Bed bugs seeing 'exponential' increase in Grayson County

GRAYSON COUNTY, Texas (KXII) - Grayson County pest control services said they're seeing more cases of bed bugs this summer than in recent summers.

"Their only source of food is human blood," said Marshall Ward, a health inspector at the Grayson County Health Department.

The tiny black bugs that bite at night can live up to eight months without blood, so it's recommended if you find them to not leave your home, because the bugs will stay.

"They're very secretive and good about hiding themselves during the daytime hours," Ward said.

Pest control experts say they've seen a roughly 105 percent increase per year in the bugs in Grayson County over the past decade or so--
some pest control experts calling it epidemic.

"From 2005, we used to take about one to five calls a year," said Josh Harmon, who works for Results Pest Control. "Fast forward to 2017, and we take roughly one to five calls a day."

Harmon said bed bugs aren't just found in homes and hotels or motels...

"Movie theaters, backpacks in schools, daycares," Harmon said. "There was a case at one point where a woman bought a pair of shoes and they were inside of those."

The tiny bugs are incredibly hard to get rid of. The tedious process uses high heat and chemicals, and starts at $450 for one bedroom. Treating your whole home could cost upwards of $1200.

"We have to access every single last portion of the home, from cracks and crevices to closet spaces to the interior and exterior of home," Harmon said.

The health department says the cooler temperatures this summer have brought out more of the bugs, and more people have been traveling, bringing the bugs back to Texoma with them.

Both of those would contribute to the number of calls about the pests.

"It's above normal," said Josh Stevenson, who works for the Grayson County Health Department. "It seems to be a little higher this summer than it has in past summers."

Bed bugs usually leave traces of their fecal matter or skeletons. You might see those on your sheets or in your clothes. Their bites can leave you with itchy red bumps.

"Thank goodness bed bugs are not known to transmit any type of disease." Ward said.