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Baltimore 13th Most Bedbug Plagued U.S. City

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It appears the wave of bedbugs has hit Baltimore hard.

As Mike Schuh reports, a new survey shows we're now one of the worst cities in the country.

They sleep with you at night, bite you and crawl back into the dark to wait for another time to feed.

Bedbugs--tiny vampires--have exploded across America. And now, a major exterminator says Baltimore has become the 13th most bedbug-plagued city in the country.

Mike O'Leary, of Baltimore City Health Department, helps to get rid of them.

"I think it's something people get worked up about," O'Leary said. "It starts with one or two bugs. But if you catch it early, there are no problems."

Some people invited bedbugs into their homes by buying second-hand furniture that hasn't been checked for bugs, and health officials say never ever bring furniture found on street corners into your home.

If you see the signs or bites, don't wait.

The city recommends, if you have the money, call a professional exterminator.

If not, they have what you need to know in a free booklet. And its website includes these tips:

  • remove clutter. That's where they hide
  • wash and dry bed clothes and infested fabrics on "hot"
  • vacuum the mattress and box spring and all around the bed
  • throw away infested items
  • put a mattress cover on both parts of the bed

One thing you should not do: Do not use a bug bomb or fogger.

"These things repel the bugs deeper into the mattress, deeper into the cushions," said O' Leary. "They can wait an awful long time."

Are we among the worst? O' Leary isn't so sure. This time last month, his office got 38 calls. This month, he's gotten 38 calls.

"We're seeing the calls being more spread out around the city, but other than that, the calls are about the same," O'Leary said.

Experts stress there is no quick fix. Bedbugs are only removed after weeks and sometimes months of eradication efforts.

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