Pest Control Expert Says Bed Bugs Will Get Worse

After near eradication of the pests in the United States, it seems as if bed bugs have returned in earnest and have no intention of leaving. Worse, according to experts, expect the increase in infestations to continue. Now, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are reporting that the US is experiencing what Wake My NC described as an “alarming” return of the tiny bloodsucking parasites.

Bed bugs have been plaguing hotels and motels with infestations becoming more and more prevalent and widespread. Now, infestations have been reported in movie theatres; offices; dressing rooms; hospitals; colleges; at stores, including Nike Inc.’s flagship store, NikeTown, in Manhattan, Victoria’s Secret, Hollister, and Abercrombie and Fitch; at least one New York City theater; and housing projects and tony apartments alike. At least 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.

The growing problem with bedbug infestations has been linked to increased travel; the reduced use of powerful pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), which was banned in the 1960s; and use of narrow spectrum products targeting specific pests, allowing others to survive. This has led to what appears to be a pesticide resistance that the pests are developing, which has led the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a warning against using outdoor chemicals indoors. Some of these chemicals are known to have adverse effects on the central nervous system and can cause skin and eye irritation and cancer.

According to at least one pest control firm, it previously received “… five to ten bed bug calls per week. Now we get five to ten a day,” said Donnie Shelton, owner of Triangle Pest Control, quoted Wake My NC. The CDC said public health agencies nationwide have been besieged with reports of the nuisance pests, said Wake MY NC.

Because of pesticide resistance, the only way in which to rid oneself of an infestation is through heat. “It’s the only true way to get rid of bed bugs,” explained Shelton, quoted Wake My NC. In response, Shelton’s firm large wheeled devices that heat a room sufficiently to kill bed bugs, noted Wake My NC. It takes at least four hours of temperatures of about 140 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the bugs, which are known to easily hide, making them virtually undetectable, explained Wake My NC.

Some firms use trained dogs to sniff out bed begs. According to Triangle Pest, “…we get the dog out, identify all the places where they are, then tear the room apart,” said Shelton, quoted Wake My NC. Once the bed bugs are located, heat is applied.

Each bed bug lays hundreds of eggs; hatched bugs reproduce quickly. “I see it getting a lot worse before it gets better,” predicted Shelton, wrote Wake My NC. “The problem is, as an industry we don’t really have a good way of treating bed bugs other than heat. And because it’s a newer technology, it’ll take some time for that to get out,” he added.

Because the pests are indiscriminate, it is nearly impossible to avoid them. Shelton advises stopping infestations from entering your home by putting newly purchased clothing or clothing that has been on vacation with you into a dryer for at least thirty minutes, don’t bring suitcases inside and wrap them in plastic, which will keep the bugs from escaping. If your attic is hot enough, put the wrapped suitcase in that heat.

In New York, the city implemented an outreach and information program, with information accessible here.

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