SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- They've been called hitchhikers, and they're not exactly the type of company you'd want to keep around. Bed bugs have been and continue to be an issue throughout the city of Syracuse.
"Believe me, it's inadvertently," said Greater Syracuse Tenant's Network Executive Director, Sharon Sherman. "No one would want to bring bed bugs in, but they come in on clothing, a hand bag, a winter coat that we're wearing right now, and then they spread."
But there is good news: The problem is getting better. That's according to Orkin's list of the top 50 worst cities with bed bug infestation. They released the 2015 edition, with Syracuse coming in at 46th of 50. That's an 18-spot drop from the prior year.
"We're glad to see that the number of bed bug cases have seemed to gone down in Syracuse," Sherman said. "We do see a change in the number of calls we get. We do, however, continue to get calls from the suburbs."
But one local exterminator was surprised by the 2015 results. He believes the problem is getting worse, not better.
"We have done 600 jobs in the year 2015. We're anticipating between 1,000-1,200 jobs this next year," Bugs Bee Gone Pest Control Owner Glenn Stewart said. "The bed bug population grows by 48 percent a year, which is a doubling rate of every 19 months. So it's steady and appears to be here to stay."
Stewart adds that if a person suspects he or she may have bed bugs, an exterminator should be called immediately.
"It's a process. They don't socially discriminate," Sherman said. "Everybody's getting them or going to get them. We just go through the process to remove them and leave them healthy and whole."
The good news is that process does start working pretty quickly. Stewart says that, within just a few days, most of the bed bugs are gone.
The first sign of bed bugs may be red, itchy bites on the skin. For more signs and symptoms, click here.