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Checkup: Bedbugs Are Back

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Air date: October 17, 2010

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Check Up Healthcare Policy & Public Health
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Bedbugs and Back

They invade your home, lie in wait in your bed, and in the dead of night -- they bare their fangs -- and bite!

I’m talking, of course, about bedbugs. As you’ve probably heard, the little monsters are everywhere these days, from high-end hotels to elementary schools to homes across the land.

So why have bedbugs become so widespread? Because, says Indiana University bedbug expert Marc Lame, the biting creatures are world-class hitchhikers.

"They hitchhike on our clothes and our luggage and handbags, so they’re very effective that way. Of course international travel has increased and we have so many more people traveling and they’re spreading this animal everywhere."

So how do you know if you have bedbugs? Even if you don’t feel it when they bite, there are some telltale signs.

"All bedbugs when they feed on us, there can be a tiny drop of blood that stains our sheets, and of course all these bedbugs will defecate, and so there’s these fecal smears on our sheets. They’re very tiny but they’re unmistakable."

So bedbugs are pretty gross. And, they’re also really hard to get rid of.

"When they’re not eating, not sucking our blood, they’re hiding, and they hide very well. In those cracks and crevices the pesticides don’t reach them. And so you have to get into those cracks and crevices and so you have to break apart the furniture, you have to break it down."