Bed bugs are those biting little creatures that seem to thrive in cheap motels and dirty apartments.

They're tiny and hard to see and often you don't even notice the bites and sores from them for a few days -- enough time to spread them to other sleeping locales.

They've been known to shut down hotels, create panic in the populace and even stall a romantic date.

A recent list compiled by ranked the US states with the highest instance of "bed bugs" or "what to do about bed bugs" in Google searches.

The statistics revealed in the study show that the worst states for bed bugs are Oklahoma, West Virginia and Ohio.

The western United States did well in the study, with none of the states west of Oklahoma and Kansas ranking in the top 10, with one notable exception.

Nevada, our neighbor to the west, is No. 10 on the list, perhaps stemming from the recent bed bug outbreak at four Las Vegas Strip hotels.

Idaho had the fewest Google searches for bed bugs, with 1.9 searches per every 10 residents of the Gem State.

As far as Utah is concerned, the Beehive State averaged just over two searches per 10 people, coming in at 46th of the 50 states.

I'm not going to list them here, but you can click on the bedbugreports website to get a list of motels in St. George that have had reports of bed bugs. At least nine motels in St. George have had recent reports of bed bugs.

Mattressnextday also offers these recommendations for making sure you stay bed bug free:

1. Maintain cleanliness

Bed bugs don’t care about how hygienic your home is, but they do thrive in areas that are cluttered, as it makes them harder to find. So, make sure you keep your living space as tidy as possible, and regularly vacuum your carpets, curtains, and furniture; paying extra attention to cracks and crevices, where they may be hiding. Make sure you remove any vacuum bags from out of your home immediately, in case you hoovered any up.

2. Cover your bedding

Every time you change your bedding, do a quick inspection to see if you can spot bed bugs – they’re reddish-brown in color, and often leave small, dark fecal spots. Once you’re certain you don’t have any, cover your mattresses and pillows in encasements, which will form a protective barrier, should you bring bed bugs into your home.

Your bedding is one of the most common places for bed bugs to be found, so make sure you have a read of our guide on protecting your mattress from bed bugs, for more information.

3. Be wary of second hand furniture

Antique furniture may be chic, but whether you’re buying second hand furniture at a car boot sale, or you’re inheriting a few pieces from a loved one, make sure you check them thoroughly before you bring them into your home, as that can be how the infestation begins.

The same goes if you’re living in a shared house. Whilst you can inspect your own furniture, you won’t be able to do so for others, so adding in a door sweep and sealing any gaps in your skirting boards and plug sockets, will help to discourage bed bugs from moving between rooms.

4. Be careful when travelling

One of the main culprits of bed bugs is hotel rooms; so before you bed down for the night, inspect the bedding and other areas of the room for any dark spots. Bed bugs may transfer onto your clothing and luggage, so try and keep your suitcase off the floor if possible, and as soon as you get home, wash your clothes on a high heat to kill any potential bugs that may have crawled onto them.

If you're headed to the US for a holiday and are worried about bringing them back with you, you should read our guide on protecting your mattress from bed bugs, which will give you tips on preventing bringing them back from holiday, too.

5. Be wary in public

It’s not just hotel rooms that can have them – anywhere public could too, as people who have bed bugs will likely have them on their clothes. Whether you’re about to sit down on public transport, a doctor’s waiting room, or even a seat at the cinema; do a quick scan to check for those tell-tale reddish brown marks to check it’s safe to do so.

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St. George Hot Car Dangers For Pets: Recognize Signs Of Overheating

Photo by Charles Roth:
Photo by Charles Roth:

Forecasters are saying this week we'll hit the high 80s with temperatures in the 90s not very far off.

With that in mind, law enforcement officials and animal activists are urging the public to be mindful of the danger of leaving pets in hot cars.

Although we won't hit the really hot temperatures in Southern Utah until July and August, folks from the American Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are begging people to refrain from leaving their pets in cars while shopping or doing other errands.

According to the ASPCA, even if the temperature is only 70 degrees outside, the inside of your car can be as many as 20 degrees hotter. When it bumps up to 85 degrees, like tomorrow's temperature, it only take 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees. And within 20 minutes on that same 85-degree day, the interior of your car can reach a scorching 120 degrees.

The ASPCA says keep an eye out for these overheating symptoms in your pets:

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  •  Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Drooling
  • Mild weakness
  • Stupor
  • Collapse

In Utah, there are no specific laws that protect against pets in hot cars, but police officials warn that an animal (or human) in obvious distress can be rescued from a hot car using "any means necessary" if the person doing the rescuing feels a life may be in danger.

The St. George Police Department urges concerned citizens to contact police before the situation reaches a critical point.

The ASPCA also offers these hot weather tips for pet owners:

  • Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication.
  • Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.
  • Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
  • Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
  • Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!
  • Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
  • Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
  • Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
  • When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
  • Commonly used rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. Keep citronella candles, tiki torch products and insect coils of out pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect your animal has ingested a poisonous substance.
  • Remember that food and drink commonly found at barbeques can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
  • Please leave pets at home when you head out to Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma, and even unused fireworks can contain hazardous materials. Many pets are also fearful of loud noises and can become lost, scared or disoriented, so it’s best to keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area of your home.

KEEP READING: Here are 6 foods from your cookout that could harm your dog

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