State and federal officials say reports of bedbugs are on the rise in Iowa and the rest of the Midwest. Dave Werning is a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, which investigates bedbug complaints. He says the agency has received about a dozen reports of the bugs in Iowa hotels since July. That’s compared to one or none in recent years. The reports are scattered around the state.

“Obviously it’s more of the larger communities – Des Moines, Quad Cities – where you have a larger influx of people,” Werning said. “We certainly don’t have an epidemic or an infestation at this point. But, we are starting to see the critters move their way into the state.”

Hotels with confirmed reports are required to take steps to eradicate the bedbugs. Federal officials have released a list of chemicals that can be used to treat the pests. The Environmental Protection Agency’s online database includes information about more than 300 pesticides approved for bedbugs. Kris Lancaster is with the EPA’s regional office in Kansas City. He says as more infestations are discovered, officials want to make sure people aren’t treating the problem with unsafe products.

“One of our priorities is protection of children’s health and this is an issue that is growing across the United States. Most reports show that most of the bedbugs are on the East Coast and West Coast, and it’s growing in the Midwest,” Lancaster said. Lancaster says there’s no easy cure for bedbugs, but certain products used in combination with pest management techniques can help.

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