Bed Bug Alert! These 3 West Virginia Cities Are Ranked Worst in America

Bed bugs are small, blood-sucking insects that can infest homes, hotels, and other places where people sleep. They are not known to transmit diseases, but they can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, and psychological distress to their victims. Bed bugs are also notoriously hard to get rid of, as they can hide in cracks and crevices, survive for months without feeding, and develop resistance to pesticides.

According to a recent study by PureCare, a company that sells bed bug-proof bedding products, West Virginia is the second most likely state in the US to have a bed bug problem. The study used Google Trends data to analyze the frequency of searches related to bed bugs, such as “bed bug bites”, “how to kill bed bugs”, and “bed bug symptoms”. Based on this data, the study assigned a Bed Bug Search Score to each state, with higher scores indicating more interest or concern about bed bugs.

The study found that Oklahoma had the highest Bed Bug Search Score, with 99.1 out of 100, followed by West Virginia, with 91.2. The other states in the top five were Kansas, Kentucky, and Indiana. The states with the lowest scores were Oregon, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington.

The study also identified the cities with the highest and lowest Bed Bug Search Scores within each state. In West Virginia, the most infested cities were Charleston, Huntington, and Morgantown, while the least infested were Wheeling, Parkersburg, and Beckley.

Why is West Virginia so prone to bed bugs?

There are several factors that may contribute to the high prevalence of bed bugs in West Virginia, such as:

Climate: Bed bugs thrive in warm and humid environments, which are common in West Virginia, especially in the summer months.

Travel: West Virginia is a popular tourist destination, with attractions such as the Appalachian Mountains, the New River Gorge, and the Greenbrier Resort. Travelers may unknowingly bring bed bugs with them from other infested areas, or pick them up from hotels, motels, or other lodging facilities.

Poverty: West Virginia has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation, with 16% of its population living below the federal poverty line in 2020. Poverty may limit the access to effective pest control services, as well as the ability to replace infested furniture, bedding, or clothing.

Awareness: West Virginia may have a low level of awareness or education about bed bugs, their signs, and their prevention. According to the West Virginia University Extension Service, bed bugs are often mistaken for other insects, such as fleas, ticks, or lice, or their bites are confused with rashes, hives, or infections. Many people may not realize they have a bed bug problem until it becomes severe.

How to prevent and treat bed bug infestations?

The best way to prevent bed bug infestations is to avoid bringing them home in the first place. Some tips to do this are:

Inspect your luggage, clothing, and personal items for any signs of bed bugs before and after traveling. Use a flashlight and a magnifying glass to look for live bugs, eggs, shells, fecal spots, or blood stains. If you find any, seal them in a plastic bag and dispose of them properly.

Check the mattress, box spring, headboard, and furniture for any signs of bed bugs in any hotel, motel, or other lodging facility you stay in. If you find any, notify the management and request a different room or a refund.

Wash and dry your clothing and bedding on the highest heat setting possible after traveling or staying in a potentially infested place. Heat kills bed bugs and their eggs.

Use bed bug-proof covers or encasements for your mattress, box spring, and pillows. These prevent bed bugs from hiding or feeding on them.

Vacuum your floors, carpets, furniture, and other surfaces regularly and dispose of the vacuum bag or contents in a sealed plastic bag.

Reduce clutter and seal any cracks or crevices in your walls, floors, or furniture that may provide hiding places for bed bugs.

If you suspect or confirm that you have a bed bug infestation, you should act quickly to eliminate them. Some steps to do this are:

Contact a licensed pest control professional who has experience and expertise in dealing with bed bugs. Do not attempt to use over-the-counter pesticides, foggers, or bombs, as they may be ineffective, harmful, or even illegal. Follow the instructions and recommendations of the pest control professional carefully and cooperate with them throughout the treatment process.

Wash and dry all your clothing, bedding, curtains, and other washable items on the highest heat setting possible. Store them in sealed plastic bags until the infestation is gone.

Dispose of any infested items that cannot be washed, dried, or treated, such as mattresses, box springs, furniture, or rugs. Wrap them in plastic and label them as “bed bug infested” before throwing them away.

Steam clean or heat treat any items that cannot be washed or dried, such as shoes, books, toys, or electronics. You can use a commercial steamer or a portable heat chamber to do this, or hire a professional service.

Monitor the infestation by using sticky traps, interceptors, or other devices that can capture or detect bed bugs. Check them regularly and report any findings to the pest control professional.

Conclusion

Bed bugs are a serious and growing problem in West Virginia, as well as in many other states and countries. They can cause physical and psychological discomfort, as well as economic and social costs, to their victims. However, they can be prevented and treated with proper knowledge, vigilance, and professional help. By following the tips and advice in this article, you can protect yourself and your family from these pesky pests.

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