Bed Bug Tips for West Orange Residents
Local bug expert tells ways to identify, avoid pesky critters
These critters put an eerie chill to the goodnight phrase, "Don't let the bed bugs bite."
During the past two months, New York City — and parts of New Jersey — have seen their share of bed bugs. And West Orange isn't immune.
Richard Brill, owner of Advantage Termite and Pest Control in West Orange, said his office gets calls daily about the blood-sucking, six-legged bug. Though, he said, it's certainly not epidemic proportions.
Bed bugs, however, are not worth the hassle. Brill answered a few questions about the critters — and how to get rid of them:
Q. How does someone identify a bed bug as compared to any other bug?
A. Internet is valuable for that, but the bugs have no wings, are reddish in color, vary in size, have six legs and are visible to the eye. (A bed bug problem) has to start out with one bug, but, most of the time, you can't find something that small in a cluttered bedroom. The bite is more like a mosquito bite than a tick and the bite varies from person to person and bite to bite. A secondary reaction is being itchy. Also, if you change sheets and find blood spots, that's an indicator.
Q. How do people get them?
A. They seem to get them from other people who have had them. The bugs are very good at hitchhiking and concealing themselves. They don't latch onto people like a tick does. And, in apartment complexes, they move through walls.
Q. How do they get rid of them?
A. It's a complicated process with multiple treatments. We first confirm we are dealing with a bed bug problem. There's lots of little bugs in the world and they do end up in people's stuff. But, to rid bed bugs, for the usual homeowner, it's removing clutter from bedrooms, cleaning areas, moving dressers, etc. It's all about changing the culture in the bedroom. Part of the treatment is recommending an encasement for mattresses and then a thorough chemical treatment, followed by another one a week later. Then, we talk about them being gone or not. In a sense, it depends on how many there are to start with. We've had success with as little as two treatments and we've had some ongoing problems, but a lot depends on whether people actually change the way that they live. It's uncomfortable to talk about this sometimes, but you have to have (people) change their way of living or they're going to get (bed bugs) again.
Q. How common are they in New Jersey?
A. They're a lot more common than people want to admit. [Editor's note: A spokesperson from the New Jersey Department of Health said bed bugs are not reportable and, thus, the state doesn't have any specific numbers for Essex County or even the township.]
Q. How many times have you been called out for bed bugs in the past month?
A. We get calls for them every day. When we start talking about details on the phone, it depends on people identifying whether they truly have bed bugs. But, basically, it's daily throughout Essex County.
— Staff reports