Are Bed Bugs Really that Prevalent?

Could you have bed bugs in your home? When I think of bed bugs, I certainly don’t think that they could be in my house, or in my bed. Instead, I think of cheap hotels with dirty sheets. But the reality is that they are also in high-end hotels that are kept clean and have moved into many homes in America. Could they be in your home? Absolutely.close up picture of a bed bugThey are now found in abundance worldwide and if you travel, then there’s a good chance you’ve had a few hitchhike their way home with you. If you don’t travel, just one guest who does can bring them into your home. They can get into your clothes and suitcases in hotel rooms, and you could pick up a few merely by being in the same room with them. Your kids or grandchildren can bring them in from friends’ homes.

How did bed bugs get to be so prevalent, and where did the surge in their population start? Brandon Baker, who is a contributing author to PhillyVoice recently answered this question in an interview he did with Greg Cowper, curatorial assistant in the Drexel University Academy of Natural Sciences‘ entomology department.

Q: When were they most actively seen in the United States?

A: By the 20th century, bed bugs were well established in the U.S. affecting all stratum of society. In lower-income areas, they were considered Public Enemy No. 1, but some surveys showed at least one-third of residences in some cities were infested.

Q: What’s with the resurgence in recent years? I seem to recall there being huge media hype over it circa 2010, but then it all sort of tapered off and turned from panic to the new normal. And it’s a scary new normal. Are they sticking around?

A: By the mid-20th-century, bed bugs were all but gone from the developed world. The resurgence began in the 1990s and continues to the present. DDT had been very effective in controlling insect pests including bed bugs but was banned in 1972 for environmental, ecological and health and safety concerns. In addition to the loss of this pesticide, globalization, cheap airfare to anywhere in the world, urbanization and population density have all contributed to the resurgence of bed bugs.

Q: Has there been any progress toward creating an insecticide that better exterminates them? And how can people keep them out?

A: ….. mechanical remedies such as cleaning up clutter, vacuuming, running suspect clothes through the dryer at high heat, sealing mattresses and bed springs in plastic enclosures, treating infested room spaces with heat above the threshold that bed bug eggs, nymphs and adults can survive (about 120 degrees Fahrenheit), taking care in purchasing secondhand furniture and vigilance when traveling. For example, checking mattresses, sheets, behind headboards, etc., in your hotel room. You can even store your suitcase in the bathtub where bed bugs can’t climb.

Brandon goes on to tell how bed bugs got their name and some best practices for keeping them out of your home. You can read the rest of his article here: PhillyVoice.

Should you be concerned? You will be when you see the bites they can leave. Maybe you thought your bites were from fleas or mosquitoes, but they could be from bed bugs instead.

bed bug bites all over someone's back

If you suspect that you might have a bed bug problem, or you just want peace of mind knowing that you don’t, then you should have your home and mattresses checked for signs of an infestation. Bed bug control is just one of the services we offer with our comprehensive pest control. Call us today at 813-778-4181 for an appointment.