Bed bugs totally suck…

May 6, 2013

bedbugDid you know U.S. nursing homes, hospitals and even ambulances are increasingly plagued by … bedbugs..?!?

Marketwatch.com reports more than a third of pest management companies treated bedbug infestations in hospitals in 2012, 6% more than the year before and more than twice as many as in 2010, according to a survey released today by the National Pest Management Association.

The percentage of exterminators dealing with bedbugs in nursing homes has also almost doubled since 2010, to 46%. Bedbug experts also report seeing them in ambulances.

The Center for Disease Control explains bed bugs are not known to spread disease, but they can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.

This is especially problematic in hospitals, where there is a greater likelihood of catching the highly potent and contagious staph infection known as MRSA, says Dr. Jorge Parada, medical director of the infection prevention and control program of Loyola University Health System in Chicago. “You don’t need one more ingredient to increase your risk of infections in the hospital,” he says.

Bed bugs are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.

Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms.

They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed. Bed bugs have been shown to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night but tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep.

What are the signs and symptoms of a bed bug infestation?

bedbug bites

One of the easiest ways to identify a bed bug infestation is by the tell-tale bite marks on the face, neck, arms, hands, or any other body parts while sleeping. However, these bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area.

These signs include:

  • the bed bugs’ exoskeletons after molting,
  • bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets,
  • rusty–colored blood spots due to their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete on the mattress or nearby furniture, and
  • a sweet musty odor.
bed bug colony

Bed bug colony

Treating bed bugs

If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs.

dog searching for bedbugsThere are even companies with highly specialized Bed Bug detection Canines, who can detect Bed Bugs when humans cannot, and more efficiently so affected areas can be treated before infestations spread.

Methods currently used to combat bedbug infestations include freezing, extreme heating, vacuuming and pesticides.

The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspections to watch for the signs of an infestation.

Non-toxic remedy

HealthDay News reports a centuries-old bedbug remedy of using kidney bean leaves to trap bedbugs may offer a model for a non-toxic, modern-day treatment.

Microscopic hairs on kidney bean leaves stab the insects, effectively trapping them, the researchers discovered. They are using their findings to develop non-toxic synthetic materials that will mimic the effects of the bean leaves and help prevent bedbug infestations, according to the report, published online April 9 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

The age-old Balkan treatment involved scattering kidney bean leaves on the floor next to beds to ensnare the blood-thirsty critters. Within seconds of stepping on a leaf, the bugs were trapped. Microscopic hooked hairs on the leaves, known as trichomes, stab the bugs’ legs and immobilize them, the researchers explained.

kidney bean leaves trap bedbugs

Basically … learning the bean leaf’s secrets could help researchers create a bio-inspired reusable bug trap that would avoid chemical solutions — and it won’t dry out after just a few days like a leaf.

Learn more about bedbugs at CDC.gov and Bed Bug Central.

Stay safe, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite..! 🙂 j & B

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Friday Fotos: Spectacular cloud formations

May 3, 2013

Living in southern Arizona makes one appreciate clouds since we don’t get to see them very often. We average almost 200 sunny days and about 100 partly sunny days a year and, when we are lucky enough to have clouds – esp. late in the day – we get some absolutely gorgeous sunsets.

Clouds are an intricate part of our existance on our little planet and most people probably don’t pay too much attention to them, but sometimes the right conditions can create some incredible formations and visuals.

We hope you enjoy today’s Friday Fotos and some explanations about each … and keep your eyes on the skies since nature can provide some spectacular views.

shelf cloud

Shelf cloud in Florida by Jason Weingart  via Accuweather

Accuweather explains shelf clouds often form at the leading edge of a gust front or outflow boundary from a thunderstorm, or strong winds flowing down and outward from a storm. The outer part of a shelf cloud is often smoother with a notable rising motion exhibited by a tiered look (hence, the name shelf cloud). Underneath, a turbulent, unsettled appearance is often the case. A shelf cloud should be seen as a harbinger of strong winds, so take caution.

asperatus clouds

Asperatus Clouds Over New Zealand
Image Credit & Copyright: Witta Priester via NASA

NASA Explanation: What kind of clouds are these? Although their cause is presently unknown, such unusual atmospheric structures, as menacing as they might seem, do not appear to be harbingers of meteorological doom. Known informally as Undulatus asperatus clouds, they can be stunning in appearance, unusual in occurrence, are relatively unstudied, and have even been suggested as a new type of cloud. Whereas most low cloud decks are flat bottomed, asperatus clouds appear to have significant vertical structure underneath. Speculation therefore holds that asperatus clouds might be related to lenticular clouds that form near mountains, or mammatus clouds associated with thunderstorms, or perhaps a foehn wind — a type of dry downward wind that flows off mountains. Such a wind called the Canterbury arch streams toward the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The above image, taken above Hanmer Springs in Canterbury, New Zealand, in 2005, shows great detail partly because sunlight illuminates the undulating clouds from the side.

lenticular clouds near mountain

Lenticular Clouds Over Washington
Credit & Copyright: Tim Thompson via NASA

NASA Explanation: Are those UFOs near that mountain? No — they are multilayered lenticular clouds. Moist air forced to flow upward around mountain tops can create lenticular clouds. Water droplets condense from moist air cooled below the dew point, and clouds are opaque groups of water droplets. Waves in the air that would normally be seen horizontally can then be seen vertically, by the different levels where clouds form.

Iridescent cloud

A Pileus Iridescent Cloud Over Ethiopia
Image Credit & Copyright: Esther Havens (Light the World) via NASA

NASA Explanation: Pictured, behind this darker cloud, is a pileus iridescent cloud, a group of water droplets that have a uniformly similar size and so together diffract different colors of sunlight by different amounts. The above image was taken just after the picturesque sight was noticed by chance by a photographer in Ethiopia. A more detailed picture of the same cloud shows not only many colors, but unusual dark and wavy bands whose origins are thought related to wave disturbances in the cloud.

supercell or mothership cloud over Montana

Supercell Thunderstorm Cloud Over Montana
Credit & Copyright: Sean R. Heavey via NASA

NASA explanation: Is that a spaceship or a cloud? Although it may seem like an alien mothership, it’s actually a impressive thunderstorm cloud called a supercell (sometimes called a mothership cloud). Such colossal storm systems center on mesocyclones — rotating updrafts that can span several kilometers and deliver torrential rain and high winds including tornadoes. Jagged sculptured clouds adorn the supercell’s edge, while wind swept dust and rain dominate the center.

Morning glory or roll clouds over Australia

Morning Glory Clouds Over Australia
Credit & Licence: Mick Petroff via NASA

NASA Explanation: What causes these long, strange clouds? No one is sure. A rare type of cloud known as a Morning Glory cloud can stretch 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) long and occur at altitudes up to two kilometers (1.2 miles) high. Although similar roll clouds have been seen at specific places across the world, the ones over Burketown, Queensland Australia occur predictably every spring. Long, horizontal, circulating tubes of air might form when flowing, moist, cooling air encounters an inversion layer, an atmospheric layer where air temperature atypically increases with height. These tubes and surrounding air could cause dangerous turbulence for airplanes when clear. Morning Glory clouds can reportedly achieve an airspeed of 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph) over a surface with little discernible wind.

cloud caused by sonic boom

A Sonic Boom
Credit: Ensign John Gay, USS Constellation, US Navy via NASA

NASA Explanation: When an airplane travels at a speed faster than sound, density waves of sound emitted by the plane cannot precede the plane, and so accumulate in a cone behind the plane. When this shock wave passes, a listener hears all at once the sound emitted over a longer period: a sonic boom. As a plane accelerates to just break the sound barrier, however, an unusual cloud might form. The origin of this cloud is still debated. A leading theory is that a drop in air pressure at the plane described by the Prandtl-Glauert Singularity occurs so that moist air condenses there to form water droplets. Above, an F/A-18 Hornet was photographed just as it broke the sound barrier.

Stay safe and have a great weekend! 🙂 j & B


Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Week is May 5-11, 2013

May 1, 2013

EP WeekCanada’s Emergency Preparedness Week is a national awareness initiative that has taken place annually since 1996.

This year’s campaign runs from May 5 – 11, 2013 and is a collaborative event undertaken by provincial and territorial emergency management organizations supporting activities at the local level, in concert with Public Safety Canada and partners.

EP Week encourages Canadians to take three simple steps to become better prepared to face a range of emergencies:

  • Know the risks
  • Make a plan
  • Get an emergency kit

Public Safety Canada offers a wide variety of resources and publications to help citizens know the risks and get prepared for natural hazards like flooding, severe storms, power outages and more.

Also visit Get Prepared’s new mobile site for key steps to take during an emergency or disaster at http://m.GetPrepared.ca

And share some of the “72 hours…Is your family prepared?” campaign posters, toolkits and brochures to promote action and awareness through social media.

Learn more about EP Week here  … or visit www.GetPrepared.ca or follow @Get_Prepared on Twitter.

Also download some free safety topics from our IT’S A DISASTER! book since it is written primarily for Americans and Canadians.


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