RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Bedbugs got the upper hand in two Virginia cities that are high on a new list of top-50 bedbug cities.
Richmond and Petersburg are now 10th on Orkin's Top 50 Bedbug Cities list — up from 16th last year.
12 On Your Side talked with an expert about how it happened and how to stop the blood-sucking parasites. One local exterminator believes the sure way to stop bedbugs is to educate people about them.
Bedbugs are clever hitchhikers and difficult to detect, if you haven't encountered them before.
"We've seen over each year, probably about a 25-perent increase in production as far as bedbug activity," said PermaTreat Regional Manager Nick Castaldo.
He agrees with Orkin's new survey, which sites a strong correlation between travel and increased bedbug activity.
"We're so educated about mosquitoes. We're educated about roaches, educated about ants and fleas. We haven't had the need to educate about bedbugs because they haven't been a problem here for so long."
Their resurgence began about six years ago. The survey notes several cities on the list have busy airports facilitating.
Rapid travel over greater distances on a local and global level. The blood suckers are on the move by any means available.
So, when traveling inspect your hotel before unpacking.
"It's not where you need to go in there and turn these hotels upside down. Just need to be educated in what to look for.
"Signs you're looking for are fecal matter. Little black dots. You're going to look around the mattress. The number-one area to look. Look around the headboard, look around the base board. Look for any kind of fecal matter, bedbugs, egg casings."
Elevate your luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall. Bedbugs often hid behind pictures and electrical outlets.
"Then when you come home, do another inspection. Make sure everything is okay — throw everything in the washer and dryer."