Huffpost Chicago

Chicago Could Have New York-Sized Bedbug Problem In 2 To 3 Years

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ROSEMONT, Ill. — While most businesses recoil at the mere thought of bedbugs, one suburban Chicago hotel is welcoming the bloodsucking pests – at least this week.

Experts are gathering at the Hyatt Rosemont to talk about the pests that are running rampant in the Northeast.

Jeff White, an entomologist, or bug expert, in Trenton, N.J., said it's a serious issue and people need to know how to spot bedbugs. Over the weekend, he packed up a jar of them and sent them on a car ride to Rosemont, where they are on display at the 2010 North American Bed Bug Summit.

Aaron Bastable, director of sales at the Hyatt Rosemont, said he's confident White and other exhibiters will keep the bedbugs locked tight in their jars.

"You know these are entomologists and these are the professionals in the industry," Bastable said. "If anyone knows how to contain them, then it's going to be them."

And, if anything goes wrong, the hotel is occupied by a small army of people who have trained bedbug hunters and exterminators. They said trained dogs can sniff out the bugs, which can be killed with chemicals, heat and steam.

Athletic clothing and shoe maker Nike Inc. said Sunday it was temporarily closing its Niketown store in New York City after it became the latest victim of the bloodsucking pests. Reports of bedbugs have surged in recent years as they have become resistant to common pesticides.

Pest control workers say New York City is the epicenter for the outbreak. Bedbugs have been recently discovered there in a theater, office buildings, other stores, housing projects and posh apartments.

Chicago is expected to have a comparable problem in two to three years, bug control professionals said. A recent list compiled by a pest control company placed Chicago fifth in the nation out of 15 large cities with bedbug infestations.