LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- The Comanche County Health Department reports a rash of bed bugs crawling across our area. The experts want to warn us how to prevent them from spreading even more.
The bugs are small, flat, and the size of an apple seed.They are a reddish-brown in color, and have 6 legs. Bed bugs don't jump or fly, but they're fast runners and hitch hikers.
The experts said this is a seasonal problem and it only gets worse with the busy holiday travel season coming up.
The Comanche County Health Department receives complaints about bed bugs all the time. Right now, the office is getting 2 to 3 calls a day.
The upcoming holidays are there busiest time of the year from traveling people and bugs. They can get inside your luggage, purse, or coat. Health Specialist Zachary Foley said being prepared is one way to prevent them from getting on you or taking them back to your home.
"It's a good idea to have a flash light when you go into a hotel room so you can check all the nooks and crannies, check behind the mattresses", said Foley.
If these critters get inside your home, they can get almost anywhere and hide. The tiny parasites can be seen with the human eye.
"They can get into your electrical sockets, they can get into lamp shades, they can get into your curtains", said Foley.
Bed bugs crave blood, but can go almost 9 months without feeding on anyone and live up to 1 year. Environmental Pest Control Technician Scott Brown said once they the bugs start reproducing they bring big problems.
"Your typical female bed bug is going to feed about every ten days or so. They can lay up to 10 eggs a day so it can get out of control very very quickly",said Brown.
Brown says heat kills the bed bugs and said there are professional treatments to get rid of them. They take 8 to 12 hours to work.
"First we come out and set all of our equipment up, the temperatures are going to range between 120 and 140 degrees, that's lethal to all stages of beg bugs, eggs all the way up until they are an adult. We set up high speed fans to create a tornado effect in the house. We are penetrating all the mattresses and couches and chairs, the walls, base boards carpets and all that stuff",said Brown.
Bed bugs do not carry any diseases. If you are bitten by a bed bug it may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes cause a skin infection. The tiny parasites seek blood for a meal, after feeding they can hide everywhere inside your home.
Brown said if you have bed bugs in your home and you get a professional heat treatment, he recommends you follow up with your local technician after 30 days to double check none of the bugs have returned.
The Centers for Disease Control has facts on how to avoid spreading bed bugs.