The state’s most heavily populated county is at the center of an effort to help beat back a resurgence of bedbugs. The Polk County Bed Bug Task Force was recently formed and also includes officials from nearby Dallas and Warren counties.
Polk County Health Department director, Terri Henkels, says bed bugs have come back because the pesticides used to get rid of them were banned. She says Iowa doesn’t have the problems of some of the largest metro areas in the U.S., but the problem is there and not going away.
Henkels says everyone on the task force comments on the number of reports they get, and she says they’ve been surprised to see the number of calls at the Polk County Health Department continually increasing. Henkels says the problem will continue to increase unless everyone is educated in how to prevent the bed bugs, and that is one of the first goals the task force.
She says it’s a multi-level issue with a broad target group that includes tenants, landlords, hotels, dormitories, schools, universities, camps and others. Henkels says bedbugs are indiscriminate traveler who’ll go anywhere, and it doesn’t matter how big or small or how clean or dirty your home is. She says it’s key for people to be able to notice the problem early.
Henkels says inspecting your home, bedrooms and mattresses is really important, as the sooner you identify the problem, the sooner you can get help in eradicating the problem. “So it really behooves all of us to try and prevent it,” Henkels says. Henkel says the task force is reviewing and updating a manual on preventing bed bugs.
She says it will provide specific guidelines on how to inspect your house and what to do to get ready for a treatment of your house, and what to expect from a treatment. Henkels says they also have specific guidance for camps, dorms and multi-unit housing. Henkels says they also will include information on how to inspect second-hand furniture and avoid bringing something into your home that has bed bugs.
You can see more information on bedbugs on the Polk County Health Department’s website at: www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health.