Bed bugs are small, flattened, blood-sucking insects that usually (but not always) live close to where there hosts sleep. They spend their days hidden from our view, and then emerge at night to feast upon our blood.
Over the past decade, bed bugs have decisively unseated other insects as the fastest-growing and most difficult-to-control insect pest problem in the Greater Atlanta area. From single-family homes to huge apartment buildings and condominiums, and in homeless shelters, prisons, and five-star hotels, bed bug infestations are reaching epidemic proportions.
And a lot of people are losing sleep over it.
There was a time when many people, including most exterminators, thought that there were no bed bugs in the United States. And probably there weren't -- or at least there were very few of them. Certainly they weren't something that most pest control professionals had come across in many years.
But about 15 years ago, scattered calls about bed bugs started coming to pest control companies across the country, starting in the big cities, and eventually spreading throughout the nation. It soon became very clear: Bed bugs were back -- and they were making up for lost time.
That's a good question. But the better question is probably, "Why did they go away for so long?" When we look at the question that way, some clues start to emerge. As best as entomologists can tell, what happened went something like this.
For a good part of the 20th Century, most chemicals used for pest control were broad-spectrum, meaning that they killed a wide variety of insect pests; and they also were applied very liberally. The result was that when the exterminator came and sprayed for, let's say, cockroaches, the bed bugs also died.
During the 1970's and 1980's, dramatic shifts toward less-hazardous methods of pest control occurred. Entire groups of chemicals were discontinued, and application methods became much more precise. Instead spraying a gallon of insecticide on every baseboard in the house, a pest control technician might squirt just a few drops into a crack where the pests actually were.
Later on, in the 1990's, the trend became more toward specie-specific baits that would be attractive to and effective against only a very few species of insects. Roach baits, ant baits, and eventually even termite baits were developed. These products were highly effective against their respective pests, but they had absolutely zero effectiveness against other insects -- bed bugs included.
Long story short, for many years, the insecticides and treatment methods that were used against other pests also killed the bed bugs, even though they weren't the pest exterminators were spraying for. But when the pest control methods became more precise, specific, and refined, the bed bugs had a chance to regroup.
At Rid-A-Critter, we look at each bed bug job as a unique situation, and develop our treatment strategies individually. But one thing is always true: We aim to minimize the use of chemical insecticides even before we've started the job.
Through a combination of careful planning and cooperation on the customer's part, we accomplish most of a bed bug control job non-chemically using methods such as steam treatment. We use insecticides only where and when they are needed to assure effective bed bug elimination. In fact, we complete some bed bug control jobs using no chemicals at all.
When insecticides are needed, they're applied with the utmost precision, only where they're needed, and exactly where they're needed, to assure the greatest effectiveness against bed bugs, with the minimum possible amount of product.
As mentioned, effective bed bug control does require a certain amount of cooperation and effort on the customer's part. We've prepared a bed bug pre-treatment brochure that we ask all customers use to prepare their homes for our visit. Please read this brochure carefully, and contact us if you have any questions.
Rid-A-Critter provides bed bug control in hotels, motels, apartment buildings, and condos throughout the Greater Atlanta area, as well as in hospital, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities.
Bed bugs in a multiple dwelling should be treated as an urgent situation. Bed bugs spread quickly from unit to unit, and small bed bug problems can rapidly become big ones.
In hotels, motels, hospitals, and nursing homes, it's important to vacate the infested room and the adjacent rooms, if at all possible, as soon as a bed bug problem has been detected. In multiple dwellings, it's usually necessary to treat the affected unit and the adjacent units, both horizontally and vertically. The more quickly this is done, the less likely that the problem will spread even more.
Bed Bug Control Gallery
Here are a few pictures of bed bug jobs we've done in and around the Atlanta area.
Treating a boxspring for bed bugs in Marietta
Treating a mattress for bedbugs in Atlanta
Bed bug infestation in a mattress in Atlanta
Treating a dresser for bed bugs in Atlanta
Bed bugs found in a bed frame in Duluth
Bed bug at Fayettevile bed bug control job
Bed bug control job in Atlanta, Georgia
Bed bugs in a mattress in Peachtree City, GA
Bed bug control job in Sandy Springs
Cherie using steam to kill bedbugs in Atlanta
Bed bug and staining in a mattress in Duluth
Bed bug control in a dresser in Sandy Springs
Bed bug extermination job in Atlanta