Raleigh area ranks #17 for worst cities for bed bugs in U.S.

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It's not just a problem in hotels, now these small pests are popping up in people's homes. (WTVD)

When it comes to bed bugs, Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville comes in at number 17 in the United States. And it's not just a problem in hotels. Now, these small pests are popping up in people's homes.

When it comes to warning signs, representatives with Orkin have these tips:

"First of all, it's good to know that bed bugs are big, the size of an apple seed, so you will see them. The problem is they're not just laying out on your bed. They're hiding in the cracks and crevices around the edge of the mattress, in the box spring, around the headboard, and around the tags. So, actually you can pull back your sheets and fitted sheets on your mattress and look for them," said Orkin Entomologist Dr. Ron Harrison.

Harrison suggests checking every time you wash your sheets. However, it's not just the bugs you're looking for. Bed bugs bite you, but you might not know it or show signs of it.

"So once they've had a good blood meal from you they will defecate the previous meal, so I've got a situation here, a piece of fabric, a sheet, that has bed bug feces on it, or fecal matter smears," said Harrison.

If you do see what they leave behind or the bugs themselves, it's important to act quickly and bring in a pest control professional.

As for how can you avoid bringing them into the home in the first place, experts recommend inspecting the mattress in a hotel or really anywhere you might be staying outside of your home. Also, watch where you leave your suitcase.

"What I do at night, because bed bugs feed at night, is I put my suitcase in the tub. Some folks take a garbage bag and tie it around their suitcase at night so bed bugs won't get in their suitcase," Harrison advised.

Another tip, dry your clothes as soon as you get home for at least 15 minutes, and then store your suitcase in the garage or attic.

If you have bed bugs in your home, there are many treatment strategies out there ranging in cost based on the size of your house and the severity of the problem. For more information from Orkin on bed bugs click HERE.

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