Serving Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area

Bedbugs in the Bay Area Redux

For some time now, our featured blog entry has been, “Bedbugs Are Occupying the Bay Area.” We first posted that in June of 2012. What has changed in the time since is not so much the reality of the invasion, but the response to it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the bedbug population began its resurgence in the 1970’s after the banning of DDT. Growing populations first made news in Eastern cities like Philadelphia and New York. Five years ago next month, Gail Getty, an entomologist at UC Berkeley, noted that San Francisco was at that time not yet as badly affected as cities back East, but predicted, “It’s going to get worse. We can get a handle on this, but only with education. And the problem is nobody wants to talk about it.”

As we said three years ago, bedbugs are hitchhikers, and they manage to find their way to new homes with frightening ease. There have been high-profile stories of the critters showing up not only into private homes and hotels, but also college dorms, and even libraries. But such a stigma surrounds bedbugs that it has been difficult to gather real data. Yes, it has been widely published that bedbugs do not carry disease, nor are they necessarily an indication of slovenly housekeeping or poor personal health habits. Nevertheless, the psychological cost of infestation is considerable. Individuals and businesses are reluctant to make their problems public.

The pushback against silence and embarrassment has been slowly gathering momentum. Education helps, of course. And in May of 2014, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a measure intended to give the city a more accurate picture of where the pests lurk. SFGate reported that month that “Exterminators will now be required to report to the Department of Public Health about the number of units that they treat for bedbugs each month. While they won’t have to include the address of the infested apartments or hotels, they will be required to identify each unit’s census tract to help chart the bugs’ distribution around the city.” With a better-informed public and more real data at our disposal, we hope that identification and remediation can become more effective.

That, of course, requires the right kind of remediation. Fear makes people do drastic things. Some have even sprayed toxic pesticides directly on their bodies! What we now know works effectively, and what we at ATCO employ in our eradication, is heat. Bedbugs’ living habits and natural resistance to pesticide make them difficult to target. Heat treatment on the other hand penetrates into the crevices where the bugs like to hide during the day and kills them efficiently and in a manner safe to people and pets.

Diamond Certified and EcoWise Certified, ATCO is your trusted, local Integrated Pest Management team. Call us for a consultation about bedbugs or any pest infestation issue.