Nature Museum Wants Your Questions, but Not Your Bedbugs

By Paul Biasco on January 21, 2013 4:34pm 

 A bed bug specimen at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
A bed bug specimen at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

LINCOLN PARK — Scientists at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum say they don't need any more bedbugs — at least not from the public, and especially not ones that are still alive.

After Chicago was named the bedbug capital of the U.S. by Orkin last week, museum officials told DNAinfo.com Chicago that they only had one bedbug specimen in their collection, and said they hoped to gather more.

But Monday they emphasized they weren't asking the public to bring or send in samples from their homes.

"We have a way of taking in specimens, and that is not it," said Karen Wilson, the museum's invertebrate specialist.

Although the Lincoln Park-based nature museum doesn't study the bedbug, its staff has been providing help to public institutions and Chicago residents who want to know what to do to fight the critters.

"I'm happy to field calls from people, and I'm happy to take email from people," Wilson said. "Send photos."

Scientists also recommend checking your bedroom regularly for the bugs. Others tips to keep the bedbugs out of your home include buying an encasement to zip around a mattress, putting clothes in the dryer on medium or high heat after returning from staying in a hotel and keeping clothes and suitcases off hotel carpets.

According to the pest control firm Orkin, Chicago had the highest number of bedbug treatments of any city in the U.S. in 2012, making the leap from the No. 2 spot in 2011.

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