SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Bed bugs haven't taken over bedrooms in our area yet, but Chatham County landlords want to be prepared for the creepy crawlers. Experts say it's just a matter of time and that it's best to prepare now before to it's too late.
On Tuesday, the Savannah Apartment Association invited Jason Tripp with Northwest Exterminating and Anothony Thuan with Furniture Rentals to help show the group how to look for them.
For the first time many landlords, like Timberland Apartments Property Manager Tabatha Rewis, got a close look at bed bugs and the dangers behind them.
"As a landlord I needed to be here so I can make sure that I know and educate my tenants as well as my staff on the proper way to respond to bed bugs," said Rewis.
To help teach landlords, Thuan brought the bed bug sniffle beagle Tracker to demonstrate how some companies find bed bugs.
"We do preventative maintenance work and we go an inspect a home or apartment or hotel room or furniture or whatever the case may be preventative maintenance work as well as after a unit has been treated for an infestation we go back and do a follow inspection," said Thuan.
Tripp is an entomologist with Northwest Exterminating and he says bed bugs are spreading and this is just the beginning of a national problem.
"It's gonna be a big problem if you look at history, bed bugs were a huge problem in the past and we really don't have any tool to prevent them from becoming a big problem in the future," said Tripp.
Tripp says only a few chemicals can get rid of the bugs so it's important to educate landlords like Tabatha Rewis.
"They will hitch hike onto luggage and we are finding them in retail establishments they hitch a ride and that's how they end up in people's homes," said Tripp.
"We certainly don't want to alarm anyone but we want to make sure we are aware of the steps we need to take to get rid of them efficiently," said Rewis.
According the Chatham County Health Department, since the beginning of the year they have had 11 complaints of bed bugs from tourists. The health department sends environmental health inspectors to investigate.
If you have concerns or think you have seen bed bugs, contact the Chatham County Health Department at 912.356.2160.