This week's North American Bed Bug Summit in suburban Rosemont is the front line of the war on bedbugs.
More than 400 entomologists, experts and industry leaders are gathering at the Hyatt hotel Tuesday and Wednesday to learn more about the parasitic bloodsuckers.
Northbrook-based Protect-a-Bed is showcasing its line of mattress encasements, a fancy bag that works two ways.
If you bring home the pesky bugs from a recent trip, the fine-toothed zippers on the encasements will keep them from getting into your bedding. If you already have bugs, the bags will trap them inside, away from their food supply, where they will eventually die.
“Every so often you get a bed bug that says, ‘I can take this. But all you have to do is hit him one more time," he said.
One Des Plaines entrepreneur has found bed bugs to be a path to a new career. When Linda DeVelasco was laid off after 21-years at a wireless phone company, she invested in a specially-trained beagle who can sniff out live bed bugs and their eggs.
Now she and Scooby work for hotels, schools and businesses searching for bed bugs.
"Like my dad used to say, 'I’m as busy as a one-armed paper hanger,'' said DeVelasco. "We could work seven days a week."