Bed Bug Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for help with your bed bug questions? The NPMA’s bed bug FAQ has the answers! Read on to find answers to the most common bed bug questions.

 
Has there really been a resurgence in bedbugs in the U.S. and how do you know?

There has been an increase in bedbug infestations. In fact, a 2013 NPMA survey of pest professionals found that 99.6 percent of respondents have encountered a bed bug infestation in the past year. Prior to 2000, only 25 percent of respondents had encountered a bed bug infestation. In addition, one in five Americans now report they have had a bedbug infestation or know someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel, according to a 2011 NPMA survey.

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Where have you been finding the bedbugs?

These pests are not limited to any one specific type of dwelling. Pest control companies have been reporting the infestations everywhere including single family homes, multi-family housing, apartments, hotels, hospitals, schools and college campuses, office buildings, retail stores, movie theaters and even public transportation. Nowadays, even five-star hotels and high-end clothing stores are susceptible to infestation.

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What states have been affected?

Pest control companies have reported bed bug activity on a national scale. Bedbugs are being found from the East to the West Coast and everywhere in between. Specifically, the pests were encountered by 17 percent of Bed Bugs in America survey respondents in the Northeast; 20 percent in the Midwest; 20 percent in the South; and 19 percent in the West.

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Why are bedbugs so hard to treat?

Bedbugs should not be equated with filth or sanitation problems -- in hotels or in homes, for that matter. Bedbugs are very elusive, transient pests. They are often found in other areas besides the bed. And they are hardy. They can live for several months without eating and can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Bedbugs can be controlled with vigilance, constant inspection and treatment by professional pest control companies.

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What can a consumer do to protect themselves from bedbug infestations?

To prevent bedbug infestations, consumers need to be vigilant in assessing their surroundings. When returning from a trip, check your luggage and clothing. If you think you may have a bed bug infestation, contact a pest control professional. This is not a pest that can be controlled with do-it-yourself measures.

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Why are bedbugs an issue for hotels, visitors, and homeowners?

Bedbugs leave itchy, bloody welts on human skin. Adult bed bugs can live for several months without eating, making them especially hard to control. Once inside a hotel or home, bed bugs spread rapidly from room to room - through pipes, in vacuum cleaners, on clothing and luggage. In a hotel, bed bugs can even spread to neighboring rooms, since guests are may end up moving to another room.

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Are bedbugs just in beds?

Bedbugs are not just in beds. They can be in chair cushions, sofas, behind electrical outlets, cracks and crevices around baseboards, or even behind picture frames. In other words, they can be live pretty much anywhere.

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How does one control bedbugs?

Any effective bedbug control strategy should start with a careful, thorough inspection by a pest control professional of all known and suspected spots where the bugs may be harboring. This is not a pest that can be controlled effectively with do-it-yourself measures. As they are discovered, the pest control professional will develop a treatment and control strategy with the customer depending on the extent of the infestation.

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Can I get sick from bedbugs?

Bedbugs are not known to spread any diseases to humans. However, their bites can leave behind itchy, red welts which can become infected from scratching.

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