The bedbug infestation that has been working its way across the country has made its way to Lawrence, taking “sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite” beyond the realm of a children’s nursery rhyme.
Renee Mellenbruch, a 20-year-old single mother in Lawrence, found the parasitic insects in her bedroom last Wednesday — the second time she’s found the pests in her home.
“Our neighbors had had bedbugs for a year, did not tell anyone,” Mellenbruch said. “And then, the bedbug problem came into our house.”
Mellenbruch’s apartment received a special heating treatment, which warms the structure to about 130 degrees and is supposed to kill the bedbugs. A month after the treatment, she found the creepy crawlers in her bedroom again. Mellenbruch’s 2-year-old daughter has even received multiple bites from bedbugs, and she can’t go to day care anymore because of the exposure.
“My daughter’s not even allowed to go to day care,” Mellenbruch added. “I got a note from the day care provider, and a phone call, stating that until the situation is resolved with the bedbugs that my daughter is not allowed to go to day care any longer.”
Richard Njoroge of Laser One Pest Management in Lawrence, who has recently dealt with bedbug infestations in Topeka and Kansas City, says heat treatments can be costly.
“An average house, you’re looking at $500 to 600 to get rid of bedbugs,” Njoroge said about the heating process.
Njoroge said there are several ways to spot bedbugs if you suspect an infestation.
“First of all, you need to look at your mattresses,” Njoroge said. “Secondly, you look and see if there are any droppings. A lot of times, you’re going to see dots — red dots, sometimes kind of a brownish color.”
He suggests contacting a professional exterminator to rid your home of bedbugs.
“If you’re trying to get rid (of them) yourself, you are really defeating yourself,” Njoroge said. “It takes a lot of work, a lot of inspection and different materials that are not available to the public.”
Kansas University has taken precautions to educate its students not to bring bedbugs to campus.
“It’s not the easiest thing to get rid of, but it’s very easy to get in contact with it,” said Todd Cohen, the director of University Relations at KU. “Being in contact with bedbugs is not something to be ashamed of … . You can very easily carry them back if you don’t wash the clothes before you come back and put them in your dorm room.”