I’m wondering how long it will take for the Center for Disease Control to take action against the bedbug epidemic. New York City was first to raise the alarm, but other major American cities are only just beginning to recognize the bedbug problem. Not surprisingly, there is a Top Ten List for Bedbug infested cities and New York is only number two on the list.
Who’s number one? According to an Associated Content story by AC writer, Memmay Moore, Columbus, Ohio leads the pack of cities with heavy infestations. And number four is Bloomington, Indiana. Gosh, it’s hard to believe that those nice folks in the Midwest could be sleeping with Cimicidae but the perverse isn’t confined to no-holds-barred #6 San Francisco, or notoriously corrupt #9 Chicago. Just kidding, Chicago! Is it windy there?
Recently, I interviewed a Brooklyn woman for another AC story I wrote: Bedbug Invasion: Could It Hurt the New York Economy?” Sometimes I get a kick out of looking back over the articles I’ve previously written. How quickly things change! How naïve I was to focus on New York when it was only the #2 American city on the Top Ten Bedbug Cities List. At the same time, I imagine that there are plenty of bedbug infested small towns in the suburbs where people take the bugs home on the subways, buses, and trains.
The Center for Disease Control hasn’t gotten seriously involved except to issue the usual fact sheets and cautionary notes. The reason? The bedbugs are not disease carriers. In fact, scientists have attempted to implant disease in the bugs to see if the disease bacteria could be transferred to lab animals. The results, in most cases, was that the disease bacteria were D.O.A. In the one case I read about where a bug scientist managed to have a few bacteria survive, the bacteria quickly died when implanted on the host lab animal.
I’ll tell you what I think, though. The bugs are winning the war, and the Center for Disease Control’s position is bound to become a political issue in the next election. Some believe the Obama administration has been too soft on the bedbug invasion. Others say that bedbugs are a right-wing conspiracy and the vehement diatribes launched against the bugs (mainly by Republicans, but Independents and centrist Democrats have also condemned government inaction) has enraged the bugs and encouraged even more infestations.
The Republic is likely to take action soon, though. The bedbug invasion has made it to CBS’s Letterman Show. Bedbugs, your days are numbered.