Bed Bugs Infest Western Arkansas

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by Mallory Cooke 5NEWS Reporter; Courtesy of -  6:33 p.m. CDT, October 7, 2011

Thousands of bed bugs invade a Fort Smith home forcing the family spend hundreds of dollars in extermination costs. Experts say bed bugs are a growing problem in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

In white suits sealed with duct tape, exterminators armed with chemicals enter a Fort Smith home Friday morning on a mission. “We feel confident that none are gonna get out,” said Richard Bernard, with Tri-Hill Turf & Pest, “We’re wearing this to prevent any of those little critters from getting on us.”

Thousands of bed bugs crawl on walls, behind picture frames, and in the bedroom. “There’s blood stains right there,” said Danny Hill, with Tri-Hill Turf & Pest.

Crews spray, search, and steam just about everything inside the home. “We’ll probably be here about six or seven hours taking care of all the rooms in the house,” said Hill.

Hill says last year the team treated three homes for bed bugs, but this year they have already had between 35 and 40 homes. “With the increased international travel, these things are spreading,” he said.

The family in Fort Smith picked up bed bugs at a hotel on vacation. “They’ll get in your luggage,” said Hill, “They’ll get in your clothing and that’s how you transport them home.”

Bed bugs come out at night and feed on human blood. “They don’t jump,” said Hill, “They don’t fly, but they do crawl really good. They can travel 15, 20 feet at night.”

To spot a bed bug, get a flash light and check the piping on the bed. “You can actually see these things crawling around,” said Hill, “They don’t like the light so they’ll scurry back into the darkness pretty quickly.”

Killing bed bugs takes time and money. Extermination can cost thousands of dollars.

Tri-Hill Turf & Pest will come back in about two weeks to check for more bed bugs.

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