Monday, Dec 9, 2013
Bed Bug Calls on the Rise
CARBONDALE -- Business is booming for one line of work, although customers may not be thrilled to call in the service. In recent weeks, one Jackson County company is treating a lot more homes and businesses for bed bugs.
Enviro-Tech is a Carbondale-based extermination company. They have an employee focused on treating bed bugs. He calls the bugs a growing problem. The past month has been extra busy, with about a 40 percent increase in the number of people calling for bed bug services. Earlier this week, he treated 17 spaces in just one day.
"It kind of looks like a little tick," said exterminator Harry Melvin. "About the size of an apple seed,"
Hunting for bed bugs is Melvin's job.
"In two years, almost everybody will at least have had them once," predicts Melvin.
There are also few places left in southern Illinois that he would be surprised to find the tiny creatures.
"Homes, apartments, dorm rooms," said Melvin. "I've had calls from hospitals, clinics, doctor offices."
When he starts a search, Melvin checks in some of the insect's favorite hiding spots. Those include box springs, couches, and mattresses.
"Anywhere they can get in," said Melvin.
Melvin responds to several calls each day. Clients usually have either seen the bugs or what's left behind.
"You'll have a cluster of two or three little bites together, kind of in a linear pattern," said Melvin. "You'll have blood on your sheets."
While an infestation may carry a dirty stigma, anyone, regardless of cleaning habits, is at risk.
"All you have to do is have social contact with someone else or an area where another person's been," said Melvin.
Everything from bags to chairs can spread the bugs around.
"I've actually seen some backpacks that had 10 to 15 on the outside," said Melvin.
The CDC calls the critters a worldwide issue. The silver lining is that the pests do not transmit disease.
They can, however, take a toll on your mental well-being and your wallet.
"I mean I've done houses for about $1500-1600," said Melvin. "I've done houses for a couple hundred dollars."
The price all comes down to the size of the home and the areas needing treatment.
Melvin recommends calling in help as soon as you discover a problem.
"One bed bug can become 30,000 bed bugs in a year in an ideal situation," said Melvin.
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