Bedbugs nestling into the valley
The Grand Junction and Montrose area ranks 37th among U.S. cities and metropolitan areas for total number of bedbug treatments, according to a report by an Atlanta-based pest control corporation.
Rollins, owner of Orkin and six other pest control companies, ranked the top 50 places for bed bug infestations based on how many treatments the corporation administered in 2011. Cincinnati topped the list, followed by Chicago, Detroit, Denver and Los Angeles. Aside from Denver and Grand Junction/Montrose, the Colorado Springs-Pueblo area was the only other Colorado area to make it into the ranking, at 25th on the list.
The Grand Junction-Montrose area crept up 30 places year-over-year on the annual ranking to reach 37th place for treatments administered by Rollins companies in 2011. Ben Bradham, region manager for Orkin in Grand Junction, said increased travel between cities and what he suspects is an increase in the bedbug population overall has increased calls for bed bug treatments all over the Western Slope. Busy times of the year for traveling, including summertime, are prime seasons for bedbug calls as well, he said.
“They’re hitchhiking little guys, so the more traveling we do, the more susceptible we are,” Bradham said.
Hotels aren’t the only places bedbugs can be found. Bradham said he has heard of bed bugs appearing in airplanes, emergency vehicles, taxis, buses, movie theaters and homes of all sizes and price ranges.
Bedbugs go anywhere they are carried, regardless of a property’s cleanliness, according to Cedaredge resident Cathy Palmer, owner of Scentsational Hounds. Palmer uses a trained hound named Velvet to sniff out bed bugs in her three-year-old business. She said the stigma attached to bedbugs means few homeowners and business owners choose to have regular inspections, which means by the time her dog detects the critters in a building, the infestation is usually harder to treat. Palmer said bedbug problems in cities across the U.S. are getting worse and she expects the problem to grow if people aren’t educated about detecting bedbugs early.
“People don’t want to come to hotels where there have been inspections, even if there haven’t been bed bugs” found in the inspections, Palmer said. “The likelihood of there being bedbugs at a hotel (that has been inspected) is way smaller than if they go to a place that hasn’t had any bedbug inspections.”
Palmer said she finds bedbugs in about 75 percent of the homes she inspects because homeowners rarely have inspections unless they suspect they have bedbugs. The odds are even higher in apartment complexes that at least one unit will have bedbugs, she said. Meanwhile, she finds bedbugs in about half of the hotels that ask for annual inspections.
Pat Moore, owner of Jerry’s Pest Control, said bedbug calls to his business spiked about a year ago and have remained steady. Moore said he owes some of the calls to people being able to better identify bed bugs following media coverage of the pests.
“Before, they saw a bug and thought maybe it was a roach,” he said.
Moore said it can take several treatments to rid a place of bedbugs. Apartments can be particularly problematic to treat if one or two tenants aren’t willing to cooperate with the laundering and vacuuming required to make the treatment process successful, he said.
Bedbug treatment may have grown in prominence in 2011 compared to 2010. But Bradham said bed bugs are still not the most-reported bug to pest control services. “Probably ants are still the highest, nationwide.”