Expert says bed bugs may be in more places than you think

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Imagine lifting up your mattress and finding these everywhere. A mini colony of bed bugs, living and breathing right under the place you sleep.

"Adult bed bugs are fairly easy to see, they're about the size of a tick, eggs you can see with the naked eye but it's difficult," said Tom Majors with Wil-Kil Pest Control in Eau Claire.

He has seen these sites first-hand. When they say do not let the bed bugs bite, there is good reason.

"A bed bug is the only one that has to feed on human blood," he said.

Wil-Kil showed us video they shot of a bed bug on a human arm. You can see in the video how it sucks up and stores the blood inside its body. That is fuel to produce future problems.

"The female lays seven eggs per day, so to lay eggs she needs to have human blood," he said.

So how do you stop this from happening at your house?

"If you're looking at a bed you wanna check any seams, you wanna check the corners of the box springs, check the head board, frames, that kind of thing," Majors said.

You cannot vacuum the bugs off. One way to get rid of them is excessive heat. Wil-Kil uses fans that pump out air at 120 degrees -- enough to kill the bugs.

He says the bugs can be transferred by luggage, suitcases and sometimes end up in places like dorm halls. UW-Eau Claire says they clean their rooms and mattresses thoroughly.

"And everything is pretty spic and span as far as we're concerned," said Chuck Major, UW-Eau Claire's Housing Director. He says he does not remember a significant outbreak of bed bugs in the 40 years he has been with the university.

"We've had one or two at the places we lease off campus, and we go in with something like Wil-Kil to thoroughly kill and fumigate the rooms or what have you," he said.

He says there is some worry about student bringing in furniture but says the plan to deal with any problems is simple.

"We'll address it, validate it and then clean it up, but there's no discipline with it," Major added.

Majors says bed bugs are not dangerous to humans. With colleges moving in students this week, he advises parents and students to think twice about picking up free furniture from street corners. He says they have seen many issues with bed bugs in instances where people picked up used furniture.


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