Just the mention of them elicits an "ew" factor: bed bugs.
The parasitic insects, once thought to be erriadicted in the U.S., made a resurgence in recent years, irritating travelers and infesting homes.
While reports of bed bugs have waned, two recent outbreaks of bed bugs in Northern California this month indicate the pest remains a problem for many.
A recent news report of bed bugs at the Starbucks in Campbell at 1686 S. Bascom Ave. grossed people out. According to the NBC Bay Area report, the bugs were found in between the cushions of the sofa chairs at the coffee shop.
Earlier this month, a low-income senior housing project in Stockton was overrun with bed bugs, according to the CBS station in Sacramento.
The small parasites are round, flat and travel by crawling or being carried place to place.
According to Bedbugregistry.com, there have been 1,525 reports of bed bugs in California, including in Petaluma, Santa Rosa and Napa.
In a national survey of pest management professionals conducted earlier this year, seven of 10 bed bug infestations are increasing, down from nine out of 10 who reported the same in 2011, according to PestWorld.com, which published the survey results.
To prevent an unwanted encounter with bed bugs this summer, Terminix Service, Inc. shares the following prevention tips for travelers:
- At hotels, thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in furniture. Pull back the bed sheets and check the mattress seams and box springs for pepper-like stains that may be evidence of bed bug activity.
- If you suspect an infestation or problem, notify management and change rooms immediately. Be sure the new room is not adjacent to or directly below or above the possibly infested room.
- Keep suitcases in plastic trash bags or protective covers during a hotel stay to prevent bed bugs from nesting there. Do not put them on the beds.
- Upon returning home from a trip, inspect all suitcases and other belongings before bringing them into the house.
- Wash all clothes—even those that have not been worn - in hot water and dry them using an extra-hot dryer setting
Have you been bitten by a bed bug? Where was the infestation and how did you clean it up? Tell us in the comment section below.