Bed Bugs Coming to Sacramento
Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bed bugs have boomed in New York, and now the blood suckers are moving west.

UC Davis professor of entomology Lynn Kimsey said bed bugs are showing up in the Sacramento region, and it's going to get worse.

"More and more populations building up," Kimsey said.

The reason they're building up is because people don't remember how to deal with them.

"In the 1920's 30's even 40's we had cultural practices that we did to kind of take care of the problem," explained Kimsey, "If you look at all the old black and white movies where there's a housewife who's hanging laundry; that didn't have anything to do with necessarily washing it that had to do with bed bugs."

While they're called "bed bugs" the blood suckers don't limit themselves to just mattresses; it's any upholstered furniture like couches. One way to keep the critters out of your home is to not buy upholstered furniture second hand.

Kimsey added another way is being observant when staying in a hotel.

"I always pull the mattress up and look at the piping around the edge to see if there are any black flecks," she said, "That's a good indicator of bed bugs."

Those precautions help keep them out of the home, but if they're already there Kimsey said there's not much that can be done.

"There really isn't a best method," she said, "In a perfect world heat does it. If you can keep things up to 120-130 degrees for 20 minutes, but I know the fire department doesn't like that"

While there are sprays they have to be administered by somebody who knows how to apply it for bed bugs.

Those steps will kill them, but Kimsey said there's no way to stop them completely.

"They aren't going to be easy to get rid of and they are going to be present," she said, "There are always going to be a few individuals who, for whatever reason, are going to be moving these things around."

The resurgence of bed bugs will be discussed at the Northern California Entomology Society's meeting on May 3 at UC Davis.