Bed Bugs In Ohio
Losing sleep over bed bugs in Ohio? If you live in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton or any other cities in Ohio, get the facts and information on how to prevent and fight aginst the rising infestation of bed bugs.
Bed bugs in Central Ohio are becoming a horrible epidemic. Last year, Ohio was dubbed “the capitol of bed bugs” by TIME and CBS Early Show.
In 2005, Dayton exterminator Jay Moran said he had 20 calls related to bed bug infestation. Just five years later, he had 20 jobs each week.
Cincinnati and Columbus topped Orkin’s list of “Most Bed Bug Infested Cities,” with Dayton also making the top 10, coming in at #9.
How Is The State of Ohio Fighting The Bed Bug Infestation?
In 2008, Ohio formed a special task force to determine how to control and combat the growing infestation problem of these bloodthirsty and relentless insects. Exterminators went to work, sealing off entire apartment complexes and deploying Vikane gas to kill the insects.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture even mounted a more unusual response to the crisis: it petitioned to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an exemption to allow in-home use of propoxur, a banned pesticide (but was rejected by EPA due to the harmful effects it posed to children and pets exposed to it.)
Local governments conducted some proactive inspections, but are focusing their efforts on the spread of public information to conserve resources. Most bugs are exterminated on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, some homeowners tried to take matters into their own hands, engaging in dangerous practices like using kerosene, alcohol, gasoline, diesel fuel, or overheated chimneys to try to get rid of bed bugs.
Home Prevention – How To Prevent and Reduce Infestations
For prevention and reducing home infestations, the EPA and pest control experts recommends:
- Clearing away and reducing clutter where the bugs can hide.
- Applying residual sprays to cracks and crevices and then caulk and seal them up to prevent further bed bug infestations.
- Applying diatomaceous earth to holes and around the room or house to create a defense perimeter.
- Vacuum often around the house. After vacuuming, seal up the vacuum bag in a seal bag and dispose of it outside your house.
- Wash your bedding and clothes in high temperatures above 120°F for at least 20 minutes to effectively exterminate bed bugs.
- Encase your mattress with a cover certified to be bed bug-resistant so you can sleep tight without letting the bed bugs bite.
If you suspect that you suffer from bed bug bites, it is best to inspect your house and contact a reputable pest control company for bed bugs extermination.
Call the Ohio Department of Agriculture for a list at 1-800-282-1955.
What To Do If You Have Bed Bugs In Your Apartment?
Tenants living in an apartment who discover bed bugs should immediately notify the landlord or apartment management. If the landlord refuses to remedy the bed bug problem within 30 days, you can contact your local Legal Aid Office and Ohio Poverty Law Center for assistance, or:
Columbus: Columbus Code Enforcement: 3-1-1
Worthington: City Office: 614-431-2424
Franklin Co: Franklin County Public Health: 614-525-3928 (outside Columbus or Worthington)
If the apartment neighbors or 10 percent or more of the apartments are infested, Columbus Code Enforcement and Franklin County Public Health can compel the landlord to hire an exterminator to eradicate the pests.
(Note: The landlord may charge tenants for extermination if the tenants are found guilty of leaving the unit infested with bed bugs. For landlord-tenant mediation, call Columbus Urban League at 614-257-6300)
How Can Travelers Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home?
Travelers planning to go Ohio for business or holiday can do the following to reduce the exposure to bed bugs:
- Check out bedbugregistry.com for reports of bed bug infestations in hotels in Ohio.
- When checking-into a hotel room, check behind the headboard and on the mattress (without the bed linen) for any telltale signs of bed bugs – like small blood spots or fecal matter.
- Avoid leaving luggage on upholstered surfaces. Instead, choose countertops or bathroom tiles.
- Before you travel back home, spray your bags with an EPA-approved bed bug spray to kill off any hiding bugs and their eggs.
- When you arrive home, wash all clothes in hot water and dry them in high heat.
Read more about bed bugs travel prevention tips to avoid and prevent bed bugs while traveling.
What Can People Do To Treat Bed Bug Bites?
You’ll know you are been bitten by bed bugs by the unique bite patterns they leave behind. At first glance, it may look like a mosquito went on a wild rampage, but if you look closely, you’ll notice the bites seem to be clustered in patterns of three – “breakfast, lunch and dinner,” it’s sometimes called. These bites are usually in a straight line.
To treat it, wash the bitten area with soap and running water; then apply an anti-itch topical ointment such as the Cortaid Intensive Therapy that helps to stop the itch and resolve any bite rash quickly.
“With concern mounting about the resurgence of bedbugs, the Franklin County Board of Health is establishing an interagency bedbug task force for central Ohio. The task force would look at issues such as how best to handle complaints, monitor bedbug populations and educate the public.” (2008)
“Every fire station in Cincinnati has bed bugs; the city has spent more than $10,000 on protective suits for employees; and an assisted-living complex had 30,000 bedbugs in one room, said Ken Sharkey of the Cincinnati Health Department.” (2008)
“The Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging says numerous infestations are causing pain and anguish among the elderly, especially those in low-income housing. Outreach workers sometimes put their clothing in high-heat dryers to kill hitchhiking bugs after visits.” (2010)
“Franklin County Children Services is spending thousands of dollars on new bedding, mattress covers and extermination for families. The agency recently stopped accepting donations of used toys because of the risk of transmission. The Salvation Army is receiving increasing requests for help with new furniture.” (2010)
For more information on bed bugs, consult OSU Extension’s fact sheets at http://ohioline.osu.edu.