Environmental Strain Is Bringing Out Bed Bugs
Alexandria, VA – In the Rolling Stones song “Shattered,” there are “rats on the west side, bed bugs uptown, what a mess,” and they aren’t joking about the bed bugs part. It can be a mess.
Ew! Sharing the bed with these tiny blood-sucking insects known as bed bugs has a disgusting ring to it, but it remains a problem in this world, so much so that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a whole section dedicated to addressing this problem.
Bed bugs were common before World War II. With the increase in pesticide use, the numbers went down, and they became less common around 1960. But bed bugs have made a comeback. Since the 1990s, bed bugs have become a common pest in the United States. The steady increase in bed bug inquiries to the National Pesticide Information Center over the past decade indicates that public awareness and concern about bed bugs are rising.
If you find a bed in your home infested with bed bugs, don’t panic. The EPA recommends first making sure they are actual bed bugs, washing the sheets in hot water, and cleaning the room thoroughly. Vacuum thoroughly to get them out of the flooring. Then break out the blow dryer and turn the heat on high. Bed bugs don’t do well in a hot environment.
All secondhand or new-to-you furniture must be checked thoroughly before bring it into your house. Bed bugs are great hitchhikers and can move from an infested site to a new home by traveling on furniture, bedding, luggage, boxes, and clothing. If you’re staying in a hotel, inspect the luggage rack in your hotel room for bed bugs.
Sprays are available that work, so look for something with chemicals like permethrin. Sherwin Williams, the paint people, make a spray called 887 Multi-Use Insecticide Spray containing permethrin. But, as with other environmental problems, sometimes it’s best to hire a professional. Just be aware that this may take multiple visits.
The Fairfax County website (fairfaxcounty.gov) has a section titled “Bed Bugs: Your Residential Reference Guide,” which includes much of the information the EPA has is posted..
A website called BedbugReports.com reports bed bug incidents in hotels and apartments. You can click on the name of your Virginia city to find the latest bed bug reports in your community. You can also report a new bed bug incident.
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