Bed bugs have found their way into Sioux Falls city hall, but it's not what you may think. The health department used the live bugs as props Thursday to show the public what to look for in case they're crawling around your home.
There have been more reported cases of bed bugs in Sioux Falls. So experts gathered at City Hall to offer some ideas on controlling bed bugs so both homeowners and renters can rest easy.
Some think we're seeing more bed bugs this year because the blood-sucking insects may be building up resistance to some of the pesticides that are supposed to kill them.
Bed bugs like to congregate around areas where they have easy access to unsuspecting people, like a bed or other pieces of furniture. But if they don't come to you, a pair of tweezers can bring you to them.
A batch of bed bugs, tucked inside two separate vials, were the star attractions at the city hall panel.
"It always is helpful to have them actually in front of you where you can see how big they are and what they look like," Sioux Falls Health Department Representative Denise Patton said.
She puts up the bed bugs at her home.
"I don't know that my office wants to keep them there, so I'll just keep them at my home," Patton said.
The bed bugs probably don't like the bright lights of our TV camera since they prefer the night life.
"The biggest thing is they're active when we are most susceptible, when we're sleeping," Patton said.
Now we're going to get the skin-crawling factor going by actually putting a real-live bed bug on my arm. It's not very big, as it crawls around. And I'm told, that their bite doesn't hurt. Let's hope I don't have to find out.
"Everybody has a different response to bites of all kinds, mosquitoes, gnats, spiders," Patton said.
Apparently, he's kind of happy where he is right now and he's bitten me, I could feel a slight little feeling of pressure. But if he's happy, I'm not all that happy.
Fortunately, bed bugs don't spread disease. But having one crawl up your arm is just unsettling enough to invite an outbreak of the creepy crawlies.
"I think our mind can play more games with us than the actual physical harm that might come from them," Patton said.
One way to make your home less inviting to bed bugs is by removing clutter. Cleanliness is important, too. Vacuuming can get rid of any bed bugs that might be in the carpet. And the heat from washing machines and dryers can kill any that end up on your clothes.
For more information visit the South Dakota Department of Health page on Bed Bugs.