Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Mock" Bed Bug Inspection

Last week Clyde, Barb, our UNL videographer and I went to an apartment to stage a mock bed bug inspection for an interactive video project. We walked through all the steps of what someone might do to check for and treat for a bed bug infestation, including many IPM strategies. I will highlight some of these steps here.

One of the first things to do is inspect in and around the bed by taking down the bedclothes and checking the bedspread, pillowcases, sheets, and mattress pad. These should then be put into a large plastic bag, carried to the laundry room, and washed and dried.

Next, inspect the mattress, especially around the seams. You should also look at the box springs, including removing the dust cloth. In addition, remove the headboard if possible, check behind picture frames above the headboard, and pull the bed away from the wall.

Besides the bed, you should look at drawers, cracks and crevices, and other potential hiding places within the infested room. Couches and recliners are also good bed bug harborage locations.

After examining the mattress, you can put bed bug encasements on the box springs and mattress, which prevents any bed bugs that are already on the bed from getting out and feeding on you at night. It also prevents new bed bugs from getting into the seams of the mattress and in and under the box springs.

To prevent bed bugs from other locations from crawling up the bed posts, you can install "intercepters," which are little plastic devices that can be placed under bed posts at night. Bed bugs can crawl up these, but then fall into a "pit" that they are unable to get back out of. This is good for monitoring the bed bug population and an additional benefit is capturing bed bugs that otherwise would be feeding on people!

In addition to a human inspection, you may choose to hire a bed-bug sniffing dog! These dogs are trained to hone in on the scent of live bed bugs and can find bugs that a human may not. In our video we featured "Spots," a rat terrier from Nebraska's K9 Bed Bug Detection. According to his handler, Spots is 95% accurate in finding bed bugs, where humans average 30-40%. After putting some "scent" from bed bugs in the couch and the bed, we watched as Spots did his job, and he hit on these areas very accurately!

If there is a heavy infestation, pesticide application may be necessary. Some low toxic products, such as diatomacheous earth, can be placed in hard to reach areas, such as behind electrical outlets. Pesticides such as DDT that were used in WWII and before to control bed bugs have been banned due to the health risks to humans. Research is being done to find new treatments, as bed bugs have shown resistance to a lot of chemistry that used to successfully control them. In our video we spoke with a PMP, who explained inspection and treatment options for a homeowner dealing with bed bugs. With the resurgence of bed bugs, more PMPs are responding to calls about this pest and serving as educational resources. They are using a combination of techniques, including not only what has been mentioned here, but also vaccuming, steam, and heat treatments.

To read more about bed bugs, check out this article from the Lancaster County Extension Office. You can also view more photos of our mock inspection from our PSEP Facebook page.

NOTE: No live bed bugs were harmed during the filming of this video :-) We only used ones that were already dead!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

IPM Contest Winner!

Congratulations goes to Frannie Miller for winning the IPM Inspection Kit in our first PSEP Facebook Contest! Our winner wrote: "If I were to win the grand prize, I would use it when I promote IPM principles to schools, daycares, and housing complexes. It would also be nice to have a kit like this to illustrate the types of tools that would be beneficial to have as you are conducting an evaluation of a site!"

We thank all our contest participants, and all of those who became our fans (we increased from 114 to 131 fans during the two week contest period)! We had many great comments and it's obvious that IPM is very important to everyone.

Look for another PSEP Facebook contest in the Fall!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Second Visit to Nebraska Tribal Schools

On Tuesday Clyde, Mike Daniels, Mark Shour and I made our second visit to the Winnebago and Omaha tribal schools. They have had a lot of flooding up in that area, but thankfully the schools aren't having any issues. It did rain consistently all day, but was just a light misty rain, and since we had done our outdoor assessment on the first trip, we didn't have to do a lot outside.

During this visit, our focus was to check the traps we had placed during our initial visit. We were very happy to see that none of the schools had much of a pest problem. The biggest potential problem were moth flies in one of the kitchens, which deep cleaning of the drains should remedy. Although we also found individual moth flies and one German cockroach in other schools, none of these seemed to indicate a major infestation.

For our third visit, we are planning an educational inservice for the tribal schools, and hope to get food service staff, custodians, teachers and administration involved.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Last Week to Enter IPM Contest!

Don't forget to enter the Integrated Pest Management Contest on UNL's PSEP Facebook page!

The contest ends this Friday and we'll be selecting a winner on June 20th! Tell us about how you use IPM in your school, workplace, or other structure and you could win a cool IPM Inspection kit that includes a magnifier, tool pouch, leatherman, flashlight, mirror, forceps, and other tools that will make your IPM efforts easier and more effective!

Monday, June 6, 2011

IPM Contest!

It's IPM Contest Time! Here's the announcement:

Our UNL Pesticide Safety Education Program would like to announce a contest for all of our Facebook friends and fans! The focus of the contest is integrated pest management, or IPM. IPM uses a variety of methods to deal with pests, including sanitation, exclusion (screening windows or sealing holes), habitat modification (fixing water leaks), mechanical controls (such as trapping), and using pesticides with low toxicity. We are limiting this contest to IPM in structures such as homes, schools, child care facilities, office buildings, etc.

The contest will run June 6th through 17th, and we will select a grand prize winner on June 20th! The grand prize will be an IPM kit containing a tool pouch, mirror, flashlight, Leatherman, putty knife, insect forceps/tweezers, collection vial, and insect ID magnifier and is valued at over $100!

If you are unfamiliar with IPM concepts, please visit for more information.

To enter the contest, please visit our PSEP Facebook page. Click the "Like" button to become a fan, then respond using the comment section within the "Notes" tab to reply to both of the following:

Please describe how you use IPM at home, work, school (or other building structure)? And, if you win the grand prize, how will you use its contents to better your IPM efforts?

Limit 1 comment/contest entry per person. UNL employees are encouraged to share their IPM use descriptions, but are ineligible to win the grand prize due to official policy.

Thanks for your participation and good luck!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Final OPS and LPS visits

On June 1 and 2, Clyde, Barb, Stephen and I conducted the final (fifth) visits at our OPS and LPS schools for the IPM demonstration project. First we met to discuss any questions the school representatives had. We also learned about some novel approaches the schools had taken to address pests. The IPM Coordinator at OPS has, for example, turned his dust buster into a "bug buster," and uses it to suck up wasps. In addition, sand that is applied to OPS' driveways in the winter to prevent slippage is swept up in the spring and used to create weed free zones. LPS has posted our recommendations on kitchen bulletin boards to help staff know what to look for and what IPM strategies to use in their areas.

Both schools have made significant strides in reducing pests and pesticide use and increasing monitoring, sanitation, recordkeeping, and other IPM principles. It is our hope that both school districts establish written IPM policies and maintain IPM efforts through good communication between pest management professionals and the school staff.

The UNL Extension team will be providing LPS and OPS with a final "checklist" of information about progress made throughout the demonstration process, and also emphasized that we will be available to help both school districts with questions or concerns as they move toward IPM STAR Certification. Many of the school staff and PMPs we worked with in LPS and OPS will also continue to be involved in the IPM coalition.

Props goes to LPS and OPS for all their hard work and efforts in making IPM a reality in these Nebraska school districts!