City officials try to combat bed bug problem - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

City officials try to combat bed bug problem

By Dan Wells - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati is ranked fifth in the nation in bed bugs, so city officials are doing something about it.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded organisms. The problem is getting so widespread that town hall meetings are being held to get the word out.

The figures include homes, hotels and apartments and it's a problem that is not going away.

"In Cincinnati the problem has been growing over the last couple of years. The good news is the federal EPA is finally realizing that bed bugs are a major issue," said Dr. Susan Jones with The Ohio State University.

"Over the past seven to eight years we have noticed a large increase in the number of bedbugs that have come in," said Richard Gary with the Ohio Department of Health.

From doctors that study the issue at Ohio State to the Ohio Health Department and federal government, the Tri-state appears to be experiencing a resurgence of bedbugs.

"In my neighborhood there is a problem with bed bugs and I have a friend where the infestation is there so I wanted to find out more information so I can deal with the problem," said Renaldo Raeheim, a Cincinnati resident.

Raeheim says he has seen a huge increase in the quarter-inch long reddish-brown bugs that bite and leave welts.

"You know we've always heard, 'Don't let the bed bugs bite.' We had the Orkin man out treating spiders and I asked him, 'Do they come back, like every 17 years like the locusts?'" said Raeheim. "He said, 'No we have an infestation and they are here to stay now."

Ohio State Representative Dale Mallory says he's hearing that a lot more, so he and community health experts held a packed town hall meeting on the issue to provide updates, progress and solutions in the fight against the pests.

"It tends to effect all neighborhoods, not just the poor," said Hamilton County coroner Dr. O'Dell Owens. "Some of the best hotels in Cincinnati have had bed bugs. It's not wether your house is clean or not."

And what's scary about the situation is bedbugs might be one of the hardest insects to kill.

"Actually prevention is key because once you have them they are very hard to control," said Gary.

Health department officials say bedbugs are a nuisance but are not known to carry any diseases.

So how do you keep the bugs out of your bed?

  • Use a mattress and pillow covers
  • Keep furniture away from the walls so that the bedbugs have less mobility.
  • Inspect and vacuum suitcases after you travel.
  • Carefully check second hand furniture before bringing it into your home.
  • Change bedding at least once a week, and wash it in hot water.

 

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