INSIDE EDITION Takes on Bed Bugs
They're the bugs that are terrorizing the nation!
In recent months, bed bugs have practically taken over New York City. They have been found in big-name retail stores, movie theaters, and even a brand-new luxury office building.
And Louis Sorkin, an entomologist with the American Museum of Natural History, says no one is safe!
"They're really just feeding on you wherever you happen to be," he says.
In order for Sorkin to study the bed bugs, he has to keep them alive by feeding them. To do that, Sorkin allows the bed bugs to feast on his arm!
Minutes after allowing a few hundred bed bugs to feed on him, his arm was red and swollen.
Sorkin says the old stigma about bed bugs being only in dirty places is untrue, anyone, rich or poor, can get bed bugs.
INSIDE EDITION spoke to a woman whose suburban home outside New York City has been infested with bed bugs.
"It's been a nightmare. As you can see the house is upside down right now," said the homeowner, who we'll call Maria.
She wore a disguise while on camera because she was so ashamed of the stigma of bed bugs.
"We haven't had anyone come over in about a month. We haven't gone to anyone's house either because we're afraid we're going to take it to their house," Maria told INSIDE EDITION.
Every time a family member came home, Maria had them strip down so she could immediately wash their clothing. She said the situation was so stressful she sometimes had trouble sleeping.
Maria and her family needed all the help they could get, so we called in an expert.
His name is Apollo and he's the latest crusader in the bed bug war. Apollo, a beagle, has been specially trained to sniff out bed bugs. His handler is Teresa Miranda of the pest control company First Rate Solutions, Inc.
Just minutes after inspecting Maria's daughter's bedroom, Apollo scratched to indicate he'd found something.
Apollo found a live bed bug, and Maria was devastated. But the bed bugs experts had a game plan. They were going to literally bake the house with intense heat.
"Anything over 113 is lethal to the bedbugs and the eggs," explained Samuel Soto, Vice President of First Rate Solutions.
The experts constructed a huge hot box right in Maria's living room. Mattresses, pillows, and clothing were all wrapped in plastic and loaded inside. Generators pumped hot air into the box and the temperature was cranked up to a scorching 135 degrees.
"When we're done, they'll all be dead," promised Soto.
A few hours later, there were dead bugs everywhere.
Says Maria, "I pray that this is it, because I'm ready for it to be over with!"
For a list of the top ten bed bug-infested cities in the U.S., visit aolhealth.com.