How are Bed Bugs transported (who can I blame)?

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Posted on 13th April 2013 by Ken in Bed Bugs |Questions & Answers

Bed Bugs cannot fly, nor will they travel out of doors. They are professional “hitchhikers”. As an example, if someone visits a home or business that has a problem, they may decide to climb into personal items such as suitcases, purses, bags and the like, and not have a chance to get out before you pick them up and leave. OR, if you buy or take items that are in such a location (such as, but not limited to furniture, appliances etc), you may carry the bugs hiding there to a new location. In addition, persons who live or work in an infested location may transport them the same way or even on their own clothes. While Bed Bugs do not cling naturally to their host like lice (and fleas to animals), if they are unable to detach before the person arises and gets dressed, they will hang on for dear life. Most often, however, it is a result of their having been hiding in the person’s clothes, especially those left on the floor, couch or bed. While we are often asked “who is to blame”, it is very difficult to do so. You may have brought it in yourself; your “common wall” neighbor may have brought them in. We can assure you that it is not a symptom of sanitation or culture, it just happens.

Are Bed Bugs only found in beds?

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Posted on 10th April 2013 by Ken in Bed Bugs |Questions & Answers

No, but that is the most likely place to find them. As in most species of life, the availability of food and protection is a primary determiner of harborage. So, unless aggravating circumstances occur, they will stay close to their food (you) by hiding in the mattress, box spring, frame or headboard. From there they will migrate out to places like floor/wall joints, wall cracks & crevices, nearby furniture etc. If, however, a well meaning person decides to “fog” or use a repellent product (or misuse one), they may run from it before it actually kills them, and seek other locations to hide or feed. In addition, they can be quite comfortable in locations that are also used for long periods by humans, especially at night, such as couches and chairs.

How fast do Bed Bugs breed?

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Posted on 7th April 2013 by Ken in Questions & Answers

A gravid female can deposit up to 5 eggs a day and upwards of 500 in her lifetime. The eggs gestate for a week to 10 days and then hatch. Thereafter they go through 5 instars for about 45-60 days until they reach adulthood. The speed at which they mature and populations grow is highly dependent on blood source (each growth stage requires a meal to precede it) and temperatures.

What sort of pests do we have in Alaska?

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Posted on 4th April 2013 by WebMaster in Questions & Answers

“Pests in Alaska?” I can’t count the number of times we have heard this through the years! YES, we do have pests, and YES – even in winter. Realistically of course, our pest pressure is nowhere close to that of the lower 49 states. And, of course, the winter impact is quite small compared to their’s.

Some of the major pests of concern that we DO NOT HAVE are: Termites, Brown Recluse and Black Widow Spiders, Snakes, Scorpions, Common House Fly etc.

Some pests that we DO HAVE include: Carpenter Ants (big problem), Cockroaches (usually German), Bedbugs (including Swallow & Bat Bugs), Earwigs, Silverfish, Sowbugs, Cluster Flies, various “Pantry Pests”, Mice (along with native Shrews & Voles which occasionally enter), and Rats (in some harbor locations and other small pockets). There are some others which we deal with occasionally too, along with rare “imports” that show up from time to time, like Fleas & Ticks. In addition, our trees and shrubs are often attacked by Aphids, Leaf Rollers and Spruce Bark Beetles among others.

We are more than willing to identify your “new friend” either over the phone with pertinent questions, or in our Anchorage Office. For those we cannot ID, or for our rural branches with no office location, your local Cooperative Extension Service (division of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks) has very skilled people as well to assist you.

From time to time we deal with “invisible” pests, often a result of emotional or mental conditions which are as real to our clients as the nose on your face. We do everything we can to determine the reality of their claims, but we choose NOT to do placebo treatments, preferring to treat everyone with honest respect.

Can I just put my things outside in an Alaska winter to kill bed bugs?

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Posted on 4th April 2013 by WebMaster in Bed Bugs |Questions & Answers

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This has been tried, but with little success. Just as with the heat treatments, the ability for killing cold temperatures to reach the insect or egg and maintain the temperature (there is also an issue of how quickly the temperature is reduced and the constant rise and fall thereof) has not proven to be dependable. As for cryogenic treatments that have recently been in the news, they penetrate even less that steam does, so it is not a service we desire to sell. UPDATE: Feb 10, 2011 A recent study showed Bed Bug eggs can survive freezing temperatures for up to 30 days.

Do Leg Protectors really protect furniture from Bed Bugs?

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Posted on 4th April 2013 by Ken in Bed Bugs |Questions & Answers

Yes they certainly can, in fact Pied Piper uses and strongly recommends them. These devices can isolate insects that are on the furniture to prevent their spread, or keep them from crawling from elsewhere onto the furniture. Some come with a talc powder already in them, some come “dry”. These “dry” ones can have an oil or dry material placed into them. One device, the Climb-Up, features dual rings which can assist in identifying whether insects found in them are “coming or going”.

Do “Bed Bug Dogs” really work?

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Posted on 4th April 2013 by Gini in Bed Bugs |Questions & Answers

Bed Bug dogs are cute and effective in many situations. However, they do have their limitations. First is the expense of training and maintaining them. These animals need daily exercise in detection, whether they have work available or not. Given the lack of constant use here in Alaska, the potential for losing their edge is strong.  False positives are also not uncommon, making dual working dogs preferable. If you do decide to hire canine detectors, be certain that a “find” is followed with a physical search by the handler to find the BB and show it to you. While Ken would love to have a couple of these dogs,  Ollie, d’Artagnan and Hobbs (his children’s dogs) would NOT be pleased!

Are Bed Bugs really that bad in Alaska?

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Posted on 4th April 2013 by Ken in Questions & Answers

Unfortunately, YES!

Actually, there has always been the occasional outbreak around the State, but never in our 48 year history at the high levels seen now. Because they are an indoor pest and travel easily, ecologic barriers we see in other pests do not apply. If you travel, you can bring them home. If you visit at any length in an infested location, you can bring them home. If your guest has them at home OR picked them up while traveling your way…well, you get the picture.

For what is likely your best resource for information on this pest, go to Bed Bug Central’s EXCELLENT Website:  

(AND while you are there, check out Dr White’s Bed Bug Central TV webcasts.)

PIED PIPER has researched and chosen what we feel to be the best and safest approach to this problem. We are pleased to announce that we have qualified for the “BED BUG FREE Program. For more information visit:

This approach was developed by one of the leading Bed Bug entomologists in the country. It features the least amount of chemical necessary and a proactive approach to mechanical control options. With this approach, we are in a position to actually offer an elimination guarantee in many instances. It has special promise for our loyal property management firms and landlords, who are now facing the dilemma of how to provide real quality living to their clients while dealing with an adjoining unit experiencing Bed Bugs.

Please do not hesitate to call us. Bed Bugs can reproduce and spread easily and because of this, need immediate attention. Our discreet staff will handle your problem kindly and tactfully.

TIP: If you experience a sudden outbreak of Bed Bugs in the Spring or Fall, it may be their “cousins”, the Swallow or Bat Bug. We first identified the Swallow Bug in Fairbanks in the 80’s. In 2009, we were able to confirm, with the help of a client, the presence of Bat Bugs. Watch for Swallow nests in your eaves, usually made out of mud, or bats entering and leaving your roof area at dusk or dawn.

For More Information, Please Visit our Bed Bug FAQ Sheet.

Gini Perry

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Posted on 4th April 2013 by WebMaster in Experts

I haven’t written my bio yet!

Cherry Perry

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Posted on 4th April 2013 by WebMaster in Experts

I am the Office Manager of Pied Piper and Vice-President of Sanitation Services, Inc. I was born and raised in Logan, WV (Verdunville) and graduated from Logan High School. After graduation I worked for the local newspaper and in the school system. In the spring of 1971 I went to Fairbanks, AK to visit my sister for the summer, where I met Ken. I returned the following spring, and we married in the fall. Yes, I became Cherry Perry (plus we now live on Cherry Street)!

When Ken began managing the Fairbanks Branch of Pied Piper, I jumped right in, taking calls and answering questions since the phone was in our home. I have enjoyed learning about various pests and problems my neighbors are facing, and helping them find solutions. In some cases, identifying the pest right over the phone, I can reassure them and offer suggestions they can put to use. Moving to Anchorage was an unexpected change, and I have enjoyed the wider range of calls we get here as opposed to Fairbanks. I must say that I do not miss the 40 to 70 below temperatures I experienced in North Pole, but I did leave behind many dear friends when we left.