Bed bugs a growing problem in Upstate, say exterminators

Credit: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

A warning during this busy travel season, it may not just be delays and bad weather that could spoil your vacation.

Exterminators say the bed bug problem is quick to spread this time of year.

Bed bugs had all but disappeared from the 1950s to the 1990s. But since then, bug experts, say the pests have made a huge resurgence, and Upstate exterminators say they are rampant in this area.

The blood sucking pests may only be a quarter of an inch, but in Spartanburg alone, they’ve had the power to vacate apartments units and take down motels.

Fighting off bed bugs is serious work for Raksha Patel, owner of Royal Inn and Suites in Boiling Springs.

She has spent tens of thousands of dollars on mattress pads, mattresses, and cover springs to keep out unwanted guests. But it doesn’t stop there.

“And also we’ve changed the carpet, we’ve removed all the headboards in the rooms, and that protects from every bed bug situation we used to have before. We don’t have an issue, but just to keep our customers happy we’ve done all this,” says Patel.

Affordable Pest Control owner Israel Robinson, who has been an exterminator in the Carolinas for 30 years, has noticed that the times have changed. He says back when he started, parents who said, “don’t let the bed bugs bite” were never concerned they actually would.

“It’s a growing problem, according to a North Carolina State entomologist, he stated that it has not peaked yet, because of the ability of them to adapt,” Robinson says.

Robinson uses a combination of methods, but there’s one treatment he says is the most effective.

“Heat eradicates bed bugs,” Robinson says.

He says that the bug dies at 120 degrees and the eggs die at 123 degrees.

To avoid bed bugs, anytime you visit a hotel, pull back the sheets and check the seams and corners of the mattress right near the pillow area. You’re looking for black spots, the bugs themselves, or yellowish skins that they shed.

Robinson also recommends checking headboards, alarm clocks and dressers near the bed.

To keep their facility clean, Royal Inn has monthly exterminations, and also sprays after each guests leaves.

And the motel even provides free laundry to new guests.

“We tell them to wash their clothes before they would go in the motel room, so they don’t bring in,” Patel says.

A problem motels like Royal Inn and Suites deals with is that some clients will even falsely claim there are bed bugs to get a bill dismissed.

So if you do encounter any let a hotel know right away, don’t wait until the morning after, and take pictures with your cell phone for evidence.

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