06:49am Wednesday 20 November 2019

Got bedbugs?

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL  —They’re creepy and crawly and they’re increasingly a problem for landlords, tenants and travelers. Bed bugs are back, after a nearly 30-year absence in the United States, and a new University of Minnesota resource center is ready to help.

“Increased travel, changing insecticide use and a lack of public awareness brought back the bed bug,” says Stephen Kells, U of M associate professor of entomology and a nationally known expert on bed bugs. “The bugs feed on the blood of people and certain animals, and they live close to areas where people typically sleep, rest or sit for long periods. They’re most active at night, and some people break out in a rash from the bites, while others see few symptoms beyond a red spot.

Bed bugs are oval, flattened, brown and wingless, about the size of a wood tick,” Kells says. “The thing that makes them so challenging to detect and control is their ability to squeeze into cracks and crevices, where they go largely unnoticed.” By crawling into travelers’ suitcases and clothes, the bugs can easily and quickly spread to other locations from an infested hotel room or residence.

Because the problem is growing so fast, Kells’ team has added phone and email hotlines for people dealing with infestations and will be conducting seminars around the state for landlords, hotel managers and consumers.

The phone lines for the “Let’s Beat the Bug!” initiative are (612) 624-2200; (612) 624-2200; 1-855-644-2200; and 1-855-644-2200.

The email address is bedbugs@umn.edu.

Visit the website at www.bedbugs.umn.edu or check out the team’s accounts to help share information and breaking news about bed bugs:

Twitter: @letsbeatthebug
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Lets-Beat-the-Bug/198307516905154

Contacts: Amelia Shindelar, Department of Entomology, shin0148@umn.edu, (612) 624-9455
Becky Beyers, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, bbeyers@umn.edu, (612) 626-5754
Jeff Falk, University News Service, jfalk@umn.edu, (612) 626-1720

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