Bed bugs on the rise in the Heartland

Bed bugs can be found anywhere and in any home. (Louis Finley/KTVO)

The Community Action Partnership of Northeast Missouri held an information session on bed bugs Tuesday. Bed bugs can be found anywhere and in any home.

The audience was filled primarily with teachers and social workers who often walk into several homes throughout the course of their day. The agency held the event because they've noticed a growing problem throughout the community.

"People that work in my field, we're going in to a lot of people's homes, a lot of low-income families that may not be educated about bed bugs, that may not have the money to get them treated," said Salvation Army Case Manager Leslie Lawson.

Pest Specialist Dave Hirner leads these informational sessions in Missouri, Iowa and Illinois.

"When they leave this class, I want them to understand what bed bugs look like. I want them to understand what signs of an infestation look like," Hirner said.

Though the bugs are indiscriminate, going into homes no matter what economic status or cleanliness level a home is, extermination is costly. Hirner said this is why identification and teaching others about the bug's identification is important.

"We're looking for the insects themselves, we're looking for shed skin, we're also looking for eggs. The eggs are about a millimeter in length, they're little bitty white things and they're usually deepest into the structure of those mattresses and box springs and things like that," Hirner said.

Hirner said compared to big cities, the amount of cases are low, but they are on the rise across the Heartland.

To be sure bed bugs are not in your home, call an exterminator right away. Most give a free evaluation.

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