Bed Bugs Are Making A Comeback

WPXI.com (Pittsburgh, PA)
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bedbugs are making a comeback and can be a real nightmare to get rid of, because they're tiny and can hide in places that are to clean. I met with an expert to find out what to look for, so bed bugs don't hitch a ride home with you.

"You can certainly see old dead bedbugs," said Chad Gore, an entomologist with Ehrlich Pest Control, as he surveyed an infested mattress.

Gore doesn't leave home without a flashlight. He's a frequent traveler and he uses it to search for bedbugs before he spends the night in a hotel. First, he puts his suitcase in the bathroom, and then, he pulls back the sheets.

"One of the first signs that you might see are the droppings," said Gore.

He showed me the disgusting-looking brown stains on the mattress, which are a tell-tale sign that bedbugs are living and feeding here.

"So that's a bedbug. They're really pretty tiny," I said after seeing one for the first time. It was an immature bedbug which looked a lot like a deer tick.

Gore told me full-grown bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed. They sleep during the day and feed at night, leaving welts that are similar to a mosquito bite.

"So it bit somebody?" "Yea, that one fed," said Gore as he showed me the dark-colored abdomen, which was full of blood.

At the end of World War II, bedbugs dropped off the radar. They were practically non-existent in this country for 50 years, and then, for some reason bed bugs started making a comeback.

"Bedbugs are an ever growing problem," said Gore.

He said bedbugs know no social boundaries. They've been found in luxury hotels, low-income apartments, dorm rooms, movie theaters, restaurants, even taxis.

Here at Target 11, we get a tip call about once a week about another high rise, or apartment complex, or hotel or motel that's supposedly infested with bedbugs.

About an hour before we shot this story, the bedroom had been treated for the pests, which made me feel a little bit better, because I didn't want any bedbugs hitching a ride home with me.

The professionals had used steam and an insecticide in the first of three treatments that will be spaced about a week apart.

"If they have an Achilles' heel, it's heat. Anything above 122 degrees will kill a bedbug," said Gore.

If you have bedbugs, everything that can be laundered should be washed in hot water and dried on high heat.

If possible, throw out the mattress and empty out of the drawers, so every last crack and crevice can be treated.

The first indication that you have bedbugs is often a bite.

At that point, I would call in a professional, because they can be very hard to get rid of, especially if you live in a building where bedbugs can more move from one apartment to the next.