Be on the lookout for unexpected holiday hitchhikers - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Be on the lookout for unexpected holiday hitchhikers

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It's the busiest travel day of the holiday season.  Christina Rollyson, AAA Charleston District Office Manager, says AAA is forecasting 43 million people to be traveling this holiday season.  She says about 90% are traveling by car and 3% are flying.

Some unwanted tag alongs may be hitching a ride. Mike Ritchie, Terminix Huntington Branch Manager, says the spike of bedbugs seen in the last few years Terminix attributes to international travel, commerce, and immigration.  In fact, Terminix has seen a nearly 29% increase in bedbug calls in West Virginia.  That's the fourth largest increase in bedbug cases across the country.

Bedbugs are small pests that feed on human blood.  Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs actually have nothing to do with personal hygiene.  Ritchie says, "Bedbugs will attach to any person or any clothing. Sanitation is not an issue with bedbugs".

They travel on your clothes and like to camp out in your bed.  Ritchie says, "Hotels are a common place for bedbugs.  Bedbugs don't know the difference between a five star hotel and a one star hotel".

Do a little investigating before turning in for the night.  Ritchie recommends pulling the sheets back and inspecting the mattress.  Look in the seams for activity or look for the dark colored pepper spots on the mattress which could be dried blood.  He also suggests not putting luggage on the floor nor on the bed.  Ritchie says hanging clothes in the closet would also be better than putting clothes in a drawer.

Adult bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye and are reddish brown in color.  Ritchie says the only proven termination method is extreme cold or extreme heat, so you may want to bypass over the counter remedies and call a professional if you have a bedbug problem.