They check in, but never check out

Pests are big business, and for one man, inventing pest control products has been his greatest enjoyment. His newest product controls the newest pest: bed bugs.

You’ve probably heard news stories about the latest problem cropping up in even the finest hotels in New York, Las Vegas, and Miami: bed bugs. They’ve become the scourge of the hotel industry, not because bed bugs are so awful—in fact, they don’t carry disease like some other pests—but because of the stigma attached to having these critters in your $500/night hotel bed, explains inventor Harold Aesth, a pest control expert and CEO of Pestube Systems Inc. (Chandler, AZ).

There’s no escape for these annoying pests once they make their way into Pestube Systems’ Clear View Bed-bug Trap Monitor.

“I am an inventor,” states Aesth. “I have more patents than anyone in the pest control business. I hold the patent on the tubes in the wall for termites, and another one for Orkin—the device that goes in the ground to detect termites with a poison bait system that is commonly used in areas that have problems with termites.”

His newest product, the Clear View Bed-bug Trap Monitor, has been on the market only a few months, but has already taken off, particularly in hotels where bed bug problems have escalated over the past few years. Aesth notes that bed bugs are seriously out of control, and a multimillion-dollar business has been created to control them.

Aesth has a close relationship with many academic people at universities and the scientists at Orkin, with whom he works studying the pesky little critters. “Bed bugs in the U.S. are considered really bad things, and in fact, a woman recently sued a high-end hotel for millions of dollars after she was bitten by bed bugs. In Asia it’s a common thing—like a mosquito. If bitten by a mosquito at a hotel you wouldn’t sue, but in U.S. we have a bug phobia,” says Aesth, who absolutely loves studying bed bugs.

Aesth says that bed bugs reside high in the seam trim around the edge of the mattress and wait until a person goes to sleep. “The bed bugs can sense the CO2 in your breath at about 3m, and your skin puts out a sweat, which is a lactic acid attractive to the bed bugs. The bug then crawls onto you, sticks his proboscis into you, and injects an anesthetic so you don’t feel the pain of their bite,” explains Aesth. “They then suck the blood out and crawl away to breed and live a very long time on just one bite. Bed bugs can live a year without actually feeding.”

That’s why it’s very important for hotels to know whether or not they have bed bugs, and they can spend upwards of $80,000 to find and treat the problem. “There are machines out there that cost $3000-plus each that emit lactic acid and CO2, and mimic a human,” he says. “These are put underneath the bed to attract and kill [the bugs]. Or, another solution is to close off that room, use a machine that heats the room to 120°F, and kill them that way.”

A simpler product is a glue board that attracts them, but the problem, says Aesth, is that the glue is very messy and gets all over the mattress and box springs. “Our idea was something like a glue board—however, ours is a very sticky glue that contains chemicals with the smell of skin and breath,” Aesth explains. “We enclose the glue in clear, flat PS containers that have slots where bugs can enter, and slip them between the mattress and box springs on the four corners. The bugs are drawn to the Clear View Bed-bug Trap Monitor where they get stuck, but the devices contain no poison. Hotel maids can check the devices when they change the sheets and replace them as needed.”

Aesth’s products, including the termite pop-up bait traps, are being molded at PCM Custom Molding Inc. (Mesa, AZ). Currently, the Clear View Bed-bug Trap Monitors are being molded in a MUD mold, but the company is getting an eight-cavity mold built to help meet demand from the hotel industry.

“If they have bed bugs, they can see them,” states Aesth, whose monitors are in many hotels throughout the Southwest. “This is going to make it easy for hotels to know for sure they have a problem. It used to be they only knew when customers complained they’d been bitten.” Clare Goldsberry

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