Bed bug problems skyrocket in Valley homes, apartments

Frank Gutierrez didn't waste any time when he noticed what looked like a bed bug in his Phoenix home.

"As soon as I got it confirmed, I went to pick up everything I needed to get rid of them," said Gutierrez.

Gutierrez isn't the only one battling the pest. Bed and Weed Mart owner James La Brie says the number of people in the Valley fighting bed bugs is growing at a steady rate.

"In this store we have calls anywhere from 6 to 10 times a day with people needing help because of bed bugs," says LaBrie.

Rather than calling a professional to fog your house or apartment, LaBrie believes everyone should first try to get rid of the bed bugs themselves. It not only saves a person anywhere up to 80% the cost of a professional service, but LaBrie feels the end result is much better.

"The only thing you have to worry about is time. It takes roughly two hours per room," said LaBrie.

LaBrie recommends a three step process to removing bed bugs yourself.

Step 1: Inspect everything using a strong flashlight and magnifying lens. Take nothing from any infested room without first inspecting; otherwise, bed bugs will be taken to other rooms of the home. Bag all things safe to dry including clothing, laundry and put in a hot dryer for 30 minutes. Separate mattress and box springs and remove and empty all drawers.

Step 2: Vacuum once everything is cleared in the room including the floors and bottom of your furniture. Lift any carpet from tacking strips and vacuum carpet edges and baseboards. Once complete, throw the vacuum bag away and use a new vacuum bag for each room.

Step 3: Treat the area using a pump-up sprayer recommended by a pest expert. Inject the chemical into all visible furniture, baseboard, furniture seams, cracks and floors. Also treat your car when you're done.

One of the contributors to bringing bed bugs into your home is travel.

LaBrie recommends a number of tips to keep you safe from your departure to your arrival back home.

  1. Put all your luggage in the hotel bath tub, the porcelain protects your luggage.
  2. Check all mattress corners and box spring corners for bed bug remnants. If there is anything at all, immediately check out.
  3. Do not use the carpet or luggage stand for your luggage, bed bugs can easily hide in both.
  4. Spray all luggage with preventative chemicals before you leave on a trip.
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