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  • Marvin Pride Jr.

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs . . . Well, You Know

For the last decade bed bugs have been a growing problem in urban areas across the country, and Detroit is no exception. The City of Detroit has provided a resource for residents to help them determine whether they have bed bugs, what to do about them and how to eliminate them. The city’s health department website includes resources for landlords and tenants who are fighting bed bugs.

Pest management professionals are also allies in fighting bed bug infestations. They are able to eradicate bed bugs entirely using techniques that are safe for people and their pets. However, attempting to get rid of the bugs yourself is more complicated and involves chemicals that may pose a risk to people and other species.

Historically, having bed bugs has carried a stigma about hygiene and living conditions that are just not true, says Lisa Knott, a social worker with Bridging Communities Inc., a grassroots organization founded in Southwest Detroit more than 40 years ago to help seniors. Knott says bed bugs are nobody’s fault and that any home or apartment can get bed bugs. The critters are not a sign that someone is unsanitary because they can latch onto anything, come home with you from vacation or just from a visit to another home.

She says it’s better to talk about bed bugs because that can be the first step toward getting rid of them.

“Bed Bugs do not discriminate,” Knott says. A person can purchase new furniture or a mattress and they can be delivered with bed bugs. The earlier you inform

your landlord or you detect them in your home, [you can] start the treatment ASAP.”

Professional services like Rose Pest Solutions, have technologies for spotting bed bugs - including dogs that sniff them out. The dogs are trained to smell bed bugs and their eggs, just as other dogs are trained for search and rescue, or to find contraband.

“Dogs that are trained to locate bed bugs can be expensive but if someone wants peace of mind it might be worth it,” says Knott, adding that the real cost is in the treatment, not the inspection. If an inspection shows that the bed bugs you thought you had are not really the issue, you could save money by avoiding unnecessary treatment, she advises, also recommending having a trained dog inspect your house after it’s treated to make sure the problem is solved.

Rose Pest Solutions details the canine option on its website at bed bug detecting dogs,

Knott can be reached at Bridging Communities Inc., 313.361.6377 or through for questions about bed bugs and other issues affecting seniors.

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