Arkansas leads nation for highest increase of bed bug cases - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Arkansas leads nation for highest increase of bed bug cases

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- As the busiest travel time of the year kicks into high gear, there's one nuisance causing concern in Arkansas, and it's not gas prices, flight rates or lost luggage.

Terminix reports an almost 50 percent increase within the past year on calls about cases of bed bugs.

While most people associate them with a dirty hotel room, the majority of cases are actually coming from within homes, according to Terminix.

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

Weinstein, Arkansas' State Veterinarian, receives so many calls and questions weekly about bed bugs that she keeps an example of one in her office.

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

Mark Vitulli with Terminix in Sherwood showed us a steaming technique the business uses to kill the small pests. He said cases are becoming more prevalent in Arkansas than years past, where currently the percentage of calls to them has increased more than any other state.

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

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

"The bed bugs will usually get in where the material and mesh are stapled together," Vitulli showed us, turning a chair upside down.

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

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

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

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