Bed bugs beware: the battle has begun

BY ANTHONY LOMBARDI - alombardi@perutribune.com
 
Miami County Environmental Health Specialist Kayla Madden recently told the Peru Tribune that, on average, the health department receives about 10 calls a month from residents asking how to eliminate an infestation.
United Way previously received a $5,773 grant through the Indiana State Association of the United Way, which helped purchase mattress covers, pillow cases and the spray treatment of several homes. 
Wallick said she’s closed nine cases already, and there are still nine cases open. 
“Some of the cases that I have … they’ve picked up the items out of the alley and put them in their home,” Wallick said. “Then, they got bed bugs and transferred it to another person.”
As part of the initiative, the United Way plans to distribute 1,250 fliers around the city in about two weeks that contains information on how to detect, treat and avoid an infestation. 
The flier will also contain tips for preparation before treatment, such as using airtight protective vinyl bags to seal your mattress, box spring and pillows or using a hot water washer and high heat dryer to kill the bugs on clothes and blankets, which could prove useful in eliminating an infestation and making sure the bugs don’t return. 
The fliers will be available at locations such as city common council and doctors’ offices, Dukes Memorial Hospital, the health department, the YMCA, hotels and schools.
A free bed bug workshop is set for 11 a.m. to noon on July 19 at the Riverside Event Center. The event will cover bed bug biology and behavior, as well as available community resources and programs to fight the blood sucking pests. Part of the workshop will include officials listening to landlords, tenants and residents to see how they need help. 
“I’m already getting phone calls from landlords,” Wallick said. “They’re excited that someone is stepping up and identifying that there’s a problem. We’re getting talk in the community that this is a problem, which no one had ever addressed before.” 
“It’s really good to know that the county and the city came on board and know that there is an issue,” Wallick said. “It’s going to be baby steps. It isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight.” 
But if you suspect you have bed bugs and can afford it, call a pest control professional – the nasty critters won’t go away without a fight.