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FORT WORTH The very mention of a bed bug gets a lot of people itching, and people may be itching for real this summer in North Texas.

This appears to be the second summer of an increase in bed bugs here.

The Knight's Inn on West Freeway in Fort Worth has already had two visits from city code compliance officers this summer; last summer it had none.

The sprawling motel has seen better days. Many rooms are boarded up.

The desk clerk we talked to after renting a room freely admitted the place has bed bugs. "Sometimes we have them, and we take care of it," she said.

Bill Bates does not agree. He rented a room at the Knight's Inn on Sunday night.

After checking into three different rooms, he got three different sets of bites.

"In the first room, I was on the computer," Bates told us. "I looked down on the mattress and saw them on my arm. I started itching and three bed bugs were walking away."

The City of Fort Worth says that in the first six months of last year it got eight complaints about bed bugs in hotels. For the same period this year, it has 16.

The city can force motels to close rooms when bedbugs are discovered. It s much more difficult to close an entire hotel.

The city has shut down rooms at the Knight's Inn. The owner would not give us his name over the phone, but the property is owned by Krisha Investments, and managed by Anil Patidar.

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

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