WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- We're hearing more and more about those pesky parasites bed bugs. But are these blood suckers on the rise in the Cape Fear? Several exterminators around town say they're seeing more calls when it comes to bed bugs, and they're performing more cleanings than they have in previous years.
"We are definitely seeing more bed bugs," said Stuart Flynn, service manager for Bug-N-A-Rug Exterminators in Wilmington. "They're spreading all over."
Flynn says compared to last year the number of bed bug calls have doubled. We tagged along with his crew for a follow up visit. They already sprayed for bed bugs, but they're back looking for any more signs of the blood-sucking creatures.
"A full-grown is going to be about the size of a tick," exterminator Michael Marschall said.
These exterminators also put covers on the box springs and mattresses, keeping bed bugs out and also keeping bugs in.
Robert Shorter's bed is safe for the time being, but there are a few steps to make sure you sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.
"One thing to do to prevent bed bugs is never accept used furniture and frequent inspection. They're excellent hitchhikers, and there's a number of ways they can get into your home," Flynn said.
Bug-N-A-Rug says bed bugs are not associated with filth. They can be found anywhere from a clean hotel to a single-family home; anywhere they can find a good food source.
So are bed bugs really something to worry about? Or is the media making a mountain out of a molehill?
"I don't think it's being blown too much out of proportion," Flynn said. "I think the more knowledge to the public the better. We can fix the problem. I don't wish it upon anybody, and it's a bad thing what's going on right now."
The exterminators we tagged along with think the recent surge in bed bugs is due to the pesticides they are allowed to use. Exterminators can no longer use the pesticide they used to use to fight bed bugs, so it's a learning process to find out what works best with the chemicals they still have in their arsenal.