WILLMAR -- As recently as a couple of years ago, bedbugs weren't too common in the region. Then in 2009, local public health officials began hearing more reports about bedbug infestations in furniture and rental housing.
"This year I've been getting a lot more phone calls about them," Chris Wenisch, an environmental health specialist with Kandiyohi County Public Health, said in an interview this spring.
The bugs usually hide during the daytime and come out at night to feed on their human hosts. Although they don't spread disease, their bites can cause bothersome itching and welts.
They often arrive in someone's home via used furniture, used mattresses, clothing or luggage. Once they're established in a multi-unit apartment building, they can become very difficult to eradicate.
The city of Willmar has a rental property ordinance that includes bedbug control. Renters within the city who are having problems with bedbugs can call City Hall at 320-235-8311 for more information on their options.
Because of the growing number of questions and phone calls about bedbugs, Kandiyohi County Public Health also has added an information page on the website at www.co.kandiyohi.mn.us.