Bed bugs: One Colorado family getting the gift of free pest extermination for the holidays

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Today, a Fort Collins family is getting the type of holiday present that only an exterminator can give (sorry, Santa): a bed bug-free home. As part of a national charitable event called Taking the Bite Out of the Holidays, the Loveland-based EnviroPest company -- tagline: Colorado's cure for creepy crawly things -- will perform a heat treatment worth up to $1,200 on a bed bug-infested home in Fort Collins for free.

"As a company, we're always looking to help people out," says president Kevin Lemasters.

This is the first year that EnviroPest has participated in Taking the Bite Out of the Holidays, which was started in 2009 by the website BedBug Central. Lemasters says their participation came about in part because of the Global BedBug Summit, which will take place in downtown Denver tomorrow and Friday. BedBug Central is sponsoring the confab of scientists and pest control professionals, which includes lectures on the efficacy of insecticides, the science of bed bug reproduction and feeding, and developing successful bed bug-related social media campaigns (#icky).

The free heat treatment that EnviroPest is performing today involves heating a house to more than 120 degrees for a period of more than four hours in order to eradicate bed bugs and their eggs, and is widely considered more effective than using pesticides. Lemasters hopes that it brings the affected family peace of mind this holiday season.

"People that have dealt with bed bugs, they're uncomfortable having people over, uncomfortable going places for fear of transferring the bugs," he says.

While he notes that bed bugs do not carry disease, they do have a detrimental effect on those who have them. "Mentally and emotionally, it's a very trying experience," he says.

A trying experience that one family will be glad to be rid of.

Below, watch a video on Taking the Bite Out of the Holidays.

More from our News archive: "Bedbugs: Watch them suck human blood, defecate and have sex (VIDEO)."

Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com

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