If the eyes of Texas are upon anything these days, they are on the crack in the wall to see if a bed bug comes out of it. Bed bugs in Dallas are making headlines and raising itchy welts on many a Lone Star State resident’s skin. EPA and CDC warnings about resurgent bed bugs are underlined by the rise up the charts from 15th place to 7th place in the list of bed bug infested cities published in 2014 by the world’s largest pest control provider Terminix.
Recent reports from Jan to May of this year (2014) showed that Dallas has rise up the charts with an increase 25% more bed bug complaints.
Dallas, of course, hosts a major American airport, providing yet more proof that suitcases carry more back from trips abroad than spare socks and a few boxes of foreign chocolates in recent years. The scuttling, unwelcome, reddish-brown “souvenirs” of foreign parts also underline that Americans have forgotten how to deal with these insects and must relearn fast. They are still more common in Dallas hotels than private homes, but that is changing with the swiftly evolving situation.
Bed bugs have been the companions of humankind for at least 2,400 years, if written records alone are considered, and have even appeared in mocking ballads and offensive proverbs. It is therefore a bit astonishing that these insects do not transmit human bloodborne diseases from one person to another – meaning that their bites are annoying, but not dangerous, unless you happen to be someone who suffers an allergic reaction to them.
DO YOU KNOW? Bed bugs are so intimately involved with their main prey, humans, that there are some unusual and fascinating details to learn about them. For example, they have been used to help solve crimes. The DNA of individual people whom the bug has bitten can be recovered from its stomach for up to three months, making each bug a living 90-day genetic calendar of all the people it has fed on.
You may only experience bites periodically if there is only one bug or very few in your home, because the insects only feed about once every five days to a week. Nightly bites mean that you have a plenitude of these bloodsuckers infesting your abode.
The problems with bed bugs in Dallas seem to be worsened by a weak response by the local government. For example, although there is a 311 complaint line to Dallas Code Compliance where tenants can report that their landlords have failed to address bed bug infestations on their properties (which, theoretically, they are legally bound to do), Code Compliance can only call on landlords to deal with bed bugs once every six months. Even this is largely a toothless suggestion, since no citations can be issued if the landlord fails to comply.
The lack of a strong bed bug task force or battle plan, such as other major cities in the United States have adopted, has probably contributed to the skyrocketing numbers of bed bugs in Dallas. Nevertheless, private citizens can still fight back even in the absence of an overall plan from the authorities.
Knowing whether or not bed bugs are in your home can let you decide what your next actionable steps need to be. Plus, you can take steps to keep your house or apartment from getting infested in the first place, once you know how the bugs spread from place to place. The following are some common sense bed bug prevention tips for homeowners and renters:
- Be careful about what you bring home, particularly books from the library, used furniture from garage sale or antique store. Always be extra cautious with second-hand or refurbished items. Never pick up any used mattress, sofa or furniture off the curb. They are discarded for a reason and may be infested.
- Educate yourself with the signs of bed bugs and know what bed bugs look like so you will have an instant clue if there is a telltale problem. Inspect your home regularly, reduce clutter around the room and identify any possible hiding spots that can harbor bed bugs. Seal off all cracks and crevices on the wall or between baseboards with caulking.
- If you are still worried about bed bugs, encasing your mattress and pillows with specially designed allergy encasement. The covers work both ways to prevent bed bugs from infesting your mattress as well as trap any existing bugs from getting out to feed on you. One can also tape double-sided tape at the bottom of the bed frame or legs to detect and prevent bed bugs.
- Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures and are difficult to spot if you are not looking for them specifically. If you on the road, know how to vet a hotel room before you get cozy on the bed. When you return home from your travels, immediately inspect your luggage and place all clothes in the dryer with the highest setting for 15 minutes to kill off any unwanted hitchhikers that may have travel back with you.
- Skin reactions such as red, itchy bite welts that appear in rows or clusters on the body are commonly the first telltale signs of bed bugs. If you suspect you have bed bugs, tenants should inform their landlords and homeowners should have your home inspected by a trained professional.
Find Qualified Exterminators In Your Local Area. Get FREE Quotes Here!
Though the Department of Code Compliance can be reached at 311 for complaints, however as noted, there are no guarantee that the problem will be solved immediately or swiftly. Only by educating yourself about bed bugs and minimizing the chances that a bug will find its way into your abode are your best defense against those nasty vermin living in Dallas.
Quick Bed Bug Resources For Residents In Dallas
- Bed bug supplies for treatment and prevention: http://www.getridofbedbugsathome.com/bed-bug-supply
- Quick Compliance hotline: 311
- Alternative phone number: 1-214-819-2115
- Dallas County Health & Human Services: http://www.dallascounty.org/department/hhs/bedbugs.html
- Department of Code Compliance: http://www.dallascityhall.com/code_compliance/index.html