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‘U’ Helps Fight Back Against Bedbugs

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(credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The University of Minnesota has set up a resource center where homeowners and businesses can learn about fighting bedbug infestations, which have become increasingly common over the past few years.

The university launched its bedbug initiative Tuesday that also includes plans to conduct seminars about the growing bedbug problem around the state.

Increased travel, changing insecticide use and a lack of public awareness has caused a resurgence of bedbug populations, according to entomologist Stephen Kells. The oval-shaped, flat, brown bugs are about the size of a wood tick and feed on the blood of people and some animals. Bedbug bites may cause some people break out in a rash, while others see few symptoms beyond a red spot.

By crawling into travelers’ suitcases and clothes, they can easily spread from an infested hotel room or residence. The bugs are difficult to detect because they hide in cracks and crevices, Kells said.

Experts warn that individuals who try to use insecticides to kill bedbugs could harm themselves or others, and they recommend seeking assistance from a professional pest control company.

The university’s resource center is funded with nearly $91,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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