The Rise Of A Bedbug
Updated: Jul 3, 2019
Jeff McChesney has been an exterminator for most of his life. At least he would tell you he has been; it all started for him as a kid when he would accompany his father on pest removal assignments. His father owned a pest control company, and as Jeff has noted that he “was grounded a lot,” he had no choice but to witness the pest control process firsthand when going from job to job with his father.
Jeff quickly realized upon observing the destructive nature of rodents and other pests in Florida homes that pest control and elimination are absolutely necessary to preserve and protect the quality of life for people whose homes had been overrun. His interest in the process of extermination and, more specifically, the evolution of the bedbug throughout United States homes has fueled his passion for finding answers for people suffering from infestations. Over the past twenty years, there has occurred an alarming rise of the bed bug across Florida, and these barely visible pests seem to be specifically targeting senior care and assisted living facilities.
Where it started
The path of the bedbug as it marched across Florida began in Orlando and other places noted for travel; hot spots like restaurants, hotels, and other areas that tourists would congregate introduced these unwelcome visitors in such a way that they completely dominated the scene. At one point, it became such a problem that the mere threat of infestation kept many potential visitors away. As TV and news reports continued to report the growing problem, people started to avoid going to social gatherings altogether, just to avoid picking up unwanted hitchhikers.
The problem persists
McChesney theorizes that the problem in Central and South Florida continues to persist because the adaptable bedbug has found the perfect hosts----senior living communities and areas of low-income housing where people live in close proximity to one another.
Senior housing communities are targeted by bedbugs because of the social nature of the residents; many people within these communities are coming and going, socializing, and sharing common areas, making it very easy for bedbugs to hop on and transport themselves from one environment to another. Another reason that bedbugs penetrate these communities is that residents may not be aware that there is an infestation problem until the symptoms have become quite severe and hard to ignore.
Low-income housing facilities also have many residents sharing common spaces and living quarters closely, and due to the environmental nature of this type of housing, bedbugs are allowed to feast freely as they hop from host to host, apartment to apartment, traveling on laundry baskets, old furniture, and linens. People in low-income housing facilities may not have the knowledge that the need to help them rid themselves of an infestation; thus, the problem is allowed to persist and grow without consequence to the bugs themselves.
Eliminating the problem, one facility at a time
Although the process of bedbug eradication seems at times difficult and nearly impossible to stay ahead of, taking precautions to lessen the likelihood of spreading is the best course of action for eliminating the problem, one facility at a time. McChesney gives credit to integrated pest management strategies for proactively dealing with the problem and looking for ways to hold hotels, tourist attractions, and other public places accountable for pest control management in their own facilities. The threat of picking bed bugs up in these places now is much less likely than it was even ten years ago, thanks in part to innovative treatment procedures and more stringent standards on public pest control.
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