With more people traveling more often in and outside the country has come a rise in bed bug infestations. Most cases are in large urban areas, but beg bugs are an increasing problem in this region. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.
University of Kentucky professor of entomology Michael Potter says after a nearly 50-year hiatus, bed bugs are back.
“Here in Kentucky, I’d say around 2003, 2004, we started seeing more incidents of bed bugs arising in single-family homes, and hotels, and apartments and health care facilities and college dormitories, and just about everywhere else,” he says.
Potter says part of the reason is that people no longer know how to look for the bugs enough to avoid them. But Potter says there’s more to the problem.
“Perhaps the biggest reason they’ve come back — and we’ve done a lot of work here actually at the University of Kentucky on this — is that is seems that bed bugs have developed resistance or immunity to many of the commonly used insecticides to control them,” Potter says.
He says the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area has had the most incidents in the region. Louisville and Lexington have seen increased reports of bed bugs, but they have been less common in rural areas.
Potter says people should learn how to check for bed bugs, not sleep on used mattresses and inspect clothing and luggage after traveling.
He says the resurgence is due to more people traveling in and outside the country and because the bugs have become resistant to modern insecticides. He says people can avoid them, but they have to know what to look for.
“Evidence usually arises around the bed,” Potter says, “and it’s a matter of pulling back the bed sheets and examining the seams of the mattress, and around the corners and the edges, particularly up by the pillow area. So, what you’re looking for are little brownish bugs and the little, black, speckling spots, which is basically digested human blood.”