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Chapter One - Preview

Bed Bugs Are Real and They’re Expensive

Michael V Wilson
By Michael V. Wilson

Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.

That used to be just a bedtime saying parents told their children. It didn’t really mean anything, it was just an old saying, and for a long time, most people thought that’s all it was. A lot of people even thought bed bugs were just a made-up name for a fictional insect that wasn’t real.

Well, bed bugs are real. They're blood-sucking parasites and they're very hard to get rid of. They're also expensive to get rid of. In 2016 (the latest year for which figures are available) bed bug services were estimated to have cost over $600 million a year, and by 2020, that figure is projected to rise to over $1 billion.

Per year!

And guess where most of that money is coming from? That's right, it's coming out of your pocket because when bed bugs invade your home, you're the one who's going to shelling out the big bucks to get rid of them. If you can find a pest control company who only charges $300 per room to kill them for you, you're getting a fantastic, cut-rate deal. In a five-room house, it would only cost you $1500 (plus tax) to "get-R-done."

Bed bugs were actually very common in most of the world until the development of DDT. It was so widely used back in the 1940s and 50s that it practically drove them to the brink of extinction. Chlordane and Diazinon, two other “old-timey” pesticides also helped wipe them out. Some bed bugs survived in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe but for the most part, they were gone from America. Recently though, they've made a dramatic reappearance.

Unfortunately, all the guys who used to fight bed bugs have died off from old age over the years, so when the bed bugs reappeared, there was no one around who knew how to treat them and nothing to treat them with because the eggheads at the EPA had banned DDT, Chlordane, and Diazinon, along with dozens of other old pesticides that actually worked.

Welcome to the future.

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs, or Cimex lectularius, are small, brown-to-red, flat, oval-shaped insects that feed on the blood of warm-blooded mammals, including us. They’re around 3/16" long and are sometimes mistaken for ticks, carpet beetles, or other insects. In fact, mistaken identity is one of the most common problems in the pest control world. People see something that looks like a bed bug and freak out. They call someone like me and when I get out there I discover they’ve got something completely different.

Oh, well.

Bed bugs are red because of the blood they feed on, which means the young who haven’t fed are a much lighter color. Bed bugs can’t fly or jump, but they can crawl over walls, ceilings, floors, furniture legs, fabric, and almost any other surface. Make note of that word, almost. It will become important in a few pages.

Adult females can lay 1-2 eggs a day, up to several hundred over their lifespan. The eggs are covered in a sticky substance that lets them cling to all kinds of surfaces. The eggs are very tiny, almost invisible to the human eye, and at normal room temperatures, they’ll hatch in about a week or so.

Bed bugs can grow to maturity in about a month, at which time they begin reproducing. Do the math and you’ll see that their population can explode in no time. If you don’t move fast you’ll be overrun. Cold temperatures below 70-80º F, will slow them down but won’t stop them.

Here’s some bad news; bed bugs can survive for 2-6 months without eating. If the temperature drops to 55ºF or below, their metabolism slows down and they can survive even longer without eating, sometimes up to a year or more. So if you’re thinking about closing up your house for a while to try starving them out, you’re doomed to disappointment.

So, what to do? That’s what this book is for. The pesticide manufacturers have finally started coming up with new pesticides that the EPA won’t ban, and the pest control industry has re-discovered how to fight bed bugs.

My name is Michael V. Wilson, the Scribe of Texas, and I have 14 years experience as a licensed pest control technician (AKA, the bug man, the critter gitter) killing bugs in the state of Texas. I’ve crawled under houses to kill termites, walked into homes and apartments so infested with roaches they were dropping on me the moment I opened the front door, and yes, I’ve fought many a battle with bed bugs. After retiring from the bug killing business I began writing for a living, which is how I came to write this Bed Bug Big Book.

I’m going to tell you how to determine if you actually have bed bugs or not, how they may have invaded your home, what pesticides to use, what kind of equipment you’ll need, how to prep your house or apartment, how to treat it, and what to expect when you’re done.

I want to warn you right up front, killing bed bugs isn’t a one-time event. It’s a process that can take up to 4-8 weeks to run its course. The length of time will vary depending on how bad the infestation is, but it’s not going to be an overnight deal. As long as you understand that, you’ll be fine.

If you want to read the rest of the Bed Bug Big Book, you can buy it on Amazon in paperback or Kindle form.

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