Perched a mile above the sea, the Queen City of the West seems a very different place from Chicago or San Francisco – yet bed bugs in Denver are just as much of a problem as in the lowland, more humid cities. Nobody is quite certain how many of the six-legged sippers of blood are lurking in the cracks and crevices of Denver’s walls, but all major survey and studies put the metropolis somewhere in the “top 15” list, making it a seriously bed bug infested city.
Hundreds of complaints have come in yearly of late to the health department, often when a landlord fails to deal with the insects, as they are legally obliged to do. Bed bugs in this city seem, from the statistics, to prefer apartment buildings to other kinds of structures, unlike other metropolises where hotels are the main hotbeds of bug breeding.
Homeless shelters, private homes, and businesses report a few unwanted guests, but most of the Mile High City’s Cimex lectularius seem to enjoy the hospitality of buildings where a lot of people are clustered. Apartment buildings may also stay warmer overnight in the high city, allowing the bugs there to stay more active and lay bigger numbers of eggs.
Bed bugs care nothing for dirt or for cleanliness – they are not a sign of bad housekeeping or slovenly behavior. Of course, a cluttered, ill-maintained house gives the bugs more places to hide, making it harder to ferret them out once they’ve installed themselves on the premises. But clutter alone won’t draw them – they are pulled in by carbon dioxide and the promise of blood.
Our metabolisms exhale a small amount of carbon dioxide as a byproduct of breathing, but that trace is enough for the sensitive antennae of a bed bug to pick up. Though carbon dioxide is odorless to humans, these tiny pests can “smell” it with the feelers mounted on their heads. Thus, they can move in on you even in complete darkness and bite, injecting a bit of anesthetic to keep you from feeling their attack. Even so, they’re immensely cautious and flee at any sign of trouble.
Bed bugs are flat and resemble apple seeds when they’re hungry, but inflate quite a bit when they’re full of fresh blood. The blood nourishes them. A typical female bed bug, if she doesn’t encounter a shoe heel moving the other way or temperatures above 115º F, lays around 500 eggs during her lifetime.
Housing inspectors and the public health department of Denver are both vigorously involved in pushing back against the spread of bed bugs in the city. The Denver Public Health Inspections Division is the main arm of the local government empowered to deal with bed bug complaints. Since landlords must keep their premises free of bed bugs, most of the calls to the Inspections Division’s phones are complaints from people who claim their landlords aren’t living up to their legal duty.
Denver’s exterminators showcase the new methods of dealing with bed bugs. Since the pests are immune to most common pesticides, thanks to years of casual spraying (and the only ones strong enough to kill them are also strong enough to do serious harm to humans, especially kids), these professionals use the next best treatment against them – HEAT! Heating the interior of a living space to 122º F for a couple of hours is an effective way to kill bed bugs, and is recommended by the Denver health department.
If you find bed bugs in your apartment, try to work with the landlord first or call in exterminators if you own the property yourself. Turn to the Denver Public Health Inspections Division only if your landlord or the exterminators don’t give satisfaction.
How To Spot For Bed Bugs?
With bed bug populations on the rise, protecting your home and family from bed bugs is important if you do not want to spend thousands of dollars in bed bug treatments or suffer from sleepless nights. The following are some common ways on how to check for bed bugs in your apartment or home:
- If you aren’t expecting these bugs, spotting them can be difficult, however, the first sign you know you have these bugs in your premises is when you start seeing little bites in either rows or patches all over your body.
- Next, try to confirm the presence of bed bugs even if you suspect you have been bitten by these tiny bloodsuckers. Visually inspect your bed for any telltale signs of the bugs themselves. Look for evidence such as tiny dried blood stains or bug excrement on the sheets, mattress or box spring. If there is a heavy infestations, there will also be a distinctive smell of over-ripe raspberries. (Look at bed bugs pictures to familiarize yourself with your enemy.)
- If you spot any of these clues, react quickly and call your landlord or an exterminator. Bed bugs can spread very fast if not kept in check. If you cannot get proper service, contact the Inspections Division by telephone.
With increased bed bug sightings in Denver, individuals or families planning to travel to the city are advised to take extra precautions to ensure a bed bug free stay. Make sure to inspect the hotel room before you get cozy on your hotel bed. Remember, bed bugs are nondiscriminatory and can be found anywhere from five star hotels to budget priced motels. Vigilance pays off if you do not want to bring home any unwanted guests in your luggage.
Quick Bed Bug Resources For Residents In Denver
- D-I-Y and commercial bed bug supplies for prevention and elimination: http://www.getridofbedbugsathome.com/bed-bug-supply
- Denver bed bug hotline: 311
- Alternative bug number: 1-720-913-1331
- Public Health Inspections Division bed bug page: http://www.denvergov.org/tabid/435054/Default.aspx