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Bedbugs on the rise in commecial buildings

August 16, 2010 9:20:08 AM PDT
A recent survey of pest control companies found about 40 percent of bedbug problems now occur not in homes, but in commercial businesses such as clothing stores, hotels or theaters. Are they in your favorite store? Take a look.

You knew they were in hotels, homes and subways, but now the blood-sucking creatures have spread to offices. Bed bugs have reportedly made their way into the building that houses CNN and even some of your favorite stores.

Earlier this summer, Hollister, a clothing store owned by Abercrombie and Fitch, discovered bedbugs in their New York City location. The store shut down and a team of professionals was brought in to get rid of the problem.

Victoria's Secret said when they decided to test their Manhattan stores for the insects, it found them in isolated areas and immediately took action.

And then there's Bergdorf Goodman, the world-renowned luxury department store. Officials there say they do not have bed bugs. But as a preventative measure, it hired a service with bed-bug detecting dogs to supplement their normal pest control policies.

According to a new study by the National Pest Management Association, 95 percent of pest control companies in the United States have encountered beg bug infestations in the past year.

But why now? Why the increase? The association says there are many factors, including:

  • Increased travel
  • Less potent pest control products and methods
  • Resistance to available insecticides
  • Lack of awareness

    Steve Hawkins, of 5 Star Environments, uses Roxy, a German shephard, to help identify the bugs for his clients.

    "She can identify the hot areas where the bed bugs might be based on the odor she detects," Hawkins said.

    He says Roxy is a tool in the inspection process.

    "I don't go ahead and say you have bed bugs until I have evidence that there's something, that bed bugs are there," he said.

    Critics say dogs are unreliable and that the false positives are through the roof.

    "What's important is the dog is used correctly," Hawkins said. "The dog might hit - that doesn't mean they have bed bugs - one thing I try not to create is hysteria."


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