Bedbugs Are Back! So Don't Let Them Bite - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/24/07-Tyler

Bedbugs Are Back! So Don't Let Them Bite

You might have seen them in years past.  Or scared your kids on Halloween.  But experts say bedbugs are back, and all they want is your blood.   It sounds frightening, but you can do something about them.  

"A lot of times when people come in with a bedbug bite, they do not even realize it's a bite," says Dr. Dannise Beckley of South Tyler Dermatology.

From big cities to small towns, the bed bug is back. World travel is partly to blame.

"Lo and behold, in the crack of that suitcase is a bedbug or two.  We get home, we set it on the bed to unpack, and we don't realize it, but we've just introduced a bedbug into our environment," Beckley says.  She has seen several cases in East Texas.

"From the size of a pencil eraser to twice that size," she says of the welts left behind.

There's often shock and fear.

"On women, they'll often be in a linear pattern -- the lesions down the arm.  They're red, they're raised, and if you look very closely in the center, you may see actually where the bedbug bit, or a little tiny opening to the skin," she says.

As people are bit more and more, an allergy can develop, and the itching can be intense.

"When the bug feeds, it'll often discharge feces and when the person scratches, they'll actually scratch it into the opening of their skin," Beckley says.

Multiple bites like this are rare, but even a small bedbug problem can explode.

The advice to keep them away?

Inspect your bed frame, mattress, and furniture for the bugs -- the size of a poppy seed to a half-inch across.   Reduce clutter and hiding places for insects.   Wash sheets in hot water and dry them on high setting.   And hire a professional pest control service.

"This is incredibly disturbing, because these are people who have clean homes," Beckley says of the reactions from bed bug victims.

Several multi-million dollar lawsuits have been filed after hotel guests claim they were bitten by bedbugs. Best advice from experts: like we mentioned, examine thorougly the hotel beds for bugs or their eggs. They like to hide in crevices and dark places.   So far, they're not known to be carriers of disease.

Morgan Palmer, Reporting morganpalmer@kltv.com

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