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Rising Bed Bug Problem in New Zealand

Bed Bugs Press Release October 2010

Rising Bed Bug Problem in New Zealand


New Zealand is among those countries experiencing a rapid rise in bed bug infestations. There have been high profile outbreaks in other countries. New York has been battling bed bugs in major retail stores, theatres and on public transport. The recently released National Pest Management Association and University of Kentucky survey of 1000 pest control companies worldwide suggests “that we are on a threshold of a bed bug pandemic, not just in the US but around the world.”

The extensive use of powerful insecticides such as DDT between and after the world wars reduced bed bug infestations to the point that few people in the developed world ever encountered them; until recently. Now that they are returning there is little knowledge about them in the public mind. Many think bed bugs are only a myth as part of the saying “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

The Kiwicare website has been experiencing a huge growth in enquiries from New Zealanders seeking information on how to get rid of bed bugs. In 2009 2700 people searched for help on bed bugs, in the first 9 months of 2010 the number is up to 4700. The Kiwicare help desk has also been experiencing a similar increase in calls from sometimes distraught Kiwis seeking advice on how to get rid of bed bugs.

Education and knowledge of bed bug habits, what they look like, how to identify an infestation and how to protect yourself from them, will be our best defence.
Bed Bugs are small (about the size of a grain of rice) oval, wingless parasitic insects. When they have recently fed on blood they will be reddish brown but when they haven’t fed for some time they will be pale and almost translucent. Bed bugs suck blood. They are attracted to sleeping people by body heat and carbon dioxide in breath. They can feed without disturbing their food source.

Only afterwards do some people experience the itchy red raised bite marks. Many people do not react and are unaware of an infestation until it has become established.

Bed bugs hide near where their food source (people or pets) sleep. They are most common in accommodation such as hotels, motels and backpackers; anywhere there is a large turnover of travelling people inadvertently transporting bed bugs in and out of the premises. However, travellers return home and it is an increase in Kiwis bringing bed bugs into their own home that seems to be the main driver of the increase in requests for help and advice.

While travelling there are some precautions you can take to avoid a bed bug encounter on your travels and prevent bringing them home with you.
You can protect your luggage by giving it a light spray with a bed bug spray insecticide prior to travel. These are available from many hardware stores.
When you check into your room, don't leave your luggage on the bed, floor or upholstered furniture. Place your suitcase on a metal luggage rack or place where bed bugs will have difficulty reaching.

Look for signs of bed bugs. The first sign of infestation may be blood or bed bug faeces marks (like a tick with a black ballpoint pen) on mattresses or sheets. Check the mattresses of the beds and the bed frames, head boards, dresser tables, curtain seams, carpet edges and other seams, cracks and crevices.

If you find bed bugs in your hotel room – don't panic. Ask the hotel to change you to another room. The management will probably be happy that you have helped them identify an infestation before it becomes established. A bed bug infestation is not an indication of poor hygiene. Most accommodation businesses continually battle bed bug infestations brought in by unsuspecting guests.
When you return home inspect your suitcase and clothes for any signs of the bugs. Wash your clothes or place them in the dryer for 15 minutes on the high setting – even if you didn't wear them.

Kiwicare have recently launched the NO Bed Bug range of products specifically designed to help you prevent bed bug problems while travelling and to eradicate them should you get an infestation.

Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite. Help prevent the spread of bed bugs.

More information on bed bugs and how to get rid of them can be found at www.kiwicare.co.nz

About Kiwicare:
Kiwicare Corporation Limited is a New Zealand owned and operated company offering New Zealand’s most comprehensive range of pest control products. Kiwicare is committed to providing top quality products, advice and service on controlling pests in your home and garden.

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