Expert: Bed bugs in Houston likely to stay
HOUSTON The pests are spreading throughout the city and some may already be in bed with you. When bed bugs managed to find their way into a suburban Houston home, the exterminator turned to a natural source to get rid of the pests. And he passed along a few tips to help avoid an infestation. In that home, they were found in a pair of bedrooms about a month ago. The homeowner recently bought a new couch and installed new carpet and had guests spend the night, so there's really no way of telling how the bugs got there. But there is a way to get rid of them. "We're coming in with heat, and essentially what we are doing with these heaters is driving the temperatures up inside this house to around 135 degrees," said Raleigh Jenkins with ABC Residential and Commercial Services. Jenkins says heat is the only certain way to get rid of the bugs once they have made it to your home. Jenkins has unwelcome opinions about the future fight against bed bugs in the Bayou City. "I really think this is our future. We are going to have to deal with the fact that bed bugs are going to be a part of our lives," he said. Jenkins says keeping the bed bugs at bay will have to become a top priority, especially for travelers. He recommends keeping your luggage off the floor of hotel rooms and once you get home put your clothes in a plastic bag and leave them in the sun or wash them in hot water immediately. You can also buy covers for your mattress and box springs. "If there are bed bugs inside, it keeps them in, and if they are on the outside, they can't get in," Jenkins said. Steve Martin is overseeing the extermination effort at the Houston home. He says he's getting more and more calls about bed bugs, and now false alarms are coming in too. "There is a little paranoia in Houston about bed bugs. People moving into apartments want to make sure they are clear of them," Martin said. The heat kills without the need for a lot of chemicals. Some spraying does happen, but the 135 degree heat for a full hour is enough to kill the bugs in your home. The process costs about $2,000 depending on the size of the home. Hopefully you won't get them at all.