As seen on Lancaster Gazette
"Bedbugs have pestered us for centuries. These begbug fossils were recently recovered from Paisley Caves, Oregon, the site of the oldest dated archaeological human remains in North America, and are approximately 9,400 years old. Bedbugs nearly vanished in the United States during the 1940s and '50s due to improved hygiene and the use of the pesticide DDT but are on the rise again due to global travel and a increasing resistance to common pesticides.A new study finds that bedbugs -- just like flies and other insects -- have favorite colors. They really like dark red and black, and they shun dazzling white and bright yellow. These apple seed-sized insects probably instinctively prefer black and red shelters over white and yellow ones because they offer better protection from predators such as ants and spiders, Pereira said. Wochit
LANCASTER - Bedbugs are everywhere in Fairfield County. So says M2 Bedbugs owner Mike Posey, who has been fighting the pests for years.
"I would say when you're in the public you're within feet of a bedbug at all times," he said.
Posey said nationally one in five people have either had bedbugs, have bedbugs or know someone that's had them.
"I'm looking in this neighborhood (his own) right here, and within a quarter-mile, I know four people that I've done work for," he said. "It doesn't matter where you go here in town. I do all the public buildings. Anywhere the public's going, if you have bedbugs at home, you're carrying them right into wherever you go."
He said a lot of the problem stems from people self-treating an infestation, which he said does not work. Other people may not have the money to hire professional help. Additionally, should someone with bedbugs move, they are just taking the problem with them. When someone else moves into that residence, they now have a bedbug problem.
But there are others ways to get bedbugs. For instance, Posey said movie theaters and doctor's offices are places where they can latch onto someone and go home with them. Students can also bring them home from school if another student comes to school with them.
"It's terrible," Posey said. "This year alone, I'm probably up, I think, 700 percent in business just here in town from last year."
In 2015, Posey trained a dog to sniff out bedbugs. But he has added two more dogs since then and also hired two employees.
"Sometimes days are just insane," Posey said of business. "Monday, Tuesday, the phone rings off the hook because somebody over the weekend discovered they have them (bedbugs). Or they went to grandma or grandpa's house that they hadn't seen for a while and saw that they had them. So they're getting pricing or wanting service or getting information."
The Fairfield County Health Department has said bedbugs feed on human blood, but are not known to transmit diseases. It stated that adult bed bugs are reddish-brown, wingless insects about the size of an apple seed.
Posey said he has never known anyone who has successfully self-treated a bedbug infestation. He said the chemicals in store-bought products do not work and some cases just push them from one room to another. In some cases, self-treating can be dangerous. Therefore, he said it's imperative to hire a professional bedbug killer. A professional uses both chemicals and heat to kill bedbugs.
Some people who try to get rid of them pay a steep price, like those who may use rubbing alcohol to kill bedbugs.
"Terrible," Posey said. "We were in a house, and they were spraying rubbing alcohol for bedbugs and caught the room on fire. A spark hit it. I don't know if they were smoking or static. Who knows? But it destroyed the house, and I believe the burn time was 13 minutes. Right on the bottle, it says flammable, but people don't understand."
Posey said he doesn't think people realize how bad the bedbug problem in Ohio is. For example, Columbus is ranked No. 5 on Orkin's Top 50 list of cities with bedbugs. Cincinnati is No. 8 and Cleveland is No. 13.
"So it's just a huge problem statewide as well," Posey said.
He said the problem then trickles down to towns with weak economies like Lancaster where people may not have the finances to combat the problem.
"What we try to do is meet somewhere in the middle," Posey said of his pricing. "We're not trying to retire off one person, but we need to make a living and pay our bills too. So we keep our prices down so we can help people."
But just because Posey or another professional gets rid of the bedbugs, residents must not let their guard down.
"You have to change your habits," Posey said. "If I get rid of them here, and you know your neighbor has bedbugs, you don't invite them in your home because you're just inviting the problem back in. We have a lot of that."
Bedbugs can also be found on library books, cardboard boxes at thrift stores and new clothes, Posey said. He stated that they could also be transmitted from accepting used furniture from others."