PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Their name implies that they’re confined to your bedroom, but bed bugs can live anywhere: hotels, offices, even movie theaters have had infestations.
Removing them is a half-a-billion-dollar-a-year industry and the problem is only getting worse.
“Anybody and everybody is susceptible to bed bugs. They have no difference whether it’s a clean home or dirty home. All they care about is that you have blood in your veins,” professional exterminator Jim Muir said.
Bed bugs hibernate. They can go up to 18 months between meals. If they find a warm, dark place in your home, they’ll stay there until you do something about it.
“Bed bugs are something you want to address immediately or they become a problem. It’s not just treating your bed; you want to check your bed frame, the carpet, really the whole room to make sure you’ve gotten rid of them completely,” Angie Hicks, of Angie’s List, said.
You know you have bed bugs if you get bite marks in groups of three. They may also leave small red and brown stains at the top of your mattress.
“Don’t panic if you have bed bugs. Call your pest control company and talk to them about the process because what people don’t realize is oftentimes you are going to be out of your home for several hours, so you want to be sure you pick a time and day that is convenient for you,” Hicks said.
“We typically do one of two things; one we recommend highly is the heat treatment. We bring in up to eight furnaces. We heat the structure up to somewhere between 130-150 degrees – everything inside, clothing, bedding and everything,” Muir said.
A typical heat treatment will run you $1,200 to $1,800 depending on the method used and the size of your home. You may also want to follow that up with monthly chemical treatments, otherwise they may return and you’ll have to go through the entire process again.
Hicks said you can try to eliminate the bugs yourself, but only if you’re sure it’s a small, confined infestation. Wash everything in water above 120 degrees and steam clean rugs and carpets with retail insecticides.