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New Bed Bug Survey Shows Problem is Not Waning; Bed Bug Awareness Week Calls for Attention
National Pest Management Association and University of Kentucky find nearly all pest professionals in the U.S. have treated bed bugs in the past year; most in residential settings
FAIRFAX Va. - The new 2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky, found that bed bug infestations in the United States continue at high rates and the pest is as much, if not more of a problem than in years past. The survey of U.S. pest management professionals, found that 99.6 percent of respondents encountered bed bug infestations in the past year and that infestations have increased in the majority of locations in which pest professionals typically treat for bed bugs. The study is being released during Bed Bug Awareness Week (April 22 through 26), a national observance by NPMA and Chase’s Book of Lists to help spread public awareness about bed bugs and what people can do to help curb infestations.
This is the third survey from NPMA and the University of Kentucky which tracks the bed bug problem since the resurgence of the pest began in earnest about three years ago. The previous survey was conducted in 2011.
According to the survey, bed bugs are overwhelmingly found in private residences including apartments, condominiums and single-family homes and the incidence of infestations in these environments is slightly higher compared to the 2011 findings.
“These results clearly show that there is still much work to be done in the fight against bed bugs,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “As Americans prepare for summer travel, enroll their children in summer camps and college students return home, we hope that these survey findings and Bed Bug Awareness Week observances will remind the public that bed bugs are still very much a problem and that with education and vigilance we can work together to decrease the easy spread of bed bugs.”
Below are the top five findings from the 2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey:
1. Nearly all (99.6 percent) pest professionals have treated bed bugs in the past year, slightly higher than the 99 percent that reported the same in 2011.
2. The majority of bed bug infestations occur in residential settings, such as apartments/condominiums and single-family homes, with 98 percent and 96 percent of respondents treating these dwellings respectively. Two years ago, about nine out of ten respondents reported treating infestations in these settings.
3. As in previous years, survey respondents continue to treat for bed bugs in a variety of places outside private residences, such as college dorms, hotels, nursing homes, offices, schools and daycare centers, hospitals, public transportation and others:
- Hotels/motels – 75 percent (80 percent in 2011)
- College dorms – 47 percent (54 percent in 2011)
- Nursing homes – 46 percent (46 percent in 2011)
- Office buildings – 36 percent (38 percent in 2011)
- Schools and day care centers – 41 percent (36 percent in 2011)
- Hospitals – 33 percent (31 percent in 2011)
- Transportation (train/bus/taxi) – 21 percent (18 percent in 2011)
- Movie theaters – 10 percent (17 percent in 2011)
- Retail stores – 15 percent (21 percent in 2011)
- Libraries – 12 percent (8 percent in 2011)
- Restaurants – 7 percent (6 percent in 2011)
- Airplanes – 2 percent (6 percent in 2011)
- Laundromats – 9 percent (6 percent in 2011)
NOTE: Percentages denote professionals reporting treating bed bugs in specific locations.
4. Clutter contributes to the problem as approximately two-thirds of respondents point to homeowner clutter as the biggest customer-oriented challenge in treating bed bugs, while 58 percent say customers not following advice and 16 percent point to re-infestation. Bed bugs continue to be the most difficult pest to treat according the 76 percent of respondents.
5. Although not a seasonal pest, prime bed bug time appears to be during the summer months with nearly half (49 percent) of respondents saying infestations occur most often then and least often in the winter. While pest professionals are divided over whether there is “peak season” for bed bugs, more than half of those who notice a seasonal difference receive more calls during summer. Since people tend to travel and relocate more during the summer months, it is possible that a greater number of people unknowingly transport the bugs back home from their travels, or discover them soon after moving.
More information can be found at AllThingsBedBugs.org, NPMA’s resource on everything bed bug related, from prevention tips to current news.
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information, visit PestWorld.org.