As we heard on yesterday’s Talk of the Rock, there is a small nuisance in Kodiak that is growing and growing. Not larger, but in number.
“When they hear ‘bed bugs’ they think it’s only in the bed,” according to B.J. Johnson, a pest control expert in Kodiak. “Well, unfortunately, that’s just not true, because bed bugs will infest your clothing, your linens, your carpet. I’m working on one right now where they will actually travel between the walls. They get through clothing, they’ll climb on books, bed frames, cabinets. Everything.”
Johnson, who works for American Pest, an Anchorage company with branches in says he saw his first bedbug case eight years ago, and the numbers have just increased.
“I just feel like it’s just a matter of time – for everybody,” he said. “If you haven’t had them, it’s going to happen. It might not be today or tomorrow, but it will happen. It’s just the nature of the beast right now.”
The spread of bedbugs is largely connected with travel and staying in an infested hotel somewhere. But Johnson points out you don’t have to travel to New York City to come home with pesky hitchhikers.
“I have seen people go to an infested home and they throw down their backpack or suitcase or whatever and next thing you know, they go back to their house and – boom, they’ve got bugs,” he said.
The transient nature of Kodiak’s population turns out to be ideal for ideal for the spread of bed bugs. One organization that has frequent overnight guests is Kodiak’s Brother Francis Shelter, but Executive Director Monty Hawver points out constant vigilance has worked out for them.
“You know what, we’ve been really bless so far. We’ve never had an infestation, or even found any. But we do take proactive measures,” Hawver said. “The bedding that we use, the mats, have a special cover on them that does keep bugs and that away.”
The pests are often associated with the hospitality industry, and Johnson says local B-and-Bs and hotels are taking preventative action.
“We offer what we call a bedbug prevention program. Many of the hotels in Kodiak, I do that already for them,” Johnson said. “Several of them have been proactive and they started in on the program over five years ago.”
You can hear the full conversation with Johnson about bed bug prevention and treatment from yesterday’s Talk of the Rock, which is posted online at KMXT.org.