PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburghers may want to check their mattresses for some unwelcome pests, according to a new survey.
Terminix has determined the most bed-bug-infested cities in the United States, and two Pennsylvania cities, including Pittsburgh, and two Ohio cities landed in the top 20.
Pittsburgh came in at number 12 on the list.
Allegheny County medical entomologist Bill Todaro knows a lot about bed bugs.
“It’s an exoparasite that feeds on blood and because it feeds directly on blood like a mosquito, it goes through its lifecycle very quickly,” he said. “In one month’s time, a female will develop from an egg to being able to lay eggs.”
Todaro says unlike ticks and mosquitoes, bed bugs don’t carry disease, but they can grow very quickly, depending on how much blood they feed on from a person’s body.
Todaro says bed bugs tend to feed between 3 – 5 a.m., when most people are fast asleep.
“Many times they wake up and they see a bed bug on the pillow. They open their eyes and there’s a bed bug on the pillow…” he said. “Seventy percent of the bed bugs are in the bed with a person. All they have to do is look closely.”
Bed bugs can leave little bites that last for a few days. Terminix based its list of bed bug infested cities based on the number of service requests for the first half of 2017.
Philadelphia did slightly worse than Pittsburgh at number 10.
Ohio fared the worst with Cleveland and Cincinnati being named the most infested and second-most infested cities, respectively.
Todaro says he gets call about bed bugs often.
“We probably get 15 to 20 calls a week about bed bugs,” he said, “in a variety of situations. Either private homes, single family homes or multi-family homes.”
There isn’t a gold standard to getting rid of bed bugs. Todaro says there are ways to check for them in your home, including detectors. The sooner a bed bug infestation is detected, the less expensive it may be to treat it.
According to Business Wire, some signs of bed bugs include reddish-brown blood spots on sheets or mattresses and a strong musty odor. Bed bugs are the size, shape and color of an apple seed.