Bed Bugs More than a Nuisance

Infestations of bed bugs are causing quite a stir not only locally but in our nation’s capital. Last week, the EPA convened its first ever Bed Bug Summit to address the growing problem. These stubbon insects are found in homes, hotels, motels, college dorms, hospitals, and nursing homes. The recent growth in bed bugs complaints can be directly related to the decrase in effective agents on the market to remove the pesky creatures. After the effective chemical agent DDT (Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane) was banned in 1972, the bed bugs became increasingly difficult to kill. The lack of effective agents coupled with the rapid pace at which bed bugs multiply has lead to what some have called a dire situation.
While there have been no known diseases spread by bed bug bites, I know, as a bed bug lawyer, the harm and discomfort these insects can cause. Some of my clients have permanent scars from their bed bug infestations. Others continue to experience “phantom itching” even after the bed bugs have been eradicated.
A common bed bug myth is that they are only found in unsanitary places. However, the truth isn’t so simple. Let me give an example. Suppose you and your family travel on vacation. You arrive at your hotel and you put your suitcase on one of the beds in your hotel room. Eager to unpack and start your vacation, you open the suitcase on the bed and unpack your clothes. If that bed is infested with bed bugs, chances are very good that you’ll be carrying these insects home with you. Now, you’re bringing them into your home. A simple remedy would be to inspect the beds in your hotel BEFORE placing your belongings on the bed. If you see brownish-reddish stains on the sheets or more likely the mattress, bed bugs are present.
Bed bugs are a nasty problem that cause pain and discomfort. From all I’ve read, the EPA Summit posed more questions than it actually answered. We don’t seem near a solution to this insect problem.