Bed bugs in the news: Jacksonville, Florida

by nobugsonme on June 17, 2010 · 13 comments

in bed bugs, florida, misinformation

This is an interesting bed bug story from First Coast News in Jacksonville, Florida.

First, it documents another case of someone being denied necessary medical treatment due to an acute bed bug infestation.

Second, it represents a case where people obviously lived with bed bugs until they became unbearable, and only got treatment when forced to do so.

And finally, there is an instance of misinformation being provided by a “bed bug specialist” in the news media.

The story concerns a Jacksonville family who have bedbugs in their home:

The family told First Coast News they have had this problem for months, and now it has become unbearable.

“It is very bad. It is probably the worst home invader that I know of,” said Dave, who lives in the home. “They hide in places you can’t see and they get in your clothes, and disrupt your life. You lay down at night and you’re scratching, you become an insomniac,” he added.

Despite having bed bugs “for months” and the situation becoming “unbearable,” the family only got treatment after Dave’s mother-in-law (who shares the home) was refused dialysis treatment because there were bed bugs on her clothing.

The clinic told her she could not be given dialysis until the bedbugs were gone and the clinic called a pest control firm, who have subsequently treated the home with steam and residual pesticides.

The question arises: if bed bugs in the home were so prevalent that the residents were uncomfortable, and that multiple bugs could be found hitchhiking on one of the residents, why was treatment not sought earlier?

Many people do not get prompt treatment because of the costs, and still others because they do not know a problem exists.  This problem seems to be more common among the elderly — who are both more likely to be living on fixed incomes, and according to recent research, less likely to react to bed bug bites than people under 65.

Unfortunately, pest management professional Kyle Carson of Turner Pest Control (referred to as a “bed bug specialist” in the segment) makes an unfortunate mistake.

Ironically, in an attempt to correct misconceptions about bed bugs, Carson says that “Bed bugs don’t crawl, they don’t jump, or anything like that,” and this is obviously not accurate.

(Note: the article on the First Coast News website transcribes this quote incorrectly as “Bed bugs don’t jump they don’t crawl on you,” but unfortunately, they retain the inaccurate information.)

While they do not jump, they certainly do crawl and can crawl onto a person or into their possessions, hitchhiking to the next location.

I suspect Carson is well familiar with this fact, since the home of Dave and his mother-in-law was only treated after bedbugs obviously crawled onto the woman (or into her possessions) and were transported to the dialysis clinic.

A slip of the tongue can happen to anyone. However, the fact that this misinformation was retained in the story and broadcast is a reminder of how important it is that journalists and those interviewed by them are cautious in how they represent the facts about this pest.

Remember, people viewing the segment are probably getting all of their bed bug education (if they get any at all) from news reports.

(Note: if the embedded video does not load, you can watch it on the First Coast News site.)

1 bedbugfinder June 18, 2010 at 12:14 am

It stated in the report that Turner Pest Control paid for a hotel room for the infested family. I wonder how the Hotel feals about this family staying in one of their units without being told that there is a possibility that they may be bringing the insects to one of their hotel rooms, and give them the gift that keeps on giving.

2 bedbugfinder June 18, 2010 at 12:29 am

If Bed Bugs don’t crawl, than how do they get to you at night? Wait wait, I know this one! They crawl….Using their LEGS. Im my 12 years of Bed Bug research I have never seen one Fly, Hover, float in mid air, or defy gravity in any way shape or form, However, with all of my 12 years of research, I have seen them become mobile in one way, and one way only…………………They Crawl……..
and yes, the reporter was …although in a slight way…, in danger of having a Bed Bug or Nymph CRAWL onto his shoe and hitch a ride back home with him. I wonder if the reported would trust the Pest Companies claims if he got an infestation in his home, within a few weeks after returning home. After all, the ones who really know the answers and how Bed Bugs travel and hitch hike, are laughing a little about this one.

3 nobugsonme June 18, 2010 at 1:54 am


I gather you represent a Florida pest control firm with a bed bug k9 team, and Turner Pest Control, which also is a pest control firm with bed bug k9, is a direct competitor of yours, is this correct?

If so, it seems relevant to your comments and perhaps it has impacted your tone.

It is true that people with bed bugs need to take precautions when leaving their homes (and with items they carry with them or wear). On the other hand, you don’t seem to have any basis for assuming the residents were not educated about this by their PCO, or that the hotel was not aware of the situation.

Regarding your second comment, as I stated in my post above, the pest pro clearly misspoke and this is unfortunate.

Since we’re here and all, and since this is something I want to know about every k9 team, can I ask whether you/your firm’s other dog handlers work to visually confirm the presence of bed bugs every time a dog alerts?

4 CiLecti June 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I’m going to assume that Carson meant to say “fly” instead of “crawl”. Then the statement makes sense.

“Bed bugs don’t fly, they don’t jump, or anything like that,”

5 KillerQueen June 20, 2010 at 9:38 pm

ahh yeah .. I’m sure he slipped with his tongue so lets not get all crazy here.

6 Doug Summers MS June 22, 2010 at 7:10 am

Kyle probably meant to say fly in this instance… I suspect that the use of the word “crawl” in the sound bite was inadvertent.

Perhaps we should pull together a bloopers file of videos with inaccurate information to supplement David’s snake oil list.

It could be the first “green bed bug education video” that is made exclusively with existing footage to reduce the carbon footprint

7 nobugsonme June 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Hi Doug and all,

I hope it was clear that I also think this was an inadvertent mistake.

I do think it’s important to be careful, since the people watching this may have no other knowledge of bed bugs.

I like your idea about the blooper video, though it would have to clarify the “mistakes” to that it did not further spread wrong ideas about bed bugs!

8 bedbugfinders June 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Nobugsonme, We do confirm all canine alerts. This is most important for all canine teams and this should be well known by now. The technician is the most important part of the inspection. We are not in direct competition with Turner Pest and my tone does not come from competition. It stems from being a Bed Bug researcher, and Pest Professional for so long that misinformation to the general public that does not represent the truth be it slip of the tongue or not is damaging to the industry. We are the professionals and from what I can tell, the segment was recorded and not live, and should have been corrected.
As far as the dogs, they are just a tool, no need to go any further than that, for the heated debates that will persist. ALL alerts need to be verified. I take great pride in technician training as well as training other companies across the country on treatment methods, and proper inspection techniques. There are so many Bed Bugs and too few professionals, so competition is the furthest from my mind. We are far enough away from Turner Pest that there is no need to compete. We have serviced accounts in that area but it they are quite rare. We do not advertise in that geographic region of Florida, and do not wish to compete with any company in that area. I hope that this clears it up. Keep up the good work and keep the correct information coming.

9 nobugsonme June 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Thanks, bedbugfinders. I am glad to hear you visually confirm alerts. Unfortunately that is not a universal approach yet. Thanks also for noting that you are not one of the firm’s competitors.

I gather from your comments you agree the bed bug k9 world is rather dog handler-eat-dog handler (to coin a phrase). In this case, it led me to jump to conclusions.

10 bedbugfinders June 23, 2010 at 12:33 am

Thank you for your response, I would like to point out that my comments are not meant to put any company down! I was probably a little aggressive in trying to point out the humor in such a slip of the tongue, as well bring to light that it can damage the professional industry as a whole when these things occur in the media. I wish not to beat a dead horse but we all know too well the the information in the media can be so far from the truth. I would also like to point this out. Yes I own a pest control company and my company performs tens of thousands of inpections annually but these inspections are mostly not our clients. The commercial properties are clients of competing Pest Control Companies. We work together with many Pest Control Companies by performing th

11 bedbugfinders June 23, 2010 at 1:40 am

The canine detections for them. This provides two separate companies on a single property. Double the eyes and double the talent. All pest companies should model this type of method. Put down the ego’s and work together. We work with at least five other companies and they all have question and we guide them in the right direction. I experienced my first bed bug failure about 12 years ago and have been an avid researcher since. I have come along way from feeding my own colonies on my legs to feel the effects and study the results, not to mention it kept my bugs alive. But my treatment and inspection failures of long ago, has saved many competing companies from making the same mistakes that I have. We have a knack for being logical in our research and our research has been mostly performed in the field. We have had the luxury of having some very loyal properties let us use infested rooms in search of the best solutions. We share this information with any company that is willing To put ego aside and take our real world classes. Our classes are performed in the real world, on real jobs at real hotels and apartments. Instructed by real handlers using real canines. Also our treatment classes are performed on real jobs. My company with great technicians and well trained and maintained canines performs around twenty to twenty five thousand inspections annually for hotels, resorts, and apartments. We are not worried about competition. Competition is healthy if it is competition without malus. Multiple companies working together is a noble idea, and we live and make a living by this. Our guarantee to anyone that we instruct is that we do not want any of your general household pest control on any of their accounts, we only wish to do the detection with canines and make their bed bug program better. When we get inquiries from our websites, we send them to the company in that region that we have instructed. We want no commissions or kickbacks. My only goal is to train people all over the country that can perform at their best armed with all of the knowledge that we can give. We feel that it is really simple. Work together to find a solution.
As far as the canines, I will sum up my views for you….
A canines nose is no match for a human’s eye and deductive reasoning. Sometimes it takes a canines nose to direct our line of site, where we will use our deductive reasoning to confirm the alert. The dogs are great tools that direct a handle and vise versa. A hammer can’t drive a nail without an arm to swing it, a car goes nowhere without a driver, and a bed bug canine is just a dog without a competent handler to verify the results and pay the dog its earnings for a job well done. Always always always verify the alert!!!!Never remove the handle or technician from the equation or what you get is just a plain old dog!

12 bedbugfinders June 23, 2010 at 1:47 am

Sorry about the break in the post. The submit button is way to close to the keyboard on an iPad……

13 OCDthx2BBs July 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I haven’t been on this site in a while… But I find it amusing that Kyle Carson was my PCO… until we got a new one. I knew he didn’t know squat, and I’m so glad I found this site before my problem got worse.

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