Bed bugs have been invading metro areas across the country and this region isn't immune.
On the Peninsula, hotel chains, private residences and at least one apartment building have had recent reports of the pests which are about the size of an apple seed.
Cities like Cincinnati, Chicago and New York City have had significant bedbug problems. Local health districts are receiving phone calls from travelers who have spotted bedbugs in hotels and motels. But the numbers in Hampton Roads don't compare to what's being seen in larger metropolitan areas.
The Peninsula Health District received 32 complaints this year from travelers staying in hotels and motels. District officials only confirmed six of those complaints. The health district oversees Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, James City County and York County.
Dave Jordan, environmental health manager for the district, said bedbugs fall into the nuisance bug category and hoteliers are required to do something about them.
"Often times we go out on a bedbug complaint and we are unable to verify," Jordan said.
The Hampton Health District reported 13 complaints this year.
John Schellenberg, Hampton's environmental health manager, said eight of those complaints were justified as a bedbug problem.
"We've had more complaints than last year," he said.
A standard inspection involves checking the reported room along with others surrounding it. The inspectors also look out for spots that can be mistaken for mold.
On bedding and other surfaces, they leave a telltale trail of tiny blood droplets from their feces.
They don't cause health problems, but a bite can leave you itching, health officials said, and you'll need to take steps to protect yourself from them.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology's website, bites of three are common with the marks frequently referred to as "breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
Why so many bedbugs?
Experts credit the recent outbreaks to global travel. Travelers coming to and from countries with fewer pesticide standards are at risk of transporting the bugs.
"The frequent visits to hotels and motels are increasing the bedbug population," said Cory Newell, account manager for Commonwealth Exterminating Co.
The ban on the pesticide DDT is also a possible reason for infestations. When this product was taken off of the market, exterminators had to find alternative solutions for fighting off bugs.
In recent years, the pesticide industry has become greener, but not all of the solutions are as strong, Newell said.
Checking for bedbugs
Don't let the bedbugs bite
Bedbugs are creeping onto to Peninsula, 45 complaints were reported to local health districts
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