ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials and exterminators say they have seen an upward trend of bed bugs in the state, particularly in rural areas.
Karin Hendrickson, pesticide control program manager with the state’s Department of Environmental Conversation, told KTUU that her office has been responding to an increased number of bed bug reports.
“People from all walks of life are struggling with them,” she said. “We get multiple calls a day.”
State epidemiology officials attribute the increase in Alaska to travel, immigration and bed bugs becoming resistant to insecticides.
Larry Jones, operations and technical director for Anchorage-based American Pest Management, said his company has also seen a jump in the number of bed bug calls.
“Twelve years ago we were doing one or two bed bug jobs every month or so. Now I have seven techs working seven days a week in Anchorage alone,” Jones said. “In Fairbanks, I have three techs and they’re working six days a day, and they’re booked solid.”
Jones said he has started offering a “neighborhood discount pricing” program for residents of Alaska’s villages. He would usually charge $2,000 plus airfare per family or single customer.
But because of the growing problem, he is allowing multiple families that want to get their homes extinguished together a flat rate of the same price.
While people can call someone out to exterminate their bed bug problem, Hendrickson said people can take steps to prevent the problem on their own.
She recommends inspecting beds and sofas regularly, washing sheets and other bedding and using bed bug-resistant mattress encasements.