Interview With Kery Bruzzo
We sat down recently with Kery Bruzzo, vice president of Green Earth Pest Control (GEPC) to discuss one of the most feared pest-control challenges today: bed bugs.
GEPC: When was the first time you realized bed bugs were a real thing and not just a nursery rhyme?
Kery Bruzzo (KB): For me, it was back when I was a technician in 2002. I was working the overnight shift and was doing mostly restaurants back then. My supervisor called me late at night, and he was frantic. He needed me to drop what I was doing right away and head over to one of the top hotels in Manhattan for a potential bed bug call.
I had no training in bed bugs because when I was training, they figured there was no way I’d ever see one. I’d never come across it, I thought it was something that wasn’t really real. It was kind of scary for me. I told my supervisor that I wasn’t experienced with it and that I didn’t know what I was looking for. He told me straight out: “I don’t care. Tear the place apart and find me something.”
I went over to the hotel. It took me almost two hours of going through that room and looking at every possible place before I even found a bug. And I didn’t recognize what I was looking for and I was unsure of it. [My supervisor] came over almost instantaneously to the hotel once I told him I had found something.
At that point, he had confirmed it was a bed bug, and it was the first time I’d ever seen one confirmed. He popped it, and it started dribbling blood. That was the first time I realized it was a real thing and not just a nursery rhyme.
GEPC: What is a bed bug and where does it live? They don’t really bite, do they?
KB: To me, bed bugs are the real vampires in the night. They conduct their evil deeds when their host is at their most vulnerable — when they are sound asleep, which allows them to feed uninterrupted. Bed bugs, though, are ectotparasites. I call them temporary because they don’t live on their hosts like fleas do on a cat or lice live in hair.
They tend to infest areas not that far from their hosts — beds, box springs, night tables, sofas and the like. I’ve seen them in alarm clocks and lamps not too far from the bed. And they just lie there, waiting for their next meal. But in large infestations, I have seen them move farther away because the population is so large that their normal hiding places become overcroweded or don’t conceal them anymore.
They don’t actually bite. Bed bugs don’t have teeth or moving mandibles to bite you with, so the design is much more like a mosquito, where they have a needle-like tube called a proboscis. They use it to pierce our skin and get down to the really good stuff, which is our blood.
GEPC: How quickly do they reproduce?
KB: That’s a question I’ve seen a lot of debate on. They can get out of control quickly, but remember, you have laboratory bed bugs and field bed bugs. Especially in New York, field bed bugs have been exposed to a lot more chemicals. But in my experience, an ignored bed bug situation or an undiscovered one can get out of control in about three months.
GEPC: How do people recognize that they have bed bugs?
KB: That varies, but the most common one we hear is when someone calls our office and says they’ve awakened in the morning with bites all over their bodies. The next most common scenario is that they see blood on the sheets or fecal matter. The last one is the people who have actually seen a bed bug, captured it and photographed it. They usually send the picture to us and we confirm it for them.
GEPC: Are bed bugs only found in homes and bedrooms?
KB: No. You can pretty much find them wherever you find people, especially in densely populated areas. I’ve seen quite a few bed bug jobs where you might not consider them the norm, but I’ve seen them in airplanes, moving trucks, department stores, corporate offices and medical offices. I’ve seen them in nursing homes, hospitals and restaurants. The list goes on and on.
GEPC: Is it hard to find where they live? I’ve heard they are great hiders.
KB: They are amazing, especially in low-level infestations where people are catching them early. Low-level infestations can be hard for even the most seasoned technician to find. It’s also hard if you have a big space to examine — think of a needle in a haystack scenario. These guys can be crafty little hiders.
I remember one case when I worked for another company where we found them inside an amputee’s prosthetic limb. That was pretty shocking.
GEPC: What is Green Earth Pest Control’s preferred way to deal with them?
KB: My preferred method is heat remediation. That’s when we strategically heat a customer’s home in a short period of time to a terminal temperature for bed bugs and their eggs. Our customers like this service because it requires little preparation of the home and little cooperation on their part.
The results from this method are fantastic. We can usually turn the home back over to customers, bed-bed free, within 24 hours. This is the perfect service for someone who is sick, who is elderly or just want lightning-fast results and to enjoy the benefits of living a chemical-free lifestyle.
GEPC: If someone wants to get in touch with Green Earth Pest Control in New York and inquire about getting serviced by the company, what’s the best way for them to do that?
KB: We’re set up for everything. You can to our website, where there’s a lot of information and a contact link, and we’ll reach out to you, discuss the problem and give you options and start out that way. You can always call our New York number at 212-444-1034, and you’ll get a friendly voice and a willingness to talk through issues. And you can reach us at the email address if you need to discuss something in more detail. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and that goes to all of us here in the office. As soon as it comes in, someone will grab it and get right back to you.
GEPC: Thanks, Kery.