Treating Bed Bugs Daily Job for Local Pest Control Agencies - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Treating Bed Bugs Daily Job for Local Pest Control Agencies

Updated: Dec 3, 2012 06:29 PM CST

Bed bugs are making their way into homes and businesses at what experts are calling an alarming rate. The National Pest Management Association says one in five people has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has. Experts there say in the year 2000, 25 percent of pest management agencies reported treating bed bugs. However, this year that number is now at 95 percent.

Local pest control agencies say they are treating bed bugs in homes and businesses every single day. They say they have added workers because of it and are even booked for weeks at a time.

"They told me they had a dog to work to find the bed bugs and I thought it was joke, so I had no idea," said April Wiggins.

 Wiggins has been working for Springer Pest Solutions as a receptionist for the past three months. She says until she landed that job, she, like most people, had no clue bed bugs were so prevalent.

 "I was a little grossed out," she said.

Managers say they treat bed bugs in homes, hotels, nursing homes and more. They treat nearly anywhere a lot of people are coming in or out.

"They are natural hitchhikers, they are transient, people are traveling all over the world," said Branch Manager Allen Lehman.

Lehman says the tiny bugs were a big problem in the 50's and 60's. However, they went away after people used chemicals like pesticides and DDT to get rid of them. He says those harsh chemicals have now been banned and that is what has helped lead to a rebirth of the biting pests. He says heat is now used to kill the bugs. However it is a very expensive and time consuming process.

"It's torture because even after you have eliminated them, you're still going to have that mental mindset that you feel something biting you, it can be a horrible, horrible thing."

 Lehman says with more and more people traveling, bed bugs look like they are here to stay.

"It's only going to continually get more progressive. I mean, the are studies saying within the next five to ten years they'll just be a normal household pest. Everybody will have bed bugs or have encountered bed bugs at sometime."

 However, he says there are things you can do to fight back.

"If you're going to be staying in a hotel, you're going to want to check your mattresses, maybe pull of the headboard behind there, may find some black spotting, maybe a little white eggs sacs, things like that. Be aware, be cautious, watch where you are putting your suitcases down."

Lehman says anyone can get bed bugs. He says they bite because they are feeding on people's blood. He says the bugs don't pass diseases onto humans, but the bites can be itchy and irritating. The cost to treat them can also be irritating, with prices in the thousands.