Attention must be paid

Any time the media uses “bed bugs,” they mostly are followed by how they are in your neighborhood, backyard, attic, couch, bed - inspiring a few different reactions. One of vapid panic which keeps people awake feeling little twitches all over. One...


Any time the media uses “bed bugs,” they mostly are followed by how they are in your neighborhood, backyard, attic, couch, bed - inspiring a few different reactions. One of vapid panic which keeps people awake feeling little twitches all over. One of denial, the place looks clean, there's no mold or trash laying around - "it can't happen to me." People hear about bugs and associate uncleanliness to an infestation, however the word “infestation” itself is exaggerated and typically associated with pictures of thousands of crawling insects. Yet the common way to inform people of the presence of the bugs heard is “you have bed bugs.”

This references nothing to the amount of bugs found. It may be two, not thousands.

Sometimes two can be enough - three is a crowd after all. This problem isn’t something people can just simply sweep under the carpet - they may already be there.

Compared to the trials anyone in public safety encounter small tick-sized bugs can’t rise to top priority. “There’s no cop in this country who's not going to pick up somebody saying ‘I can’t bring them in my car because they have bed bugs’,” says Eric Bryan, a vice president of Noble Pine Co. - manufacturer of Sterifab, a disinfectant and insecticide, a commonly-used agent for bed bugs.

James Skinner, president of the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association (NESDCA) agrees. “When you’re dealing with a conflict, you have to keep the most important thing the most important thing, and that’s the conflict at hand,” he says.

Yet, as the number of places where bed bugs have been found increases the risk to public safety, law enforcement and corrections included, increases likewise. “There’s no way anymore that you can be assured that someone you’re coming in contact with doesn’t have bed bugs,” says Paul Wenning, chairman of the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force.

Serach & education

As with any good investigation, knowing your enemy is vital - this holds true with the national bed bug epidemic. While New York as the quintessential location in discussing these bugs, the greater Columbus area has experienced it’s own high level of unwanted visitors. In a proactive approach the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force was formed to raise awareness and educate the community of the growing problem - an effort to reduce or slow the spread. Comprised of volunteers, the Task Force holds bed bug training “summits” to teach attendees about bed bugs. Some sessions have included legal issues surrounding bed bugs, new methods of extermination, best practices on home visits, etc.

“You have got to know your enemy and the biggest thing is knowing what they look like,” advises Tammy Sheaks. As a fire inspector for the Jackson Township (Ohio) Fire Department, she represents the public safety industry on the Task Force.

Professor and extension urban entomologist for the Texas Agrilife Extension Service Michael Merchant agrees, suggesting that officers might want to have some training in how to recognize the bug and know who to report to if they think they have brought someone in that may have bed bugs.

He adds that “if you have a sighting of bed bugs in a particular spot you probably need to have some kind of protocol that has a pest control company come out and do an inspection and, maybe, a follow-up inspection to make sure of no ongoing infestation at the site … education is the main thing.”

A few basic bed bug facts include:

This content continues onto the next page...
301 Moved Permanently

Moved Permanently

The document has moved here.