Archive for April, 2008

Bed Bugs and Pest Birds?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Bed bugs and pigeons? What is the connection you ask.  It seems that pigeons and other pest birds like starlings, house sparrows and even bats play host to bed bugs that are plaguing hotels and motels across the country.  Bed bugs have become a great source of stress and loss of money to hotel and motel managers over the past several years. Bedbugs are commonest in motels, where travelers may bring them from other countries; and in rooming houses and apartment buildings, where turnover of residents is high.
Bed bugs are oval, chestnut-brown insects and are flattened from top to bottom. Adult bed bugs measure about ¼ inch in length. One female will produce about 345 eggs during her lifespan. Adults feed once a week on average but feed many times during their four-month or longer lifespan.  An infestation is usually recognized by small blood spots on sheets and itchy spots on the legs.
Bed bugs often come into a home via secondhand articles and furniture. They may also migrate between homes via wires, plumbing, or rain gutters. The Eastern bat bed bug comes into homes in the spring with colonies of bats. They can be found in the living quarters of homes in many of the same places as common bed bugs, but the source of the infestation is located within walls or attic areas.  Pest birds such as pigeons, house sparrows and starlings are also hosts to bed bugs.  Recently a whole apartment building in Toronto, CA was infested with bed bugs, it is suspected that they came from a tenants apartment who was keeping pigeons as pets.  It is also suspected that pigeons roosting on an apartment balcony could be the source of infestation to a hotel building.
Bed bugs can acquire many human disease organisms during feeding, yet there have been no documented cases of disease transmission as a result of bed bug bites.  Their bites do, however, cause an irritating, itching and burning rash.  This is caused by an allergic reaction to the protein found in the bed bug’s saliva.  This discomfort can last for up to a week or more.
So how do we get rid of bed bugs and the hosts that carry them?  Bed bugs can be killed by using extreme heat (greater than 120 degrees F), extreme cold (less than 32 degrees F), steam, and insecticide.  You can help to reduce the numbers before treatment by vacuuming the affected areas.  It is usually recommended that a professional pest controller be used to eliminate a bed bug infestation.  They will inspect the site and use the proper method to eliminate the bugs.
Getting rid of the hosts is another issue.  First you must determine if there is a host, do you find bird feces on a balcony, window ledge or roof eave?  If so, it is most likely some species of pest bird that is transmitting the bed bugs.  There are many products available on the market to get rid of pest birds.  On window ledges and roof eaves you can use bird spikes to keep the birds from landing and roosting.  Balconies can be netted off to keep birds from entering.  To find the right bird control product visit www.birdbgone.com.  Bird-B-Gone, Inc. has a network of Certified Bird Control Specialist across the country that can help you get rid of your pest bird control issues.  Contact them at 1-800-392-6915 to find a specialist in your area.

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