Once upon a time, “Goodnight! Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” seemed like a quaint old-fashioned saying – not actual advice. While bed bugs have bothered human beings for centuries, the common bed bug was largely eradicated from most developed countries back in the 1940s.
That all started to change a few decades ago. Pest control professionals started to notice a slight uptick in the early 2000s, and by 2008, nearly 91% of those surveyed said they’d encountered these incredibly invasive insects.
So, why are they such a problem all over again?
It’s a multi-factored issue, with no clear resolutions. Broadly, experts believe that the change is related to:
- Increased population density, often with rapid turnover among residents (which is why they are particularly prevalent in hotels, apartments, nursing homes and dorms)
- Increased population mobility, including among international travelers, who may unwittingly pick up bed bugs in their luggage and bring them back
- A general lack of knowledge about how to spot bed bugs and prevent infestations, which is to be expected among people who haven’t had to cope with the problem in decades
- Ineffective pest control methods, which have led to increased resistance to pesticides among the bed bugs
Ultimately, the best thing the average person can do is to take steps to reduce the chances of a bed bug infestation wherever they go, especially if they’re traveling. This means:
- Keeping your belongings securely stowed away from the belongings of others.
- Looking carefully in areas where bed bugs may have been left behind, including break rooms at work, storage areas, the couch in a common area in a dorm and under the mattress in a hotel room.
- Recognize that bed bug infestations can happen anywhere. You’re no less likely to pick up a bed bug infestation in a four-star luxury resort than you are in an ordinary roadside motel.
If you’ve suffered physical injuries and financial losses due to bed bug bites, there are potential options available.