Local victims biting back at bed bugs

August 27, 2009 8:28:13 PM PDT
A problem most of us would rather not think about - bed bugs.Bed bug infestations are on the rise across the country and in our area as well.

It's happening more and more at some local apartment complexes and shelters as residents are throwing mattresses and other furniture in the trash because some unwanted guests have moved in.

John Iacono says it's a problem for several people at the White Horse Pike Manor Apartments in Somerdale, New Jersey.

Despite efforts to kill the critters, they're still there.

"They deal with one apartment at a time and all the bugs do, I imagine, is move from apartment to apartment," Eugene Milton, son of Manor resident.

Eugene is right.

The elusive 6-legged insects can easily spread and they can be resistant to some pesticides. They hide during the day and then feast on your blood at bedtime.

Amanda Sano stayed at the Wesley House shelter in Chester, Delaware County.

She says her 10-month old is covered in bites.

The same complaints are heard from some residents at the Lexington-Green Apartments in Wilmington, Delaware.

"At night we getting bitten up all on our legs, our arms, can't sleep at all," Shaquetta Pope of Wilmington, Delaware said.

Martin Overline, an exterminator for more than 30 years, says the rise in bed bug infestations is due to people traveling more and to banning stronger pesticides.

It has nothing to do with someone's cleanliness.

"From the White House to the outhouse, it does not matter," Overline said.

In fact, a bed bug infestation was even reported in former president Bill Clinton's New York office.

Overline says the pest problem has to be taken more seriously and it is starting to be. Several bed bug summits have been held and a bill has been introduced in Congress. It aims to give states money to tackle the problem.

To find out if you have a problem, Overline says to check your bedding to see if you can see the critters. They're reddish brown, wingless and can be up to a quarter of an inch in size. Look for tiny blood stains on your sheets and check your skin for bites particularly in a straight line.

To protect yourself, pull your bed away from the walls and keep the area around it clear.

"If you were on a trip, as soon as you get back, I would put everything in the washer and dryer and if it doesn't need to be washed, put it in the dryer, even the suitcase if it will fit," Overline said.

But even with these tips, if you have bed bugs, it's best to call the experts.

As for the local encounters, the Lexington-Green Apartments were treated for bed bugs, the Wesley House Shelter tells us they're taking care of the problem.

We tried to talk to management at the White Horse Pike Manor Apartments. They did not return our call.

LINKS:

Armed Forces Pest Management Board
http://www.afpmb.org/pubs/tims/TG44/TG44.htm

AARDVARK PEST MANAGEMENT (OUR LOCAL EXPERT)
http://www.aardvarkpestmgmt.com/

HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/bedbugs/

CORNELL UNIVERSITY, INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/publications/bb%5Fguidelines/

EPA, BED BUG SUMMIT, APRIL 2009
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ppdc/bedbug-summit/index.html

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