OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It’s an infestation no one wants. We’ve told you several stories involving bed bugs including many inside the Oklahoma County Jail. Over the past decade, a bed bug exterminator says business has been booming due to the creepy critters’ growing presence in Oklahoma.
Statistics show bed bugs have become more prevalent in the Sooner State. Exterminators like Tony Ingle with Bed Bugs Plus Store are doing what they can to fix that problem.
“We’re seeing a major increase,” Ingle said. “We went from not being on the top 50 of our cities in the United States to the number nine city now.”
In a list from Mattress Clarity, Oklahoma City ranks number 9 for worst cities for bed bugs based on service requests. A list from Terminix regarding the top 50 cities for infestations from 2021, OKC sat at number 23.
“The world’s best hitchhikers,” Ingle said. “So, you know, someone can have a bedbug problem, they can walk into a restaurant, sit down and walk and crawl off their clothes, you come sit down behind them, now you take them home and they multiply faster than rabbits.”
Ingle said the bugs don’t need mates to lay eggs and females lay up to 15 eggs per day. He said getting rid of them can be costly too.
“We’ve seen the major big box companies go out with no guarantees, charging people anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000,” Ingle said. “Treat a house for bedbugs. You know, most of our bedbug treatments range around $1,200, depending on the size of the house.”
Ingle has even created his own treatment.
“Had it proven and tested up at Oklahoma State Entomology Department to be 100 percent effective in terms of mortality,” he said.
He claims the bug issue is due to growing populations and tourism among other things. He’s hoping to use his treatment to try and keep the bugs populations down.
“The number one thing here about this product is they can’t build a resistance to it,” he said.
There are several ways to rid of the insects. Ingle said heat usually isn’t effective, however. He said they do provide treatments people can do themselves as well.
For more information, visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Bed Bug Fact Sheet.