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Beware Bedbugs: How To Keep Them Out

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bed bugscbs Beware Bedbugs: How To Keep Them Out

Rising epidemic in bed bugs. (CBS)

More and more people are waking up to find tiny bites on them. The problem could be — bedbugs.

They’re out and feeding in a frenzy right now, and could be scurrying away in your town. It’s being called a nationwide epidemic, says “Early Show” Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen. The little critters are being found everywhere from our homes to fancy hotels, and it has nothing to do with cleanliness, she says.

In Seattle, exterminators are reporting a 70 percent increase in bedbug-related calls in the last two years. In Fort Worth, Texas, bed bugs caused 200 people to move out of their apartment complex. In New York City, three major retails had to temporarily shut their doors after a recent outbreak of the tiny blood-suckers.

Louis Sorkin, entomologist and bed bug expert, says they’re great hitchhikers. They sneak around by hanging onto our clothes and inside our suitcases. They’re super-resilient and can live just about anywhere and go up to a year without having to feed.

One reason the bedbugs are getting away with this is because most people don’t know how to look for them.

But now, there are dogs specially trained to sniff out these pests, which are no bigger than an appleseed. People normally can’t see bedbugs. CBS News went along as one company offering such services, New York/New Jersey-based Bell Environmental Services, used dogs to search for bedbugs.

And, once you find you have an infestation problem, getting rid of it won’t be easy — or cheap. A carbon dioxide spray treatment, which freezes the bed bugs to kill them off, can cost you hundreds of dollars.

So here’s what you can look for: Usually, the first sign of bed bugs is small red and brown spots on your sheets.

If you think you may have a problem, check your mattress. They can hide in mattress seams and behind your headboard.

They can live anywhere in your home, but most prefer to hang out in the bedroom.

When you stay at a hotel, be sure to pull back the sheets and check out the bed, mattress, and headboard just like you would in your own home. And just to be 100 percent safe, it is a good idea to check your luggage and clothes before you unpack when you’re home from vacation.

© MMX, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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