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Bed Bug Resurgence

We were fortunate to attend the bed bug forum in Denver, CO sponsored by the National Pest Management Association.  The three day program included presentations by leading entomologists, pest management companies from various parts of the country and live demonstrations of treatment and detection methods in the House of Learning.

Dr. Michael Potter from the University of Kentucky offered several reasons for the current resurgence of bed bugs.  These tiny insects are great hitchhikers, difficult to detect initially and the most difficult pest to eliminate.

Vigilance

When bed bugs last surged in the early to mid-1900s, Americans trained themselves in "eternal vigilance".  They checked for bed bugs every time they ventured away from home.  Dedicated search and destroy missions by parents and public servants virtually eradicated the pests by the late 1950s.

Increased Travel

Between business and vacation, domestic and international, we travel more today than at any time in our history.  Even though there has been a great deal of media coverage in the past year, travelers still don't understand the risk or how to protect themselves.

Clutter

People today have more stuff which means more places for bed bugs to hide.

Second Hand Furniture

In years past, if a person wanted to offer used furniture for sale, it had to be fumigated.  Today we advertise on Craig's list or set unwanted goods on the curb without any sort of inspection or treatment.

Resistance

Bed bugs have genetically adapted to be resistant to currently available insecticides and banned ones such as DDT.

Attitudes, the "ick" factor

"Americans think it's our birthright to live free of vermin.  Get over it, " said Dr. Dini Miller of Virginia Tech University.  Miller went on to say "We are going to need to watch for and identify the bugs, typically the size of an apple seed, and keep an eye out for their eggs".

Myths

People have many misconceptions including the idea that having bed bugs in your home is somehow shameful.  Pest control professionals have reported home owners asking them to come after dark or in unmarked vehicles  This is foolish, bed bugs are equal opportunity pests.  We also tend to over react.  Panic won't help.  "It is insane to shut down a school or building because one bedbug was found" Dr. Potter said. Exterminators have treated infestations in homes, hotels, schools, hospitals, movie theaters, offices, college dorms, ambulances and elsewhere.  "It's just a matter of time before you are routinely finding them in all these places," Dr. Potter said.

Cost of Treatment

In a survey of more than 1,000 pest control professionals, 76% of respondents considered the bed bug the hardest to eradicate, compared with 13% that cited ants and 7% who said roaches.  Termites finished a distant fourth.  Dr. Miller said, "People must accept that controlling infestations probably will require repeated spraying by more than one chemical cocktail and/or destruction by carefully managed heating techniques.  Then, follow up.  Then, follow up again."

If you suspect you may have an infestation of bed bugs, call a professional immediately.  Early detection is the key.  This pest is prolific, pervasive and one bug you don't want to deal with on your own.

For a Free Home Pest Inspection call 214-763-2758

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