Imagine walking into a bedroom in your home and seeing a bee’s nest lodged in the corner of your windowsill, or crawling out of bed in the morning to the grisly sight of a red rash on your body.
That is the reality people must deal with when it comes to insects. The predicament is how to combat the pesky creatures from harming your body and your home, as well as preventing the problem from occurring in the first place.
And while insect infestations are a year-round reality, warmer temperatures tend to bring an influx of the creepy and the crawly. As one of the harshest Michigan winters fades into sunshine, homeowners should be ready to battle the pests.
Larry Smith is the president of BioGreen Solutions, a company in Bloomfield Hills that specializes in discovering and eradicating bedbugs.
Bedbugs are the size of watermelon seeds, feeding off humans primarily, but sometimes animals, as well. They are nocturnal and are discoverable by the traces they leave behind, notably blood and feces. It’s almost like finding pepper in the bed sheets.
“There’s no real cause of bedbugs,” Smith said. “They originate in different parts of the world and are brought to the United States. They are hitchhikers. You can’t do anything to avoid bedbugs. They’re just on your person, but they’re not caused by anything. They don’t care if you’re dirty or clean, don’t care what socioeconomic group you are from, if you’re black, white, whatever. Just want to feed off you.”
The United States has seen an epidemic of bedbugs in the last few years, and this was after a long draught where bedbugs disappeared from the American landscape. A big cause of said drought was due to DDT, the now-illegal pesticide that posed a threat to national agriculture and general safety.
The only way to recognize bedbugs is to be in contact with them.
Smith said bedbugs don’t hop and don’t fly. They stay close to their source of food, such as beds and upholstered furniture. Since bedbugs are prolific egg-layers, Smith advised to take precautions, especially when traveling. Don’t leave suitcases open on a hotel bed, because bedbugs could go in the luggage and get into your home.
“They come in containers or all sorts of materials. Some other countries don’t kill bedbugs like the U.S. does, so we must be hyper-vigilant,” Smith said.
But bedbugs are just one nuisance.
Andrew Behe is the owner of Mount Clemens-based Spider Control, a business that not only deals with eight-legged creatures, but insects, as well.
Carpenter ants are a big issue, Behe said, because they chew wood to get into their nests. They are similar to termites, although termites eat wood, while carpenters make room and damage the structure of a home. Behe’s company also removes bee and wasp nests, such as when a yellow jacket gets through cracks in bricks and builds a potentially hazardous nest.
Behe’s company is about stopping infestations before they start, and he has some tips for the average homeowner.
“What you want to do is walk around your home, fill cracks with caulk around windows and make sure screens are 100 percent (intact),” Behe said. “Weather screening around doors (is important). You want to make your house as tight as possible, making sure there are no leaks, because insects love moisture.
“Once you get that under control, you want to take care of the outside so the population doesn’t increase. Lots of people like the outside treated more; most customers don’t have a problem inside. A conservative estimate is that you’re never between six and 10 feet from a spider.”
As for Smith’s bedbug business, it’s more of a hands-on scenario of attacking the insects at their source.
BioGreen Solutions has a three-step process to dealing with bedbugs: First, they confirm the problem with human inspection or canine inspection — which reportedly is more accurate than human inspection because of canines’ olfactory lobes; then, the area is treated with heat around 135 degrees, because heat kills various life stages of bedbugs, including eggs, and bedbugs are attracted to heat; and finally, it’s all about finding eggs and destroying them.
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