SPOKANE -- A Spokane pest control expert is bracing for a busy season. He said the late spring seems to be bringing out many bugs and critters out at the same time. But one that has not gone away is the bed bug.
Pest control expert Raymond Vanderlouw said bed bugs are a fairly recent phenomenon in the Spokane area. In the last four years, he is getting more frequent calls to get rid of them.
"In the last six months, I've had the opportunity to treat hotels, apartment complexes, and single family homes. Those range from Coeur d'Alene all the way to Spokane," said Vanderlouw.
Vanderlouw runs Environ-Pro Pest Solution Professionals. KREM 2 News first tagged along with him on a job last November. He battled a bed bug infestation at an apartment building in Spokane.
Vanderlouw said he is busy this time of year exterminating other pests. But he consistently gets up to three jobs a month for bed bugs. Another pest control company in Western Washington said it has seen a 155% increase in calls received for bed bugs in the last couple of years. Experts said travel is a huge factor for the rapid spread of the bus in the Western United States.
"We have a lot of major events in this area. And when people come in, they stay in the hotels. That's one way that they've gone in. School graduations are another huge one," said Vanderlouw.
Vanderlouw and Erik Hodson with Whitworth Pest Solutions out of Puyallup, Washington recommends ways to protect yourself while traveling.
"80% of the time when I've dealt with bed bugs in a hotel room, they are in the headboard behind the bed. All of those come off. So if you have somebody on one side and somebody on the other side, lift those headboards off and inspect in those areas," said Hodson.
Other suggestions include refraining from putting your luggage on the hotel room floor. Instead, put it in the bathtub so the bed bugs won't be able to crawl inside your luggage. Also, do not put your clothes in the hotel drawer.
Vanderlouw calls bed bugs good hitchhikers. If the bugs can make it into your luggage, they can make it into your home.