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More bedbugs are hiding in the Triangle

Posted January 25, 2010
Updated August 4, 2010

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— "Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite."

That old bedtime saying has become harder to follow as the number of bedbug infestations in North Carolina has increased.

Researchers at North Carolina State University study bedbugs, ways to eliminate them and infestations across the state.

Bed bugs cause havoc in Triangle Bed bugs cause havoc in Triangle

"We've seen pretty much a rise in the problem, particularly in this area of the state," entomologist Dr. Mike Wladvogel said.

In the Triangle, complaints about bedbugs rose 50 percent in 2009. Inspectors at Triangle Pest Control said that while two years ago they received one or two calls about bedbugs each month, that rate has gone up to 20 or 30 calls a month.

"bedbugs are very good hitchhikers," explained Donnie Shelton, owner of Triangle Pest Control. "There's been an explosion in New York, major metropolitan areas. So people, they go out and travel. They pick it up in their luggage. They pick it up in their clothing."

Wladvogel urged that people with bed-bug infestations turn to professionals to get rid of the pests. bedbugs are resistant to certain pesticides, a problem that N.C. State is researching, he said.

"bedbug control is not do-it-yourself," Wladvogel said.

Getting rid of an infestation doesn't come cheap. Most companies charge from $300 to $1,000 to treat the area.

The first step is checking for the bugs. Flashlights in hand, inspectors look in every nook and cranny of a building.

"I'm looking for signs of either the live bugs themselves or signs of fecal matter," said Mike Dinatale, lead inspector for Triangle Pest Control. "It should be very hard to find them during the day."

Inspectors showed one extreme case: an apartment loaded with bedbugs, where the infestation had gone untreated. The bugs formed black streaks on the walls.

Cases like that are apparently becoming more common, inspectors said.

"It's all over the place, and it's really only a matter of time before everybody deals with it or knows somebody that does or (has) had to deal with it," Dinatale said.

14 Comments

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  • edcook1959 Aug 4, 2010

    If you google bed bug registry, you can check out your hotel's history with bed bugs prior to arriving.

  • katiespest Feb 1, 2010

    I had a bed bug problem last year, and it was after a vacation so I'm pretty positive I brought them home with me. I had a professional come out and get rid of them. It was no fun, and I never wanted to have a bed bug problem again! I found some great prevention tips for bed bugs online. So far it's worked and thank goodness because I know they are a huge problem to deal with.

  • southrenbell222 Jan 26, 2010

    It is one of the most horrible experinces ever! Protect yourself because it will drive you CRAZY!!! Even if your a clean person, they can come!! I had some house guest that brought them. Got rid of EVERYTHING and moved to shake them. Yep.... it's that deep!!!

  • SatelliteBgan Jan 26, 2010

    First, appoint a committee (at least 10 people costing more than $10 million) to find out where they came from. If they are undocumented, then we must house and start feeding them. If they are local bedbugs we must tax them. Before killing them be sure to get the environmental study.

  • dugmeister Jan 26, 2010

    I think we should be protecting bed bugs. they have rights too!!!

  • Capitals Fan Jan 26, 2010

    ewwwwwwwwwww!

  • Con Amor luvs u regardless Jan 26, 2010

    Will some Lice spray kill 'em?

  • kittiboo Jan 26, 2010

    Sooner, I agree. This is one of my worst nightmares. I wouldn't be able to sleep!

  • soonerwolfie Jan 26, 2010

    Just letting you know that bedbugs are not (but can be!) a sign of unsanitary conditions. You can get these bugs by traveling a lot, or having an overnight guest stay at your house. They are HORRIBLE. And there is no guarantee a pest control expert can get rid of them.

    I'm really glad NCSU is doing research on how to destroy them and that WRAL posted this story. Sure, it's gross, but it's better to be aware.

  • clover1019 Jan 26, 2010

    ewwwwww that just makes my skin crawl.

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