Good night, Sleep tight; don’t let the Bed Bugs Bite!

When my parents tucked me in at night with this little saying, I never thought bed bugs actually existed.  Now it seems news articles about the resurgence of bed bugs in the United States are being published at an alarming frequency.   Although bed bugs have actually been around since the 1700’s most had been wiped out by the use of pesticides like DDT in the World War II era.  Because of this heavy reliance on pesticides to mitigate the bed bug problem, most bed bugs today have developed a resistance to commonly used pesticides.   I recently attended a talk at the EPA Region 6, 20th Annual Quality Assurance Conference by Weste Osbrink from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on bed bugs.  He noted that there are a few non-chemical means of helping to eliminate a bed bug infestation.  One way is to treat the area with extremely cold or hot temperatures.  It is important to make sure that all possible infected areas are treated.  This means disassembling furniture, taking pictures off of the wall, and even removing baseboards.  One can prevent bed bug infestation by using caulk around any possible openings around piping, use a plastic mattress cover, and fill any cracks or voids. After attending this very informing, yet kind of disturbing talk I went back to my hotel room and thoroughly inspected the mattress for any signs of bed bugs.  The first sign of a bed bug problem is little blood spots on the sheets and mattresses.  If you find that you have a bed bug problem and non-chemical means to treating a bed bug infestation are not feasible, the EPA has just released a Pesticide search tool to help consumers choose a safe product to use for bed bug infestations.  I guess one thing that may help you sleep better at night is there have been no reports of diseases being carried by bed bugs.  So good night, sleep tight; and seriously don’t let those bed bugs bite!

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