Ohio Customers Find Bed Bugs In Rented Furniture

Ohio Customers Find Bed Bugs In Rented Furniture

By Josh Poland
rent a center
It is no secret central Ohio has a bed bug problem. 

As recently as this past summer, extermination company Terminix ranked Columbus as fifth worst in the nation based on the number of bed bug-related calls. 

The parasites have infiltrated nearly every aspect of our community from hotels to theaters to schools and businesses. 

10TV first told you about a possible problem with bed bugs at a Licking County Rent-A-Center in July. A Newark man claims bed bugs entered his home from a mattress he got from the company’s Heath location. 

Since that story aired, 10TV received complaints about bed-bug infested furniture from viewers across central Ohio, including Columbus, Logan, Marion and Portsmouth.

“It was just a few, but it was just enough to drive me crazy,” Portsmouth resident Mike DeLong said about a recent battle with bed bugs.

DeLong says he bought a couch and chair from a Portsmouth Rent-A-Center in the summer of 2012. 

He says it was not long after that when he began to notice bed bugs and suspected they were coming from the couch.

“I flipped it over and when I did, I found like one or two dead ones that were up inside the couch,” he said. “I even tore all of the stuff out from the bottom of the couch and chair, ripped it all out, sprayed it all up inside because I couldn’t afford to buy a new couch.”

He said he was offered no help from the store after telling them about the bedbugs.

“Of course the manager says, ‘No, we don’t have nothing like that,’ but one of the girls that worked in there said, ‘yeah, we did’.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says his office has received five bed bug complaints for Rent-A-Center since 2010 and nine for Aaron’s since 2011.

DeWine says those numbers do not indicate a pattern at this point, but he says there are likely people who have had problems without contacting his office.

“I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who had a problem and they never called or thought to call the Attorney General’s office,” he said.

DeWine says the stores would be violating the Consumer Sales Practice Act if they knowingly sold furniture with bedbugs.

“Ultimately, they have the responsibility not to send out furniture that has bedbugs in it so they’re going to have to do whatever they have to do to make sure that does not happen,” DeWine said.

Rent-A-Center officials say they take every step they can to keep bed bugs away from their furniture.

“I can tell you that we visually inspect everything that comes in and out of our stores,” said Xavier Dominicis, Rent-A-Center’s Vice President of Public Affairs. “We use a sanitization agent in accordance with the laws of each state and we use a licensed exterminator that routinely inspects our stores.”

Aaron’s also says it works to protect its furniture from bed bugs. The company issued the following statement: 

“Aaron’s, Inc. cares about our customers and associates.  That’s the value we’ve built the business on for 58 years.  When a concern is raised with us, Aaron’s fully reviews the matter and works diligently with our customers in an attempt to keep them as fully satisfied customers.  Each and every customer concern is taken seriously, including any report of bedbugs. 
The National Pest Management Association reminds consumers that bedbugs are very elusive, transient pests.  Bedbugs can attach to clothing or luggage when traveling, can spread rapidly from apartment to apartment or room to room, and hide in cracks and crevices in furniture or baseboards.  While it is well understood that it is extremely difficult to determine the source of bedbugs, Aaron’s has a robust Quality Assurance program that includes inspection and treatment of its merchandise prior to lease or purchase by a customer.  Timing issues also compound the difficulty in determining the origin of bedbugs.  Additionally, there are many other differentiating factors involved in reports of bedbugs and Aaron’s approaches each issue as an individual incident and works toward a mutually agreeable resolution based upon the particular facts involved.  Aaron’s has partnered with Orkin, the nation’s largest pest control management company, who not only provides professional pest control management services for our stores, but their experts have reviewed and approved our Quality Assurance Program regarding bedbug inspection and treatment. “ 
But DeLong says his experiences have taught him that store bed bug policies are not 100 percent effective.

He says when renting or buying used furniture, all customers should thoroughly inspect the items themselves.

“I didn’t and I really should have,” he said.

It is advice that DeWine also suggests.

“I would inspect (furniture) very, very carefully. I would inspect it before it ever left the showroom,” he said.

DeWine urges anyone who has experienced similar problems to file a complaint with his office.

6 Horrific Realities of Living With a Bedbug Infestation

6 Horrific Realities of Living With a Bedbug Infestation

By J.F. Sargent, Lillian Marx February 23, 2014

 

As far as personal catastrophes go, a bedbug infestation sounds fairly minor. You might even wonder why it pops up in the headlines so often, alongside all of the real problems people have. Until, that is, it happens to you.
Then you find out how much of a nightmare it REALLY is.I did, when bedbugs infested my apartment. If your experience with bedbugs (which I sincerely hope you never have) is anything like mine and my wife’s, here’s what you have to look forward to …
#6. You Will Cover Yourself in Vaseline

Bedbugs are drawn inexorably toward any warm bodies, but since they can’t jump or fly, their mobility is actually pretty low. Vaseline may as well be quicksand for them, so a common survival tactic for the afflicted is to create isolated beds, using Vaseline the way you’d use garlic as a vampire repellent. You smear the stuff on the bed frame and the legs of the bed to create an impassible barrier (you can also try nesting the legs of your bed in bowls of baby powder — the little bastards get stuck in it). But what if the bedbugs are already in your bed, or places that can’t be roped off with rings of Vaseline?

you + vaseline = bff's

you + vaseline = bff’s

You smear it on yourself, that’s what. And if you think you have too much dignity and self-respect to turn your body into a greasy insect trap, well, try living with bedbugs for a few months.

That’s because getting bedbugs is like being a fan of the Chicago Cubs: Even though you know the days ahead are going to be filled with suffering and misery, you still have to get up every day and live your life. For instance, I had an active nightlife (that is, I did frequent late-night World of Warcraft raids), and bedbugs love their midnight munchies. So any time I looked down, I’d see a platoon of bloodsuckers sprinting across my desk. And I don’t much like being bitten — the distraction was seriously hurting my damage per second.

So, I slathered my ankles, wrists, and arms with coating after coating of Vaseline until I resembled a glazed doughnut. And yes, it worked — the bugs would crawl up to me, try to feast on my delicious blood, and immediately get stuck. At the end of the night, I’d retire to the bathroom to scrape off the glaze — which was by now covered in bedbug sprinkles. I was the doughnut Satan would give as ironic punishment to a glutton.

And if you’re sitting out there judging my disgusting, insect-encrusted lifestyle, that’s also part of the delightful bedbug experience. Because …

#5. You Will Be Unfairly Judged

trash

 

Before we go any further, let’s debunk some rumors:

First of all, bedbug infestations have nothing to do with how clean you are. Everything from my yuppie apartment building to the flagship Nike Store to the NYC Department of Health has had an outbreak — even multimillionaires like Howard Stern aren’t immune. Despite the best attempts to blame the bedbug problem on hippies, science has shown us that bedbugs are actually immune to DDT, so getting rid of it in the ’50s had nothing to do with their current resurgence. Heck, they don’t even only live in beds: They can infest everything from train seats to wallpaper to baseboards and even your alarm clock.

And no, getting rid of an infestation isn’t just a matter of calling your landlord to have somebody come over and spray — living with the little monsters doesn’t mean the person is lazy or OK with it (who the hell would be?). These things haven’t survived natural selection by being stupid — after we sprayed, the bedbugs just followed us to other rooms, indulging in the sweet smorgasbord of our shed flesh that littered the floors of our living room and kitchen. All the bugs had to do was cross a few trivial feet of hardwood, a simple task for a creature that can scale electrical wire like a crazy parasitic Spider-Man.

Oh, and despite the fact that in Massachusetts my landlord was legally responsible for exterminating my bedbugs, he still tried to con me into paying for them, dodged summons to court, and in general acted like an all-around douche — if there was a housing law for him to violate, he did it with panache. We escaped (sans our security deposit), and as far as we know he never got any comeuppance.

For support, I found myself reaching out to the only group who could truly sympathize: other people living with infestations. They are clustered on little islands of sanity in the middle of the Internet. As a sources of news, information, commiseration, and (somehow) rationality, I can confidently say that online support groups are totally responsible for what tattered shreds remain of my sanity (shortly after I joined one, a long-term member actually let me call them in the middle of the night and panic). Just knowing other folks are going through the same thing makes you feel less alone. Not that I ever really felt “alone” with the 7 million other inhabitants in my apartment.

#4. You Will Be Driven to Dangerous Measures

do not try this at home

So you’ve sprayed your place and slathered yourself in petroleum jelly. Now you have to clear out your clothes. Short of spraying your stuff with horrifying pesticides, the easiest way to kill off bedbugs is to help them reach their “thermal death point,” which is exactly what it sounds like: We crammed every piece of clothing we owned into the dryer for two hours, letting those baby’s burn in there for $2.50 a load. By the end, it probably would’ve been cheaper to bribe the bugs out of our home with an all expense paid whirlwind Vegas weekend, but sadly, they’re only insects with tiny brains and lack the physiology to properly enjoy the spoils that come with such.

You’re supposed to put everything that isn’t laundry into an oven, and since I was working as a teacher, it was very important that anything I gave to my students (like their homework) be bug-free, lest I become the Typhoid Mary of bedbugs. But I ran into a problem: Stuff like paper and shoes can’t go in an oven. Conventional wisdom says to heat them up with a seal-able container but I’m not a big fan of conventional wisdom, so I put a bunch of non-clothing stuff in the dryer in the basement, wedged it closed with bricks so the heavier items wouldn’t knock the door open, and left the machine running to scorch away my sorrows.

There was logic to my actions, of course — the type of logic that rises like a misty aroma from a brain soaking in a cocktail of fear and madness. “I have too many things to put in the oven,” I sang to myself, sweetly, “so I will put them in the dryer. The bugs will burn and I will be free.” One of my neighbors failed to appreciate the beauty of my logic. His naive, bug-less eyes saw not the key to sweet relief through death, but a gas dryer (which used an open flame) packed with all that is flammable and wedged shut. He responded by dragging me into the basement and calling the cops.

I was let off with a warning and learned exactly nothing from this, because the fiery death of me and my neighbors was a trifle compared to the threat of bedbugs. I continued to cleanse my students’ homework in the oven, which amounted to stuffing large amounts of paper near an open flame, right up until the end of the ordeal. At this point, I’ve used up so much residual good luck that I’m liable to die from someone else’s game of Russian roulette.

But this, amazingly, was still just the beginning …

#3. You Will Have to Destroy Your Belongings

With our clothes scourged like LV-426 at the end of Aliens, we realized it was time to nuke our furniture from orbit as well — which meant throwing out everything we owned.

Farewell Hard Work Down The Drain

Farewell Hard Work Down The Drain

But throwing out your belongings is harder than you think — particularly if your goal is not to infect a bunch of strangers’ houses with biting insects. Although we took precautions (wrapping our rugs and sheets in garbage bags, sealing them with duct tape, and labeling them with the word “bedbugs” and a cartoon picture of a mean-looking insect with frowning eyes), the dumpster scavengers were undeterred. In fact, while depositing our second load of plagued goods, we found some unwitting schlep collecting our very first load. He ignored our protests, threw the bag of bug-infested goods over his shoulder, and sauntered off, whistling a little tune like some kind of Johnny Appleseed of bedbugs.

From then on, we knew the only way to avoid spreading our curse to others was to destroy everything we owned. We disassembled our futon and then smashed it with a hammer. I threw our TV into the dumpster hard enough to shatter its screen. My desk was cathartic-ally splintered by my ren-fair ax.

And no, we weren’t just being paranoid — the infection of others’ homes through casually repossessed furniture is a bigger problem than you might hope. Boston, for example, is home to something called Allston Christmas, in which students from its roughly 7 billion colleges move out and leave most of their furniture on the curb. Guess what happens when you take that furniture home. Bedbugs. Bedbugs happen.

#2. After Everything, You May Still Have to Flee Your Own Home

After two months of sealing our clothes in plastic bags the size of Godzilla condoms and scrubbing our bodies with buckets of isopropyl alcohol we finally found the solution to our problems: retreat. That’s right. We moved out of our apartment. The bedbugs won.

But our ordeal wasn’t over: To make sure we didn’t bring any of the vermin with us, we had to conduct a “truck-based treatment,” which means we rented a U-Haul and turned it into an insect abattoir — and, somehow, “loading everything you own into a truck and then baking it” is even more complicated than it seems.

truck based treatment gone wrong

First, we needed a propane permit, which meant we had to explain to a bunch of skeptical firefighters that this process wouldn’t com-bust our crap. Second, we couldn’t just throw our stuff in the U-Haul and be on our way — we had to pack the truck carefully, making sure the air would be circulating and there would be no cool pockets for the little blood suckers to hide in. And finally, we had to park a truck on a busy Boston street and hope no curious Sox fan wandered in and died of stupidity next to our mattress.

It looks crazy, and it worked. The guys hooked up the machine, we all took turns watching it heat, and then we got a pizza and just hung around for eight hours. Once we finished, we let our newest best friends drive off in their pickup and moved into our new apartment.

The infestation had cost us something close to $5,000 once all was said and done. Take a moment to imagine all of those people who A) don’t have the money to do this and B) don’t have the option to move. Oh, and it also cost my sanity.

That’s because here is where I hit rock bottom. After weeks of torment, a hard day of moving, and the sweet relief of finally roasting every bug left on my personal belongings, I stripped off all my clothing to discover two massive bites on my leg. I panicked. The idea of all this expense and inconvenience being pointless sent me into a downward spiral, knowing that it all might have been for nothing.

#1. You Will Be Scarred Forever

My new place, as it turned out, was bedbug-free. I didn’t believe it until they brought in a bedbug-sniffing dog (yes, those exist, and they (though expensive) are the most wonderful things in the world) to convince me.

It turns out my psyche has been irrevocably warped by this experience. I’d call it PTSD, but that insults everyone who has experienced worse shit than mere bedbugs. Instead, I’ll draw on my years of psychological training (seriously) to bullshit a new name: PBI, or post-bedbug insanity.

Bed Bug Insanity

Bed Bug Insanity

To get an idea of how my brain works now, take a look at the chaos around your computer. Check out that little black dot near the mouse. Is it lint? A food particle? Or is it a bedbug? Now take off your pants and contemplate all the random red spots that have sprouted since you last inspected your legs. Is that new splotch an ingrown hair? A wildly inaccurate piercing? Or is it a bedbug bite?

This is how I think now. Any stray speck of dust creates an instant rush of fear. Whenever I see a yard sale, it’s all I can do to stop myself from screaming inane warnings and dousing each piece of furniture with gasoline. I’ve spent more time on my knees in hotel rooms than the average congressional aide, but I’m searching the mattress for evidence of an infestation instead of angling for a promotion.

And I’m not alone. People who experience bedbug infestations can end up depressed or socially anxious, start hallucinating, or other things that are way too depressing for a comedy article to get into. You might be thinking, “Oh, it’s just insects,” but that’s because you don’t understand how this problem gets under your skin and inside your brain and festers. Hold on — I have an itchy lump near my elbow right now, and I was recently on an airplane. These must be bedbugs.

Excuse me, I need to go take a bath in isopropyl alcohol.

Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Seven Year Itch’ Dress Infested with Bedbugs!

                                            images (37)

Perhaps the ‘lucky’ person who bought the dress for several million bucks wasn’t so lucky after all. Little did the avid fan know that some little extras were included with Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white dress from the movie, “The Seven Year Itch.” Some creepy, crawly little extras better known as bed bugs!

The new owner of the dress was in shock and could only say, “No wonder they call it The Seven Year ITCH dress. I didn’t take it literally. My bad.”

Meanwhile an exterminator/cleaner has made the owner of the dress an intriguing offer. One that probably the owner can’t refuse. He’ll clean and fumigate the affected dress as well as the owner’s mansion for free. In return, he gets to take possession of the evicted “itch” bugs.

He’ll be selling each of the bugs on eBay in a little see-through box, shaped like a toy block, wrapped in white ribbon. On the top of the box he’ll have the well-known picture of Marilyn Monroe standing on a NY subway grate, her Seven Year Itch dress blowing in the wind. The exterminator’s contact info will appear on the bottom of the box. Around the side of the buggy box will be printed these words: “I survived The Seven Year Itch.”

Lesson learned: Caveat emptor.

 

9 Ways To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs

Discreet Bed Bug Removal

9 Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

If you haven’t been living in a cave with your Ace of Base CD’s and your Seinfeld references, you’d know that the hottest trend sweeping the nation these days is bed bug infestations. These tiny little blood-suckers which lurk in mattresses and bedding have been spotted in massive numbers in recent years, and if you aren’t waking up every morning covered in swollen little bite marks, then frankly, you aren’t shit.

It turns out that the popularity of bed bug infestations has only been matched by the popularity of bed bug remedies, because while waking up with tiny little bites is very trendy, it is also possibly the single most distressing non-Ke$ha-related-thing ever. To find out more about bed bugs, I conducted a bit of research on my own, and have below outlined everything you need to know about how to first get a bed…

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What Are Bed Bugs?

Discreet Bed Bug Removal

images (33)

1. WHAT ARE BEDBUGS?

Bed bugs are small, flat, wingless, red-brown insects that will feed on the blood of people and animals while they sleep.

 2. WHO IS AT RISK FOR GETTING BED BUGS?

The thing is everyone is at risk for getting bed bugs, especially when visiting an infested area. However, people who frequently travel should be more leery of their surroundings and sleeping quarters as bed bugs spread through traveling.

 3. WHERE DO BED BUGS HIDE?

More than likely the best place that bed bugs will hide will be in locations near a food supply. Many times they will hide in suitcases, behind baseboards, in cracks and crevices and in folded areas to hitchhike their way around, usually coming out at night for a blood meal.

 4. DO BED BUGS FLY?

Bed bugs lack wings, therefore they cannot fly.

5. HOW DO YOU FIND BED BUGS?

Bed bugs…

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Customer Service

Premier Bed Bug and Pest Solutions knows that a pest problem isn’t just a matter of having an unsightly nuisance. In today’s world, a pest problem could result in the loss of business, damage to equipment, contamination of product, non compliance of OSHA or other government agencies and even risk to human health through disease or physical contact. That’s why choosing the right service provider is so important. What makes Premier unique is our expertise and knowledge. Our experience and trained certified technicians can handle any pest problem. These individuals are supported with the latest in equipment and products to ensure pest elimination. We offer a full range of pest control services to meet all of your needs, making quality and convenience our priority.

Bottom Line is Protection

BOTTOM LINE IS PROTECTION

Bed bugs are becoming a huge problem. Fact is they are becoming more a reality than media hype. It is important to protect your home and your business.

Premier Bed Bug and Pest Solutions became part of a professional network of pest management firms that approach bed bug elimination according to NPMA’s Best Pest Management Practices for bed bug removal.

We provide the following in addition to eliminating your pests:

  • Basic understanding of the customer’s concerns and commitment to educating customer’s about bed bugs
  • Providing treatment methods that address all life stages
  • Using a well-defined methodology for determining when an infestation has been eliminated
  • Providing complete and thorough inspections and follow-up services
  • Using Thermal Remediation and Conventional Treatments
  • Recommendations to property owners

A MISUNDERSTOOD MYSTERY

A MISUNDERSTOOD MYSTERY

 

Discovering bed bugs in such locations isn’t very surprising, considering their close association with humans but this shouldn’t cause panic or create fear. Often times the truth is often fabricated about bed bugs but Northwest is here to give you the facts:

  • Although bed bugs have been found to carry more than thirty different human pathogens, there is no evidence that they transmit disease to humans.
  • Bed bug presence has nothing to do with cleanliness. Bed bugs can be found anywhere there is a food source. However clutter can hide bed bug introductions which can lead to more severe infestations.
  • Bed bugs can be found anywhere not just in beds.

Infestation

INFESTATION

Bed bugs can be found anywhere there are people, particularly in areas with large populations. They have been reported in apartments, hotels, schools, retail stores, single-family homes and multi-family homes among others. Even five star hotels are susceptible to these pesky critters.

Bed bugs continue to be most common in residences with more than 98% encountering them in apartments and in single-family homes according to the NPMA. Other locations still include:

  • Hotels/Motels: 75%
  • College Dorms: 47%
  • Shelters: 47%
  • Nursing Homes: 46%
  • Schools/Day Cares: 41%
  • Office Buildings: 36%
  • Retail Stores: 15%

Pesky Critters

PESKY CRITTERS

Bed bugs are elusive creatures, often found in mattresses and box springs, behind headboards, inside switch plates in couch cushions or in furniture seams. They are excellent “hitchhikers.” By hiding in clothing, they inadvertently go along for a ride to new locations, leading to their spreading.

Thought to be introduced with early colonists, bed bugs resurged about ten years ago in hotels and homes. It was attributed to increased international travel in addition to their ability to build up resistance to insecticides.