Wherever you turn, you will find bed bugs in Cincinnati – anywhere that humans are found, you can also find these sneaky, six-legged bloodsuckers lurking. Cincinnati, Ohio is the second worst-infested city in the United States according to a 2014 study by Terminix, a major pest control firm.
Despite the best efforts at controlling these pests, they are clearly thriving in this city – just six years ago, in 2008, Cincinnati was the third worst infected metropolis. Like tiny stowaways, the insects are even infesting the public libraries, hiding in book bindings while they are at infested houses, returning to the library when the books are brought back, and then moving on to new homes when the volumes are borrowed again. Fumigation and destruction of books has been used in an effort to stop the literary hitchhiking of bed bugs from library patron to patron.
A minimum of 14.5% of homes in Cincinnati are cursed with bed bugs, according to the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Joint Bed Bug Task Force. Considering how effective nature has made these creatures at spreading from one place to another, it isn’t entirely surprising.
Migration via hiding in library books is only one of the techniques open to bed bugs seeking for new living quarters and an ample supply of hot, salty mammalian blood to sip. They can also hide in boxes, luggage, vehicles, clothing – practically anything that has small spaces where the insects can conceal themselves.
Able to survive up to 18 months without feeding, the bugs can wait out long dry spells to emerge from their hiding place when they scent warm-blooded prey nearby. Bed bugs have built their success on hundreds of years of specialized evolution, but fortunately, humans also have the cleverness necessary to fight back and regain some control even in the face of this silent, subtle insect invasion.
With such a crisis underway, public health officials and the city government have launched the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Joint Bed Bug Task Force to take the battle vigorously to the enemy. The Task Force’s Strategic Plan is designed to provide an effective plan to reduce the number of bed bugs in Cincinnati. This plan helps to coordinate the efforts of public health officials, private pest control companies, and citizens to more effectively wipe out bed bugs.
Getting rid of bed bugs by spraying pesticides in the home is not enough at dealing with this tide of miniature, six-legged Draculas. Instead, the Strategic plan outlines how specific cleaning techniques, combined with denying bed bugs places to hide during the day through caulking crevices, removing boxes and clutter, and so on are the best foundation for eradicating these pests.
The Task Force is also focused on detecting bed bugs early and wiping them out before they can breed in their new environment. Hotlines for advice and bed bug reporting, plus useful inspection procedures to find out how far the insects have spread in an apartment building or other multi-unit housing, are among other measures that the city has taken to quash the problem.
The spread of bed bugs is even being mapped to help predict fresh outbreaks and head them off as fast as possible. These strong measures offer hope for the residents of Cincinnati that they can slow, stop, and maybe even reverse the onslaught of the bed bug population.
Though the bed bug situation is clearly grim in the metropolis, there are plenty of things that you can do to help keep your home safe from bed bugs in Cincinnati – and to win it back from them if they’re already there. Some of the ways you can tell if your home has bed bugs include:
- Bed bug bites can resemble other insect bites individually, but typical signs of the bites will show up in a row or cluster as the bug takes a sip, walks a few sips over your skin, and bites again.
- Bed bug droppings are rusty brown and, with their high content of undigested blood, are as hard to wash out as bloodstains. Check your sheets for small brown spots as well as any dried blood stains.
- Shed bed bug skins resemble hollow, papery, mostly transparent husks of the small, fat insects. Look for these along the seams and edges of the mattress, under the box springs, or behind any peeling wallpaper.
If you find evidence of a bed bug infestation, you can call in a report or complaint about it to the bed bug hotline at 1-513-591-6000.
Individuals who need to travel to Cincinnati are advised to take precautionary steps to protect yourself. Pest control professionals recommended that before you unpack your bags, to inspect the mattress, box-springs and headboard of your hotel bed. Travelers who encounter bed bugs in a hotel or motel in the city can also report them to the City of Cincinnati Health Department on this page.
Educating yourself about these pests, watching for signs of them, and reporting them quickly if you do find evidence they are living in your house are best ways to free yourself from this scourge – and do your part to conquer the rising tide of bed bugs in Cincinnati.
Quick Bed Bug Resources For Residents Living In Cincinnati
- D-I-Y and commerical solutions to treat and protect yourself against bed bugs: http://www.getridofbedbugsathome.com/bed-bug-supply
- Bed bug hotline: 1-513-591-6000
- Form to report bed bug infestation in hotels: http://cagismaps.hamilton-co.org/csrcincinnati/
- Bed bug information, plus pest control tips from the City of Cincinnati Health Department: http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/health/environmental-health/bed-bugs/