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Bedbugs Biting All Over U.S.

Survey of Pest Control Companies Finds Infestations Across the U.S.

Bedbug Populations Rising continued...

Bedbugs are hitchhikers that can hide in clothing and suitcases. The species that is most often associated with infestations prefers to feed on human blood, but will also feed on house pets and mice.

The bugs are difficult to eradicate because they can live for up to a year without feeding, Sorkin says. And even when they do start biting, some people don’t notice because they are not allergic.

People who are allergic may experience redness and itching at the site of the bite. But bedbugs are not known to transmit disease the way ticks, mosquitoes, and other insect parasites do.

Best Defense: Know the Enemy

Sorkin says people don’t really know what to look for to reduce their chances of bringing home bedbugs when they travel because there hasn’t been a lot of public education.

When a bedbug has fed, it is about a quarter-inch long, reddish brown, and round like a tick. But young bedbugs and hungry ones are much harder to spot because they are much smaller and flat and can be white or straw colored, he says.

He recommends checking bedding and mattresses in hotel rooms before unpacking, and looking not just for the bugs but also for evidence of their existence in the form of tiny brown or red specks on sheets.

He even recommends looking behind headboards and picture frames and inspecting upholstered furniture.

Henriksen recommends dry cleaning or washing all clothing in hot water upon arriving home after traveling, even clothes that haven’t been worn. And suitcases should be inspected thoroughly and vacuumed with a hose attachment if evidence of infestation is seen.

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