STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long classified bedbugs as a public health pest. The tiny parasites feed on the blood of humans and animals.

Bedbugs are found across the globe, even in the cleanest living conditions. Infestations usually occur near areas where people sleep, but they are also found in public transportation.

Jerome Goddard, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service, said bedbugs are not known to spread disease, but their bites may cause itching and become an annoyance.

If bitten by a bedbug, the best treatment is to avoid scratching the area and apply an antiseptic cream or lotion.

Bedbugs are located throughout the state of Mississippi. Officials said prevention is the best way to manage bedbugs. Santos Portugal, an Extension urban entomologist, said it is wise to do a basic bedbug check when entering a hotel room.

“It is better to take a couple of minutes to quickly look at the major potential areas of activity than to just set your luggage down and settle in,” Portugal said. “This doesn’t mean that all hotels have bedbugs, but you want to do what you can to reduce the risk of inadvertently bringing them home with you if they are there.”

A quick check means pulling sheets back to look at mattress seams, as well as checking hot spots like behind the headboard, on the luggage rack and along the bed frame. Look for bedbugs or their droppings, which are small, reddish-brown spots.

If evidence of bedbugs is found, do not unpack or put down belongings and luggage. Ask a manager about moving to a different room. They can coordinate with a pest management professional to treat the infested room.

If luggage has been placed where bedbugs are present, Goddard said a clothes dryer is a person’s best friend. Keep luggage outdoors and bring clothes straight inside to be cleaned.