Don't Let Bed Bugs Come Home For The Holidays
Monday, November 21, 2011
Feast on turkey and stuffing with the
relatives this Thanksgiving, but don't let the bedbugs come home to
feast on you.
Holiday travel gives the blood-sucking
insects a chance to hijack your suitcase and clothes. By January,
they may be a menace that's almost impossible to ignore.
After several years of skyrocketing bedbug
complaints, numbers have reached a plateau, according to data from
the Salt Lake Valley Health Department. But that doesn't mean
bedbugs, which feed while humans are in deep sleep, are on the
"At this point we are all going to have a
baseline level of infestation," said Diane Keay, environmental
health supervisor at the health department. "They're not going
Every community - though not every house -
will struggle with the hungry bugs, and cleanup costs and logistics
may make it hard for some people to ever get rid of them.
In 2004, bedbugs were almost unheard of.
The health department received a single complaint that year. By
2008, the number had exploded to 99 complaints, primarily by
tenants of rental properties or hotels, which the health department
regulates. As of this year, the number rose to 121 complaints,
similar to numbers in the past few years.
This does not include the hundreds of
phone calls the health department receives annually from homeowners
looking for advice about an infestation.
"We've always said it's not a respecter of
economic or social, ethnic background of any sort," said Keay, who
receives a bed bug call almost every day. "What we are realizing
now, however, is that the truly poor are going to have a hard time
getting rid of them."