Bed bug complaints on the rise in Vigo County

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In 2018, staff with the Vigo County Health Department say they received 37 complaints about bed bugs. That’s compared to only 21 the previous year. This is a statistic that has some local residents concerned.

“Recently I just bought an apartment with my fiance. So that made me second guess which apartment I got,” said Ryan O’Donahue, Vigo County resident.

With around a 75 percent increase of bed bug complaints, Roni Elder, the Vigo County health educator, says it’s important to know what these bugs can and cannot do.

“The bugs don’t carry any diseases and when they bite you, that’s all it is is a bite. It might irritate your skin depending on your skin levels,” Elder said.

Due to the bugs not carrying diseases, the health department is not repsonsible for treating bed bugs but elder says that the insects are capable of popping up just about anywhere.

“They’re at five star hotels, they’re at motels. You can get them anywhere. It doesn’t mean your house isn’t clean or you’ve been to a dirty place. There’s just a lot of them,” Elder said.

For residents like Ryan O’Donahue, he says seeing an increased risk for bed bugs may cause him to be extra cautious moving forward.

“Probably go online and research how to check for bed bugs. I’ll probably also research like the places I go out and see if they’ve been hit or something,” O’Donahue said.

Elder says if you do suspect that you have bed bugs. You are encouraged to immediately contact an exterminator.

The numbers in the health report only reflect calls made directly to the Vigo County Health Department, and not to independent exterminators.

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