Health Department Sees Big Increase In Reports Of Bed Bugs In Oklahoma

Monday, September 24th 2012, 6:06 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Bed bugs are back.

The Oklahoma County Health Department says they are seeing a big increase in reports of the pests in recent weeks.

"What they do is they bite you and they leave like little bumps on you," said Velma Dale, who says she has had an issue in her apartment ever since she moved in.

She's legally blind so she can't usually see the tiny creatures. But she is covered in bites.

"Ate my arms up, I got scars from where I tear them up from eating me."

Many of her neighbors have the same.

"They have these ones that are infected, my legs are infected," one of them told us as she pointed out bites on her arms and legs.

The health department can't comment on specifically on the Country Club Apartments, but say what's happening here is becoming much more common.

"The number of complaints I've seen from bedbugs in apartments and hotels/motels has increased in the last few weeks," said Wait Colbaugh, a Public Health Specialist with the Oklahoma City/County Health Department.

The biggest jump according to the Health Department has been in complaints in apartments. Up from a low of eight in February to a high of 31 so far in September.

Colbaugh, who goes out on the inspections, says treating one unit rarely takes care of the problem.

"Because bed bugs can travel so quickly, if you treat one unit it's not to say they haven't already moved into the units next door,"Colbaugh said.

Which is likely why Velma, who has tried to take matters into her own hands, continues to have an issue.

"I've had to throw my beds away, my mattress, my box springs," she told us. "There's a couch sitting out there right now that's ate up with bed bugs."

News 9 spoke with the manager of the Country Club Apartments who said they are not ignoring the situation, and have treated the entire complex within the past six months. But they also have problems with tenants cooperating.

Colbaugh recommends you check for bed bugs by looking at bedspreads, stripping sheets off, looking for blood spots. He recommends that especially every time you stay at a hotel.

Learn more about Bed Bugs on the health department's website