Nashville Bedbug Control
The program used to be called “Bedbugs: Making a Comeback in Tennessee Too.”
But the state’s pest expert says the title needs to change.
Karen Vail, a scientist at the University of Tennessee, led off a summit on bedbugs in Nashville this morning. Her news was chilling.
The insects she refers to as “like blood-sucking cockroaches” are spreading fast in the United States and Tennessee, infesting houses, apartments, hotels and college dorms. For example, Vail said, 95 percent of pest control professionals encountered bedbugs this year.
Chuck Nelson’s Dog Inspectors, whose trained canines can detect bedbugs, says calls have increased 12 times over last year. His company works in five states, including Tennessee.
“We saw two to three cases a week six months ago. Now, it’s two to three a day,” Nelson said.
His company provided Mattie, a bedbug-sniffing dog, for a demonstration today. She zeroed in within seconds on the plastic container with live bedbugs hidden under a bucket.
Other pest-control experts demonstrated how they kill the insects with extreme heat, between 130 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and extreme cold, minus-80 degrees Centigrade.
Metro Health brought together pest control professional, state agriculture officials and their own staff today to address the growing concern over bedbugs.
“We’re figuring out strategies that re the most effective for the community. We’re trying to get ahead, we know there is a serious problem,” said Brent Hager, head of the environmental health unit.
Professional pest treatment is a must, Vail warned the audience.
Bedbugs have become immune to pesticides. “Sprays meant to be used outdoors … can even worsen the problem,” she said.
Folks can prevent bedbugs by being vigilant, especially while traveling, Vail said,. Bedbugs were eradicated within the United States in the 1960s but re-emerged in 2000 as travelers brought the insects home from foreign countries.
Travelers should check rooms for telltale signs, such as ink-like stains on the mattress and bedding left by he bugs. Luggage – even laptops – should be kept off the bed and in plastic bags to prevent hitchhiking bedbugs from sneaking in.
Shenitha Hampton, assistant director of housing at Tennessee State University, absorbed Vail’s talk and the demonstrations this morning.
TSU hasn’t had a bedbug case, she said, but she’ll brief students and staff on how to spot bedbugs.
Call Jenny Upchurch at 615-726-5970 or email email@example.com.
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