There’s no doubt about it: bed bugs are back! And understandably, the recent rise in the bed bug population has many people concerned.
Pre-World War II times, it was estimated that nearly 30% of American homes had bed bugs. After World War II, many long-lasting pesticides were commonly used indoors. Bed bugs were nearly absent for 50 years in America. However, reports show that they may never have truly disappeared, but were very uncommon, until the late 1990’s. It is unknown exactly why the sudden resurgence of bed bugs in America, but two possible reasons have been recently cited. The first is the change in pest control products used by professionals over the years. With the entire planet focused on “going green”, products have become less and less toxic and designed to break down much faster than those used in the past. Thus, survival rates of bed bugs have increased due to the lack of non-targeted poisoning.
The second main reason is the huge increase in worldwide air travel. Bed bugs are nature’s hitchhikers, which unknowingly find their way into travelers’ luggage while staying in infested hotel rooms. The bugs are brought back home and slowly infest their new place of residence. More recently, we have seen bed bug issues in all sorts of public places from movie theaters to subway trains.
If thought you may have the beginning of a bed bug infestation, it is best to seek the help of a professional pest controller. Bed bugs are by no means a “do it yourself” type of job. Signs of an infestation would be waking up with small red itchy welts on the body. These are where the bed bugs have feasted on the host’s blood while they lay asleep at night. Other signs to look for are small black ink stains in and around the seams of your mattress. These stains are caused by the bugs’ fecal excretions following a blood meal. You also may find cast bodies (as they drop their skins when they molt), and the presence of the bugs themselves. Bed bugs are very small and good at hiding so they might not be very easy to spot. If in question, call a professional. If one lets a bed bug problem get out of hand, it can take much longer and cost a lot more to take care of the problem.