Bedbug problem gets another look

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Experts will offer solutions at 2nd public workshop

By Lisa King

Officials expect a large turnout for a bedbug workshop set for Thursday at Stratton Center in Shelbyville. In fact, the session will probably be crawling with people, they say.

“We have had an overwhelming response from landlords, citizens, charitable organizations and emergency first responders regarding the bedbug workshop,” Shelbyville Code Enforcement Officer Darrell Willard said.

He said he has sent out 300 flyers around town to let people know about the upcoming workshop, the second to be held on the topic.

He said he expects everyone from residents and landlords to city and county officials, to health department and University of Kentucky entomologists to exterminators to attend.

“We will have people there from the department of agriculture, and we’ll have three pesticide companies there doing slideshows. One of them is even going to bring their bedbug-sniffing dogs,” he said.

The first bedbug workshop was held last fall by a charitable organization called A Place to Sleep, but Thursday’s event is being organized by Shelbyville Code Enforcement.

Willard said code enforcement has gone to great lengths to organize this second community workshop and to include as many experts as possible because of the extent of the growing bedbug problem in Shelby County, he said.

“It is a problem that is not going away, and we want to do want everything we can to get it under control,” he said.

Bedbugs are small insects that live on the underside of mattresses and in bed frames and headboards and come out at night to feed by inserting their elongated beaks through people’s skin to suck their blood.

“You won’t see them in the daytime,” Willard said. “If you do, that means you have an extreme infestation.”

Willard said that one reason the bedbug problem is lingering is because the pests are extremely hard to eradicate. They quickly can become immune to most over-the-counter chemicals.

“You can’t get rid of them with bombs,” he said. “That only drives them into the walls, where they can lay dormant for months. You have to use a professional exterminator.”

Willard said he hopes for a large turnout because the key to getting Shelby’s bedbug problem under control is educating the public.

“There are many ways that people can make their homes less likely to get bedbugs, such as not picking up mattresses off the street and keeping their homes neat. We see bedbugs a lot in hoarding situations; bedbugs love clutter. So we want people to come, and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” he said.

Bedbug workshop

WHAT:Professionals advise how to identify and eradicate bedbugs

WHEN:6 p.m., Thursday

WHERE:Stratton Center, 215 Washington Street in Shelbyville.