People are finding bed bugs in strange places. People across the region are reporting finding the bugs in places that aren’t normally infested, so general anxiety about the pests have increased.
Hodgson, of Cuyahoga Falls-based Rose Pest Solutions, confirmed exterminators are responding to more reports of bedbug infestations in Stark County and across Ohio.
“It’s beginning to ramp up here. It started in Cincinnati and Columbus and now it’s coming up here,” Hodgson said. “… We haven’t seen the peak yet.”
Hodgson spoke Wednesday at an educational seminar presented by the Stark County Bed Bug Prevention Task Force at the Massillon Knights of Columbus. The task force has staff members from all four of the county’s health departments.
The reddish-brown, appleseed-sized insects, which had been on the decline for years, are making a strong comeback and Ohio is among the top states for reported infestations.
Bed bugs are not easy to get rid of, and the cause of infestation is not always what people think it would be. Sometimes exterminators are called in unnecessarily, and time and money is wasted.
In addition to waging a physical fight, officials also say they are battling an emotional stigma attached to the insects.
“They’re getting at you when you are the most vulnerable (sleeping). I’ve had people tell me they’d rather be bitten by a mosquito,” Hodgson said.
Recently, Rose Pest Solutions was asked to inspect a multimillion-dollar Lear jet because the owner wanted peace of mind. No bugs were found.
“I think it’s going to get to the point where hotels are going to have to put up signs stating they do routine inspections,” Hodgson said.
Residents may be hesitant to report infestation because they associate the bugs with unsanitary living conditions.
But nothing could be further from the truth, according to Hodgson.
“The problem is going to be anywhere people gather,” he said.
Clutter, not unclean conditions, is a breeding ground for bed bugs, Monachino said. The insects can be found in the cracks and crevices of mattresses, box springs, linens, quilts, night stands and furniture, Hodgson said.