If there’s one pest that has Halloween-style scare value these days, it’s the bed bug, or Cimex lectularius. An infestation of these blood-sucking, appleseed-sized insects can trigger a real case of the frights, especially if you’re a hotel operator, hospital administrator or property manager. Which is why, over the first three days in February, Clark Pest Control in San Diego offered three free educational seminars to professionals whose livelihoods might be affected by this difficult-to-control pest – in northern California at Rohnert Park and San Mateo, and in the southland at San Diego.
The “2012 Bed Bug Tour” featured three speakers: Entomologist Gail Getty of UC Berkeley on bed bug biology and why this insect has become such a problem, National Pest Management Association Technical Director Jim F. on new advances in detecting and controlling bed bugs, and attorney Jeff Lipman on the legal precedents and liabilities of bed bug infestations as they affect property managers, hospitality-industry operators and other professionals. All three speakers were present for a question-and-answer session that followed, which also featured Clark Pest Control Technical Director Darren Van Steenwyk.
The San Diego session on February 3 at the Hilton Mission Bay was picked up by the local news media there, with Jim Patton reporting for CW 6 News (XETV) and Loren Nancarrow featuring a segment on “Your Health” for Fox 5 (KSWB). As Van Steenwyk pointed out on Patton’s segment, the first order of business is getting an inspection to make sure you have bed bugs; once that fact is established, treatment options include heat remediation and conventional treatments. Patton mentioned dogs that are specially trained to find bed bugs, as a tail-wagging pooch pawed a specimen during a demonstration. “Looks like he’s just having fun there,” the newsman quipped. Nancarrow also showed a happy dog on the Fox 5 newscast (Clark itself doesn’t employ bed-bug dogs, which work for independent contractors, but because dogs are always a winner with viewers, they seem to get lots of camera time), and Van Steenwyk named a few other places where bed bugs are turning up – in coffeehouses, and on trains and airplanes.