In the News – Bed Bugs Are Here to Stay!

By Chris Williams on September 11, 2013.

Bed bugYou might have thought that the bed bug scare was declining because you weren’t hearing about them as often anymore. Not so, according to Virginia Tech bed bug expert and professor Dr. Dini Miller. “We’re into bed bugs now and forever,” Miller said.

Not only are bed bugs not declining, but the numbers of bed bugs are still increasing—especially in multiunit housing. Bristol Virginia public housing authority Executive Director Dave Baldwin says, “We have regular, ongoing problems with bed bugs. Every week we are in some stage of the process of inspecting someone’s apartment, getting a complaint, arranging for a pest control guy to confirm, or actually doing the treatments.” Since April, the Authority has spent $23,000 on bed bug eradication.

For many of us, bed bugs will be like cockroaches or ants. They will always be around in certain situations and for certain people. And all of us have to get used to the idea that we could be unlucky enough to have a bed bug encounter at any time. Miller says that we need to adjust our minds to that way of thinking and start figuring out just how we are going to live with this pest…because it’s not going away.

Miller says that because of the regulations governing new pesticides, there won’t be a miracle product that will eliminate bed bugs. Bed bugs have a high level of resistance to current pesticides. “We don’t have a good answer, so we’re working on a program with a combination of ways to keep these pests suppressed.”

Small bed bug infestations are fairly easily treated, but larger infestations can take much longer to resolve. We can get bed bugs out of specific locations, Miller says, like a single family home or an individual apartment. But getting rid of them in a whole apartment complex is a real challenge. “We can get rid of 97%, but those last few are harder. The habits of the people, the amount of clutter they have in their house really protect the bed bugs.”

Miller’s final piece of advice? Don’t “freak out” about the bed bug situation. “We’ve got to get past the freaking out so we can start dealing with it intelligently.”

[David McGee, The Roanoke Times, Sept. 5, 2013]

Medill DC / / CC BY



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