Bug-Related Illnesses

  1. Bed Bugs
  2. Head Lice
  3. Kissing Bugs
  4. Mosquitoes
  5. Ticks

Bed BugBed bugs are a common pest that feed on blood and cause itchy bites and skin irritation. They are not known to transmit or spread disease, but they can cause a number of problems, including emotional and economic distress from lack of sleep.

There are not state or local laws regarding the presence of bed bugs in rental property. If you are a renter with bed bugs, you have the following options:

  • Talk to your landlord. Make sure they understand the issue. See if they have a written policy on pest control. (This is a good question to ask if you’re moving into a new house or apartment, too.)
  • Contact a certified pest control agency to discuss options for bed bug removal. Heat treatments are typically the most effective.
  • If there is a structural issue with the building that you believe is allowing pests to enter your living area, you can contact the City’s Building Development Services Department at (417) 864-1056 to find out if you can register a formal complaint.

Preventing Bed Bugs

Bed bugs hitch rides in luggage, boxes, shoes and other mobile objects. They are not drawn to unsanitary areas, so you can keep a clean house and still get them.

  • Be thorough when buying used home items or purchasing from rent-to-own stores. Before bringing these items home, inspect them thoroughly. Never take bedding or furniture that has been left on the curb for disposal.
  • When traveling, survey your hotel room for signs of bed bug infestations, such as red or dark brown spots on bed sheets. Lift the mattress and other furniture items to look for bed bug hiding places. Elevate all luggage and personal items. Use racks to keep these items away from carpets and beds or place items in the bathtub. Examine all luggage and personal items before returning home to prevent bed bug migration.

Identifying Bed Bugs

Treating Bed Bug Bites

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to kill them with high heat—temperatures of at least 113 degrees Fahrenheit for at least one hour are necessary. The higher the temperature, the shorter the time needed to kill bed bugs at all life stages.

  • Put bedding and clothing in the dryer at high temperatures to kill bed bugs (just washing will generally not kill bed bugs).
  • Chemicals can be used but typically aren’t as effective. If you choose to use a pesticide, make sure the product is effective against bedbugs AND intended for indoor use. You can use the EPA’s online product search tool if you are not sure. Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly can make you sick and may make the problem worse by causing the bed bugs to hide where the pesticide won’t reach them.