America is in the midst of a nationwide infestation of bed bugs. As an American who hasn’t been to America in three years, I’m making sure I don’t travel there this year if the bed bug infestation in America’s hotels, offices and stores is as bad as people say. In years of traveling in countries all over Asia, I’ve never once come across a bed bug, so why is America now suffering from this plague of bed bugs yet Asia is not? Do American’s housekeeping habits leave a lot to be desired? Or is American’s over-use of pesticides and chemicals to blame?
In Which Countries Do You Find Bed Bugs? – Although bed bugs can be found worldwide, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, most nowadays are found in North America, Europe and Australia. I live in Asia and, in eight years of traveling throughout the region in various countries, I’ve never stayed in a hotel or at someone’s apartment that has bed bugs – although of course, they do exist.
In fact, that countries which Americans think are ‘dirty’ actually have less of a bed bug problem than the United States does right now is fascinating and strange. So, with this infestation of bed bugs in America only getting worse, how did it get so bad and how can Americans stop it?
Is Bad Hygiene Part of America’s Problem? – Bad hygiene is definitely a cause of bed bug infestations, particularly when it comes to washing bed linen, towels, clothing lying around bedrooms and anything else made of fabric. If houses and apartments, especially in sleeping areas, are not kept vacuumed, dusted and cleaned, this can also be another reason for a virulent infestation of bed bugs.
However, in my 20-plus years living in the United States, most people I came across were extremely clean, both in their homes and offices, with few seeming to have bad hygiene. That’s why I would venture a guess, for most people, the reason they have a bed bug infestation isn’t usually because of their bad hygiene. It can, however, be as a result of other people’s bad hygiene.
By simply living in the same building as someone else who isn’t so clean, you can end up with an infestation of bed bugs, as they travel from one apartment to another through outlets and light sockets. That’s why, if you’ve tried everything and you’re still stuck with bed bugs, tell your landlord. He will probably have to deal with the entire building.
America’s Overuse of Pesticides and Chemicals – Americans use more pesticides than any other country in the world. Pesticides are sprayed on crops, on house lawns, in parks, on wooden furniture, and in so many household products used for cleaning, it’s amazing any America is left without cancer or severe illness. Chemicals flow into the oceans and are contaminating seafood and, of course, Americans use pesticides and chemicals anytime a bug appears in their immediate vicinity. The result? An on-going problem with bugs becoming resistant to chemicals they weren’t resistant to 50 or 60 years ago.
So, while government agencies are going overboard with their worry about bed bugs and recommending using pesticides and chemicals to get rid of them, this isn’t the best recourse. Using stronger pesticides and stronger chemicals will, over time, only create an army of superbugs even the strongest pesticide cannot kill and then America will be really struggling.
Instead the best way to deal with bed bugs, just like any insect infestation, is to thoroughly clean your living or working areas (see this article as to how), and every time you stay overnight outside your hobme, make sure when you return you put your suitcase and all the clothing in it in a hot dryer before you unpack. Bed bugs hop into travel bags and suitcases and hitch a ride to their next location. Zapping them with a hot dryer can make their trip a short and deadly one, before they’re able to make themselves at home – in your home
Lastly, avoid cleaning your home with pesticides and chemicals, and clean your living areas with any one of numerous natural bug killers. They may take a bit longer to work than the pesticide kind, but they’re much safer and just as effective in the long run.
The Spraying of America – Over-use of pesticides and chemicals in America
Bedbugs bite their way across America – CBS
How to get rid of bed bugs naturally – Associated Content – Casssandra James
All you need to know about bedbugs – Harvard School of Public Health