If you've traveled recently or even stayed overnight with a friend or relative, you're at an increased risk for bed bugs. In fact, Austin is one of the top cities in the country with a bed bug problem. It ranks in the top 15, nationally, along with Dallas and Houston.
Local pest control experts tell us it doesn't matter who you are, how clean your house is or what type of neighborhood you live in; you can get bed bugs. Add to that just living in Austin puts you and your family at a greater risk.
"Austin is up there with the big boys like New York, San Francisco and L.A. when it comes to bed bug issues," said Sarah McElwee, with Pest Management, Inc.
McElwee and her crew have been working overtime ridding homes and businesses of bed bugs across Austin and the state of Texas.
"Say that we did 10 inspections a day, Probably 6 out of those 10 do have bed bugs," she said.
The problem is bed bugs travel well and most people don't realize they have them until two months after contamination. You can pick them up easily in hotels, apartments, airplanes, hospitals, or anywhere people frequently come and go.
Pest Management, Inc. offers a special heat treatment to kill bed bugs. It costs approximately $1 per square foot. The cheaper rout is to prevent bed bugs.
If you travel, don't bring your luggage into your home. Instead McElwee advises that you immediately take it to your garage, put clothes in the washer and seal your suitcase with a plastic bag for several days.