HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Houston ranks high on the list of cities with the worst bed bug infestations, according to a new study from Orvis Pest Control.
Local entomologist Steve Durham attributes the high-ranking to frequent travel among Houstonians.
"We find bed bugs a lot in more affluent neighborhoods and populations because those are the people that are doing the traveling," Durham said. "Those are the people that come into contact with bed bugs overseas or on an airplane or in a movie theater, and certainly in the hotels that they go stay in when they travel."
Durham said the general public may be surprised at how often they encounter bed bugs.
"There is not going to be a hotel probably in the state, or an apartment complex that has not experienced bed bugs," he said.
Hotel guests share their experiences on the website bedbugreports.com. One user wrote, "I was itching all night. The next day I had bites and red marks on my back and arms."
Another user said, "There were at least 30 to 40 bites all over his body."
Durham's company, EnviroCon, receives about 30 calls per day from people with bed bug infestations. Durham said that number increased by 60 percent in one year.
The human parasites hide out in everything from mattress linings to wall sockets until it is time for their nightly meal. The best way to get rid of them is high heat.
"So when we do a heat treatment, we're taking a house up to about 140 degrees and we're holding that temperature for four to five hours," Durham said. "So that allows everything to get hot and therefore kills the bed bugs."
Customers can expect to spend anywhere from $600 to $2,000 on a professional bed bug treatment.
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