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Michigan Group Develops Bed Bug Resources for Communities and Citizens

Contact: James McCurtis (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

July 15, 2010

LANSING - In response to public anxiety and increasing reports of bed bug infestations in Michigan's metropolitan areas, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has developed a Web site and a comprehensive manual aimed at educating renters, homeowners, facility managers, and other government agencies about the best practices for bed bug prevention and control.

The manual and Web site are the products of a statewide working group comprised of government agencies and private industry to address the resurgence of bedbugs in Michigan. The group included representatives from the state departments of Community Health, Agriculture, Labor and Economic Growth, as well as the Property Managers Association of Michigan, the Michigan Pest Management Association, and Michigan's Lodging and Tourism Association.

"The resurgence of bed bugs is a serious public health and economic concern in the state," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. "It's important for citizens to understand that through education, early reporting, and cooperation, the infestations can be controlled more effectively. We're proud to have brought together such a wide group of agencies, both public and private, to help educate Michigan residents about preventing the spread of this pest."

Bed bugs are small, brownish insects that are visible to the naked eye. The insects will hide in tight cracks and crevices on or near people's beds, and come out at night to bite. They are spread in people's belongings through distribution of used furniture and mattresses, domestic and international travel, and visiting homes or businesses with infestations. Other means of spread recently highlighted nationwide have been the closing of retail establishments due to bed bugs, and schools identifying bed bugs brought in by students.

Bed bugs do not transmit any diseases, and most people have mild allergic reactions resulting in small, itchy welts. Some people may have more serious reactions that require medical attention, and bites may lead to scarring. The anxiety and psychological distress caused by living with bed bugs can have a serious impact on people's overall health and productivity, and the economic impact of lost work, furniture treatment or replacement, and home eradication can be significant.

Michigan residents are encouraged to:

- Educate themselves about bed bugs by visiting www.michigan.gov/bedbugs;

- Renters are encouraged to report signs of bedbugs to landlords or property managers promptly and cooperate with inspection and treatment procedures - early detection and treatment of the residence will relieve bites and anxiety;

- Not to be embarrassed; bed bugs are not a sign of a dirty home, they travel in belongings and will infest ANY place where people sleep;

- Not to use "Bug Bombs" or foggers to treat bed bugs, they're not effective against bed bugs and may be more dangerous than the bugs themselves;

- Inspect bedding and the areas around the bed when traveling, and inspect luggage before returning home; and

- Carefully inspect used furniture and clothing items before bringing them into the home.

For more information including informational pamphlets, guidance documents, and links to the list of state licensed pest management professionals, see Michigan's website at www.michigan.gov/bedbugs.

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