Local News

Bedbugs can become household headache

Posted September 21, 2010

— Bedbugs used to be a problem mainly in hotels, but they are quickly becoming a household headache.

Donnie Shelton, of Triangle Pest Control, said he used to get about three to five calls a month from homes needing treatment for bedbugs.

“This year, we’ve been getting anywhere from five to 10 a day,” he said on Tuesday.

Bedbugs were exterminated in the United States in the 1960s using products like DDT, which are longer used.

Bedbugs bite and suck blood, but they don't carry diseases, said Dr. Barry Engber, an entomologist with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Engber said the itchy bites can make an evening of sleep seem impossible.

Preventing a bedbug problem takes some planning for people staying at a hotel.

Engber suggests bringing a flashlight to check under the mattress, along the cracks in the bed frame and the corners of the wall. People should be looking for red spots, left behind by the bugs after they’ve digested blood.

People should also keep their clothes and luggage off the floor and out of hotel drawers.

“They don’t live on people, but they will look for places to hide, and they may get into your clothing. If you leave your luggage on the floor, they may climb into that,” Engber said.

Bedbugs become household hazard Bedbugs become household hazard

After arriving home, people should wash their clothes immediately or at least put them in the dryer.

“A good 30 minutes in a hot cycle will knock them out,” Engber said.

If bedbugs start showing up, it is time to call a professional.

“When you begin to notice the bugs, then you have a problem,” Engber said.

Getting rid of the pests can be costly.

“To get rid of bedbugs, you're looking at a thousand or $2,000 by the time it's all said and done,” Shelton said.

Engber said it’s hard to say how prevalent bedbugs are in North Carolina because there is no centralized reporting system. Also, hotels and motels are not required to tell officials about bedbug infestations.

11 Comments

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  • georgedavisjr Sep 28, 1:12 p.m.

    Thanks again, Rachel Carson. First you caused the death of millions of folks from malaria and other tropical illnesses and now you cause the return of the bedbug.

  • jerry5 Sep 24, 8:34 a.m.

    When ever we travel we bring a spray bottle of Pharmaceutical Grade Oil of Eucalyptus liniment. It won't kill bugs but it does a great job of repelling most insects, including bed bugs. Being natural it's perfectly safe and will avoid the bugs from going where ever they sent the eucalyptus smell. There are many uses for this liniment oil. It wont stain the sheets, it just comes out in the wash. The web site that you can view the product and most of it's uses can be found at www.Be4everYoung.com, you have to call their toll free number to order 1877-402-4700. I also use it for my pain, and my husband has sinus and breathing problems. It's all natural and I recommend it for any one over the age of about 2 years old. Also spray the tel in the room because it's a natural disinfectant. By the way at home we sleep on a tempurpedic mattress which will not allow bed bugs to get into the mattress.
    Good Luck and happy travels.

  • deton8tor Sep 23, 8:26 a.m.

    Why is it that every time I start reading one of these articles about bedbugs I start feeling like things are crawling all over me?

  • AMazeder Sep 22, 2:55 p.m.

    I have seen dozens of bedbug stories on TV this summer. Only one of them mentioned the National Bedbug Registry website. It's at http bedbugregistry dot com and it's the closest thing to a database we have. I agree with bmg379, Trip Advisor is also an excellent resource.

  • bmg379 Sep 22, 12:50 p.m.

    travelled in music most of my life,never put clothes on hotel beds or floors,use trip advisor.com for reviews on not so great hotel stays

  • wildcat Sep 21, 5:57 p.m.

    thanks for the info.

  • bugman27522 Sep 21, 5:52 p.m.

    Burning the mattress won't get rid of the problem. Bedbugs live allover rooms, bed frames, dressers, behind pictures, night stands, even behind baseboards and molding. So unless you are going to burn the whole building it won't help.

  • bugman27522 Sep 21, 5:48 p.m.

    One of the biggest reasons bedbugs are making a come back is cheap air travel to undeveloped countries. There are pesticides on the market for professionals to use that will work, it is just a very tedious and time consuming treatment.

  • wildcat Sep 21, 5:45 p.m.

    burn the mattress and get a new one. be clean.

  • mgratk Sep 21, 4:57 p.m.

    I was under the impression that bed bugs have built up immunity to pesticides that are allowed to be used indoors, and thus their resurgence. So given that, how can 2K get rid of them. Maybe its time to bring back DDT.

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