Once considered a New York phenomenon, the pesky critters have now been making their presence known in Los Angeles.
Bed bugs, which are actually tiny mites, are not really harmful, but they do leave itchy welts on skin as a result of drinking blood. They are persistent, hungry and very difficult to eradicate, often requiring several rounds of vacuuming carpets, drying clothes and spraying pesticides.
Data from the extermination company Orkin shows that bed bugs are thriving in L.A. Once 25th in number of bedbug infestations, the city now ranks fifth. Furthermore, the amount of bed bug cases has risen a drastic 33% in one year. Experts concede it may not be the warm weather and sunny beaches which attract bed bugs here, but just the fact that people are traveling now more than ever.
Orkin recommends inspecting mattresses at hotels, as well as your luggage, where the pests regularly set up shop. Then, stay vigilant by keeping used luggage away from your bed and immediately throwing your clothes in the dryer on high.
Have you had an experience with bedbugs? How did you solve the problem? Was your landlord helpful with handling the problem, or did that become a nightmare as well? If you’re currently battling an infestation, how are you staying sane?
Robert Kimsey, Entomologist at UC Davis