Today, a two-person pest control technician team was sent to a senior residential apartment complex in that contracts with Cowleys for all of its pest control services. According to the manager, there was a severe bedbug problem in one of a tenant’s unit.
Upon arrival, the elderly tenant told us that he only recently started to notice these “bloodsuckers.” Based on our experience with the elderly and bedbugs, we were skeptical. Often, the elderly do not have the wherewithal to notice the subtle clues in the early stages of an infestation because of diminished eyesight or physical challenges, and because of reduced sensitivities or diminished mental capacities, they may not even be aware that they are being bitten. While all apartment managers need to be vigilant about bed bug activity, for those who manage buildings where there are many elderly residents, it is critical. We recommend that the staff In nursing homes or residential units housing elderly populations, conduct periodic inspections of units to avoid any unnecessary delay in treatment.
This particular infestation was a textbook example of the problems with bedbug infestations and the elderly. Upon removing the linens from the bed, I could immediately tell that this was not a new infestation. Rather, it had been going on for quite some time, at least a half-year, if not longer. There were not only a slew of live bedbugs crawling about, but there was also heavy fecal and blood stains and bedbug eggs everywhere. Suffice it to say, this was a well-entrenched infestation. As bedbug populations increase, the bedbugs must start competing for harborage areas. As the more desirable nooks and crannies are used up, there are less places to hide. As a result, the bedbugs have no choice but to stay out in the open, so that they can at least still stay close to the host that they must feed on for their blood meals in order to survive.
It was time to treat and get rid of these parasites for this overwhelmed tenant. First, we vacuumed all of the live bugs off the mattress, and then moved out attention to a piece of plywood between the mattress and box spring that the tenant was using for additional support, and last, we vacuumed the box spring itself. Moving on to the metal frame, we systematically and methodically vacuumed every screw hole, crack, or gap that these bugs could possibly squeeze into. An hour, four pairs of gloves, and two vacuum bags later we were finally done with vacuuming! We then applied a residual treatment to eradicate any bedbugs that, even after all that, we may have missed. No matter how careful you are, these bugs are experts in escaping detection and they must be attacked on multiple fronts. There’s good reason why these bug have been making people miserable for thousands upon thousands of years. Before leaving, we installed climb-up monitors on the bed legs to catch any wanderers and encasements to trap any bed bugs hiding in the bedding and to keep others from entering.
A follow-up has been scheduled in two weeks. At that time, we’ll re-inspect the unit to determine what additional treatments are necessary.