Bedbug numbers creep up
The Wichita Eagle
Friday, June 3, 2011
Bedbugs might not be a topic for polite conversation, but the
resurgence is growing in Wichita, said local pest control
"We've seen more bedbugs in the last year than we've seen in the
other 38 years put together," said Cindy Betts, office manager for
Betts Pest Control.
As kids return from college and families return from vacation,
she expects more calls about those tiny black specks on the
The tiny bloodsucking insect gets into any kind of fabric: beds,
clothes, couches, chairs, rugs, luggage, even in insulated spaces
behind walls. They can live for a year without eating. And, at
night, they come out looking for human hosts.
According to a survey sponsored by the National Pest Management
Association, 95 percent of U.S. pest management companies surveyed
indicated they had encountered a bedbug infestation in the past
It's not a big part of Betts' business, yet. She estimated about
half of the company's business is devoted to controlling termites
and the other half to killing a variety of spiders and insects,
But bedbugs is the fastest-growing segment, she said.
Wichita is seeing more bedbugs, but it's not as bad as the worst
affected places on the coasts, said Bill Hawks Jr., president of
Hawks Interstate PestMasters.
"We are not seeing anywhere near the activity," he said. "Where
you have to be alert is when somebody returns from mission work, or
coming back from seeing shows in New York or from Las Vegas."
Once bedbugs are in the house or office, they can be very hard
to get rid of, Hawks said. It can take a crew of two or three
between one and four hours to treat a house, he said.
They're tiny, hard to find, and any left alive will cause a
reinfestation, he said.
"It's 100 percent or nothing, because whatever you leave comes
back," he said.
Betts and Hawks said that because bedbugs are so hard to
eradicate, homeowners or hotel owners must act quickly or they will
Betts said she has treated a couple of hotels, but mostly what
she gets is inquiries from hotels about the best way to do it. She
guesses that means the hotel staff will try to do it
"That worries me," she said.