Officials see rise in bed bug infestations around Springfield

by Cymphanie Sherman, Fox Illinois

One in five Americans have had a bed bug infestation in their home or know someone who has had bed bugs.

Right now, in central Illinois local exterminators are getting calls quite often.

“We average one to three bed bugs jobs a day,” said James Hockenyos with Sentinel Insect Control Incorporated.

A bed bug is a parasitic insect that feeds on blood and anyone can be exposed.

“It’s very easy to get bed bugs,” said Hockenyos. “They are hitchhikers, they’re hobos.”

If a person is somewhere the insect is, it can easily travel home on a person, a purse, even on clothes.

“We see quite often families that are coming in with rashes and sometimes we do diagnose bed bugs,” said Dr. Douglas Carlson with St. John’s Children’s Hospital.

According to medical officials, bed bug cases are common in the emergency room which has even led to hospital-wide outbreaks.

“We certainly have had bed bug scares in the hospital where patients or staff bring in bed bugs on their belongings and we’ve had to do some exterminations in the hospital,” explained Carlson.

There are many indicators you’ve been infected.

“If you’re starting to get bumps or bites that you can’t really account for, if you’re starting to see little crimson blood stains on your pillow, mattress. That would be a good sign of it,” said Hockenyos.

These signs indicate it’s time to call pest control.

“They’ll be very thorough, they know the places to look. If you do have bed bugs then there’s a long and drawn out protocol,” said Hockenyos.

Staff with Sentinel said whenever someone thinks they have bed bugs they freak out, but bed bugs actually don’t carry any diseases, unlike mosquitos or ticks.

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