You’ve likely heard the saying, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Health officials in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area report bed bug cases are on the rise. Reid Steinkraus, a health control supervisor, says people need to be extremely careful when purchasing or accepting used furniture and mattresses.
Steinkraus says, “We do have anecdotal evidence of people buying used furniture, used mattress and bringing them home and they’ve already got bed bugs in them.” Steinkraus works for the Douglas County (Nebraska) Health Department and says once you have the pests in your home, exterminating of them is no easy task.
“Then we’ve got to take off the mattress, take off the linens, get the linens washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer,” he says. “Go over the mattress and box springs and headboard with a vacuum.” Steinkraus says it’s important that hot water and a hot dryer are used when washing the linens. He says if an infestation is bad, it isn’t just the mattress the critters can attack. If they made the leap to other pieces of furniture, you may need to call in help.
“Repeated cleaning is going to be necessary,” Steinkraus says. “They are not easy to get rid of. Many times people may have to use a professional pest control operator.” Steinkraus says bed bugs are mobile and you can actually bring them home with you when traveling, like a bad souvenir.
“Bed bugs can also travel between apartments,” he says. “If you have visited a hotel or motel that may have had a bed bug problem, you can bring them home in your luggage.” Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, similar to a tick, and they suck blood. Another way to tell if you may have a problem is when you notice small dots of blood on linens. Also, he says bed bugs have developed a tolerance to pesticides.
By Karla James