Treating household items for bed bugs.

Bed bugs are a common problem across the United States, and Max Smith, consultant with Chucks Pest Control, says the Chillicothe area is no different.

“Bed bugs are not just a problem,” Smith said. “They are a severe problem.”

Smith estimates that they are called to treat for bed bugs at least once a week, and he noted the treatment can be lengthy and expensive.

One out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel. It is the increased prevalence of citizens encountering bed bugs outside of their own homes, and then taking the chance of bringing them into their homes that caused Max and Kathy Smith, consultants, to purchase a large heating tent to allow for treatment of bed bugs in the Locust Street facility.

According to PestWorld.org, most Americans are concerned about bed bugs. Almost 80 percent are concerned about encountering bed bugs at hotels; 52 percent on public transportation; 49 percent in movie theaters; 44 percent in retail stores; 40 percent in medical facilities; 36 percent in their own homes; and 32 percent are equally concerned about picking up bed bugs at their places of employment or friends' homes.

“Especially for people who travel a lot and stay in hotels, bed bugs are a worry,” Smith said.

The tent allows for proper treatment of items as small as a pair of shoes, or as large as a full size bed. “We can treat anything that will fit inside the tent,” Smith said. Bed bugs are killed at 122 degrees, the tent, with its three thermostats can heat up to 130 degrees. The key, Smith noted, is placing the thermostats in the small crevices, where bed bugs tend to hide, and chemical treatments cannot always reach. Depending on the density of the item, treatments can take anywhere from two to eight hours.

“This treatment allows anyone to bring us items they may have purchased, or have and are worried may have come in contact with bed bugs,” Smith said.

While some pest control companies use similar heat treating methods in homes, those can be dangerous, Smith said. “Heat treating homes have been known to melt TVs, destroy photos and other personal items.”

Once the heat treatment is stopped, there are no residual effects, which may cause any area not heated to the proper temperature to remain infested. “We use a chemical treatment that lasts, and is known, industry wide, to be more effective long term. That is how we have treated homes and business for bed bugs for the last eight years.”

Furniture is hard to treated with chemicals, which is another reason the in-shop tent, is a good option. “Some furniture is quite expensive and this will allow us to help a person by treating their furniture,” he said. “They can save their property and be sure there are no bed bugs, because the heat will get into the crevices where bed bugs are most likely to hide.”

“Anything a person wants treated, we can place inside the tent and get it taken care of,” Smith noted. “This is a big tool concerning prevention. No one wants to have to have their home treated for bed bugs, and this will go a long way in preventing that.”

Smith said he anticipated frequent travelers would be the most likely to use the service, to ensure their luggage is not infested, and he encouraged them to do so as hotels are one of the most likely places to pick up bed bugs.

Typically found in couches and bed frames, bed bugs can also be found in some of the most unexpected places, including stuffed animals, wheelchairs, airplanes, school buses, purses and even inside bedside lamps.

For more information on treating bed bugs call 646-2074.