Bed Bugs Biting Back

6 years 3 months 4 weeks ago August 05, 2010 Aug 5, 2010 Thursday, August 05 2010 Thursday, August 05, 2010 6:13:28 PM CDT in News

COLUMBIA - The National Pest Management Association reports a seventy-one percent increase in the amount of bed bug infestations nationwide.

Dr. Richard Houseman, an entomologist at the University of Missouri in Columbia says that data shows Missouri is seeing similar patterns. "Here in Missouri, some of the data show that about five years ago maybe one in ten pest control companies had done a bed bug job or had seen a bed bug and now it's closer to about seventy percent of them have done a bed bug job and over fifty percent of the treatments they're doing are in single family residences," says Houseman.

Lee Radtke, can attest to those numbers, she had a bed bug infestation back in 2008, when she was in charge of Paquin Tower.

"In some of them you could see them crawling on the walls, but like I said, it just came out of nowhere," says Radtke.

Columbia Housing Authority, which owns the building, has since got it under control, but it took months of trial and error.

"Now when we say we have an infestation, we mean that we've seen one bug in one unit and it's treated immediately. At the height of it it meant that we had three or four units that are crawling," says Radtke.

Dave Dollens is a tenant at Paquin Towers, and had an outbreak in his apartment. He says, they're tricky to get a hold of because it's not always obvious you have them.

"You can't feel them bite you, you can't feel them crawling up on you," says Dollens. So it wasn't until he actually saw one in daylight that he caught onto the problem, "I'm sitting there watching the news, and I look down and there's one of them on my crotch, and I was so lucky that one of them didn't bite me on my private parts, because I don't know what may have happened," said Dollens.

Houseman says the spike in bed bugs over the decade is due to globalization and increased travel.

"Bed bugs don't materialize or come out of thin air, they have to be brought from somewhere that has them. Typically it's the unsuspecting homeowner that goes over and stays somewhere and, you know bed bugs have been introduced into that place by another traveler who probably was unsuspecting and they end up being hitch hikers," says Houseman.

Houseman also says, that knowledge of the trend and being aware of how to avoid transporting bed bugs can help reduce chances of infestation.

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