Bed Bugs

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

"For your boots for your hands, really important. It's that serious? Absolutely , you've got to have this gear on"

Enter at your peril, "it's really important not to touch anything until weve done the inspection and really know where the hotspot are"

This suburban house is SO contaminated, Today Tonight's camera crew must suit up. Greg Mills says this house is probably as bad as you get but we often see them like this, this is common but bad"

Once inside, it takes the swat team seconds to locate the source, "if we go over to the bed, have a quick look" bed bugs. thousands and thousands of them ... in plague proportions.

"Don't let the bed bugs bite, but never realised what a nightmare it could turn into" Magda Jarvie's been sharing her bed with these blood suckers for months. "Where did the bed come from? it came from a charity. Brought it home unexpectedly and left with a problem and now you've got a house infested with bed bugs. Yeah"

Within months, the bed bugs took over the entire house, "they're everywhere. In the corner, in the vent under the cornice in the light fitting and the smoke alarm"

"Western australia, world wide the problem is huge. Three years ago we did no jobs, now were doing hundreds of jobs a year"Greg Mills and his men from Allpest, have been called to homes all over the metro area. "In a world economic crisis, the bed bug business is booming, absolutley booming"

Getting rid of the parasites takes military precision, "cover this mattress with chemicals, spray the whole thing absolutely drench it then well bag them both and out the door with it"

Just like coachroaches bed bugs are incredibly tough. They can live for 18 months without a feed. Now if these guys leave behind just one bed bug today, within four months this unit will be completely reinfested.

Magda says "in your sleep you wake up and you think oh no, not another one, and that's when I started to collect them in a jar..the bed bugs that ive been collecting over the past 6 months, what from in here and the bedroom. The problem started there and you brought it out to the couch, and now your sleeping on the couch"

"As you can see these white things here are the eggs. How many eggs would there be on this couch? On this couch all up there would be thousands and thousands of eggs"

It'll take a heavy duty, combination of chemicals and extreme heat to kill them. The furniture is so bad, it's not fit to be used again.

"We take it outside and put it on the verge while we're working come back out, beds gone. Been picked up by someone who goes wow how goods this? And they've taken home bed bugs, yeah taken those bugs home" and therein lies a very big problem: as the recession bites, so the bedbugs bite new victims, those who have less to spend on furniture, who have no choice but to buy secondhand, pensioners such as Madga. "Just leaves you wondering where else you can go, what you can do?"

Greg says "we've got a huge problem across australia with socially disadvantaged people, no one wants to help them"

Luckily for Magda, Greg Mills is her knight in shining armour. agreeing to exterminate for free. Not everyone's so lucky. "It's more than an epidemic these guys are really really a huge problem and were not geting any help from the government to sort it out.

Magda says "i've literally been kicked out of my own home because of these bugs" and it can happen to anyone.

"What happens if I take one of these little fellas home? I guess in three months time you'll be calling us, saying I've got a bed bug problem and I could have 20 000 of these in my house. Of course"

Magda's house will be quarentined for the next three weeks. everything has to be bagged and taken away. Her new furniture will need to be scanned, in advance, to avoid a repeat of this nasty episode.

Greg says "we'll inspect the bed before it comes inside the house to make sure your not repeating the whole process again"For anyone considering second hand furntiture, Greg's advice is check for bed bugs before you buy. "We will win this bed bug battle, but I can tell you the bed bug war has just begun"