Bed Bugs Are Making a Comeback in Illinois

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States top doc encourages education and prevention steps to combat bed bugs

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. Bed bugs are on the rise in Illinois after a dramatic decline in the 1940s and 1950s. A couple reasons for the return are more world-wide travel and todays insecticides, although safer for people, are less effective in killing these bugs. Bed bugs are small, flat insects, usually reddish-brown and up to -inch long. Bed bugs do not fly or hop, but can move quickly across floors and walls. Bed bugs most commonly enter hotels or residences by hitch-hiking on a suitcase or backpack, used furniture or other objects moved from one building to another. Bed bugs can survive several months without feeding.

At night, bed bugs leave their hiding places in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, nightstands, curtains, couches, and wall voids, and behind baseboards, door and window frames, and carpet edges to feed. The bugs feed on the blood of animals, including people and pets. The bugs beak-like mouth painlessly pierces its victim, injects saliva and sucks up the hosts blood, in about three to five minutes.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is seeing an increase in the number of calls from the public and from local health departments about bed bug infestations, said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director. To help reduce this problem, I encourage everyone to learn the signs of bed bug infestations, how the bugs spread, what you can do to prevent getting them and what to do if you find bed bugs.

Although bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, their bites can cause an intense itch and scratching could produce secondary infections. Bed bugs may be brought into well-maintained hotels and clean homes because all they need to survive is a place to hide and a host to supply their only food blood. New infestations may go undetected when only a few bed bugs are present, allowing the infestation to grow and spread.

Signs of infestation:

How bed bugs are spread:

To prevent getting bed bug:

If there is a bed bug infestation:

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Bed Bugs Are Making a Comeback in Illinois

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