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Alaska's Bed Bug Problem Grows

By Garrett Turner, Investigative Environmental Reporter, gturner@ktuu.com
Published On: Feb 06 2014 12:03:20 PM AKST
Updated On: Feb 06 2014 12:16:50 PM AKST
Bed Bugs
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

Bed bugs, known throughout the nation as bloodsucking parasites, are seeing a resurgence nationwide -- including Alaska.

At the Alaska Forum on the Environment, experts talked about bed bugs and how to prevent them Thursday. Katie Burbage, an environmental health specialist for the Tanana Chiefs Conference, says bed bugs can't transmit disease but still are a health risk.

"There's definitely a yuck factor with them," Burbage said. "They come out at night and feed on you...that's a little creepy."

Lief Albertson, with the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Cooperative Extension Service, says there's a growing bed bug concern in rural Alaska. In addition to the health risk they pose, any rumor about a lodge or inn having bed bugs could have a devastating economic effect on the area -- but Albertson says the problem is manageable.

"You want to get rid of a lot of clutter," Albertson said. "Once you do that step you do things to simplify that environment to eliminate places for bed bugs to hide."

For more information on how to prevent or get rid of bed bugs you can visit the Cooperative Extension Service's website.