Iowa cities rank in top 50 for bed bug problems - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa cities rank in top 50 for bed bug problems

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Bed bugs are becoming a big problem across the country.  And several Iowa communities now rank among the top 50 cities receiving treatment for the pesky problem, according to a major pest control company.  The Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City-Dubuque combined metro area came in at number 36, Des Moines number 39, and Sioux City number 45.  And the prevalence of bed bugs has many homeowners and businesses trying to both control and prevent their spread.

You're probably familiar with the old saying, "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite."  For past few decades though, bed bugs had basically vanished in the US.  But the creepy crawlers have slowly started reappearing, including here in Iowa.

"I cover a large territory and between our Cedar Rapids office and Waterloo office, we've done a significant amount of bed bug treatments," said Bruce Hatfield, Orkin Pest Control's Waterloo branch manager.

Luckily, bed bugs are mainly just nuisance insects.  They may leave small bites on their victims, but aren't known to carry any diseases.  But make no mistake:  bed bugs are a pesky problem that travel easily and latch onto anything from your clothes to luggage.  So getting rid of them isn't easy.

"From personal experience, I'm going to say it's very difficult.  You really need a professional that actually knows a lot about bed bugs and how to treat for them," Hatfield said.

To curb bed bug invasions, many hotels, including some in the Cedar Valley, use prevention programs.  Such programs can include chemical treatments and even pest sniffing dogs aimed at warding off bed bug infestations.  To keep you safe from bed bug bites while traveling, experts have a few simple tips.

"The first thing I'd do is make sure I put my luggage up on a dresser or on the luggage stand.  And then I'd do a thorough inspection of the room and the bed.  Anything within five feet of the bed is the primary area you're going to be looking for," said Hatfield.

And if you notice any dark spots on a mattress in a motel or in your home, that's a good sign bed bugs have invaded.  It's best to call in a professional pest control company to help eliminate the issue.

Experts aren't sure exactly why the bed bug population is now increasing.  Some believe it's connected to increased travel and the ban of heavy pesticides like DDT.

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