Bed bugs creeping into Western Washington
Friday, May 20, 2011
PAYSLIP, Wash. -- They're tiny and feed on human blood. Bed bugs
created a nightmare on the East Coast and are now migrating
Local pest control companies say bed bugs are becoming a huge
problem in our region. They say we've only seen the tip of the
iceberg and the problem most likely will get worse.
"Bedbugs are one the most difficult pests to control. A few
factors, they've shown some resistance to a lot of the pesticides
we use," said Erik Hodson, Whitworth Pest Solutions.
Hodson has been in the pest control business for 17 years in
Pierce and King counties. He said a couple years ago they never
received calls for bed bugs. That has changed dramatically with a
155% increase. Now a huge chunk of their business is getting rid of
bed bugs. And they're finding bed bugs not only in cheap
motels and apartments, but also at high-end hotels and people's
Here's why they're so pesky. Experts say even though they've
been nicknamed "bed bugs," they not only invade your mattresses but
can also be all around the house - anywhere they can find a crevice
or crack - even in light switches and alarm clocks.
Hodson explained what he believes is causing this rapid spread
of bed bugs in the West.
"Travel is a huge factor, people traveling internationally,"
said Hodson. "People can pick up in their luggage, bring it back
home. Or even if they're staying with relatives in the Midwest,
East Coast, they'll bring it back here."
Up until recently, bed bugs did not appear to spread diseases.
The main annoyance was the irritating bites. But last week,
scientists in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, found bedbugs that may carry
so-called "superbug" germs, specifically the bacteria MSRA, in
three patients. However, some researchers say more studies are
needed to confirm that connection.
Hodson recommended ways to protect yourself while traveling.
"When you get into your hotel room, don't set your luggage on
the floor, do not put clothes in the drawers at the hotel room. And
check your bed - pull the sheets and fitted sheets back," said
Hodson also recommended when you come back home from traveling,
don't bring your luggage in the house right away. If you can, leave
your luggage out in garage. And wash your clothes on a high setting
to kill any bed bugs.