Bed bugs difficult to treat

Published 12:11 am Tuesday, July 3, 2018

‘Free’ discarded furniture could be infested

Steve Turner has treated at least 60 local homes for bed bugs, but he knows it’s a problem that’s not going away.

Why? Because people are quick to take furniture hauled to road to be trashed, even if it’s marked “bed bugs.”

“I helped a guy move a mattress to the road before I sprayed the house,” he said. “It was about an $1,100 mattress. Before I could finish spraying, somebody had picked up the mattress.”

Another day, he sprayed a home at which a sofa had been thrown away. It was at the street to be picked up and had a sign on it that warned, “bed bugs.” It, too, was picked up quickly.

“Bed bugs are all over the world now,” Turner, who owns Andalusia Termite and Pest Control, said. “They are on cruise ships and at Disney World. They get in your luggage, and they can be dormant for weeks.”

Turner said the bugs can hide behind baseboards, wall outlets, or in the crevices of furniture or matresses.

“They come out at night,” he said. “

There are a number of treatments, he said. One is to put furniture outside, cover it, and heat it to 125 to 130 degrees.

“You can use a liquid, a powder, or a commercial type fogger,” he said. “There are about four different poisons. I use them all.”

Turner said his method is usually successful the first time, but he has seen cases that required two treatments.

The small ones are about the size of a small tick, he said.

“After they’ve fed on you for a little while, they get pretty big.”

Turner said to inspect your home or a hotel mattress, look for tiny red spots on the sheets or mattress.

“They excrete blood,” he said.

Some people are immune to the bites, he said, especially if they have dealt with bed bugs for any period of time. Others are allergic and react quickly.

There are many products available for treating bed bugs, and looking for them, Turner said, but he recommends calling a professional.

“I’ve had people tell me they would do it themselves, then call me back because the bugs were really out of control,” he said.

The price for treating ranges from $250 to $300, up to $1,500.

“I’m cheap,” he said. “I can treat it for $250 to $300, and I ain’t scared of them.”

The Alabama Cooperative Extension Service offers the following tips:

  • Always check belongings and yourself after traveling to any high traffic area. These are the most likely places to have bed bugs.
  • Avoid bringing home used furniture or mattresses if you do not know where they came from.


  • When staying at a hotel, always inspect your room. Pay specific attention to the mattress and area surrounding the bed. Look for fecal stains and shed skins of bed bugs.