Bed bug problems can spike during the summer

As we approach summer, we think about protecting ourselves from sunburns and mosquitoes.  But what about bed bugs.

During the warmer months, bed bugs mature faster and we tend to travel more which means the nasty critter problem gets worse.

Last year, the National Pest Association reported the biggest spike in bed bugs on record.  The association says one in five of us has either had a bed bug problem or knows someone else who has.

Thursday, May 12, several organizations are hosting a workshop at the Kansas City Airport Marriott.  Understanding Bed Bugs: Essentials for property and facility managers will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The goal is to teach the participants how to identify and fight bed bugs.

According to the Mayo Clinic, bed bug bites are red with a darker spot in the middle.  They are arranged in a rough line or cluster and typically found on your face, neck, arms and hands.  Most people just deal with an itchy feeling.   But if you are allergic to bed bugs, the bites will turn into blisters or hives.

The best way to find out if you have a bed bug problem is to look in the tuft or seam of your mattress for a brown bug the size of an apple seed.  You should also look for dotted stains which look like ink but are actually blood.

Don't try to kill the bugs with over-the-counter sprays.  Call pest control.  Many of them now use a device that heats the entire room to 120 degrees and kills the bugs.

Unfortunately, the exterminator won't be your only expense if you have bed bugs.  Many people report spending thousands of dollars to buy a new bed and dry clean all of their clothing.

Pest controllers say the bed bug problem slowly got worse after DDT was banned in the 70's and recently it's exploded not only on the coasts but in the mid west.

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