Bedbugs in Florida follow the tourists

Jan. 13, 2011 at 8:11 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Bedbugs in Florida appear to be most common in areas that are the most popular tourist destinations, state officials said.

The two top counties for reported infestations are Broward, anchored by Fort Lauderdale, and the Orlando area in Orange, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Thursday. There were 13 infestations in Broward and 10 in Orange.

The state Department of Business & Professional Regulation found bedbugs in 68 hotels, motels and other tourist accommodations in 2010. That was only .18 percent of the establishments in the state but it was up from .08 percent in 2009.

Bedbugs, once thought to be more or less extinct in the United States, have been making a major comeback. They can travel in suitcases and even laptop computers.

Bedbugs have even been found in the swanky Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.

"If the Waldorf can get 'em, anybody can get 'em," Allen Fugler, executive vice president of the Florida Pest Management Association, told the Sun-Sentinel. "Bedbugs are not respecters of property or prestige. They are equal-opportunity offenders."

Fugler said Florida exterminators did not report doing bedbug work two years ago, and now there are some that specialize in it.

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