The email alert arrived from the Village of Tarrytown today fittingly all in caps:
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT STARTING IMMEDIATELY, MATTRESSES MUST BE EITHER COMPLETELY WRAPPED IN PLASTIC OR PLACED IN MATTRESS BAGS THAT ARE SEALED IN ORDER FOR THE MATTRESS TO BE COLLECTED BY SANITATION. MATTRESS BAGS ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS.
What comes across here loud and clear between the lines: we have bed bugs.
Village Administrator Mike Blau confirmed the grim news. "Crew observed bedbugs on some mattresses that were placed by the curb," he wrote. Had he heard incidents of this before? No.
Not to cause a village-wide panic, but anyone familiar with this most horrid of creatures knows how tough they are and impervious to most human intervention. And just when you think you may have exterminated them, bed bugs can lie hidden and dormant for a whole year before they come out to suck your blood in the night again.
Maybe this is best in the words of some expert. Here are the Top 10 Bed Bugs Tips from the EPA:
2. Don’t panic. Eliminating bed bugs is difficult, but it is not impossible. Don’t throw out all of your belongings; most of them can be treated and saved. Throwing out belongings is costly, may spread the infestation, and could be unnecessarily stressful.
3. Think through your treatment options -- don’t immediately reach for the spray can. Be comprehensive in your approach. Integrated pest management techniques may reduce bed bug populations and limit pesticide exposure to you and your family. If pesticide treatment is needed, it is best to bring in a professional. There is help available to learn about integrated treatment options.
4. Reduce the number of hiding places. Clean up the clutter -- A cluttered home provides more places for bed bugs to hide and makes locating and treating for them more difficult. If bed bugs are in your mattress, using a mattress/box spring encasements makes it more difficult them to get to you while you sleep. To be effective they must be left in place for a year. Be sure to buy a product that has been tested for bed bugs and is strong enough to last for the full year without tearing.
5. Frequently wash and heat-dry your bed linens, bed spreads, and clothing that touches the floor to reduce bed bug populations. Bed bugs and their eggs can hide in laundry containers/hampers so clean them when you do the laundry.
6. Do-it-yourself freezing is not usually reliable for bed bug control. While freezing can effectively kill bed bugs, temperatures must remain extremely low for an extended period of time. Home freezers typically are not cold enough to kill bed bugs. Freezing temperatures outside may be used to kill bed bugs, but can take several days (at 0 degrees F) to almost a week (at 20 degrees F).
7. High temperatures can kill bed bugs. Raising the indoor temperature with the thermostat or space heaters won’t do the job, though. Space heaters must always be used with care, as they have the potential to cause fires and serious burns. Specialized equipment and very high temperatures are required to successfully heat treat a structure. Black plastic bags in the sun might work to kill bed bugs in luggage or small items, provided the contents become hot enough (approximately 110 degrees F for at least 3 hours).
8. Don’t pass your bed bugs on to others. Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. If you throw out a piece of furniture that is harboring bed bugs, take steps to destroy the item so that no one else adopts it (along with the bugs!).
9. Reduce populations to reduce bites. Thorough vacuuming reduces populations. Carefully vacuum rugs, floors, under beds, around bed legs, bed frames, and all cracks and crevices around the room. Thoroughly vacuum upholstered furniture. Change the bag after each use so the bed bugs can’t escape. Place the used bag in a tightly sealed plastic bag and in an outside garbage bin.
10. Turn to the professionals, if needed. Hiring an experienced, responsible pest control professional can increase the likelihood and the speed of success in eliminating bed bugs from your home. If you hire an expert, ensure it is company with a reputable history and ask them to use an IPM approach. Contact your State pesticide Agency for guidance about hiring professional pest control companies. For additional tips see our website.
Here in Tarrytown we have Anthonys Environmental Pest Service.