Bugging Out

Darius Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite is a phrase many of us heard during childhood and, later, paid little attention to once we became adults. But according to Orkin – the Atlanta-based pest control company – there are more people affected by bed bugs in the United States now than ever before.

That’s especially true in our area. According to the latest Orkin list of the Top 50 Bed Bug Cities Baltimore and Washington D.C. ranked No. 1 No. 2, respectively, among cities metro areas where the company performed the most bed bug treatments from December 1, 2015 – November 30, 2016.

For those lucky enough to have never encountered bed bugs, they’re flat, reddish brown tiny pest that feed on blood (humans are their favorite). Don’t let the name fool you. Bed bugs are not limited to only beds. They can be found within the crevices of furniture, headboards, electrical outlet sockets, luggage & even in unsuspecting places such as bathroom vents & public transportation seats.

Despite how awful the thought of having bed bugs appears, treating these bugs are more of an inconvenience then a serious health concern. Yes, when they feed, bed bugs do leave behind itchy welts on their victims. However, there is no substantial research indicating that bed bugs transmit diseases.

One of the main reasons people hate bed bugs is that treatments in most cases require throwing away the infested items, such as mattresses, sheets, clothes and other costly household items.

The treatments in itself are not expensive but costs can mount if repeated treatments are required.

Under the Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, landlords are held accountable for keeping an apartment unit safe and habitable. As a result, apartment owners find themselves spending and budgeting more money for pest control treatments annd bed bug mattress covers due to the huge increase of bed bug sightings.

In April 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued Notice H 2012-5, which addresses pest infestations. With help from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), HUD encouraged Landlords to develop an Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPM), which serves as a guideline to prevent & control infestations.

Some key principles from the plan include, raising awareness through education, encouraging tenants to reduce the clutter that attracts bugs and to take precautions when brining in luggage, coats and other items that may have come in contact with bed bugs outside the home.

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