Pesky Bed Bugs Still at Large

September 27, 2013 Updated Jul 26, 2011 at 3:11 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Pesky Bed Bugs Still at Large

September 27, 2013 Updated Jul 26, 2011 at 3:11 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- After a long, hard day of work there's nothing more welcoming than falling into your own bed.

But what if you're not alone?

If you've gone on vacation, or are planning a trip soon, beware that bed bugs could travel home with you. Infestation is expected to rise during the summer months from coast to coast.

These pesky little critters are not only latching onto your beds, but to your wallets as well. Some self-proclaimed bed bug eradicators are coming into homes with the intention to take only your money and not actually rid you of your critter problem.

The Better Business Bureau is advising consumers on ways to ultimately prevent bed bug infestations from stepping “foot” in your home.

In just this year alone, BBB has received hundreds of complaints against pest control service companies. If bed bugs travel to your home, it can cost up to $1,200 to exterminate them professionally. Bed bug extermination revenue is skyrocketing; now well over $300 million according to National Pest Management Association, and leading to reports of bed bug extermination scams.

“While it may be easier said than done, it’s important for consumers to know how to prevent a pest problem,” said David Polino, Better Business Bureau President. “If professional help is needed, research the company thoroughly before you hire them and be sure to check them out with the BBB.”

Bed bug bites are not known for spreading disease, but they are expert hitchhikers. They latch onto luggage, bedding, furniture, and clothing. Whether it's for business or pleasure, BBB urges summer travelers to be proactive when it comes to preventing bed bugs from entering your home and offers the following tips to prevent these creepy crawlers from becoming an unwanted souvenir from a summer trip.

• Know how to spot a bed bug.

Adult bed bugs are oval, wingless and have a rusty red color. They’re visible to the naked eye, but often hide in cracks and crevices. When you change bedding, or travel, look for signs that they may present. Little dots on your bedding could mean its time to call an exterminator.

• Be Responsible When Traveling.

Use luggage racks to hold your suitcases when packing and unpacking rather than setting your luggage on the bed or floor. When staying in a hotel, make sure you check the mattress and headboard before getting into bed. Keep the critters from infesting your home by unpacking directly into a washing machine. Wash all items showing bed bug stains, and dry on the highest setting for at least 20 minutes. The heat from the dryer kills the bugs. Before relaxing, inspect and then vacuum your luggage. Empty the vacuum or seal and dispose of its bag outside of your home after each use.

• Be an Inspector.

If you recently purchased furniture from a garage sale, secondhand store or flea market, inspect your item thoroughly for bed bugs before bringing it into your home.

• Take Away Hiding Places.

Bed bugs like to hide. Check for cracks in plaster, loose wallpaper and loose light switch covers. Always make sure you apply caulk to seal crevices, joints in baseboards and gaps on shelves or cabinets. Only enclose mattresses and box springs in covers labeled “allergen rated,” “for dust mites,” or “for bed bugs.” And check for rips and openings periodically.

• Seek Professional Help.

Research hundreds of local exterminators through the BBB at bbb.org. Ask questions and make sure they have experience with riding bed bugs.