Bed Bug Resurgence an Opportunity for Some

The <"">Great Bed Bug Comeback apparently isn’t bad news for everyone. According to a new report by The New York Times, some companies are finding that a recent rash of bed bug infestations in hotels, office buildings, apartment buildings and even movie theaters, is good business for them.

According to the article, the cost to apply pesticides aimed at eliminating bed bugs can range from $750 for a few rooms in an office building to $70,000 for a large apartment complex. To really make sure the pests are gone, it will cost another 40 percent over-and-above that to place all the contents of an office or retail space into a heat chamber. Bed bugs die if they are exposed to 120 degree heat, the Times noted.

Hiring bedbug-sniffing dogs, considered the most effective detection technique, costs about $250 for a 1,200-square-foot retail store and as much as $10,000 for a million-square-foot department store, the Times said.

Pest control firms aren’t the only businesses benefiting from the recent bed bug boom. According to the Times, bed bug-related lawsuits have been increasing since 2003, and several lawyers now advertise themselves as specialists in such litigation. Out-of-court settlements in such lawsuits can range from $5,000 to six figures.

Other businesses benefiting from the bed bug scourge include Protect-A-Bed, based in Chicago, which makes mattress encasements to keep out mites and bed bugs. The company developed the product in 2004 and had sales of $10 million last year, the Times said.

Once virtually eliminated in the US, bed bug complaints are now sky-rocketing. The bed bug problem has become so bad that just last month, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a joint statement on bed bug control. Though the exact cause is not known, experts suspect the resurgence of bed bugs is associated with increased resistance of bed bugs to available pesticides, greater international and domestic travel, lack of knowledge regarding control of bed bugs, and the continuing decline or elimination of effective pest control programs at state and local public health agencies.

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