Check out my interview, How to Keep Bed Bugs Out of Your House on Georgia State Homes.
Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.
Red Coat Services is a Georgia licensed pest control company that specializes in the detection and elimination of bed bugs. We use canines to detect infestations and a full room heat process to kill bed bugs. The business is owned by John and Ashley Marratt. We have 14+ years in the canine detection field and both have environmental science degrees. After leaving our corporate jobs in banking and technology, we decided to open a drug detection canine business which led us into the bed bug detection field. Since bed bugs are the only pest we treat for, we are able to focus on all things bed bugs and how to get rid of them.
Please explain the issue of bed bugs infestation in homes.
Bed bug infestation in homes is a growing problem nationally and locally. We have found and treated bed bugs in apartments, hotels, senior living facilities and homes both primary and vacation. Bed bugs have made a resurgence due to their natural reproduction cycle and the elimination of the pesticide DDT back in the 1970s. The chemicals being used today can be ineffective and beds bugs have shown an ability to build a resistance to them. They have been coming back steadily the past few decades. Now we are seeing a population explosion in several parts of the country. Another thing to consider is the ease of travel. International travel from areas that have a high concentration of bed bugs has also added to the problem.
What are common ways bed bugs get into houses?
Bed bugs do not fly or crawl out of the woods. Bed bugs are hitchhikers that get on your luggage, clothes, or furniture. We normally find bed bugs in homes after someone has traveled or has had a traveler come stay with them. That could be either flying or staying in a hotel/vacation property. It also means spending the night with a friend who might have an infestation. They will come in on your suitcase or other garments. Another thing to consider is used furniture. We have seen infestations in homes where someone bought a second-hand piece of furniture or they have rental furniture.
What are the steps to removing bed bugs from homes?
The first step to removing bed bugs from your home is to isolate the area with the infestation as quickly as possible. Close the door and stay out. Secondly, you should call a professional that has experience with bed bugs. Make sure you ask them what their experience in treating bed bugs is and what process they use to eliminate bed bugs. The majority of companies are using chemicals. We use full room heat exclusively. Lastly, do not try to take care of the problem yourself! I have encountered many situations where the resident went to the store and bought over the counter bed bug spray. The bugs are highly sensitive and will hide the minute you do this. Even worse, they will spread to other rooms making the elimination more difficult and expensive.
How can someone take precautions to avoid a bed bug infestation?
The best thing you can do is stay vigilant. If you travel frequently and stay in hotels, always check your luggage for signs of live bed bugs. The first thing I do when I check into a hotel is to put my bags in the bathtub. Do not put them on the bed or floor. Secondly, I check the mattress, box spring, dust cover and headboard for any signs of live bugs or feces. If everything is clear then I proceed as normal. Normally in a hotel, the bed bugs we find are in and around the bed itself. If you want to be extra careful when you return home put all your clothes in the dryer on high for 45 minutes and leave your luggage in the garage sealed in a garbage bag. If you are receiving travelers and you have some concerns, follow the steps above. Most people who travel frequently today know it is a serious issue and that it can be very expensive to deal with.
Are bed bugs attracted to anything particular inside a house?
Bed bugs are attracted to humans. Bed bugs feed exclusively on blood. When they get into your home they will seek you out. That is why we most commonly find bed bugs in the bed/bedroom or favorite couch/chair. You are the dinner buffet and they will stay as close to you as possible. These areas also provide good hiding areas for them to live and lay eggs.
Once a bed bug is discovered, what is the first thing the homeowner should do?
As I mentioned above, the first thing you should do is isolate the area and call a professional. Do not try to treat the area yourself. You will only make the problem bigger and more expensive.