The X-terminator Files
Bedbugs hide in crevices and cracks until they venture out for a snack. Detection and eradication can be tricky because these little critters are hard to locate. David Erik Swanson from Patriot Pest Control just got a bedbug detection dog to ease the process (see “Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite”), but he says some infestations have been so bad he didn't need help finding them.
“The worst was an apartment complex on the Southeast side. A veteran had moved out in the middle of the night, and he'd left all his stuff,” he says. “When we walked in, the bedbugs were just crawling up the walls. As you went by, they could sense you were there. There was no fear in these bedbugs. It was that bad around the whole apartment.”
As a seasoned professional, Swanson seldom worries about bringing his work home with him, but this case was too extreme for comfort.
“That one made me a little nervous that maybe I had some bedbugs on me,” he says. (Elise Kaplan)
High-traffic buildings, such as homeless shelters, carry more risk for bedbugs. Chesley Elkins from Preventative Pest Control says the bedbug issue at shelters often gets intense due to the constant shift of people living there. The occupants usually have all of their possessions in one room with them, providing more potential places for the bugs to hide.
“They can get into suitcases, into dressers, into beds, all kinds of things, you know,” he says, “and trying to get rid of all of them, it's been a big challenge.”
Elkins says some low-income apartments have a problem. “You pull up a bed frame and ... the entire bed frame is lined with them, like, several deep,” he says. “I mean, I wouldn't even venture a number on that, but just, like, stacked on top of each other.” (Drew Morrison)