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What are bedbugs? Is there a good way to kill them without using harsh chemicals?

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Easy Answer: Bedbugs are vampires of the insect world. They feed on human blood. And there are ways to kill them without pesticides–but it might be tough to eliminate the infestation. You might also want to call in the professionals.

Bedbugs seem to be everywhere these days. A movie theater in Times Square New York City had bedbugs. Bedbugs have also been found in some stores in the city. Even the well-coiffed women of Elle magazine have been sent home because of bed bugs. Aggh. Gross. The bedbug problem is bad enough that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Environmental Protection Agency released a statement on bedbug control.

For more, listen to Friday’s story on bedbugs here.

For some creepy-crawly bedbug facts (that will probably make you squirm) check out this National Geographic video.

The EPA recommends these non-chemical methods of killing bedbugs:

But, the agency also says it’s probably not something you want to tackle on your own: “getting a pest management professional involved as soon as possible rather than taking time to try to treat the problem yourself is very effective at preventing further infestations.”

New York City also recommends talking with any pest treatment service you hire about choosing the least toxic pesticide and using it only in limited locations. You shouldn’t, for example, spray pesticide on the top of mattresses or sofas.

Other pesticide warnings from the EPA:

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