Bed Bugs: An American Epidemic

bed bug with mouth parts highlighted with purple dye

We’ve all read about them, heard about them, and even been warned about them, and yet nothing could prepare us for the reality of a bed bug invasion. Though it may sound more dramatic than anything else, the truth is that in the last fifteen years, bed bug infestations have tremendously spiked in the United States of America, more than likely due to the increased number of people traveling abroad and back.

Bed Bugs – An Enemy We Cannot Ignore

There are plenty of characteristics which turn bed bugs into some of the most nefarious insects on the face of the planet. To begin with, once a fertile female has entered a building, chances are that the whole place will be infested in a matter of weeks, if not days. They reproduce at tremendous speeds and rates, and only a full-scale gas-based extermination can actually rid a building from them. What’s worse, they are excellent travelers as they can latch on to clothes and suitcases, which is precisely how they manage to spread from one city to another.

Their attacks are calculated and vicious, waiting until the night comes down to crawl out of their little hiding holes to keep us company in bed. And by keeping company, we mean sucking your blood and leaving you with unsightly red spots that itch more than acne. Given enough time, they can make anyone’s life a long and painful nightmare.

Scanning Your Home For Bed Bugs

Because they have managed to nest in our homes, our victory against the bed bugs must begin with knowledge; more precisely, you need to know how to detect their presence, preferably before they have had a time to launch a full-scale infestation of the building. Bed bugs have very flat and thin bodies, allowing them to squeeze in the smallest cracks and crevices inside your furniture as well as your walls. Contrary to what their name may suggest, bed bugs are more often than not found in clothes, suitcases, and wooden furnishings. Remember to check along your zippers and especially in your warmer and fuzzier clothes.

One of their greatest telltale signs is the red track that they leave on the sheets once they have filled up with your blood. You are generally going to find said streaks on your bed, especially around the edges. In addition to that, infested rooms have been reported to have a smell of almonds, while the bugs themselves smell like rotten raspberries.

The Worst Bed Bug Infested Cities

To give you a better perspective of just how important this problem is to the American people, the government is actually keeping rankings of its cities based on the number of bed bug-related interventions that happened in them. In other words, we are keeping tabs on our war on bed bugs, and what follows is a list of five of our most heavily-touched warzones in that regard [source:Orkin.com]:

  1. Chicago
  2. Detroit
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Denver
  5. Cincinnati

Apart from a handful of cities, including Cincinnati, New York, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Richmond, Petersburg and Honolulu, pretty much every American city on the top 50 saw an increase in bed bug exterminations with the Seattle/Tacoma area seeing the biggest jump, jumping 14 places. In other words, the time has come to take the fight to them, and every citizen must play his and her role; we cannot stand by and simply let them suck the blood of our children for generations to come, especially considering they get more resistant to our methods with each passing day. You can use this website to learn about how to kill bed bugs, which has great resources like a “What Kills Bed Bugs FAQ” found here.

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