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Bedbugs are popping back up in Rock County

By Margo Spann, mspann@wisctv.com
Published On: Jun 17 2013 10:23:05 AM CDT

JANESVILLE, Wis. -

Bedbugs are interfering with the lives of some residents in the area.

Unless they are licensed by the health department, most places aren't required to report a bedbug outbreak.

Rock County’s environmental health officials say two cases have been found in the last 60 days.

"It's nerve-racking trying to live out of a suitcase not knowing where you're going to clean up,” said Michael Baker, who has been couch surfing since March.

Baker, a Vietnam veteran, said just days after he moved into his Janesville apartment he noticed red itchy bumps.

"At first it felt like a mosquito bite, and then I looked down and there was a big red welt there and then they started appearing all over my legs,” said Baker.

Rather than continue to be feasted on while he slept, Baker said he decided to show his legs to his doctor, who confirmed they were bed bug bites.

"My doctor said 'Get out of there." They're not going to be able to treat them while I continue to get bit up,” said Baker.

"We've had some apartments. We've had some people call with bedbugs and 1 or two motels that have had bed bugs too,” said Tim Banwell, environmental health director with the Rock County Health Department. “People carry them in their clothes and furniture. The bugs feed about every seven to 10 days and are constantly laying eggs. They can be found anywhere from furniture to electronics -- even crawling into walls through electrical outlets.”

For now, Baker is staying with a fellow veteran.

Baker said his landlord has done some treatments to his building but he just can't bring himself to go back to his apartment.

"It's just been nerve-racking because I liked the apartment and everything, it's fairly close to the VA clinic where I go and everywhere else,” said Baker.

If you are staying in a hotel or motel, the Health Department also recommends putting your suitcases in the bathroom. Then go and check the mattress and headboard for red spots. He also says don't try and treat them yourself with over-the-counter products, because you can end up spreading them and making your problem worse.

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