that's a good thing. Those smelly, toxic old sprays weren't good for people and the environment. But because bed bugs don't eat baits, the switch to baits have enabled a sort of "bed bug renaissance" that has allowed the bed bug population in America to recover and thrive. The increase in international travel is believed to have brought bed bugs back to America, but it was the shift in pest control methods that allowed them to party on.

How Bed Bugs Spread

Bed bugs have no wings, so they can't fly. They also have stubby legs that are not adapted to jumping. So if someone tells you that they saw bed bugs flying or jumping off a person, then they are mistaken. They don't fly and they don't jump. There are no bed bugs in the NBA.

Rather, bed bugs get around by crawling or falling. They usually don't live on people, per se, but they do very often happen to wind up on people or in their clothing, and then they basically hitch-hike on them as they go about their business. This is one of the main ways that bed bugs spread throughout a region. They crawl from one person's clothing to a piece of furniture (such as a seat on a bus or in a restaurant), and then they climb onto another person later on.

Another way that bed bugs are spread is in hotels and motels. They hitch-hike in a traveler's clothing or luggage, migrate into the room or its furnishings, and become established there. This also happens in restaurant booths and wardrobes, gym lockers, and other shared-use facilities.

Bed bugs can also spread between units in multiple dwellings like apartment houses or condos. They easily travel through walls, ceilings, and even electrical conduit. One thing that happens a lot is that residents in a unit that's infested will try to treat their own bed bug problem using over-the-counter insecticides. That's a big mistake. Most OTC insecticides are very repellent and will drive many more bed bugs into the adjacent units than they will kill.

We're also encountering more and more bed bug problems in retail clothing stores, especially in the fitting rooms and returned-goods areas. When you purchase new clothes, it's a good idea to wash and dry them as soon as you get home just in case you brought some unwanted guests along. Use an appropriate detergent and the warmest water that the fabrics can stand.

Bed Bugs and Human Health

A few years ago, a study done in Canada scared a lot of people when it suggested the possibility that bed bugs could spread MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Fortunately, those studies weren't able to be replicated, and most experts doubt that bed bugs spread MRSA or any other disease. The official position of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is that bed bugs are not known to spread disease and should not be considered a public health hazard.

Nonetheless, let's face it, bed bugs are gross. They also cause a great deal of anxiety. No one wants wants to go to bed at night knowing that bed bugs are getting ready to feast on their blood. Bed bug bites bites can also be very irritating. Some people develop rashes that itch intensely and sometimes become infected due to scratching. So yeah, it's nice that they don't seem to transmit disease, but we still don't want them eating us.

Bed Bug Control

Bed bugs are among the most difficult of all insects to control. Even professional pest control operators consider bed bug elimination to be a challenge. Bed bugs' small size and secretive habits allow them to hide pretty much anywhere, their prolific reproductive habits mean that small infestations can become big infestations very quickly, and their blood-feeding habits mean that they don't readily take up insecticides into their systems. These factors make bed bug extermination very challenging even for the best of us.

Difficult as it may be, however, Pro Zone Pest Control is up to the challenge. We offer two highly-effective approaches to bed bug elimination.

Conventional, Chemical Bed Bug Control

A conventional bed bug control job requires at least several hours of meticulous, precision application of insecticides to every infested room in a home, as well as the furnishings, trim, fixtures, and usually the adjacent rooms. The amount of insecticide used is actually pretty little, but it's systematically applied into every crack and crevice in the rooms and the furnishings. Depending on the size and extent of the job, it may require several technicians the better part of a day to do the job.

This approach has some advantages, the most important of which is that the insecticides have some residual effectiveness. This is why chemical treatments are usually the ones preferred in hotels, motels, hostels, and other places with transient occupants. It's also the preferred method in retail stores, restaurants, airports, and so forth, for the same reason. The residual insecticide provides at least some continuing protection against reinfestation.

The disadvantages of chemical bed bug control include the fact that it requires extensive preparation on the customer's part. Thorough cleaning, vacuuming, removal of literally everything in a room, and washing or dry-cleaning of every stitch of clothing in the house are vital to the effectiveness of a chemical bed bug elimination job. There also are people who are allergic or sensitive to insecticides, or who just prefer not having them applied in their homes.

Heat Treatment for Bed Bug Control

Big heater, blower, and ducting used for bed bug heat treatment in front of a condo.

Except where residual protection is needed, heat treatment is our preferred bed bug control method. We have invested in precision heating equipment that is able to control the temperature inside a house to within a few degrees of that "sweet spot" that completely eliminates a bed bug problem (including the eggs), while requiring less in the way of preparation on the customer's part. Some items like crayons and candles will have to be moved, as well as living things like pets and plants. It's also important to remove clutter and items that may block the heat from getting to the walls, floors, and ceilings.

There are many advantages to using heat to kill bed bugs. The first is that it requires no chemicals at all, so there won't be any problems with allergies or sensitivities. It also insures a complete kill of even the eggs, which usually are not killed using insecticides. As previously mentioned, it requires less in the way of customer preparation, and it usually requires only one technician to monitor the heat-treatment system.

The main disadvantage of heat treatment is that in most cases, an entire building must be treated. Before the interior gets hot enough to kill the bed bugs, it will get warm enough to repel them; so heat treatment's not practical for multiple dwellings unless the adjacent units are going to be treated at the same time. This can be impractical in very large buildings.

The other disadvantage of heat treatment is that it offers no residual protection. This usually isn't an issue in a private home, but it can be in a hotel, motel, or hostel where different people use the rooms every night. In those situations, chemical treatment usually is a better option.

Disposal of Furniture Infested by Bed Bugs

We provide a solution to another problem faced by people with bed bug problems: what to do with infested furniture.

Actually, we offer two solutions. One of them is to simply haul your stuff away if you don't want it anymore. This is often the case with badly-infested bedding or upholstered furniture, for example. Bed bug stains and odors are difficult to remove, and many people decide to just discard and replace the mattresses and box springs. No worries. We have a truck and we know how to use it. We'll be happy to dispose of your discarded furniture.

The second solution is off-site treatment of your infested belongings. This can be a useful service if you're moving and would like your furniture treated before you move it to your new place. We can pick it up, treat it, and deliver it to your new home so you have peace of mind when you get there.

Please contact us for more information about bed bug control, or to schedule a confidential, on-site consultation. We provide bed bug control in Dayton, Springfield, Northern Cincinnati, or anywhere in Ohio's Miami Valley.