“Bed Bug Summit” Begins

This month alone, we have written about bed bugs—which traditionally have only appeared periodically in motels and hotels—turning up in colleges, hospitals, and, yesterday, in NikeTown in Manhattan, causing a temporary shutdown of that establishment. Now, ABC News is reporting that in response to the rapidly growing problem, the first annual North American Bedbug Summit begins in Chicago. The event, to be attended by scientists, manufacturers, exterminators, and bug experts, sold out in just a few days.

Also in attendance at the two-day conference are those impacted by the pests, such as colleges, “military housing, shelters, and group homes,” said ABC News. The conference will include seminars explaining detection devices, as well as how to locate and fumigate for bed bugs. “Bed bugs hide very well, so a lot of times you can’t get pesticides to these bugs because they’re in areas you can’t access and that’s why it’s such a difficult thing to control,” said Jeffrey White, an entomologist specializing in bed bugs, quoted ABC News.

A variety of emerging products is also expected to be highlighted, including items that superheat suitcases, a plastic bag to encase suitcases, traps, and dissolvable laundry bags that enable users to keep clothing protected while waiting to be washed and that both dissolves the bags and kills the bugs during washing, said ABC News.

According to the National Pest Management Association reports of bed bug infestations have risen a massive 500 percent in the prior five years, with New York City reporting close to 11,000 bed bug complaints in 2009 and Chicago seeing a 75-percent increase in 2009, said ABC News.

In addition to writing about NikeTown, Nike’s Manhattan flagship store, yesterday, we also discussed how, while it is widely known that bed bugs have been plaguing hotels and motels with infestations becoming more and more prevalent and widespread, the pests have been reported in movie theatres; offices; dressing rooms; and, most recently, hospitals and colleges. ABC News also wrote that bed bugs have invaded Victoria’s Secret, Hollister, and Abercrombie and Fitch. Such infestations can result in temporary closing.

Now, five states have sought assistance from the Department of Defense and Ohio asked the Environmental Protection Agency for special permission to use a banned pesticide to eradicate its problem, said ABC news.

Resolving an infestation can cost thousands of dollars in funds that are not always covered by insurance for individuals; however, retailers and larger entities face even higher fees.

Many believe bed bug infestations are tied to travel and the reduced use of powerful pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), which was banned in the 1960s, as well as the use of narrow spectrum products targeting specific pests, allowing others to survive.

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