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Bed Bug Problems Are Not Declining

By Chris Williams on May 21, 2013.

Bed bugs on the rise
You may have heard on the news that bed bugs are finally declining in the U.S. Not true. Don’t know where they got their data but if you talk to anyone in the pest control business, you’ll hear otherwise.

The National Pest Management Association, which is the trade association of pest control companies, recently conducted its third industry survey on bed bugs. This 2013 survey interviewed 251 pest management businesses across the nation. It wasn’t a surprise to find that nearly every pest control company surveyed (99.6%) has dealt with bed bugs in the past year. Seven out of ten respondents said that bed bug infestations were increasing; only 3% felt that the incidence of bed bugs was decreasing.

The greatest number of bed bug infestations is still in residences, but not just apartments. Single-family homes have bed bug problems almost as often. Ninety-eight percent of the companies said they have treated for bed bugs in apartments or condominiums, and 96% have treated single-family homes for bed bugs.

One trend that has been evident over the course of three national bed bug surveys (2010, 2011, 2013) is that bed bugs have moved from being almost strictly a home pest to being common a pest in other sites like hospitals, hotels, schools, even buses and movie theaters. Americans have easily moved the hitchhiking bed bugs from their bedrooms into public places–which we refer to as non-bed sites.

In 2013, 75% of pest control companies reported treating hotels for bed bugs compared to 67% in 2010. Nursing homes were treated by 46% of 2013 responders, compared to 25% in 2010. Hospitals were treated by 33% of 2013 responders, compared to 12% in 2010. Treatment of schools for bed bugs has risen from 10% of companies in 2010, to 36% in 2011, to 41% of pest control companies treating schools in 2013.

Not all non-bed sites have increased in bed bug incidence in the past year, however. Ten percent of recent respondents had treated movie theaters, compared to 17% of companies in 2011. Treatment of retail stores for bed bugs has dropped from 21% in 2011 to 15% in 2013. In 2011, 54% of all pest control companies had treated college dormitories, compared to 47% of companies in 2013.

Bottom line is that this 2013 survey of pest control professionals found that, overall, bed bugs are still very much alive and are commanding more attention than ever before. Now is not the time to let down your guard where bed bugs are concerned!

Photo credit: Gilles San Martin / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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