Are you a prison warden with a bed bug problem? Do some of your inmates have lots of blood-sucking bugs bunking with them in their cells? Before you start racking up the expenses in your head for bed bug treatment, there are three fallacies about bed bugs you should know.
Bed Bugs Crawl from Bunk to Bunk
While bed bugs certainly could crawl from bunk to bunk and jail cell to jail cell, they generally will not travel far when their host. It is actually the prisoners who transport the bugs to other cells and bunks when the bugs hide out in inmates' clothing and shoes. Prison guards and COs can transport the bugs inadvertently when they come into contact with an infested inmate during the course of their daily duties, which also contributes to the bugs traveling away from the primary source of infestation. If your cell blocks are blocked off from each other and your guards are limited to working specific cell blocks, that can help in the prevention and treatment process. (Otherwise you might have to treat the entire prison.)
Bed Bugs Can Be Eradicated from Your Prison by Burning Mattresses and Clothing
There is an unfortunate (and expensive!) assumption going around that you can eradicate a bed bug problem from your prison by burning mattresses, blankets, pillows and clothing. While this certainly will kill any bugs that are living and hiding inside these items, it does not kill the bed bugs that are still hiding in the cracks along the floors and walls of the infected cells and cell blocks. If your prison uses anything other than metal bunks, the bugs will gravitate toward these organic materials (e.g., wood bunks) and look for crevices in which to hide until bedtime.
If you are dealing with a particularly nasty infestation, then the bed bugs will look for any dark place to hide out where they can digest their blood meals and rest during the day. Anything cloth or leather is best treated by washing it in the hottest water possible and then drying it in the hottest dryer setting possible. Mattresses can be sprayed by an exterminator and then encased in protective covers to kill future hatchlings.
One Exterminator Visit Fixes the Problem
Sadly, one visit from an exterminator will only provide a bed bug treatment that lasts as long as the bed bug life cycle. You will need a series of successive treatments and visits from an exterminator like Arab Termite and Pest Control to kill the next couple of cycles of bed bugs so that you do not have continued infestation problems with these bloodsuckers. While most of the steps to treat and prevent bed bugs can be done by your guards and inmates who work in the prison, a chemical eradication is still necessary and will need to be repeated for a few life cycles to make sure all of the adult bugs, nymphs and hatchlings are dead.