Health Department director says bed bugs are growing concern countywide
Holley Central School isn’t alone in battling bed bugs. The district has been in the news today after discovering bed bugs in two elementary school classrooms.
The district brought in an exterminator to treat the classroom, as well as the hallway and neighboring classrooms.
Bed bugs have a growing problem throughout Orleans County, said Paul Pettit, public health director.
“It’s definitely on the increase,” Pettit said today. “Year by year we’re getting more calls and complaints.”
The bed bugs don’t carry disease but they are a nuisance, and difficult to get rid of, Pettit said.
They are “hitch hikers” attaching themselves to clothing, backpacks, coats, sofas and suitcases.
When they are in a house, they often hide in cracks and crevices in couches, or behind beds. They feed on blood and some people may wake up with bite marks. That’s a sign they should look closer to see if there are bed bugs in their home, Pettit said.
People are transient, going to movie theaters, hotels and other public places. It ‘s no surprise the bed bug complaints are on the rise, Pettit said.
He advised people to get rid of clutter, and try to keep a clean house, regularly washing bed sheets and pillow cases.
He urged people not to pick up discarded furniture by the curb. That furniture might be infested.
“This is an issue people need to be aware of,” Pettit said. “Anybody can get them.”
The New York State Department of Health issued these recommendations to avoid bringing bed bugs into your home:
• When staying in a hotel, place your bag on a suitcase stand rather than on the bed or floor. Keep the rack away from walls or furniture. When returning home, wash the clothes from your trip and put them in a hot dryer.
• Inspect new and used furniture before bringing it inside. Look in seams, tufts and under cushions.
If you have bed bugs, the Health Department recommends these actions:
• Clean and get rid of clutter, especially in your bedroom.
• Move your bed away from walls or furniture.
• Vacuum molding, windows and floors every day. Vacuum sides and seams of mattresses, box springs and furniture. Empty the vacuum or the bag immediately and dispose of outside in a sealed container or bag.
• Wash sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bed skirts and put them in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes. Consider using mattress and box spring covers –the kind used for dust mite control–and put duct tape over the zippers.
• Seal cracks and crevices and any openings where pipes or wires come into the home.