Bed bugs: How not to bring them home from summer vacation hot spots

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Bed bugs (ick!) hitch rides on summer vacation. With new data on the nation’s bed bug hotspots Philadelphia is No. 1 there are tips on how not to bring them home.Hint: keep luggage and clothes in the bathroom.

Terminix released its ranking of the top 15 cities with bed-bug infestations today (based on the number of calls in each market), raising public awareness of how people can avoid these nasty insects during the busy summer travel months.

The problem with the steady increase in bed bugs is that they are showing up more in public places such as schools, hospitals, and theaters, says Stoy Hedges a Terminix entomologist.

As bed bugs hitch rides on purses, luggage and clothes, and find a person to feed on, one female or a few eggs can grow and reproduce.

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Most infestations dont rise to nightmare level with hundreds, but a few bed bugs is enough to be concerning, says Mr. Hedges.

Researches do not know why bed bugs appear more in certain geographic areas (Ohio has three cities on the top 15 list), but they are widespread across the US.

Although there is no central data management for bed bug incidents, their numbers do appear to be on the rise, says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs at the National Pest Management Association.

A study done by the NPMA and the University of Kentucky in August 2011, found that 99 percent of US pest management professionals surveyed said they treated bed bugs within the past year. This is up from 95 percent in 2010, but a large increase over just 25 percent in 2000. According to the survey, 73 percent of said that bed bugs are the most difficult pest to treat.

Individual companies report their findings from their business, she says. That is a good reflection of what is going on, but not representative of what all companies are finding.

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Bed bugs: How not to bring them home from summer vacation hot spots

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