Task force intends to stomp out bedbugs

Des Moines Register
Monday, April 18, 2011

A new task force that aims to control Polk County's bedbug problem will focus on four areas: policies, education and outreach, drafting a model ordinance, and multi-unit housing.

The Polk County Health Department formed the bedbug task force at the request of the Metro Advisory Council, a panel of elected officials from Polk, Dallas and Warren counties.

The task force will identify ways to control and prevent bedbug infestations in the Des Moines metropolitan area. Terri Henkels, director of the Polk County Health Department, said in a news release that bedbugs are not known to transmit disease, but "they are a pest of significant public health importance."

"Bedbugs have a detrimental impact on physical and mental health and the economy," she said.

Bedbugs are reddish-brown insects that are oval-shaped and about the size of an apple seed. They hide in small cracks and crevices of beds and prey on people while they sleep. They are notoriously tough to snuff.

Polk County's bedbug task force currently has 31 members. The roster is posted atwww.polkcountyiowa.gov/health, along with other information about bedbugs.