Was that a bed bug on my couch? This app has the answer

Just the thought of a bed bug infestation is enough to make you start scratching and tossing out furniture.

A new app created by a researcher at Ohio State University has the answers and information on what to do next.

The app funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is set up as one-stop information source for everything bed bugs. There are guides for identifying and getting rid of them along with tips for travelers.

Susan Jones, an at Ohio State, said the app was needed because there's a lot of misinformation out there about the critters.

"If you don't know anything about an organism, then you are sort of at the mercy of that creature," said Jones, who has been studying bed bugs for about 10 years.

The app works on Android and iOS devices and can be found by searching "bed bug field guide."

Bed bugs can cause instant panic, but few people really know how to spot them or what to do, she said.

There are right ways and wrong ways to get rid of them, she said, noting that most store-bought chemicals advertised as ways to eradicate bed bugs don't work. It's a job that should be handled by professionals, Jones said.

Too often, people who can't afford to pay someone, try to do it themselves, she said.

A year ago, a woman accidentally started a fire while trying to kill bed bugs with rubbing alcohol at a multi-family home in Cincinnati that left people homeless.

That's just one—extreme—example of what can go wrong.

Michael Potter, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky, said bed bugs have been making a major resurgence and that while most people think of them when traveling, they are most often found in houses and apartments.

The cost of eliminating bed bugs, Jones said, is a reason they continue to be a problem. They can reproduce quickly, can hide from floor to ceiling, and they're nocturnal, she said.

"You don't know where they're hiding," Jones said.

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Dec 31, 2018
Do not visit commercial rooms that tolerate importers of bed bugs. SHUN ICKY

Dec 31, 2018
Bed bugs follow CO2 from human breath and move in the dark, so a simple test for bedbugs is to open a bottle of selzer and wrap double side tape (fly tape) around the bottle to trap the bugs that try to climb up it. Place near the bed or couch etc. and repeat for couple nights.

If you do find the bugs, an emergency remedy is dish soap in water. It drowns the bugs by reducing the surface tension, so the water can soak through their spiracles and plug them. Turn the bed or couch over and find the hiding spot, and then spray liberally at any small crease or crevice they might be hiding in, then do the same for the skirting boards in the room, and then call the exterminators.

For clothes and shoes etc. heating the garment to 50 C for couple minutes kills the bugs. The trick is to make sure the garment is hot throughout. A tumble dryer works well for fabrics, the oven for shoes and small bags. One DIY solution is a kiddy tent and a hairdryer to heat it up like a sauna.

Dec 31, 2018
I had bedbugs once, and they really are a trouble to get rid of. They don't really respond to poisons anymore, they just get annoyed and walk away until the stuff evaporates, then they move back in.

What works is heat (or extreme cold). I had to go through all my stuff methodically and wash them in hot water, steam them, or bake them in the oven. I found them between stacks of old documents, dead, after baking the stack in the oven for 30 minutes. I went through absolutely everything and put it in plastic bags in the garage until the house was empty. Still, the exterminator found some more crawling around the cabinets trying to run away from the steam gun.

The trouble is the eggs they lay, which are generally invisible to the eye because they're small and white like dust, and they aren't affected by the poisons or the soap water. The alcohol trick works for the eggs, but with the obvious problem of being highly flammable. The only thing that works fast is the hot steam.

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