Looking closely, it's possible to see where the bedbug's straw-like mouth part is inserted into Melinda's skin. But she can't feel a thing. That's because bedbugs inject their victims with a numbing agent that dulls the pain of being feasted upon.

Heat treatment is pesticide-free and doesn't require a license. The science behind it is that bedbugs can't withstand temperatures above 120 degrees. So instead of using chemicals, none of which are 100 percent effective, companies have begun offering to essentially turn bug-ridden apartments into ovens and bake the bedbugs to death. (According to John Scott, the pesticides program manager for the Colorado Department of Agriculture, 57 new residential and commercial pest-control companies have opened in the state in the past three years, bringing the total to 176. That's a 45 percent increase.)

"It only takes one minute at 122 degrees for a bedbug to die," Chris Covington says. For years, the Covingtons have owned two other companies: Purple Penguin Carpet Cleaning and Rapid Restoration, which provides services that range from drying flooded homes to removing raw sewage and cleaning up meth labs. He says they decided to start BedBug Blasters after realizing that the heaters they use to dry out flooded structures were the same ones being used to kill bedbugs through heat treatment.

And to make sure all the bugs are obliterated, the BedBug Blasters crew will walk their new bedbug-sniffing dog, Bugsy, through a treated apartment two days later. Bugsy is a rescued beagle puppy trained at the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Academy in Florida; detection dogs are 98 percent accurate at finding live bedbugs, according to a 2008 study by the University of Florida. Humans are much less accurate.

To train Bugsy, the Covingtons keep a passel of live bedbugs, which need to be fed regularly, in a glass container that resembles a salt shaker but with smaller holes on top. Like a K9, Bugsy is a working dog; he only gets fed by his handlers, Chris Covington and Zetwick, and only if he "finds his Bs," the command for sniffing bedbugs. To keep Bugsy sharp, the men practice with him several times a day.

On a recent morning, Zetwick, a bearded 33-year-old who grew up duck hunting with Labrador retrievers, prepares for a practice "hide." He straps on a fanny pack full of kibble and puts Bugsy on a leash. "You ready to go to work?!" he croons in an excited tone that's part schoolteacher, part baby talk. "Let's find the Bs! Let's find the Bs!"

Bugsy begins sniffing as Zetwick leads him counter-clockwise around one of the offices in the industrial park where BedBug Blasters is located. Bugsy soon begins scratching at a filing cabinet, signaling to Zetwick that he smells bedbugs. Zetwick opens a drawer and pulls out a vial of live ones.

"Good! Goo' boy!" he squeals.

Innovation isn't cheap, however. Heat treatment starts at around $700 and can run up to several thousand dollars. Treating with pesticides generally costs less, though not always. For a lower fee -- $350 for up to six units -- BedBug Blasters will certify that an apartment is clean before anyone moves in. It's protection for the landlord, Chris Covington explains. "What we're saying to them is, have us walk Bugsy through the apartment and we can certify that it's bedbug-free. Then you can wash your hands of it."

At least for a while.

Bedbugs are wily creatures. Around for hundreds of years, they were practically eliminated in the 1940s and '50s due to the widespread use of DDT. But they've returned with a vengeance in the 21st century. Hearty as hell, a bedbug can survive for an entire year without a blood meal. They're also quick and efficient reproducers: A female can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. That's why pest-control operators often say that a bedbug infestation is defined as one pregnant female.

Bedbugs are easily spread. Though they can't fly or jump, they're excellent hitchhikers. "You could sit on a public bus and get bedbugs," says Michele Evans, the owner of Anchor Pest Control Services in Denver, an extermination business started by her dad eighteen years ago that offers both heat treatment and chemical treatment.

"It doesn't matter who you are," she says. "You could be poor as poor or rich as rich. It's economically blind."

In the past five years, Evans says the number of bedbug infestations her company has treated has grown exponentially. "It's endless," she says. "We've found them in pieces of luggage. We've found them in drapes. We've found them behind wallpaper." She tells the story of one woman who had such a bad infestation that they found bedbug skins in a jewelry box stashed in the top of her closet. She hadn't opened the box for ten years, but the bugs somehow found their way inside.

"Bedbugs are going to be here," Evans adds. "If you don't know somebody today who has them, it's guaranteed that in the next year, you will."

******

The landlord sits at a table in the back of a charming coffee shop in upscale Larimer Square. Dressed in crisp business attire, he's nervous. He will talk to Westword only on the condition of anonymity. "It's just bad PR to have your name associated with a bedbug story," he explains, and this man's name is associated with several thousand units.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
41 comments
arcforce
arcforce

My bedbud infestation is so bad I had to toss all my furniture, books, and anything made of paper, and move to another apartment.

crackerduckfishsquer
crackerduckfishsquer

Heat treatment is the only thin that works. If you or your building has bugs Heat will kill bugs eggs colones. Yes they colonize. There are videos on you tube. It looks like a bee hive but its a bed bug hive under the carpet.  

alex080856
alex080856

I stayed in the same Hilton Homewood Suites Sunday through Thursday almost every week from January 2011 to September 2011. Two weeks before the end of my project, I woke up 1:30 AM to severe itching. I searched and actually found a blood filled bedbug. I looked up on the internet to see for sure what bedbugs looked like. I was unable to get another room that night so I checked out at 3:00 AM and headed for the airport. My wife made me strip in the garage and she sprayed all my clothes, shoes, suitcases etc. Everything went into the wash. She counted 82 BEDBUG bites! After a couple weeks the itching finally subsided. However, I was suffering from headaches. A doctor's visit had me with high blood pressure. Two weeks of blood pressure medication and of course the side effects of this, my blood pressure is back down. I still have headaches and it appears that my blood pressure jumps from time to time. I truly believe that the overwhelming amount of bedbug bites put enough toxins into my body to cause the high blood pressure and headaches.

Spencer Simmons
Spencer Simmons

I checked the Orkin list and three cities in Ohio are the most bedbug infested. This state should do more to stop the spread and find ways to eliminate the bugs altogether.

bed bug extermination

Pest Control Utah
Pest Control Utah

Bedbugs are very annoying..Even if we do something to killed them all but we won't win because even if the were just a bugs but a wise one as well...

Bugger
Bugger

Unfortunately for people burdened with an infestation, bed bugs are nearly impossible to eradicate without professional help, and most professionals charge outrageous prices for their service. However, Bite Back Bed Bug Removal, LLC is a new Denver company specializing in the use of steam to eradicate infestations, all eco-friendly and at a lower cost. Plus, all services are backed by 45-day money back guarantee. Visit www.BiteBackBedBugRemoval.com for more information.

Wheelchairs
Wheelchairs

Superb blog post, I have book marked this internet site so ideally I’ll see much more on this subject in the foreseeable

future!

Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs
Wheelchairs

Superb blog post, I have book marked this internet site so ideally I’ll see much more on this subject in the foreseeable

future!

Wheelchairs

hotelbedbugs
hotelbedbugs

I came home from a hotel and think I must've had bedbugs in my luggage. 2 days later and a many bites later, I didn't know what it was until I found one on my bed. I took everything (and I mean everything) I owned that was fabric to a laundramat and washed it in hot water. Probably 10 garbage bags. I bagged up and drycleaned my down pillows. Threw out the luggage and had my apartment sprayed. Bought a somewhat expensive bed cover and express mailed it. Put up double sided tape from my bed to where I was sleeping until it came. Yes, It seemed pretty extreme and almost an over reaction with how fast I acted but I've never had a problem since. I'm also lucky I have very responsive landlords that were really helpful. Either way, It worked and was worth it in the end. Good Luck!

Parksheather13
Parksheather13

hey bed bugs suck really bad ,but there is ways to help stop them. Like baby powder also rubbing alcohol is a very good way to keep them out n away.Just put it in a spray bottle n spray it down n its alot cheaper too. thanks

Alan Ricks
Alan Ricks

You can`t spray and kill the bedbugs because they quickly transfer to the other aprtments next door stupids! I can`r believe these sprayers are that ignorant. That is why the bedbugs always comeback. We have them at Shadow Brook apartments in Salt Lake City and you see is thrown out beds and couches everywhere.

Wasiwas
Wasiwas

BEDBUGS TO DEADBUGS, We killed them at our house, and can do the same for you.MATT or JOHN 303 363 9174.

marsha
marsha

Call Envirozone if you have bedbugs, they are the only state licensed pest control to be performing this service around Denver. I had bedbugs for over 6 months and the chemicals didn't do anything. Envirozone came in here and completely eradicated my problem in one day, it's been over 3 months since I've seen a bug! They offer a 90-day guarantee and stand behind their work.

Cassandra
Cassandra

I've had these bugs. Last summer my situation was kind of dire and I had to move fast so I picked any old apartment, the first one I could get. A few weeks after move in, I was constantly waking up covered in itchy red bites. I never even knew bedbugs were still around until I did some research and discovered the scope of this epidemic. My advice to anyone infested would be to not panic and not stress - it is a problem that is totally easy to handle. I had a small budget so there wasn't the option of hiring an exterminator, and my landlord was in extreme denial that her apartments had been the issue ("How do I know you didn't bring them in?") Most home improvement stores have fixes that can cure mild to medium infestations. Petroleum jelly on the bedposts, wash your bedding in HOT water, pull the bed AWAY from walls they could climb on. Vacuum out the mattresses once a week looking for little brown egg piles. Plus put little bowls or trays under your bed legs - they can climb in the bowls but not climb out. Also there's some stuff called JD's Bedbug killer sold in blue bottles at Ace Hardware that works amazing. Some people would advise alcohol but that stuff only kills on contact and has no long lasting effect so don't depend on it entirely. And, do try to keep the infestation contained. If you move to the guest room, or the couch they will follow you and then you have a bigger issue then before.

Kctafoya
Kctafoya

People who accuse ghetto's and unclean people of bedbugs are stupid. Bedbugs aren't attracted to dirt, they are attracted to warm-blooded people. Whether your someone with a lot of money and a nice home or not, you can pick them up and have them terrorize your home. The only reason they are found in poorer areas so much is because lower income people are more likely to live in large, crowded apartment buildings where infestations are harder to contain and treat. Accusing poor immigrant people is just ignorant and stupid.

A'tif Gamal
A'tif Gamal

The last place I lived and my current residence, neither bothered to mention to me that they have a serious bed bug and cockroach infestation. My complaints to my former landlord ultimately resulted in my being evicted. Currently, and with the last place I lived, I rarely do any cooking because of the bugs. Although I haen't seen any bed bugs in my apartment, I am careful not to let just anyone into my crib, knowing that they live here, but not knowing what is living in their units that might travel to my home by way of them. In Colorado residential property owners and management companies are obligated to exterminate known infestations, and tenants are required to keep their units clean ... Personally, I believe that cultures play a significant role in the spread of these bugs, both from one home to another, from one building to another, and from home to businesses, often where tenants work or go to often. First, apartments need to be certified as bed bug (and cockroach) free by a licensed, bonded and insured extermination company, accredited by the BBB. All buildings known to have had an infestation need to cataloged by an appropriate government agency. Additionally, management companies need to put in place policies and procedures that prohibit tenants from bringing items from the trash back into the building, and local governments need to enact legislation or ordinances that prohibit this conduct, and carry fines for viiolators. When considering potential new tenants, a landlord can reference the data base on known buildings having an infestation. Not only do the buildings need to be treated, but the tenants need to be treated, treated with the knowledge of how dangerous it is for all living there, if only one tenant doesn't try to have the pest eradicated. Pamphlets need to be regularly distributed throughout the residences, as well as social services sites, clinics and hospitals, schools and bill boards. Films should be shown to tenants living in infested properties, as well as non-infested ones, that people can become aware of them and what they cause humans to suffer. These and significant other measures may be undertaken as part of an over-all campaign to totally rid these critters from our cities. Consider this, in Denver, many restaraunts and other businesses are regularly closed by the government owing to some sort of an infestation, be it rats, bats, roaches or unsanitary conditions; but residential rental properties seem to avoid these closures. I ask myself, is the local code enforcement agency siding with owners and management companies, sympathising with their expenses for professional extermination companies, over the sufferings of hundreds and hundreds of individuals and families, including children. ARE THE BED BUGS HERE TO STAY! Let them tell it, hell yes! It is the blood of humans sacrificed that will ultimately discern how long they shall remain amongst us. The only people suffering from this massive infestation, city wide, are the residents, their visitors, and the entire neighborhood around any given infested property. A system of identifying the origins of massive infestations needs to implemented, followed by a system of tracking their movements via human beings, given that they don't fly, they don't jump, say, like grasshoppers or some spiders, and they don't move fast. Personally, I believe that until people begin to accept that they are a major problem for this community, and they dismiss the cost factor, we can move towards eradicating them. Government sees these infestations as "job creating" opportunities, which translates into votes for them come time for reelection. If government mandates certain legislation ... professional extermination companies will complain about a lull in the industry, lay offs and let goes. property owners and large property management companies bitch about the cost factor of ridding their buildings of these pest, and both ignore the suffering inflicted upon the unsuspecting tenants. Many tenants rent fruniture and, once done, they return the furniture, only for it to be rented out to others. An infested piece of furniture, say, from the far east side of town, ends up on the far west side of town, in a property never before having had a bed bug infestation problem. I work for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, as a "mover." In this capacity I simply load and unload clients belongings into or out of their residence, or storage unit. We will not, as a matter of policy, move clients into buildings known to have an infestation, nor will we allow for them to move their furniture and other items from a site that has been determined to have an infestation. They must get rid of their property, and we will get them some more stuff. The properties that CCH owns outright are regularly inspected for cleanliness, which includes any bed bugs and cockroaches and, if a tenant shows repeated non-compliance with directives to marginalize their existence, that tenant is ultimately evicted, for the betterment and benefit of the remaining and future tenants. I believe that the most damaging thing about all of this infestation issue is a lack of serious attitudenal commitment by both government and the private rental sector, as well as the individual renters, those who apparently don't mind living with them, sheltering and providing for them, while being consumed by them. On South Federal Blvd., many of the residents have been moving from one place to another, while staying largely within the same general area, or neighborhood, for years, often times bringing their extended famalies, friends and, guess what else, bed bugs, with them. Pin this: An otherwise homeless individual rents a motel room, after having been workingn for days, even weeks, to get the money. They eventually are hired by a large hotel, or restaraunt, or nursing home, or hospital, of school and, soon thereafter, those places begin to note the bed bugs, largely from complaints from clients. But, they don't try to determine the origins of the infestation, nor do they do anything about it I am currently living in a highrise building that has a quite serious problem with bed bugs and cock-a-roaches. I moved here during the month of November, 2010. On December 20th, 2010, they conducted a building wide extermination, involving more than one hundred single units, and, let them tell it, they did this, efficiently, within less than a few hours. I say IMPOSSIBLE!!! What you say!!?

The Wilk
The Wilk

Get the unclean out of the ghetto. The bugs will die of old age.

Lgiancanelli
Lgiancanelli

I have read an article that the bedbugs are being brought in by foreigners who aren't as clean as they should be. Other countries are simply not as hygienic as America, and, therefore, spreading bedbugs and other filth into our country. There is not the check points anymore at our entry ports to make sure these people are not spreading diseases and germs when they enter our country.

MtnBear
MtnBear

Bedbugs don't care how clean you are or where you're from. If you have blood in you they want it. The only filth here is your thinking. Bet you're a tea party type. Ever ask yourself why those checkpoints aren't there. The answer is tax cuts for the rich that you were fooled into voting for by, guess who, the rich! Bedbugs ain't the only suckers on this board.

a'TIF GAMAL
a'TIF GAMAL

When Americans stop thinking about problem solving techniques as being republican or democratic, then shit will get done, and done the correct way, for the benefit of all. If your heat, water and electricity went out, would you call a republican or democrat to fix it Americans are far too reliant upon politicians to fix everything that is messed up and this just isn't going to happen.

Betty3796
Betty3796

your attitude is worse than the bedbugs!

Druid0621
Druid0621

It's time to bring back DDT.

DH
DH

diatomaceous earth will kill bed bugs

Holly
Holly

I agree I took care of my problem with the bb's in my apt. I tell people what to do but I feel as though noone is listing to me. They also need to get a mattress cover for their box springs. From now on I will do the diatomaceous earth before moving anywhere againe.

Jeffrey
Jeffrey

I am a bedbug. I am small. It took me forever to read this article and even longer to type this comment. I am a humble bug, just trying to feed my very large family. I hope you understand. --Jeffrey.

Guest
Guest

Bedbugs, not surprisingly, lay eggs; the eggs are unaffected by bug spray. So, one application of bug spray is guaranteed to be ineffective in solving the problem. The exterminator must have known that, and so should the landlord. The fact that they balked at further action is substantial proof they weren't trying.

Steve
Steve

This is exactly why you just can't yourself an 'exterminator'. Not one pest management professional who knows what they're doing would just go in and spray. You should combine a variety of treatment methods with some practical supplements, i.e. encasements, climb-ups, monitors, etc. Then there is the education component which is just as important as the treatment. Just because you can spray doesn't make you qualified, and neither does owning a heater and a dog. Check with the NPMA to find a licensed, qualified pest professional in your area.

Suzanne
Suzanne

Oh I know They should have steam cleaned all the carpets and they barely clean the apts before they let people move in.. they are definately in my opinion slum lords here in Colorado

Suzanne
Suzanne

We have been suffering with bedbugs since last year and just when we think they are under control new ones surface.I am covered in scars and welts from them and we have thrown out beds changed sheets daily, washed everything in our house, had exterminators and even bought stuff ourselves that say that they are all guaranteed to work, but the other tenants in our building keep bringing stuff that people have thrown out full of bedbugs back into the complex and no one says a thing about it. So we face the dilema of moving which I really cant afford to do right now or suffering through this. We need to have this stuff picked up and burned to kill the bugs not just thrown out where someone else will pick it up and take it back in to start the process all over....

Jamjord
Jamjord

EnviroPest is the best at taking care of bedbugs. They have a dog too.

Steve
Steve

Thank you for your article. Very informative and right on in many areas. However it seems to indicate that pest control companies using chemicals are not effective and that heat is the way to go. I've come to find many nightmare stories of heat treatment including thousands of dollars of costs, call backs, and destruction of property. There are good, experienced, licensed pest control companies that know what they're doing using traditional methods for far less cost and headaches. It comes down to knowledge and execution. It's kind of like roofers popping up after a hail storm. Everyone wants to make a buck but they don't know what they're up against. Do your research. Educate yourself. Don't let someone sell you something. You'll save time, money and heartache in the process.

Chris
Chris

Obviously written by an exterminator.. The heat process takes one day, no damage, Guaranteed. Period! You can spray until the end of time and still not beat some infestations. Heat 100% works. Call us at Bedbug Blasters for any info on our process!

James
James

Some people are buying diatomacious earth for this and you can get it at Earthdog Denver.

PlasticBeach
PlasticBeach

The apt complex I lived in a couple years ago had bedbugs. Building management was very rude and denied the possibility of bedbugs, instead they placed the blame on me. I began collecting bedbugs to give "proof" to my management they were real. When Terminex came, I learned that the unit across the hall from me has had problems with bedbugs and another unit on the second floor. The Terminex employee explained the bugs were coming from other units in the building as my unit did not have an infestation. Even though bedbugs do not transmit diseases, there are other side effects such as insomnia because you're too freaked out to sleep, paranoia because everyone tells you there are no bedbugs - that its all your imagination, depression, self-esteem. Its very difficult to feel comfortable in your environment after bedbugs have moved in. They are the hunters and you are their prey.

9...10...never sleep again

A1213096
A1213096

I lived with Bedbugs in Lakewood. You cannot get rid of them. You have to move. They lay eggs so quickly, they can live up to a year on the walls on no food. Best advice if you must stay - get a plastic mattress "encasement" and put all four bedposts in bowls of some sort of oil. You should be able to get some sleep this way whilst finding another place to live. Way stressful. A serious problem.

Alert
Alert

LOL at "mild infestation"

D.T. Pennington
D.T. Pennington

I wrote a big ol' thing about this a few months ago for Unseen Denver: http://unseendenver.com/bedbug...

Heat's the only thing that works to kill these things. The story here didn't hit too hard on how EASY it is to acquire and transport these things into your homes. On the soles of your shoes, cuffs of your pants, they can even crawl into your pockets when you're sitting at the movie theater.

It may not be energy efficient, but always wash on HOT.

Quacker
Quacker

I havent read the whole article but they should look for bat infestation. Bats carry a bug that is essentially the same as a bedbug (unless you look at it under a microscope and see an extra red dot on its head or something like that). The bats migrate, leaving the bugs, which still seek a host. Took me a year to figure it out and once I blocked all the places the bats could get in in my house, the bugs started to subside. Hard to kill with pesticide.

Avgsavage
Avgsavage

denver doesnt have bed bugs, just people who are too lazy to get outta bed....hencce the name.hahahahahah

 
Loading...