Arkansas leads nation for highest increase of bed bug cases

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- As the busiest travel time of the year kicksinto high gear, there's one nuisance causing concern in Arkansas, and it's notgas prices, flight rates or lost luggage.

Terminix reports an almost50 percent increase within the past year on calls about cases of bed bugs.

While most peopleassociate them with a dirty hotel room, the majority of cases are actuallycoming from within homes, according to Terminix.

"It's a problem in everystate, but we are getting lots of calls pretty much all year round," said Dr.Sue Weinstein with the Arkansas Health Department.

Weinstein, Arkansas' StateVeterinarian, receives so many calls and questions weekly about bed bugs thatshe keeps an example of one in her office.

"Bed bugs suck bloodand they like people, they live on carbon dioxide and warm place," she added.

Mark Vitulli with Terminixin Sherwood showed us a steaming technique the business uses to kill the smallpests. He said cases are becoming more prevalent in Arkansas than years past, wherecurrently the percentage of calls to them has increased more than any otherstate.

"We get several aweek, and most of the time the people are in quite a panic," Vitulli said. "Theywant us to get out there as soon as possible to make sure it is bed bugs."

These bugs are so smallusually the only remnants are bite marks, or tiny specs of blood on your sheets.

"The bed bugs willusually get in where the material and mesh are stapled together," Vitullishowed us, turning a chair upside down.

That's one way theyspread from homes and businesses so quickly.

"There's a lot moretravel than there used to be, immigration, people aren't pinned down to onearea now they fly all over the place so that is one," Vitulli added to aprobably reason for the increase.

The best recommendationfrom Terminix to prevent yourself from acquiring an infestation of bed bugs is tocheck the inseams of sheets, around headboards and even the drawers and floorsof a new room you've never stayed in before.

If you see signs in yourhome it's important to contact a professional service before the bugs spreadseverely around your home.