CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Bed bugs in our area are on the rise, and the increase appears to be a dramatic one.
After a good night's sleep, not much could be worse than coming face to face with intruders.
"I woke up one morning and there were red spots on my pillow, and I thought my ear was bleeding," Charlotte Thomas said.
Thomas was stunned to find bugs in her bed.
"I was just mortified. I couldn't believe it," she said. "I've never had anything like that in my house before."
Her reaction is similar to many being heard more and more often in our area.
"We calm the customer down, and let them know it's alright," Chris Alford, owner of Alford Home Solutions in Nitro said.
Alford is working hard to keep up with the growing number of bed bug infestations.
"Three years ago, if you'd ask me about bed bugs, we were getting maybe one call a month. Now we're getting eight to 10 calls a week," Alford said.
In fact, Charleston and Huntington combined are now number 30 on Orkin's list of top bed bug cities. That's up from three years ago when the two cities were number 49.
Some of the most common ways of bed bugs crawling into your home include traveling, kids staying with other kids and even picking up items at yard sales.
"Bed bugs are great hitch hikers, so they don't need a lot to be transferred from one home to another," Alford said. "Bed bugs are not biased, so they don't care if you live in a trailer or a million dollar mansion."
"It doesn't matter how classy that hotel is, you check for bed bugs before you carry your luggage in," Thomas said.
It's something she now knows from experience, and has now become extra paranoid.
"My daughter and granddaughter went to a movie a few weeks ago, and I had my flashlight looking on the seats before we sat down," Thomas said.
Alford attributes the growing number of bed bugs to more travel, as well as strengthened regulations on the types of treatments they're allowed to use.
For more information about bed bugs, click on the related link above and to the right.