They're very good travelers, but not the kind of company you want to bring back from Thanksgiving vacation. Bed bugs are an increasing problem this time of year, in part because of all of the traveling people do. Our Candace Hopkins talked with experts about the problem and has more.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Experts say bed bug infestations soar during the holidays and this year, they're warning landlords against trying to fight the problem themselves.
While bed bugs are a consistent problem, this time of year, their infestations are known to increase.
"You could go from hotel to someone's house and actually bring them with you. You could go visit Aunt Flo and Aunt Flo could have bed bugs and you bring them home with you. So anything’s a possibility with these guys. They are notorious hitch hikers,” Craig Staats of Ehrlich Pest Control said.
Once you have bed bugs, getting rid of them can be expensive. Most exterminators charge at least a thousand dollars per treatment. That's why some landlords are taking on the pests themselves, a potentially dangerous and illegal move in New York State.
"Pesticides are very, very dangerous to your health and to the environment. The bed bugs themselves are not the most serious health hazard, they do not carry disease like mosquitoes do, however, the pesticides could kill a person," Sharon Sherman, Greater Syracuse Tenants Network Executive Director.
On top of being dangerous, applying pesticides yourself is rarely effective. And the longer the problem goes untreated, the worse it gets.
Staats said, "They're notorious for their breeding habits. They can lay an egg a day, so in their lifetime, they can lay up to 500 eggs. So every day they're laying eggs, then their babies are laying more eggs. So you can actually have a large problem in 45 days blow out of proportion, and infest a whole entire building."
The only safe way to handle bed bugs is getting expert help as soon as you discover a problem and if a landlord ignores an infestation, they could face big fines or even end up in court.