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Cuyahoga County health officials share tips on how to deal with bed bugs

Bed bugs can show up seemingly out of nowhere, and even in sanitary living conditions.

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio — On Friday, the Cuyahoga County Bed Bug Task Force met for its annual conference to discuss the dangers of the tiny insects.

According to the task force, bed bugs have made a resurgence in recent years in Northeast Ohio and around the country. While they commonly pop up at night while we are sleeping, they can be spotted anywhere, and the CDC and the USEPA have even declared that the bed bug is now a "pest of significant public health importance."

"Anytime you bring people together, you have the potential of those people bringing bed bugs with them," Director of Environmental Public Health Rick Novickis said. "Kids come to school, they may accidentally bring a bug from an infested home with them. They now hang their coats up next to each other, [and] there's nothing to stop that bed bug from either falling off the clothing or the backpack or the lunch bag [and] crawling into the classroom."

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While they are not necessarily carriers of diseases, bed bugs can still cause significant physical (biting) and mental (stress) health concerns, and can pop up even in quite sanitary living conditions. The county says it is important to know what you're dealing with before deciding the next steps.

"Pesticides are species-specific these days," sanitarian Tom Barsa said, adding he recommends people take pictures of the bugs or even keep them in bags to show experts. "You really have to know what you're going after in order to get rid of the pest that you're trying to get rid of."

For more information, log on to cuyahogabedbugs.com.

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