America is being invaded. The invaders are bedbugs, those creepy night crawling things our mothers warned us about. What once hid under the sheets is making a very public debut. Bedbugs are relentlessly spreading across the nation. A movie theater complex in New York City was infested along with retail stores and hotels. The bedbug invasion is so severe in Ohio that state officials met with the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the use of certain pesticides to contain out-of-control infestations in Cincinnati and other cities.
And the tiny pests are not resting on their laurels in Ohio. Reports from neighboring Michigan indicate bedbugs are taking up residence in hotels and homes in Detroit, Pontiac and Grand Rapids. Though Ohio has been tagged with the unappealing title “Bedbug Capital of of the United States,” a report issued by pest control giant Terminix shows Philadelphia, New York, and Detroit as the U.S. cities with the worst bedbug infestation.
Reasons for the Return of Bedbugs are Uncertain
Authorities are unable to pinpoint a reason that bedbugs are making a comeback.
CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, noted there are many theories, but it is possible the alarming rise in bedbug infestations is due to the natural cycles of nature, where certain species become extinct and others flourish.
Other possible explanations are that bedbugs have, like many other species developed a resistance to common pesticides. Bedbugs are also notorious hitchhikers, with more and more people traveling around the world, bedbugs can spread from hotel to hotel, setting up shop in new locations very quickly.
Bedbugs Are Not Associated With Uncleanliness or Health Risks
Though many people associate bedbugs with uncleanliness, experts say that is not true. The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) notes that travelers can lessen the chances of spreading bedbugs by checking clothes and luggage often while on the road, and not putting suitcases or bags on hotel room floors.
The MDCH also says that although bedbugs feed on human blood, they are “not known to transmit any human diseases,” but may leave a trail of potentially itchy or painful bite reactions, and costly extermination bills.
There is however a mental health aspect to bedbug infestations, CBS’s Dr. Ashton referred to it as the “ick factor.” The bugs, which measure less than a quarter-inch across have literally been forced people out of their homes.
Source: Detroit Free Press