Bed Bugs Problem?


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Bedbugs take a bite out of the Big Apple


Posted on : 11:26 PM | By : The Bed Bug Inspectors

Beagles: Master Bed Bug Hunters


Posted on : 9:00 AM | By : Ajax Union Blogging | In : , , , ,

If you want to get rid of bedbugs, you first have to make sure that you have bedbugs. Doing so can be complicated; you don’t want to start spraying chemicals all around your house in hopes that you will find the lair of the bed bugs. Bed bug control starts with the beagle.

These dogs have an incredible sense of smell, which is aided by their long ears and heavy lips. As they track a bed bug scent, they use their ears to whip the scent toward their nose. Once the beagle finds a scent, he follows it, and from there the humans take over. After this step, it’s easy to get rid of bedbugs. While using chemicals and fog machines can kill bedbugs that are alive, it may not destroy eggs that are laid. Beagles can sniff out eggs too.

After the problem has been handled, the Bed Bug Inspectors will return and determine whether all of the live bed bugs and their eggs have been eliminated. Thanks to the beagle, bed bug detection is 95% accurate compared to a human inspection, which is only 17% - 30% accurate. So if you suspect a bed bug problem, call the Bed Bug Inspectors.

A Nocturnal Realization


Posted on : 9:00 AM | By : Ajax Union Blogging | In : , , , ,

One night a few weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of a deep sleep, itching my arm. Sleep, stupid itch. But the itch persisted and although I fell back to sleep, I awoke again later that night, itching my arm even harder, and also itching my stomach. Stupid itch won’t go away, why am I so itchy? The itching continued. I couldn’t take it. I got up, turned on the light, and looked at what I was itching. Small mosquito bite sized welts. Late winter, there aren’t any mosquitoes… So I pulled off my comforter and my sheets and saw a minute black bug crawling on my mattress! Bedbugs! Disgusted and irate, I couldn’t go back to bed on my mattress, so I slept – or tried to sleep – on my couch. It was probably the worst night of my life.

The next morning I decided I had to kill bedbugs. But getting rid of bedbugs isn’t as easy as I thought. I called the professionals, because not only did I want to kill bedbugs, I wanted to prevent bed bugs from returning, and I know how they lay eggs and lie dormant, waiting to strike.

I found and I knew that all my troubles would soon be over, which, today, they are.

Bedbugs Are Totally Gross


Posted on : 9:00 AM | By : Ajax Union Blogging | In : , , , ,

Oh my god. Okay, so like I just moved here from L.A. and I have like the worst luck ever. As soon as I moved in, I found these little red bites all over my body, and I thought, okay, I mean it’s like late winter, there probably aren’t any mosquitoes, and I keep my windows closed. And plus it’s snowing all the time in New York, and if it weren’t for my job here, I would just go back to Cali, but that’s a different story. I asked my mom about the spots, and she’s like, oh my god Kelsie, you totally have bedbugs.

So I’m like how do I get rid of bedbugs? And after looking everywhere, I finally found these guys who come to my apartment and they kill bedbugs. But to make sure that I had them, they brought these cute little beagles, who sniffed all over, and finally they like found the bedbugs hiding spot.

Then they came back to actually get rid of bedbugs with their special methods or whatever. But it totally worked. I’m not even kidding, like now my apartment is bedbug free, and I feel like it’s about time. So to kill bedbugs or prevent bed bugs, call because they really do inspect everywhere and kill bedbugs.

Home Treatment Options for Bed Bug Control


Posted on : 9:00 AM | By : Jessica G. | In : ,

If watching that video has made you want to prevent bed bugs, or control bed bugs if it's already too late, there are some non-toxic home treatments on the market today that could be a cost-effective solution for you. Home treatment's ability to eliminate the problem depends upon how severe your case is, so remember that it's best to get a professional inspection before you start treatment.

Here are three non-toxic home treatments that are pretty popular among bed bug suffers.
1) The Bed Bug Bully:
Don’t let the cute name fool you, this stuff kills bed bugs in 45 seconds. This product is EPA approved, made from 100% organic ingredients, is completely safe around children and animals, and comes with a very easy to read instruction kit to ensure proper bed bug elimination.

2) Eco-Friendly Living:
This hard-working spray is 100% non-toxic and contains only FDA and EPA friendly ingredients. This spray will even kill bed bugs immune to chemicals.

3) Kleen Free Naturally:
This clean product contains unique organic enzymes that have been specifically designed to get rid of pests including scabies, lice, rants, mites and bed bugs.

Mattress Covers Are a Great Way to Prevent Bed Bugs


Posted on : 9:00 AM | By : Jessica G. | In : , , , ,

One of the more common places bed bugs are found is in mattresses. Mattresses are prime breeding ground for bed bugs because they provide a secretive hiding place, along with easy access to warm bodies at night.

The kind of mattress cover you need for bed bug control and to prevent bed bugs from biting you at night covers the entire mattress by zipping up around it.

There are two basic choices for your mattress cover: Vinyl or Fabric. Generally, fabric is less likely to rip, less noisy to sleep on and more comfortable. However if a bug is gets squished, you will have to wash the cover because there may be blood on it. Vinyl mattress covers are usually easier to clean, don’t stain, and are cheaper. Unfortunately, it tears easily, can smell like plastic, and isn’t as comfortable to sleep in. Whatever you decide; it's a good idea to tape up the zipper to prevent anything from escaping.

If you have a bed bug infestation, it’s probably necessary for you to get a pillow cover, similar in fashion of the mattress cover, to properly prevent bed bugs from spreading.

Bed Bug Control: A New Breed of Guard Dog Attacks Bedbugs


Posted on : 12:44 PM | By : Sarah M. | In : , , , ,

Due to our overwhelming success in getting rid of bedbugs, was recently featured in The New York Times! Check out the article below.

A New Breed of Guard Dog Attacks Bedbugs

Cruiser made four house calls on a recent rain-soaked Tuesday. There were two happy endings and two unhappy ones, a fairly typical outcome for a typical day in the life of a bedbug-sniffing puggle.

“Except that there’s nothing typical about this business,” said his handler, Jeremy Ecker, 35, whose six-month-old company, the Bed Bug Inspectors, has vetted hotels, college dorms and Midtown office buildings, suburban homes, bare-bones Brooklyn rentals and tony Manhattan co-ops. (Mr. Ecker, who charges $350 for a residential inspection, is an independent inspector, meaning he has no affiliation with an exterminator, though many hire him to check a property they have treated.)

Increasingly, real estate lawyers are urging buyers in contract to inspect apartments before they close, and in their advertising, many pest control companies exhort would-be tenants to “inspect before you rent.” And dogs like Cruiser can inspect a room in minutes, whereas lesser mammals like human beings need hours to conduct a visual inspection.

Bedbug-sniffing dogs, adorable yet stunningly accurate — entomology researchers at the University of Florida report that well-trained dogs can detect a single live bug or egg with 96 percent accuracy — are the new and furry front line in an escalating and confounding domestic war.

While experts cite a host of reasons for the upsurge, they agree on one thing: the bugs, which were mostly eradicated in this country at midcentury by now-banned pesticides like DDT but remained a constant scourge overseas, are finding their way back to the United States through an increase in global travel.

And in cities like New York, where neighbors are often separated only by bricks and mortar, one person’s infestation is everybody’s problem, since bedbugs can crawl through walls and along wiring and pipes, and hitchhike on clothing, furniture, luggage and more. In this city of 8.3 million, it seems as if everyone has a bedbug story.

Just ask Gale A. Brewer, a self-appointed bedbug evangelist and a City Council member from the Upper West Side. She prodded the Mayor’s office to convene a bedbug advisory committee last fall, after years of what she and others felt were woeful public policy inadequacies in the face of the relentless advances of what some have called “the pest of the century.” (The committee — entomologists, civic policy experts and advocates for children, the elderly and others — will issue its recommendations next month.)

The breadth and scope of the problem has been captured anecdotally in anguished tales — the family living in a tent outside their lovely-but-infested Long Island home, the woman in the Upper West Side one-bedroom who spent $9,500 on extermination and lived out of plastic bags, at friends’ apartments, for three months — posted on blogs like bedbugger and newyorkvsbedbugs, the likes of which have been spreading like, well, bedbugs, over the last few years. They are told over and over at community board hearings presided over by Ms. Brewer and others, and recorded in mainstream media. Another picture, though still incomplete, comes from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which has been tracking bedbug complaints and violations through calls to the 311 help line. Consider that six years ago, there were 537 bedbug complaints and 82 violations (in other words, verified infestations); last year, complaints topped out at nearly 11,000, with 4,084 violations cited (nearly double that of the previous year).

But the complaints registered with the department and 311 relate only to rental properties; reports of bedbugs scampering through the private sanctums of hotels, co-ops and condos, colleges and office buildings remain largely uncounted, though real estate lawyers and brokers report that co-op minutes reveal a world that’s just as infested as the rest of the city.

In the last three months, and for the first time in her 21-year career, for example, Lori Braverman, a Manhattan real estate lawyer, advised buyers she was representing in three deals to inspect apartments they were in contract for, having noted in the co-op boards’ minutes instances of bedbugs in their buildings. “One was described as a ‘significant infestation,’” she said. “It’s the deep, dark secret of co-ops and condos.” (All three checked out clean, including a classic five on the Upper West Side inspected by Cruiser.) Still, as Ms. Brewer said darkly, “Those bugs are everywhere.”

After a day or two with Cruiser, one would have to agree.

Nine-thirty in the morning in Borough Park, Brooklyn, at the home of a family of seven, two of them still in diapers: the family was poised to move to a new house, their things in boxes, the rooms askew, to the horror of the mother, who had to welcome a reporter and a photographer into the pre-move disarray. (Like all the bedbug sufferers in this story, she asked not to be identified because of the stigma surrounding the pests.)

Cruiser had been invited because the mother had found a dead bedbug floating in the bath of one child the night before, and she wanted to make sure, if there was an infestation, that it didn’t travel to their new home. The house next door had had a problem, she said, and she knew bedbugs travel easily through walls. All this was related to Mr. Ecker, while Oscar Rincon, his colleague, waited outside with Cruiser.

“I don’t want to know the details,” Mr. Rincon said later, lest the knowledge affect his body language and interfere with the dog’s inspection.

Mr. Rincon, 42, is an old friend of Mr. Ecker’s who worked for years at the North Shore Animal League. He and Mr. Ecker, Cruiser and his partner, a beagle called Freedom, were all trained for their work at J&K Canine Academy in High Springs, Fla., where rescue dogs are schooled in the scent detection of termites, bedbugs, bombs, some cancers and canker, a scourge on citrus crops. The school has an ongoing relationship with the University of Florida, which has been testing its results.

In two weeks training with Cruiser and Freedom, Mr. Ecker and Mr. Rincon learned how to hide live hives of bedbugs — little gangs of bugs tucked into vials fitted with mesh covers, so the scent can travel, but the bugs stay put — and work with the dogs in constantly changing scenarios (hiding bugs in high cupboards, in drawers, under rugs and so forth). Like all scent-detecting dogs, Cruiser and Freedom work for food; put another way, they are fed only when they find their target, which keeps them accurate and keen on their jobs.

This poses challenges, however, for a dog handler. Back home in Fresh Meadows, Queens, Mr. Ecker discovered pretty quickly that his new career required an extreme lifestyle commitment. Not only would he have to live with bedbugs to train and feed his new roommates, Cruiser and Freedom, he would have to feed the bugs, too. Remember that dinner for a bedbug is a nice long quaff of human blood; Mr. Ecker rolled up a sleeve to reveal a horrifying tattoo of old bites. (Bedbugs don’t carry disease, but their bites can itch like crazy.)

Happily, the bugs need to eat only once a month or less, he said. “It’s not so bad. You can hardly feel it.”

A few days later at his home, Mr. Ecker demonstrated, tipping a vial of bugs onto his forearm, which the critters latched on to like hungry newborns, their bodies quickly swelling with blood. Meanwhile, Mr. Rincon was cleaning vials, ensuring that the dogs learn to detect only live bugs and eggs. He swept the debris — bedbug feces, maybe some eggs — into plastic cups, which he filled with water and stuck in the freezer, since extreme temperatures are proven bug snuffers.

“You have to be very focused,” Mr. Ecker said. “You can’t sneeze, or answer the phone. The cat has to be out of the room. Want to try?”

Back in Borough Park, Cruiser had started to work. Mr. Rincon wiped his paws with a towel and began leading him around the house. The family’s boxed possessions, stacked in the basement, were quickly vetted. But a wooden crib in a child’s room gave Cruiser pause. The father turned it back to front and the dog began pawing the mattress, signaling an alert. (What Cruiser does is detect the scent of a bug or an egg; it’s up to an exterminator, said Mr. Ecker, to visually confirm the presence of bedbugs in the spots a dog has noted.)

The mother exhaled slowly. “That’s where my 2 ½-year-old sleeps,” she said. She had the expression, a sort of satisfied wince, familiar to parents everywhere, when a nagging suspicion — the toe is broken, the teeth need braces, the itchy scalp is really lice — has been confirmed.

Returning Cruiser to a crate in the back of his white Subaru Outback, Mr. Ecker, who had been in the extermination business for six years, reflected on his new career. Since he and Mr. Rincon returned from Florida in September, they’ve done hundreds of inspections. Despite the ick factor, “it’s very rewarding work,” he said. “We get to walk dogs for a living and we help people get peace of mind.”

Mr. Rincon added: “We see people who literally haven’t slept for weeks. They think everything is a bedbug. At a place in Jersey, the wife was a total wreck. She’d saved 15 samples of stuff, thinking it was bedbugs.”

It was mostly lint, as it turned out.

A mother of 7-month-old twins in a bedroom community outside of New York was not so lucky. It was Cruiser’s last stop of the day; after Borough Park, he’d inspected a Midtown office and an apartment in Riverdale. Both were bedbug-free, the day’s happy endings. Outside the city, the rain was still coming down in sheets. A Manhattan-dwelling relative of the mother had had bedbugs, perhaps the source, she said, of her house’s infestation, which she had had heat-treated, at a cost of $5,000. (Many sufferers with animals or young children choose this nontoxic method, in which very hot air is channeled into a space.)

She and her husband and their young family had decamped to a hotel. Back in her pristinely renovated 19th-century brick row house a week later, however, she was convinced she was being bitten again. The woman extended a graceful bare foot with a large, angry welt on the arch. She had called the pest control company she had used, but they were backed up on inspections and couldn’t promise a dog for another week. “I can’t wait that long,” she said.

When Cruiser arrived, he greeted the woman by placing his paws on her knees.

“Does that mean I’ve got them?” she wondered. “I feel like one big bug. If I can get through this, having twins isn’t going to be an issue.”

Cruiser spent 15 minutes at the house and alerted four times, scratching a parlor-floor loveseat, an upholstered side chair nearby, the mother’s side of the bed and a small black suitcase in a closet.

The mother’s eyes welled. “I have to remember no one is sick, no one has cancer,” she said. “Is it possible, when we went to the hotel, I brought them with me and then brought them back?”

“It’s possible,” Mr. Ecker said. “I’m sorry.”

Cruiser insinuated his wet nose into the reporter’s hand, and she scratched his silky ears.

Back in the car, she wondered: Shouldn’t the mother wrap the couch, the chair and the suitcase in plastic? What about her mattress? Does the inspection mean that heat treatment doesn’t work? Should the reporter, who had taken off her muddy boots in the house, throw away her socks?

Mr. Ecker shook his head. “What if I tell her to do one thing and it contradicts the pest-control company’s plans?” he said, referring to the client. “There’s nothing wrong with heat. There’s more than one way to cut apples.”

He added: “We’ve never taken a bug home with us. They’re not like fleas. They don’t jump on you.”

Bedbugs need time to get to know you, he explained. A short visit to a bedbug lair poses no risks. Still, as Mr. Rincon pointed out, “I never sit down.”

Moving Them Out

In the last several years, bedbug infestations have increased exponentially in New York City, but so have the resources to deal with them. The city offers a guide at, a blog, is a Baedeker for treatment and a group memoir; focuses more on city policies than remediation.

Think you have bedbugs? Bites might be the first sign, but not everyone reacts the same way: on some they look like welts or hives, on others mosquito bites and some people don’t react at all. Once you’ve met a bedbug, though, you won’t mistake it for anything else. The bugs look different at each life stage: the eggs are clear and the size of a pencil point, the babies are semi-transparent and poppy seed-size and adults are rust-colored and as big as an apple seed. The city’s Web site advises using an exterminator that describes itself as an “integrated pest management” service; make sure it is registered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; ( 718) 482-4994 or go to

To reach the Bed Bug Inspectors: (917) 455-6865.

Click here to read the bed bug control article on The New York Times.