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Wild About Bed Bugs

by Josh Vincent — last modified Dec 21, 2011 04:41 PM
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Call him the ‘Bed Bug Czar.’ Jon Wild is a property manager with Home Forward, a public housing provider in Portland, Oregon.

Bed Bug

Among the many responsibilities of managing multiple, high occupancy apartment buildings, there is the constant task of looking out for rodents, roaches, and the like. It goes beyond complying with health and safety codes, it’s a matter of maintaining healthy spaces and keeping residents happy. A big job.

This job got a lot harder for Jon Wild and other property managers when bed bugs moved into major cities all across the country.

They aren’t known to carry diseases, but most folks have a justified knee-jerk reaction when faced with the prospect of sharing their beds, and blood, with these pillaging creatures. This fear, coupled with the intense itching and burning that can result from bites, makes it easy to grasp why the tolerance level for bed bugs is low. So what are property managers to do?

Some of them start spraying. But the infrastructure of an apartment building allows bed bugs to move from unit to unit, escaping pesticide treatments. Pest controllers are then forced to chase them unit by unit, spraying all the while and to no avail. It’s a bit like Ahab in pursuit of the whale, and about as unhealthy for everyone involved. Since apartment buildings are densely populated, pesticide exposure is virtually certain.

That’s what sets Jon apart. 

Jon Wild RC Award 2011

As the proud ‘Bed Bug Czar’ for Home Forward, he’s exploring a range of options for bed bug control that are both safer and more effective. This includes heat and cold probes that shock bed bugs with temperature extremes, heating rooms to prevent importing bed bugs on incoming furniture and personal items, and a least toxic cedar oil product that stops bugs on contact.

Jon’s approach is creative, safer, and more effective.Through work with NCAP and our partners, Jon is not only reshaping how Home Forward deals with bed bugs, he’s demonstrating to property managers everywhere that urban pest management is completely possible, even preferable, with alternatives to pesticides.