Bed bug ‘epidemic’ to be topic of Jan. 13 lunch

January 6, 2017 by

If even the words “bed bug” make you start to itch, you may not want to hear what Mike Lambert has to say about what he calls an “epidemic” that has come to North Central Kansas.

Lambert, who operates Schendel Pest Control of Concordia, will talk about the parasitic insects and how to prevent them during a special Community Needs Forum lunch meeting on Friday, Jan. 13.

The lunch will be from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nazareth Motherhouse. Lunch will be provided without charge by the Sisters of St. Joseph, and those planning to come are asked to RSVP to 243-2149 or sisterjean@csjkansas.org. Parking is available in the lot on the east side of the Motherhouse.

“In the counties we serve throughout North Central Kansas, there isn’t a community that doesn’t have a bed bug problem,” Lambert said.

And it’s getting worse.

“We started seeing them about seven years ago, and we saw five or six places,” he said. “Now we see that many in a week.”

There may be some comfort in knowing that Cloud County and the surrounding areas are not alone.

Bed bugs — small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep — are found across the globe. In the United States, they had been all but eradicated by the 1950s, through the use of DDT and other similar potent insecticides.

But DDT was banned for agricultural use in the U.S. in 1972 and then banned worldwide in 2001. Reports of widespread infestations in major U.S. cities began popping up in the late 1990s.

When Orkin Pest Control published its annual “top 50 bed bug risk cities” list this week, the locations were coast to coast — and beyond. Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle were all on the list, as were Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Denver, Omaha, St. Louis and Kansas City — and even Honolulu.

“It started on the East Coast maybe 10 or 12 years ago,” Lambert said of the bed bug infestation, “and it was only a matter of time before it was everywhere.”

At the Jan. 13 lunch meeting, Lambert will explain how to identify bed bugs, where to look for them and how to avoid them.

“The best thing is prevention,” he said. “People think about traveling, but they aren’t just in motels. We had a grandmother who bought stuffed animals at a garage sale, and when she gave them to her grandchildren, it ended up infecting two different homes.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bed bugs are not be considered a medical or public health hazard because they are not known to spread disease. But they do bite, which can cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that could increase the chance of a secondary skin infection, the CDC reports.

 

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