Georgia Department of Agriculture

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner urges residents to use licensed pesticide professionals to control bedbugs

Monday, May 2, 2011

While bedbugs have not been a serious problem in the U.S. since the 1940s, the past few years have brought a resurgence in the insect’s population, especially in hotels and other areas where multiple people use the same furniture.

Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black alerts residents to the importance of eliminating bedbug infestations through the use of a licensed professional pest control company.

“Many people think of bedbugs as only thriving in unsanitary conditions, but the problem can be found in the cleanest of homes, hotels and other buildings,” Commissioner Black said. “It is important that homeowners, businesses and pesticide applicators are educated about the control of bedbugs in order to properly treat infestations.”

The bedbug, Cimex lectularius, is reddish-brown, flattened, oval and wingless in its adult form. Although bedbugs have not been shown to transmit diseases to humans, they can cause skin rashes and allergic reactions.

Active mostly at night, bedbugs have become a problem within residences of all kinds – including homes, apartment buildings, hotels, cruise ships, dormitories and shelters. One of the most common ways for bedbugs to invade new areas is by crawling into the clothes and luggage of unsuspecting hotel guests and going home with them.

Here are some tips from Commissioner Black and the Department’s Structural Pest Control Division to help keep your house free of bedbugs and to prevent spreading them:

1. If staying in a hotel, check mattresses, headboards, box springs and any other upholstered furniture for spotted stains that could be dried blood or bug excrement; and remember that any hotel (one-star to five-star) can have bed bugs.

2. After a trip, unpack your luggage outside before bringing it into the house.

3. Do not keep luggage stored underneath a bed.

4. Keep mattresses tightly sealed in a plastic encasement to keep bedbugs out.

5. Avoid bringing used furniture (particularly mattresses) into the home.

When disposing of infested furniture, be sure to prevent someone else from picking it up and bringing into another home; disfigure the item by cutting the fabric or pouring bleach on it in addition to clearly labeling that the item has been infested.

“Bedbugs are good at concealing their location and it is recommended that residents contact a professional because they are trained to properly apply pesticides and pest management practices to effectively eliminate infestations,” Commissioner Black said, noting that multiple treatments and other measures may be necessary to eradicate an infestation. “Residents can also contact our Structural Pest Control Division with any questions or concerns they may have.”

The Georgia Department of Agriculture Structural Pest Control Division works to protect the health and environment of Georgians by licensing the professional pest management companies who are authorized to perform bedbug and other pest control. While there are several methods used, pesticide application remains the most common way to control an infestation.

Residents can find a list of all licensed professional pest management companies by visiting www.kellysolutions.com/ga/structural or by contacting the Structural Pest Control Division at (404) 656-3641.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture is responsible for licensing the professional pest management companies who perform bedbug and other pest control. Consumers can learn more about the Department’s Structural Pest Control division by visiting www.agr.georgia.gov. For a handbook from the Georgia Health Department with more information, visit http://health.state.ga.us/pdfs/epi/zvbd/Bed%20Bug%20Handbook.pdf.

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