Pest Control Association Says Bed Bug Infestations are on the Uptick
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Bedbugs are on the uptick in hotels, on public transport and in
other public places.
So says a new survey from the National Pest
Management Association (NPMA) survey. It found that
infestations -- even in hospitals -- are up over last year.
Even the pest-control industry "has been surprised" by the
resurgence of bedbugs and "where they're being found," NPMA public
affairs VP Missy Henriksen tells me.
According to the just-released NPMA/University of Kentucky 2011
"Bugs Without Borders Survey," involving 415 pest-control
specialists, the creepy crawlers have multiplied and are found in
places you might not expect.
Survey findings include:
* 99% of pest professionals have seen bedbug infestations in the
past year (up from 95% in 2010)
*80% of pest professionals have treated bedbugs in
hotels/motels, compared with 67% in 2010
*73% of pest professionals believe bedbugs are the most
difficult pest to treat
*54% have treated bedbugs in college dorms, up from 35% in
*46% have treated bedbugs in nursing homes, vs. 25% in 2010
*38% have treated bedbugs in office buildings, compared with 18%
* 36% have treated bedbugs in schools and day care centers, vs.
10% in 2010. That's an amazing increase, as is the 31% who say
they've found bedbugs in hospitals, vs. 12% in 2010
*18% have treated bedbugs in trains, buses or taxis, compared
with 9% in 2010
*17% have dealt with bedbugs in movie theaters; 5% in 2010
Why the increase? "Bedbugs are
hitchhikers," Henriksen says. More of us are traveling, and we lead
increasingly mobile lives. Also, strong chemicals formerly used to
treat bedbugs haven't been allowed for decades, freeing the little
biters to thrive.
The good news, if one can call it that, is that infestations can
be treated, by steam, heat, freezing, chemicals, vacuuming or a
combination of the above, Henriksen says. She offers some tips for
*When checking into a hotel, check behind the headboard
and on the mattress for stains -- blood or fecal matter
indicating bedbugs may be present.
*Try to avoid leaving luggage on upholstered
surfaces. The safest place is in the bathroom, on counters
or in the shower, because the bugs don't like uncarpeted or
non-upholstered surfaces with no place to hide.
*While many find sites such as bedbugregistry.com, which contain reports by
travelers and others about infestations, useful, Henriksen
warns that since complaints are anonymous, they could be
written by disgruntled competitors or employees. And a bedbug
infestation that's here today could be gone tomorrow if the hotel
has a good pest control policy, she says. "And hotels are much more
proactive now," she says. Maybe, but if I see multiple, detailed
reports of problems at a hotel, I don't make a reservation. Better
to be safe than sorry.
*The bad news is that more bedbugs are being found on trains and
planes, she says. So it's important to be vigilant when you arrive
That means immediately taking out all clothes and washing and
drying them on "hot," she says. Or bag them and send them to the
dry cleaner if they're delicate. Vacuum the suitcase thoroughly and
dispose of the vacuum bag, she says.
Good tips. Do readers have any more? Have any of you brought
bedbugs home from a trip and how did you eradicate them?