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Bed Bug Epidemic and Upcoming School Breaks Could Wreak Havoc on Homeowners
Date:8/13/2009

PARSIPPANY, N.J., Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- While parents may be busy preparing their children for departure for school, it is just as important that parents take important steps to prevent their children from bringing bed bugs home from college and their travels. Bell Environmental Services, a full-service pest management company located in the New York Metropolitan area, has seen a significant increase in bed bug infestations in the last six months in dormitories and student housing in the tri-state area.

With the upcoming fall school break calendar - Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Fall Break and Thanksgiving - Bell cautions all homeowners to be prepared when students return home with their luggage, electronics and belongings. Families must be vigilant to prevent bed bugs from entering and may consider an inspection from a highly trained canine detection team. Certified canine teams can pinpoint the location of bed bugs before these pests launch a multi-room invasion that becomes disruptive to the entire household.

Because many students have spent their summers in locations with a prevalence of bed bugs, the close proximity of student living quarters, and the fact that students spend a lot of time in each others' rooms, bed bugs may find their way into other students' rooms and belongings.

"Bed bugs are known hitchhikers and it is possible that students will bring them home in their belongings when they leave for break," said Jennifer Erdogan, manager, Bed Bug Division, Bell Environmental. "If parents don't take measures to prevent bed bugs from entering their house or detect them early, these bugs can quickly reach alarming levels and infest many areas of the home."

Virtually non-existent in the U.S. from the 1950s through the late 1990s, the bed bug population has rebounded dramatically over the last several years, and infestations have now been reported in all 50 states and in a wide variety of settings.

Bell is currently handling an infestation in a Bergen County home that was infested after the homeowner said her son came home from college this past spring. To date, the homeowner has had to pack 150 bags of the home's belongings and Bell's scent hound was called out to inspect the entire house. Several of Bell's Instant Freeze procedures - a non-toxic dry ice procedure that kills the bed bugs on contact - have been employed. "This family's life has been turned upside down this summer," said Erdogan.

Early detection is the best and most effective solution to the bed bug problem because it is easier to handle a bed bug infestation in its early stages before the insects reproduce and hatch more eggs.

Bell Environmental offers these tips: perform a visual inspection of your child's belongings for signs of bed bug activity; place clothes and laundry in sealed plastic bags before bringing them inside your home; put clothes (including the ones the student is wearing) directly in the dryer on high heat for 15-20 minutes (a dryer is preferred over a regular wash cycle to kill beg bugs); and lastly, call for a bed bug inspection. Bell's certified K-9 bed bug detection teams can pinpoint bed bugs with 98% accuracy in your home.

"If parents suspect that bed bugs are present in their home, Bell recommends a dog inspection right away. Early detection can make eradication more manageable and less disruptive to a family," said Erdogan.

Bell Environmental Services, established in 1963, is located at 229 New Road, Parsippany, N.J., 07054 and can be reached toll-free at 877.662.9991. For more information, visit www.bellbedbugs.com.

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Jennifer Erdogan

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SOURCE Bell Environmental Services
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