What to do when bed bugs bite

Missouri has made a top ten list, but the reason may make you feel creepy-crawly. It's one of the country's buggiest states. In this KHQA Safe Family report, we learn what college students and their parents need to know about bed bugs, how to spot them, and what you should do if you find them.

"With a bed bug, you're going to be asleep. They're going to crawl up under the covers with you, bite you, suck your blood out. Then they wipe back across the wound with their rear end and unless you have a reaction, you'll probably never know you've been bitten," said Gene Scholes, from Reliable Pest Solutions.

Scholes says you don't feel the bite, because when a bed bug bites, it introduces a numbing agent first.

"But you'll find some spotting of blood on the sheets and wonder what happened," said Kevin O'Donnell, from O'Donnell's Termite and Pest Control. "You'll wake up with res, itchy welts, usually in a ring pattern."

Bed bugs don't travel on people, but they'll hop into your luggage and on used furniture. It's important to note that having bed bugs does not mean your house is dirty.

"They'll be in the best of homes and best of hotels, and the worst," said O'Donnell.

That's why it's so important to check wherever you stay, whether it be a hospital, hotel or dorm room. KHQA recently spoke with staff from Western Illinois University's housing and dining services. They say every mattress on campus is thoroughly sanitized before students come back for a new school year. O'Donnell says to still lookout for bugs when moving into a dorm or an apartment.

"Spend that first trip inspecting the room. Take the mattress and bedsprings off, tip them up and look underneath, look at all the seams . If you can take the headboard away from the wall, look behind it and in dresser drawers to see if they're there," said O'Donnell.

If you spot bed bugs, call an exterminator. Left alone, they can live up to a year, lying dormant for months at a time before taking their next bite.