Just the mention of bed bugs causes most people to involuntarily shudder. Over the past ten years these creepy little infiltrators have staged a comeback of epic proportions in the United States. Many experts attribute the re-emergence of the bed bug to the fact that DDT, a highly toxic pesticide once in common use, is no longer being used due to environmental and health concerns. These critters are now being reported in homes, schools, office buildings, hospitals and schools across the entire nation.
It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact causes of the epic bed bug comeback, but the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tend to blame it on “increased resistance of bed bugs to available pesticides, greater international and domestic travel, lack of knowledge regarding control of bed bugs due to their prolonged absence, and the continuing decline or elimination of effective vector/pest control programs at state and local public health agencies.”
Bed bugs are notorious road warriors, hitching a ride in suitcases, pocketbooks, and clothing, and reach their destinations just like we do – via cars, planes, trains, and other common modes of transportation. This ability to travel has allowed the spread of bed bugs to virtually everywhere in the country, although as we will see, some locations have been harder hit than others.
Considering the propensity of these creepy crawlers to travel, it’s no surprise that massive infiltrations have been reported in major urban centers that are magnets for travelers and tourists. New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C. are areas that have been particularly hard hit.
Interestingly, the big “winner” when it comes to bed bug infestation is the state of Ohio. The Buckeye state “boasts” three cities that are particularly bugged (see what I did there?) by these pests – Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus. The exact reasons why Ohio is seemingly under siege remains a mystery, but some pest control experts suggest this may be due to the fact that people are simply more proactive about the problem in Ohio, and therefore more apt to report it and ask for professional help.
The National Pesticide Information Center, an organization that offers advice about pesticide usage and other related issues, keeps track of bed bug infestations by state. Their findings back up what pest control companies are reporting nationwide â€“ most complaints of bed bug infiltration originate in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, and the aforementioned Ohio. As of late, the state of Oregon is also getting in on the act, with calls reporting bed bugs coming in on a weekly basis.
Some states have even felt the need to introduce bed bug inspired legislation to combat the problem. For example, the State of New York now insists that landlords must disclose to prospective tenants upfront whether a unit they are considering renting has ever had a history of bed bug infestation.
So, what should you do if you suspect these little travelers have decided to move in on your living space? If you see bed bugs in your home or have been bitten by one, it is vitally important to address the problem immediately. Do not hesitate to contact an extermination company that offers bed bug control. A proactive approach is always best, as procrastination will lead to the infestation quickly worsening, meaning it will be more difficult and costly to eradicate.