CHICAGO--()--Leading experts participating in a recent Bed Bug Summit have called 2012 a critical year in the goal to control the U.S. bed bug invasion. Entomologists, pest control professionals and manufacturers of products designed to stem the bed bug tide all weighed-in, and agreed that what we do this year will be crucial.
“Now that the industry has begun working together it’s easier to see the best way forward.”
“Each year the challenges of fighting bed bugs change and grow,” said James Bell, CEO of Protect-A-Bed, a company that makes mattress encasement products to keep bed bugs away from their human prey. “Now that the industry has begun working together it’s easier to see the best way forward.”
Some Cities Winning, Others in the Crosshairs
Experts agreed that bed bug reports in some large U.S. cities – such as New York – will plateau in 2012 due mainly to increased education and prevention. However, they caution that the number of reports is expected to grow in other cities not previously experiencing high levels of bed bug colonies, especially in Southern states.
Out of Home Infestations to Rise
Most of the experts also predicted a “significant increase” in bed bug colonies outside the home, in places like hotels and office buildings.
According to Peter Trentacoste, assistant vice president of Student Affairs at Northern Kentucky University, staying vigilant for bed bugs is important to keeping the pests out of public places. He explained that in order to fight the bugs, talking about the issue and providing education is a key.
“In relation to colleges and universities, there are quite a few places that continue to have their heads in the sand,” Trentacoste said. “They don’t want to talk about bed bugs until they have a major issue.”
Bed Bugs Struggle Worse for Some Americans than Others
While anyone can be affected by bed bugs regardless of their income or where they live, the ability to deal with the situation can vary a lot. “People with means tend to get bed bugs once, pay the costs to eliminate them quickly and learn ways to avoid them,” said Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, senior extension associate for the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell University. “But for people that live in moderate-income, multi-family housing, it becomes less feasible to eliminate bed bugs once a certain number of units are infested.”
Gangloff-Kaufmann said many landlords who spent $80,000 or more in the bed bug battle between 2009 and 2010 are now out of money, though the bed bug threat remains.
Wayne Walker, owner of Walker Pest Consulting, added that bed bug treatments have become so expensive it is difficult for many Americans to afford the $500 to $1,000 cost of bed bug treatments. Home remedies, unfortunately, are usually ineffective and can actually make the infestation worse.
All of these facts lead to what experts agree is the biggest bed bug challenge we face as a nation: finding methods of treatment that are effective but affordable.
Call for Education
Bed bug bites can affect people differently. About half of the population does not show an immediate reaction to the bites on their skin, leaving many unaware they have an infestation.
“Even before an infestation occurs, people can protect themselves by using entry, escape and bite proof mattress and box spring encasements,” Protect-A-Bed’s James Bell said. “They help people see the signs of an infestation while keeping the bugs from spreading to other areas of the home.”
Protect-A-Bed products feature patented BugLock® with Secure Seal® technologies. More information about bed bug management solutions and Protect-A-Bed is available at www.protectabed.com.
Protect-A-Bed offers consumers a complete line of protective bedding products because every mattress needs protection. Now selling in 30 countries for over 30 years, the company is a worldwide leader in mattress protection innovation. Protect-A-Bed products help create a dry, hygienic, bed bug free and anti-allergy sleep zone while protecting the mattress warranty. The company developed the proprietary Miracle Membrane® and patented BugLock® with SecureSeal® and three-sided zipper system. Protect-A-Bed products are listed as Class 1 Medical Devices with the Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada, and have received the Good Housekeeping Seal. For more information, visit www.protectabed.com