Bed Bugs Public Awareness

bed bugs

The Bedbug Story

Bed Bugs ChartEPA says, “The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) has long been a pest – feeding on blood, causing itchy bites and generally irritating their human hosts. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) all consider bed bugs a public health pest. However, unlike most public health pests, bed bugs are not known to transmit or spread disease. So it looks like Americans are on their own in the fight against this pest. Read on to know your enemy.

The name “Bed bugs” comes from their preferred habit of seeking warm homes and living in or near the bed to be close to a life-sustaining meal. Bed bugs don’t hate us they just use us as their local neighborhood McDonald’s.

HOW LONG, HAVE WE KNOWN ABOUT BED BUGS?

Bed bugs were mentioned in ancient Greece as early as 400 BC. Prior to the 1950s, bed bugs were very common. According to a report by the UK Ministry of Health, in 1933 all the houses in many areas had some degree of bed bug infestation. Initially, the problem was solved by fumigation, using Zyklon Discoids that released hydrogen cyanide gas, a rather dangerous procedure. Later, DDT was used with good results as a safer alternative.

Where Did Bed bugs go?

The decline of bed bug populations in the 20th century is often credited to potent pesticides that had not before been widely available, and public awareness.

When Did Bed bugs Make their Comeback?

Bed bug infestations have resurged since the 1980s. for reasons that are not clear, but contributing factors may be complacency, increased resistance, bans on pesticides and increased international travel. The U.S. National Pest Management Association reported a 71% increase in bed bug calls between 2000 and 2005. As of 2012, there were fewer effective pesticides. Pesticides that have historically been found to be effective include pyrethroids, dichlorvos, and malathion. Resistance to pesticides has increased significantly over time, and harm to health from their use is of concern. If you purchase professional pesticides you MUST READ THE PRODUCT’s LABEL!

“Bed bugs have increased dramatically as a public health pest throughout the country. While bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, they can cause stress, discomfort, and sores. Experts suspect the resurgence is associated with greater international and domestic travel, lack of knowledge regarding the complex measures needed to prevent and control bed bugs due to their prolonged absence, and increased resistance of bed bugs to available pesticides. EPA believes they need to redevelop expertise in the pest control community to ensure the control tactics are multifaceted and comprehensive.” says the EPA.

Bed bugs have a few natural enemies that can help reduce their population. Natural enemies of bed bugs include the masked hunter insect (also known as “masked bed bug hunter”),\ cockroaches,\ ants, spiders (particularly Thanatus flavidus  not found in the USA), mites and centipedes, particularly the house centipede (In the United States, it spread north from the southern states, reaching Pennsylvania in 1849, New York in 1885, and Massachusetts and Connecticut in about 1890. In 2009, its distribution extended from Virginia in the east to the coast of California in the west). However, a 2007 publication said that biological pest control was not considered practical for eliminating bed bugs from human dwellings.

What to Do about Bed bugs?

The carbamate insecticide propoxur, which is no longer available for sale, is highly toxic to bed bugs. It has potential toxicity to children exposed to it; the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been reluctant to approve it for indoor use.  Boric acid occasionally applied as a safe indoor insecticide, is not effective against bed bugs because they do not groom.

EPA Bed Bug Pesticide Alert

  1. Never use a pesticide indoors intended for outdoor use. It is very dangerous and won’t solve your bed bug problem.
  2. Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly to treat for bedbugs can make you sick, may not solve the problem, and could even make it worse by causing the bed bugs to hide where the pesticide won’t reach them.
  3. Check if the product is effective against bedbugs — if a pest isn’t listed on the product label, the pesticide has not been tested on that pest and it may not be effective. Don’t use a product or allow a pest control operator to treat your home with any product unless bed bugs are named on the product label. Just any pesticide won;t do.
  4. Before using any pesticide product, READ THE LABEL FIRST, then follow the directions for use.
  5. Keep in mind that any pesticide product without an EPA registration number has not been reviewed by EPA, so we haven’t determined how well the product works.

Recommended Bed bug Pest products

There are many methods to effectively prevent and manage infestations of bed bugs. For example, when traveling, use luggage racks to hold your luggage and do not place your luggage on the bed or floor. Upon returning home, unpack directly into a washing machine using hot water, and inspect your luggage carefully. To manage infestations, learn about the signs of bed bugs and carefully inspect mattresses and other fabrics for the presence of bed bugs. If discovered, control should begin immediately by removing clutter where bed bugs hide, sealing cracks, encasing mattresses, vacuuming, heat treatments, and the careful use of pesticide products explicitly approved for bed bugs.

  1. Don’t visit places where you are aware of or suspect there may be a bed bug infestation.
  2. Seek a professional exterminator. (sometimes cost prohibitive).
  3. Purchase professional products and do it yourself. (lots of work for two people, but affordable for most).

Common Bedbug Myths (Information furnished by EPA)

Myth: You can’t see a bed bug.
Reality: You should be able to see adult bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs with your naked eye.

Myth: Bed bugs live in dirty places.
Reality: Bed bugs are not attracted to dirt and grime; they are attracted to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide. However, clutter offers more hiding spots.

Myth: Bed bugs transmit diseases.
Reality: There have been no cases or studies that indicate bed bugs pass diseases from one host to another.

Myth: Bed bugs won’t come out if the room is brightly lit.
Reality: While bed bugs prefer darkness, keeping the light on at night won’t deter these pests from biting you.

Myth: Pesticide applications alone will easily eliminate bed bug infestations.
Reality: Bed bug control can only be maintained through a treatment strategy that includes a variety of techniques plus careful attention to monitoring. Proper use of pesticides may be part of the strategy, but will not by itself eliminate bed bugs. In addition, bed bug populations in different areas of the country have developed resistance to the ways many pesticides work to kill pests. If you’re dealing with a resistant population, some products and application methods may only make the problem worse. It is a good idea to consult a qualified pest management professional (PMP) if you have bed bugs in your home.

CREDITS: Wikipedia bed bug article, EPA Bed bugs in the US , PICTURES of Bed bugs

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About Mike Dukes, editor 58 Articles
I began my career in the Pest Control business in 1982 with Orkin. I started building Pest Control websites. Now since I retired two years ago. I share my years of knowledge in the pest control business and rate the new professional pest control products as I use them.

2 Comments on Bed Bugs Public Awareness

  1. Most effective and spmile tool for making sleeping place and clothes bed bug free is a micro-wave oven.I am amazed not one of your articles mentions this and should be the first thing anyone who has just discovered bedbugs should equip themselves with.As soon as you awake put each duvet cover, pillow case, sheet, pyjama, pants, night wear- whatever you were wearing in the Micro wave SEPERATELY.For that reason buy small size pillows that will fit in your microwave.This is a serious business and you must equip yourself with the correct hardware so that YOU CAN SLEEP SOUNDLY AGAIN.No Sleep is awful and you must get back good sleep before you will have the strength to really get seriousAlso if you live alone a good long mirror to observe the centre section of your own back as it is very hard to inspect this.You will need a small mirror as well to hold in your hand.Buy lots of small hooks and clothes hangers to allow you to suspend as many clothing items as possible.I know you advise that hair is good prevention against bites but first need is to FIND them so SHAVE OFF ALL BODY hair.It is no good not being sure that they are there or not. You have to know FOR SURE.gO TO CHEMIST and buy a small disposable syringe so that you can suck in freshly boiled water to drop VERY hot (not boiling obviously) in small locations where you think there may be a bug. This prevents you scratching and will kill the bastard.PLEASE ADVISE public to test how hot they can stand the water.I dont want to scald anybody but if you apply the very hot water from the syringe in small drops it will cause NO HARM but kill the little critter.It is useful when you find them on your sheets too as they die in one piece and can be removed without mess.Get a hairdryer.First vaacuum your floor/carpet as well as possible with a NEW VacuumBag, which you will use only for anti bed bug vaccuuming.Now get hairdryer and turn on and test how close it needs to be to SCALD (not burn) your carpet. Go over the carpet systematically. It takes ages but this is the best way I know of steralising your carpet of eggs, which WILL BE THERE.Also you can use the Hairdryer to go over your body.When they feel the heat the buggers drop off. So stands on a white material AND YOU WILL SEE THEM.I have just got over a bed bug attack and because I quickly found out that ALL SPRAYS ARE USELESS I had to work out how to get my normal life back.Going without sleep is really horrible experience.And any sane person will dread the thought of those little fokkers crawling through your hair and back.One night I felt them on my back and spun over, removed my shirt and TWO fell out and started to crawl away.They are very clever and know EXACTLY which part of your body you cannot inspect.If this has been any help please get back to me and I will provide more advice and will be prepared to write out a complete effective way of treating this problem as all sprays are of little help beyond giving you a worse rash than the bugs themselves.

  2. Bedbugs are small, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items.

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