Bed Bugs Still a Big Problem in Michiana (South Bend, IN)
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Michiana's bedbug problem isn't getting any better. Exterminators say they're just as busy today as they were a few years ago when the insects really started showing up.

"Elkhart and Niles are for me our two big spots right now," said Bob Leinonen, owner of Bob the Bug Guy, "we're out there continuously."

South Bend has tapered off, Leinonen said, but not soon enough for renters at the Courtyard Apartments on East Jefferson Blvd near 36th St.

"It's very frustrating because you don't sleep," said Shavon Mzyece, who had to toss out her bed and sofa after she found them infested with bedbugs.

Her arms, hands, neck, and back are covered in bites. She worries about her 2-year-old son Micah getting bitten.

They've been sleeping on an air mattress since before Thanksgiving. Some of her neighbors also have bedbugs, though Leinonen, who is in charge of extermination for the complex, said he's making good progress.

"Great management team over there and things are improving vastly," he said.

New calls from elsewhere in Michiana come in almost daily, and Leinonen doesn't expect his workload to slow down anytime soon.

"They're still very strong in the area," he said.

A few ways to avoid bringing bedbugs into your home:

  • Exterminators say to be cautious around people who already have bedbugs. Think twice before visiting their homes or letting them into yours. The insects can very easily attach themselves to you.
  • Be careful with used furniture, especially chairs or sofas purchased from online dealers or garage sales. Those pieces can contain bedbugs.
  • If you do find bedbugs in your home, there's not much you can do about it on your own, Leinonen said. An exterminator is really your only option.

"Trying to do it on your own would be almost impossible to take care of," he said.