SPOKANE – To most people they’re just part of an old nursery rhyme, but bed bugs are making a comeback.
No doubt you’ve seen them in the news, luxury hotels, even Nike’s New York City flagship store had to shut down to battle the bed bugs.
Experts say an increase in travel could be one reason we’re seeing more of them across the United States.
The Washington Department of Health says it’s important for you to know what they look like to avoid bringing them home.
“Bed bugs, believe it or not, are here in Spokane,” says exterminator Raymond Vanderlouw.
Raymond runs Pest Solution Professionals. His specialty is eradicating bed bugs — and business in Spokane is booming.
“In the last two weeks I’ve been not able to keep up with the business I have,” he says.
Raymond took KREM 2 News along to one Spokane apartment building where several units have bed bugs. The owners didn’t want us to identify the complex, but they did allow us to film the extermination.
“This infestation is just about as bad as I’ve seen,” Raymond says.
Raymond’s weapon in the bed bug battle are massive heaters. Once he gets them inside the apartment, he cranks the temperature up to 120-degrees — the bed bugs’ thermal death point that kills not only them, but their eggs too.
“That’s the goal inside every apartment to get every piece of furniture, mattress, sofas, recliners, all furniture up to 120-degrees in order to kill all the bed bugs,” he explains.
Raymond keeps the heaters going for about three hours, slowly raising the temperature of the apartment, and when it gets to be about 125-degrees, the bed bugs start to die off.
Raymond keeps the heat going for a few hours, because just a couple of bugs left standing is enough to re-infest.
Clean house or dirty house, old or new, bed bugs don’t discriminate.
“I’ve seen them in $2 million homes, the best of the best hotels and the lowest of the low – it doesn’t matter,” says Raymond.
But it sure matters to the people who have spent sleepless nights enduring their itchy bites. While bed bugs feed on our blood, they don’t spread disease. But the people who have had to battle an infestation will tell you the tiny bug is no small enemy.
“I’m throwing my sofas away,” says one tenant. “You might as well have had a hurricane come through.”
It’s crucial to get the job done once and for all, so people can get their lives back.