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Bed Bug Summit

Bed Bugs : A Perfect Storm Descending on the Portland Area

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Bed Bugs : A Perfect Storm Descending on the Portland Area

Portland, OR – November 2007 – A storm is brewing in the Portland metro area. And it’s the perfect storm.

Bed Bugs have arrived in the Northwest and are well on their way to becoming a public health concern. These bothersome bugs are particularly troubling for multi-family and public housing and the hospitality industry, due in large part to the transient nature of renters and travelers and the ever growing density of the population. The problems bed bugs are creating for these industries are only the tip of the Bed Bug iceberg. Just talk to anyone in the pest control or housing and hospitality industries in the Mid West, New York and Canada and they’ll tell you about it, first hand.

To get a better idea of what’s in store just Google the term: Bed Bugs. Among the more than 2 million results that will be returned for that search, particularly interesting are lawsuits involving Bed Bugs. Judges and juries are rightly sympathetic to plaintiffs and handing down awards against unresponsive landlords, hospitality and property management companies. It’s only a matter of time before that plays out in the Portland area.

While the alarm needs to be sounded and action taken as quickly as possible, the bed bug problem isn’t yet out of control. The key is to understand what we’re dealing with, have well trained professionals who can manage the issue and, most important, to bring the subject out in the open so travelers, renters, property managers, landlords and public health officials are well informed participants in solving the problem.

Members of the Oregon Pest Control Association (OPCA,, that included Halt Pest Control, Inc. ( recently delivered a symposium for public health officials, property managers, hospitality industry representatives, and individuals from public agencies to do just that. With the help of Chris Winson of Univar USA, the Multnomah County Vector Control Department and the Multnomah County Health Department, attendance at the symposium was overwhelming.

The meeting provided an opportunity to view the bed bug problem from a variety of perspectives. County official shared information on their perceptions of the problem. The Janus Youth Project and another shelter explained their experiences and efforts to manage the issue. One of these shelters shared their story of how they had to dispose of all of their furniture and bedding as a result of bed bugs. Fortunately, that experience has left them with a well thought out program to combat the problem so it won’t become a repeat issue. Two presentations were given by the technical directors of Eden and Sprague outlining basic biology and treatment strategies.

There was also a lively question and answer session. OPCA members responded to questions about basic biology and control methods. Many questions were of the “Silver Bullet” type or along the lines of “What if we did this ourselves?” Unfortunately, when it comes to bed bugs, there is no simple solution and the questions that came up indicate a need for more education. Managing the bed bug problem requires a professional, integrated pest management solution and the active participation of everyone involved.

Beyond the symposium delivered in early November, the goal of the OPCA and several local pest control professionals is to continue to deliver education about the bed bug problem, as well as seeking and supporting legislation aimed at protecting renters, travelers and property owners. As the density of the population grows the bed bug issue will only grow with it. The time to understand and take action on the issue is now, before it moves beyond something we can all manage. For more information on how you can address the bed bug problems you’re facing, contact the OPCA or your pest control professional.

Based in Beaverton, Oregon, Halt Pest Control delivers honest, reliable and environmentally friendly pest management solutions to residential, multi-family and commercial customers throughout Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington for nearly 20 years. Halt invests in building relationships which allow them to deliver solutions, not just treatments. Halt’s goal is to do more than simply help you eliminate pest issues. Halt delivers customer care with quality solutions that help you protect the things that are most important to you: your family, your home and your property… guaranteed.

If you're dealing with bed bugs, contact our team today