Increase in bed bugs popping up at Tri-state summer camps, dorms & homes

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Exterminators say many Tri-state summer camps and dorms have been hit hard by bed bugs.

Technicians at Scherzinger Pest Control loaded up for another day fighting bed bugs. Business is really heating up this summer.

Steven Scherzinger runs the company. He says that in the last five months, the they've received twice the number of calls for bed bugs over this time last year.

"In the first six months of the year {in 2009,) we were probably doing 600 to 700 jobs of bedbugs," said Scherzinger. "This year, alone, since March, we've done over 1000 treatments of bedbugs."

The company just started using 230-lb. heaters to kill the bugs, instead of chemicals. It's a process called heatigation that requires the heaters to reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time.

"Once we get it heated, we keep it there for three to four hours at that temperature," said Scherzinger. "We actually eliminate all the eggs, all the nymphs, all the bed bugs. All in one treatment."

Much of their business is coming from people in apartments, college dorms, and summer camps. Scherzinger wouldn't tell us which ones though.

"There's not a season for bed bugs," said Scherzinger. "They're around with us all year round."

This year, Camp Kern directors in Warren County are taking matters into their on hands.

Camp directors are being proactive. They sent parents a letter about bed bugs, but before they get a problem. Executive Director Jeffrey Merhige said the camp does not have a bed bug problem now, but they've had three incidents in the last 13 months; all from campers who've tracked in the bed bugs. The letter tells parents what camp directors are doing to prevent bed bugs as well as what parents can do once campers return home.

Scherzinger said the number one tip works for campers and anyone who is planning on traveling this summer.

"The best thing to do is before you unpack your belongings out of the suitcase, just take them right to the dryer and heat them on high heat," Scherzinger said. "The heat will kill the bed bugs."

Tips to Prevent Bed Bugs (from Scherzinger Pest Control):

1) Avoid used furniture

2) Inspect hotel/cabin/dorm rooms before you unpack your bags (look at the mattress and make sure it doesn't have little red or black spots, or bugs crawling on it)

3) Do not use dressers in hotels or cabins

4) Launder all clothing in hot water immediately when returning from hotels

5) Reduce clutter in your dwelling

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