EPA To Hold Bed Bug Summit In February

To help find solutions to the nation’s bed bug problem, the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup is convening a second national summit set for February 1-2, 2011, in Washington, D.C. The summit is open to the public and will focus on ways the federal government and others can continue to work together on management and control of these pests, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced.

The first federal bed bug summit was held by the EPA in April 2009. Since, EPA has helped organize the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup, which consists of EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and National Institutes of Health.

In response to Manhattan’s increasing problem with bed bugs, New York City previously hosted a beg bug conference. Also, lawmakers and industry met in Washington last month to discuss the outbreak at the Congressional Bedbug Forum.

February’s summit’s agenda will feature discussions on progress since the last summit from various perspectives, including federal, state, and local governments; research; housing industry; and pest management industry. The agenda also includes identifying knowledge gaps and barriers to effective community-wide bed bug control, proposals for next steps in addressing knowledge gaps and eliminating barriers, and developing a framework for addressing the highest priority needs.

As a reminder, there are steps people can take to prevent bed bugs, said the EPA: 

• Remove clutter where bed bugs can hide.

• Seal cracks and crevices.

• Vacuum rugs and upholstered furniture thoroughly and frequently, as well as vacuuming under beds. Take the vacuum bag outside immediately and dispose in a sealed trash bag.

• Wash and dry clothing and bed sheets at high temperatures; heat can kill bed bugs.

• Be alert and monitor for bed bugs so they can be treated before a major infestation occurs.

• Before using any pesticide product, READ THE LABEL FIRST, then follow the directions; check product labels to be sure products are identified for use on bed bugs. If bed bugs are not listed on the label, the pesticide has not been tested for bed bugs and it may not be effective.

Before the summit, the federal workgroup will meet with researchers to evaluate and develop a research agenda related to bed bugs.

The summit will be held at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center at 3800 Reservoir Road, N.W., Washington, D.C. The agenda and information on attending the meeting via webinar will be available on EPA’s website.

Meanwhile, at least five states have sought assistance from the Department of Defense and the state of Ohio has asked the EPA for permission to use a banned pesticide to help eradicate the problem there.

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