Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bed bugs invade Hampton Roads

Bed bugs are invading businesses, local hotels, and homes in Hampton Roads at an alarming rate.
The Health Department reported the number of infestations this year as nearly 10 times what it was three years ago. Bed bugs usually live in beds, come out when people are asleep, and feed on blood.

Bed bugs ran a Virginia Beach family out of their bedroom. "When you don't sleep, you become psychotic after two days. You don't know if you're up or down. You're just crying and undealable," said Linda Phillips, who believes the bugs followed her home from a motel in Bedford, Virginia.

It cost Phillips $5,000 to treat her family's large two story home of the bugs.
An exterminator took into a bedroom to show where the beds hide. Adults are about the size of apple seeds and babies look like moving grains of sand. New ones hatch every day, and exterminator Corey Newell said it doesn't take long for the bugs to take over.
Bed bugs hide out in dark crevices like picture frames, night stands, and light sockets.
Health officials said if you see them - act fast and be prepared.

Environmental Health Manager Erin Sutton said they inspect hotels once a year. After that, they only check out complaints.
"We do the left side room and the right side room, and the up room, and the down room because they do travel well through walls and baseboards," said Sutton.
To reopen a room, the hotel must submit written notice from an exterminator that it's bug free, but that is not always a guarantee.

"If a company is offering a guarantee, that's something you should probably watch out for. They're probably not being honest with you," said Sutton.
Bed bugs are just hard to kill, so Sutton recommends inspecting mattress and headboards before you sleep in a hotel. Sutton also recommended to never put suitcases or purses on the bed.
"Heat is one of the best things for bed bugs, so set your suitcase out in the sun for a day," said Sutton, "The people with the little white vests come and take you away."
There are many ways to treat bed bugs, and the Health Department said a combination of chemicals and heat above 120 degrees seems to work best.
Professional examinations can cost up to $5,000, so experts said if you do it yourself, be prepared to throw out things like furniture and carpeting.

By: Bradley Skierkowski

Sourced by: WAVY TV