UPDATE: 9/30 6:15 PM
Its an insect that knows no boundaries and can infest an entire community. Bed bugs are in the Wausau area, and they're spreading. One local family has seen the struggle first hand, and is finally getting some help.
Many of you remember the woman we called, "Rachel". She live in an apartment in North Central Wisconsin that is infested with bed bugs and she struggled with a landlord who won't help fix the problem. But thanks to our NewsChannel 7 story shedding light on the issues, we received a monetary donation from an anonymous viewer, hoping to give "Rachel's" family some much needed help.
The donation was used for an exterminator. A crew from Marathon Pest Control stopped by the house Monday. They applied the first round of treatment to floor boards, electrical outlets, and the beds. Workers say the treatment is safe for kids and pets, but needs to be followed up with another round of treatment.
"Rachel" wanted to say thank you to those who have reached out to help her family.
They're creepy, blood thirsty and becoming an epidemic in central Wisconsin. Many reports of bed bugs have surfaced in our area, and even if the bugs aren't in your home yet, they can get in very easily if you're not careful.
Bed bugs, much like cockroaches, are not a symptom of their living environment. They can thrive in the cleanest of homes, and the most prestigious of hotels. The Marathon County Health Department says they're rearing their ugly heads in our area for the first time.
With more and more people traveling overseas and staying in hotels, the nasty insects are no longer an unseen issue in our area. The bugs travel mostly by latching onto luggage. But they can also be found at your local rummage sales.
"Mattresses, night stands, they have affinity for wood," explains Sara Brown an Environmental Health Sanitarian, "so people will buy used furniture that are already infested with bed bugs."
Sara says the scariest thing about bed bugs is how quickly they reproduce. She also says a bite mark from the insect may not appear until 14 days after the bite.
So what do you do if you think you have bed bugs in your home, and how to prevent them in the first place?
"The biggest key to it is identification and finding them right away. They do explode like wildfire once a population is established in a home."
Jeff Knispel is the co-owner of Marathon Pest Control. He says the most common place you can pick up the bug is in a hotel room.
"One of the things you do is pull the covers back and the mattress cover on your bed," explains Jeff, "the seam that goes between the mattress and the box spring, the seams that are on the bed, inspect those."
Look for blood spots on your sheets at home, it may be a sign bed bugs are feeding on you at night. While some store bought repellants may do the trick, when you start seeing bugs, it's time to call the experts.
"If you suspect them, call. We do inspections all the time," explains Jeff, "a lot of people don't want you to know that they have the problem just keeping you eyes open and keeping things clutter free seem to help quite a bit."