Bed Bugs Creep Back Into The Mid-South

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(Memphis) This little bug will make your skin crawl, especially if you find one in your home.

Bed bugs are back in a big way, so pest control companies are bringing in bed-bug-sniffing beagles.

Meet Shamu. She has a killer nose for tracking these bugs, and she's busy.

Shane James of James Pest Control said, "Five years ago if you asked me about bed bugs in the Mid-South, I'd say, 'Yeah we have a couple cases here and there,' but now we have cases everyday."

James Pest Control created a mock bedroom at its headquarters, where it hides bed bugs all over the room for Shamu to find.

She sniffs them out, and when she starts digging with both paws, that's how you know she's on the scent.

With every positive ID, she gets a treat.

Bed bugs started their comeback in the early 2000s in major cities like New York and Chicago, and they hitch-hiked their way back to the Mid-South on travelers.

Hotels and college campuses are hot spots for these bugs, but they're also found in hospitals.

James said, "Cleanliness does not affect these bugs. You can bring these things anywhere."

If you're wondering how a bed bug might have gotten in your house, your suitcase may be the culprit. They crawl in in hotels and airplanes, and when they get back, they make themselves at home.

They like to live in couches and bedroom furniture, because they crawl on you and bite while you're asleep, then crawl back into the furniture during the day.

Shamu can sniff out a home in a matter of hours, but her fee is nothing to sniff at - her services can cost up to $500.

James said, "She can locate bed bugs a lot quicker than we can as humans because we have to totally disassemble things, and some things we can't. Like clock radios where bed bugs have been found in."

Pest control teams say there is no magic wand you can waive to be clear of bed bugs. They suggest checking your home every time you get back from a trip and getting bed bug covers, because they make them easier to spot.


  • Ms901

    I had a few last year. One bag of $10 Diatomaceous earth from Home Depot sprinkled under the mattress and in the cracks and crevices eliminated them in 2 days. Pest control wanted $500.00/ room!

  • Dahai Dong

    Anyone can get rid of bed bugs after one-time easy effort. Google “bed sized bed bug trap” to convert entire bed into a trap with sleeper as inaccessible CO2 bait. More than 99% bed bug feeding is at night. This chance is eliminated as sure as sleeping in bathtub. It is also easy to eliminate the remaining 1% feeding chance at day time as sure as exterminators don’t receive bites. Without bite, you don’t care how long it will take for bed bugs to starve, solving the problem immediately without vacuum, steam, or pesticide related hard work. Heating entire room fails if bed bugs hide in electronics or migrate from other apartments. If you hire professional spray, pesticide is not allowed to touch clothes and steam can’t heat everywhere. Someone must heat all of clothes in house by a laundry dryer, seal them in plastic bags, store them properly, and remove them from bags in future. Make sure who will perform the most difficult job (16 hours) heating all of clothes in house before signing spray service contract. If an exterminator kills bed bugs by pesticide residual, you may take a risk to reduce people’s life by banned pesticide.
    A camper inside tent does not care how many mosquitoes hide in a bush. A sleeper on top of bed sized trap does not care how many bed bugs hide in a mattress. Mattress encasement is as nonsense as a camper uses tent as bush encasement to seal mosquitoes inside bush and sleeps outside tent.
    It is difficult for you to search bed bugs without missing a single one which lays up to 300 eggs. It is easy for every bed bug to find you and die on the way seeking food without survivor or new eggs. All of well known bed bug control methods are obsolete and misleading. No one kills ants by vacuum or steam instead of poison bait. No one should have killed bed bugs by vacuum or steam if people knew that bed sized trap for bed bugs is much more efficient than poison bait for ants.

    • RGRchy

      Don’t you read? It has nothing to do with being clean – it has to do with EXPOSURE! With travel being what it is, we are constantly introducing organisms into new places. Look at all the things that are in our lakes and rivers now – you have to rinse your boat before you change lakes, etc. The mosquito borne viruses are another example of exposure being the culprit. The mosquitos didn’t go to “skeeter skool” to learn how to make you sick and they aren’t looking for dirty people.

  • Ms901

    Well said, RGRchy. Apparently she did not, nor can read. My house is impeccable, yet and still, after staying in a $200/night hotel while traveling to Nashville, I managed to bring some of those critters home.

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