Many cities in the United States are seeing bed bugs infestations reach epidemic levels. There are no indications of this slowing down.

With increased global travel, more frequent package transport and more densely populated residential dwellings, the outbreaks are more difficult to quarantine and control.




Many businesses require their employees engage in at least some travel as part of their job. A concern to many would be bringing bed bugs home following such a trip. Are there things you can do to reduce or even eliminate bed bug problems when traveling? Yes, and most are common sense solutions.

Going on the Offense

If you have a say in where you will be staying on a business trip – or if you are making plans for a trip with your family – you may be able to pinpoint accommodations that are better suited to your needs. Research the motel, hotel, inn or suite online. Many sites provide reviews from previous guests. This can help you learn if negative comments about bed bugs are common with the location you are considering. The consumer review sites that carry the best information will be third party sites that have nothing to gain or lose from allowing guests to post their comments uncensored.

Room Inspection

Bed bug bites can be a problem in guest accommodations simply because the tiny bugs are easily transported from one location to the next via luggage and they keep biting to supply food for their offspring that will, in turn, bite. When you check into your room you should inspect headboards, pictures and other hiding places to identify the evidence of bedbugs. Some guests will use a flashlight and magnifier to help locate signs indicating a presence of a bed bug infestation. Cornell University suggests, “The inspection should focus around the bed. Start with the headboard, which is usually held on the wall with brackets—lift up 1 – 2 inches, then lean the top away from the wall to gain access to the back. If you’re traveling alone, someone on staff should help. After checking the headboard, check sheets and pillows for blood spots. Next, pull back the sheets. Check the piping of the mattress and box spring. Finally, look in and under the drawer of the bedside table. If all these places are clear, enjoy the night.”

If you do find evidence of bed bugs you are within your rights as a guest to ask for and expect another room that passes a similar bed bug examination. In fact, motel staff members are generally willing to help you perform a bed bug inspection of your room to ensure your comfort and satisfaction.

Luggage and Bed Bugs

Cloth sided luggage is very popular with consumers, but hard sided suitcases are superior at keeping bed bugs out. You should not place your luggage on the floor or even on the bed. Your cases should be placed on luggage racks. You should check the racks from all angles to ensure no bed bugs are present. Do not leave your suitcases open after retrieving what you need. Your luggage may be the way bed bugs escape to repopulate other areas.

Did You Pack Correctly?

The contents of your luggage are often a great hiding place for bed bugs. The use of sealable plastic bags can help stop bed bugs from infiltrating your belongings. When you are finished with a piece of clothing this too should be placed in a sealed plastic bag. By taking these precautions you are better able to enjoy your night’s stay. You also ensure a contained environment for your personal belongings. Some travelers leave their luggage in their vehicle and only retrieve what they need – when they need it.

The Hotel’s Responsibility

Because bed bugs often travel into a motel from guest’s luggage it is important to recognize it is not the intent of the hotel to foster an atmosphere for bed bug acceptance. The bugs come in without the knowledge or consent of motel management. They want to get rid of bed bugs as much as you never want to see bed bugs. The problem is they are not always aware of infestations. You can pass along information to the front desk in a kind way that allows them to recognize where issues might be found. In many cases these gentle reminders result in professional extermination so future guests can avoid problems in the future. Most accommodations want your experience to be exemplary so they will do whatever they can to ensure your comfort. By taking you seriously they can avoid negative publicity and make it possible for you to feel comfortable coming back again.

When You Get Home

It has been suggested that washing your traveling clothes at a Laundromat may make the best sense for ensuring that any stray bed bugs are removed from your clothing before bringing those belongings back into your home. Even if you are used to washing your clothing in cold temperatures make sure the dryer heat will be high enough to kill any stragglers that might have made it through the rinse cycle.

Your luggage should also be treated just in case a bed bug infestation has occurred. You can use a product like Kleen-free to eliminate the existence of bed bugs in and on your luggage.

Be sure to dispose of the sealable bags used on your trip by depositing them in an outside trash receptacle. Do not throw them away indoors.

This series of prevention techniques may seem like overkill for a trip, but the alternative is a potential infestation in your home that is neither welcome not helpful. Bed bugs bites are irritating and frustrating. Taking the time to eradicate bed bugs from your home can be costly. By taking a few steps to ensure a better night’s sleep when you’re away from home you can be more confident engaging life once you return from your trip.

Trip Advisor recently posted a list of the Ten Dirtiest Hotels in the US:

(I’m really surprised that New York doesn’t have all ten)

1. Heritage Marina Hotel, San Francisco, California
2. Days Inn Eureka/Six Flags, Eureka, Missouri
3. Tropicana Resort Hotel, Virginia Beach, Virginia
4. Super 8 Virginia Beach/At the Ocean, Virginia Beach, Virginia
5. Quality Inn, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
6. New York Inn, New York City, New York
7. Parisian Hotel & Suites, Miami Beach, Florida
8. Capistrano Seaside Inn, Capistrano Beach, California
9. Desert Lodge, Palm Springs, California
10. Continental Oceanfront Hotel South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida




Firstly, if you are concerned about bed bugs you can call Toronto Health Connection on 416-338-7600.

Bed bugs (Cimex lectlaris) can be found throughout the world, and it was once thought that they were most common in developing countries. However, recent statistics show that bed bug infestations have spread to a number of developed countries, and Canada seems to be somewhere near the top of this list.

What is a bed bug?

A bed bug is an insect that most favors sucking on human blood. They are typically no more than 1/4 inch before they feed, although once they feed they will become bloated and turn a dark red color. Bed bugs have a fairly short life-span, and will generally live no longer than a year. They are nocturnal creatures which hide in cracks and crevices in beds, floors, wooden furniture and walls during the day, before emerging at night to feed on their favorite and preferred host, humans.

With that said, bed bugs are also known to bite (and feed off) mammals and birds. They will lay extremely small, whitish, oval shaped eggs in cracks and crevices, usually 10-50 at a time. It is estimated that a female bed bug will lay 200-400 eggs during her lifetime. However, it must be said, that this will vary depending on room temperature and their food supply. The eggs will then hatch within a week, thus causing a bed bug infestation.

Bed bugs are known to bite the entire human body, although they appear to have a preference for the face, neck, arms, hands and upper torso. Both male and female bed bugs will bite, and they are actually able to survive for up to 6 months without feeding. The vast majority of people will not even be aware that they have been bitten, but it is safe to say that there are no known infectious diseases that can be transmitted via a bed bug bite.

The first real report of bed bugs anywhere in the world was in England during the 1880s. An incredible 75% of homes had been infested with bed bugs, and although there was no actual data for Toronto at this time, it was believed that if their current level of infestation was not treated they could soon see a similar percentage of home infested.

However, through the concerted efforts of governments, and the use of pesticides, bed bug infestation had all but become completely eradicated in the Western world (Toronto included) during the 1940s and 1950s. The pesticide that was mainly used during this time was DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). This was known to be an extremely potent nerve poison that was generally used to kill insects that carry malaria, typhus and yellow fever, such as mosquitoes and black flies.

It was quite possible to believe that bed bugs would never be seen again in the Western world, although what was to follow is believed to have started the resurgence of bed bugs. A North American Regional Action Plan (NARAP) negotiated with Canada, Mexico, and the United States to completely eliminate the production and use of DDT in the three said countries.

DDT became increasingly restricted throughout Canada during the 1970s and was banned outright by the 1980s. The bed bug “problems” remained under control for a number of years and prior to 2003 bed bug complaints had been mild and sporadic, however, 2003 saw a total of 46 reports to Toronto Public Health.

That being said, pest control operators in Toronto actually reported that they treated bed bug infestations in a whopping 847 locations in 2003. The main culprits were single-family dwellings (70% of treatments), apartments (18%), and homeless shelters (8%). The number of bed bug reports appears to be much lower than the actual treatments carried out, year on year, by pest control operators. Bed bug reports increased to 197 by 2005, and amazingly a total of 1,500 reports were made to Toronto Public Health between March 2008 and October 2008.

Where Are Bed Bugs Most Commonly Found In Toronto?

As you can see from the statistics above, residential areas and homeless shelters appear to have been hit worst by bed big infestations. However, the number of reported incidents in the city’s hotels has dramatically increased over the past few years. Many travel advisory websites appear to be teeming with consumer reviews and complaints about bed bugs.

One unlucky traveller commented that he had found a bug on his bed when entering the room. He simply removed it and went to sleep. When he awoke the next morning he found a further 2 bed bugs in his bed and one of the lampshade. Upon further investigation it was found that many other guests had filed similar complaints with the hotel’s staff and management.

What is even more surprising is that the hotel in question has a wide variety of great reviews over the years, it is a four-star hotel, and regarded as one of the desirable hotels to stay at in Toronto.

Toronto Hotels

– Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel

The Sheraton Centre Toronto hotel as well in excess of 1200 reviews, and admittedly the vast majority of ratings are in the very good to excellent categories. In fact, there appears to only be one report of bed bugs in this hotel.

The gentleman in question stayed at the hotel in September 2010 and discovered a bed bug on his bed upon entering his room. Without much further thought he simply discarded the pest and went to sleep, as he did not realize it was a bed bug. However, the following morning he discovered a further three bugs, two of which were sitting on his bed and another on a bedside table. Interestingly there is no response from the hotel management to this report.

– The Sutton Place Hotel

The Sutton Place Hotel, much like the Sheraton, appears to have a very high number of positive reviews, although one occupant has made report of bed bugs. The couple were visiting from Chicago, Illinois, and the wife was woken with bed bug bites. They notified the hotel staff immediately, and were informed that their room would be changed, and indeed all their clothes would be cleaned.

After the staff had inspected the room they stated that the inspection was inconclusive and simply allowed the couple to change rooms. The couple then left their clothes in plastic bags in the original room. They spoke to the assistant manager after the weekend and were informed that their clothes would be dry-cleaned and that an official inspector had been notified.

Unfortunately, the couple never heard any more on the matter, and have stated that they were never apologized to for the inconvenience, never offered any compensation, never offered any advice, and the hotel never admitted any responsibility. With that said, the couple had their clothes returned the following day and the original room they had stayed in was fumigated, which of course caused other travellers in adjoining rooms to be moved.

Christopher Ashby, the director of sales at the Sutton place hotel did respond to these hotel guests. He started by saying that the hotel has had very few incidents of bed bugs, although on each occasion it was dealt with urgently. Mr Ashby further commented that there had recently been a “Bed Bug Summit” held, and that bed bugs appear to be booming, not only in Toronto, but in every major city in North America.

He admitted that bed bugs had been found in many hotel rooms, movie theatres, college dorm rooms, libraries and even clothing stores, but wanted to make sure that the couple were aware that this problem had nothing to do with cleanliness. Mr Ashby also added that the hotel had had a number of complaints of bed bug infestation, but it had been found that the majority of these complaints had been proven false after an official inspection had taken place.

Toronto Apartments

– 321 Sherborne Street

There are a total of nine reports at this particular address in Toronto that can be found on the bedbugregistry website. One former tenant reported a bed bug infestation in 2006 and explained that this is one of the most stressful times in their life. Unfortunately, they were literally camped out on the couch almost 2 weeks while they awaited fumigation.

This tenant actually used an innovative way to keep bed bugs away from themselves. They wrapped up their box spring that sits on the floor in an old plastic shower curtain. They discovered that bed bugs are unable to climb up slick plastic, and therefore even though there were bed bugs in the room and building, they were unable to get to the tenant.

A more recent report was made by a tenant who lived at the address for just over three years. This particular tenant explained that they became very ill, and that the landlord simply ignored the problem. Eventually this tenant made complaints to the Public Health Department and the tribunal for tenant/landlords.

Another tenant reported to the landlord that they found bed bugs on their futon and in the bedrooms. Once again, they brought the matter to the panel’s attention, although they claimed that the landlord refused to pay for fumigation first. Yet again, the landlord and tenants board became involved, and ordered fumigation.

The Toronto Bed Bug Project

The board of health recommended that Toronto public health led a community-wide action committee against bed bugs. This was initially started in February 2008, and the committee was renamed “The Toronto bed bug project” in April 2008. Their aim has been to develop strategies to manage bed bug infestations throughout Toronto.

One of the ways in which they aim to achieve this is a confidential survey which asks brief questions on how bed bugs affect people’s lives. Their survey contains questions that are specifically aimed at homeowners, landlords, and tenants. In addition to the survey are working to coordinate current efforts, develop partnerships, and investigate bed bug practices that are found in other jurisdictions.

The Toronto bed bug project is currently running five pilot projects through the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. These projects will investigate methods to control, reduce and prevent infestations of bed bugs in Toronto buildings. In addition to this pest control inspectors are looking to liaise with landlords, building management and pest control professionals in order to ensure that there is a professional and efficient pest control system in place.

Public health inspectors are now available throughout Toronto to conduct informational and educational sessions on bed bugs, and these can be requested by anyone within the community. They have also produced 17 fact sheets that are available in several languages, as well as the public health inspector providing information on how to identify bed bugs, how to prepare an area of the treatment, and of course how to control cases of bed bugs.



They’re back. America’s least favorite roommates are moving in at rates previously unheard of. The roommates in question are bed bugs – one of the nation’s most hardy and enduring pests, and source of endless trouble for hotel operators, apartment tenants, and homeowners. Texans are reporting bed bugs at greater numbers than ever before, with exterminators struggling to cope with the quantity.

But when, and more importantly, how did the bugs make it to Texas? Reports of bed bugs in cities such as New York have been common for the last six months, with a number of retail outlets forced to close and an even greater number of residential complexes battling the bugs for months at a time. The annoyance even spread to neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut, annoying residents.

At the same time, the bugs have been a common sight on the opposite seaboard. Residents of San Francisco have been forced to share their mattresses with the unwanted guests for months, as the bugs have taken hold of numerous inner-city residential complexes due to poor fumigation. With the ‘best’ chemicals now outlawed, the problem appears to be getting worse.

Experts claim that the bugs have entered Texas through tourists, many of whom inadvertently slept in a bed infested with the creatures. Infested mattresses can often contain millions of the micro-bug pests, leading to hotel and apartment dwellers maintaining a small population of the nasty creatures in their clothing without even knowing it. The bugs can then ‘leap’ from one person to another.

How are bed bugs spreading through Texas?

We now know how the pests got into Texas – a state that hasn’t seen a major outbreak of bed bugs in almost fifty years. But how are they spreading through Texas? The state maintains a climate that the bugs will undoubtedly find appealing, with high humidity and consistently warm temperatures. The height of winter is unlikely to eliminate the pests, as they’re almost completely resistant to cold.

But despite the state’s climate, there’s little to suggest that they’re able to spread through Texan beds – and couches – abnormally quickly. Pest control experts have claimed that the bugs are unaffected by warmth, humidity, and extreme cold, save for a few ultra-high heat weaknesses. Save for a truly lethal dose of heat, environmental factors rarely convince the bugs to move on.

It makes sense, then, that the bugs are spreading through Texas in the luggage and clothing of those that have slept in an infested bed. Hotel rooms are major sources of the bugs, with even prestigious addresses likely to house the pests. Shared apartments, temporary holiday rentals, and other houses that are left uncleaned are also sources of the bugs, which nestle into bedsheets and mattresses.

Minimize the risk of spreading bed bugs throughout Texas by carefully checking hotel beds before going to sleep. A recent Statesman article highlighted the importance of examining any hotel rooms before staying. The traveler featured in the article recommended stripping the sheets from a bed and examining the crevices of the mattress, particularly those around the bed’s headboard.

Which major cities are most at risk for bed bug infestation?

Texas has fared relatively well when it comes to bed bug reports. While New York City leads the nation in bed bug complaints and fumigation requests, most of Texas’s major cities fall fairly far behind in the rankings. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Seattle are all home to more bed bug outbreaks than Dallas-Fort Worth, despite some of the cities in question housing less people.

That said, there are bed bugs in Texas, particularly in the state’s more dense and populous centers. A report from My Fox Austin has shown the amount of residential buildings in the area that are homes for bed bugs. Other news outlets in Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio have reported on the bugs being present in their cities, although numbers tend to be fairly modest and outbreaks rare.

West Texas has been largely unaffected by the pests, owing to its relative geographic isolation and limited number of densely packed residential buildings. The bugs are likely to live in commercial buildings throughout the state, however, making it important for office workers and professionals to examine their clothing, furniture, and any covered material goods regularly to prevent spreading.

Bed bugs have been gone for years. Why are they back?

The most compelling argument for the bugs’ return is that the chemicals used as pest preventatives are no longer as powerful or effective as they were just one decade ago. Bed bugs were eradicated in the United States following World War II – a milestone that passed over sixty years ago. Due to the recent ban of DDT pest preventatives, the bugs are returning in record numbers.

Outbreaks are most obvious in urban centers, particularly cities that are packed densely with houses and other high-density projects. New York’s Manhattan Island is considered the nation’s bug capital, with densely packed residential buildings housing billions of the annoying pests. Luckily, Texas has yet to see an outbreak on the same scale, as the state’s geographic isolation and low density helps.

Insufficient cleaning has also lead to the bugs’ return. While bed bugs don’t feed on grit or uneaten food, they do thrive in environments that are packed with cotton and other material surfaces. While cleaning goes some way to prevent them from taking hold of a home, any area that provides cracks, folded clothing, and other comfortable spots has the potential to become infested with the bugs.

Bed bugs in the Dallas / Fort Worth area

When extermination company Terminix released its worst bedbug cities list, most Texans were both surprised and relieved to learn that none of their major population centers featured. Cities that bring international travelers in droves topped the list, with New York and Philadelphia taking the top two spots. Strangely, however, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was nowhere to be seen in the study’s Top 15.

For residents, that was most certainly a good thing. Outbreaks have been rare in Dallas, although a few isolated incidents have occurred over the past five years. While bed bug call outs have increased in the city and metropolitan area, the amount of infestations is very low when compared to cities in the country’s Northeast and major population centers on the West Coast.

The few infestations that occur are typically treated quickly, with Dallas’s pest control businesses able to respond to calls promptly and provide effective eradication treatments. As the city is home to thousands of other bug strains – cockroaches and mosquitos the most popular – it offers a large amount of choice when it comes to pest control businesses and extermination companies.

Bed bugs in Houston

If Texas has a bed bug center, it’s Houston. The business center is home to millions of people from across the nation, many of whom have taken up residence in its relatively dense inner-city housing buildings. While the bugs are, once again, far from the prevalence level seen in New York City and San Francisco, they’re still a problem for city residents and hotel staff within Houston.

A recent blog post from the Houston Press has highlighted the spread of bugs throughout the city and its surrounding areas. The blog post – which is closer to an in-depth preventative guide than a simple opinion piece – brings attention to the numerous new methods which pest control experts use to combat the bugs. From excess heat to freeze-powered solutions, it’s all there.

Some have pointed to the city’s business travel industry as a reason for the spread of bed bugs, with energy industry employees frequently using Houston as a travel hub for other points in Texas. While the bugs are becoming a nuisance for suburban housing communities (as this article explains), their presence is mostly limited to dense accommodation and other shared residential buildings.

Bed bugs in San Antonio

Reports of bed bug infestations in San Antonio have increased exponentially in the last two years. A single case in 2007 has turned into hundreds during 2010, with homeowners and apartment dwellers increasingly concerned about the bugs. They’re also increasingly vigilant about removing the pests from their properties – exterminators in the city have been called to more cases than ever before.

A recent case involving bed bugs at the Home Gate Inn Hotel resulted in health department action and a swift cleaning session from the hotel’s management team. The couple that stayed at the room have incurred close to ten thousand dollars worth of expenses trying to fight the bugs, removing and replacing their old furniture and repeatedly cleaning their clothes and travel luggage.

However, while shocking cases are becoming a more regular occurrence, the bugs are still fairly rare in San Antonio. Exterminators have suggested that residents take preventative measures against the bugs rather than trying to right them after being spotted in a residence. Check hotel beds before sleeping, view cracks and crevices, and ensure you do not stay in an infested hotel.

Bed bugs in Austin

Texas’s political and cultural capital appears to be running into the same bed bug problems seen in other cities. The insects have been sighted in Austin apartment complexes and residential towers, a local news report has claimed. While the bugs are fairly rare in the city itself, they’re likely to move from one host to another on public transport and through shared clothes and furniture.

Reports have been fairly slow in the city, although they are occurring at a higher rate than in other years. Like many other parts of the United States, Austin has experienced a surge in the prevalence of bed bugs and other nighttime annoyances. Heat treatments are becoming more common for city residents, as traditional pest control sprays rarely affect the bugs due to their hardy nature.

As with other cities, local media outlets have provided information that could help residents battling the annoying pests. This guide and writeup contains a few quick tips for limiting the bugs’ ability to spread throughout your home. While they remain relatively rare in Austin, the city’s travel-friendly reputation may cause them to spread further via hotels, hostels, and other tourist accommodation.

Recent reported outbreaks, and their economic impact

Widespread outbreaks have not affected Texas’s major cities and population centers, nor have they had any major effect on the state’s economy. While New York City and other metro areas chose to allocate funds and manpower to eliminate the bugs, the small amount of infestations in Texas has made the important of a task force or special health division fairly debatable.

That said, individual cases can and do have an effect on the commercial properties that house the bugs. One motel in Luddock has reported a significant downturn in business following reports of bed bugs in hotel beds and furniture. The hotel has since sprayed its rooms and removed the bugs, though the negative word of mouth and other rumors have left it relatively low on customers.

I think I have bed bugs. What should I do?

It’s important to take immediate action if you do have bed bugs. The first, and most important, step is to ensure that you have an infestation. Check creases in your mattress, areas around electric plugs and sockets, and furniture for the bugs. Their small form and dark brown appearance makes them a tough nuisance to spot, although trains of black feces and discarded shells are a common giveaway.

Secondly, call a professional pest control expert in your area. The bugs are highly resistant to sprays and other consumer solutions. They can’t be eradicated like a mosquito or other common pests, only with the resources and skills that a professional exterminator can offer. Complete removal can often require that you discard your clothes, remove your mattress, and even fumigate your residence.



Travelers have to prepare for a variety of necessities and complications, including food, gas, communication, clothing, delays, and emergencies. However, most travelers overlook a very common nuisance that can be found in many hotels, motels, and other temporary living establishments- bed bugs. While these pests may seem like a trivial concern that are only mentioned in childrens’ bedtime tales, they actually have the ability to ruin an entire vacation.

In cases of severe infestation, travelers can be bitten hundreds of times in a single night, waking up with a generalized rash that leaves their entire body itching furiously for several days. Even in cases of slight infestation, it may be difficult to sleep while the tiny blood-feeding parasites are busy extracting their nightly meal from the victims thighs, legs, arms, back, neck and stomach, causing intense tossing and turning and lack of recuperative sleep. The next day, if they’ve managed to sleep through the attack, the traveler awakens to find rashes all over their body, and the rest of their day is plagued by fatigue and severe itching spells. Realizing the aforementioned effects of bed bug attacks, it’s easy to see why one should take the following precautions to prevent bed bug attacks while traveling.

Bed Bugs Travel Prevention

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is especially true with bed bugs. Once these tiny seed-sized pests have infested clothing and other personal items, it can be very difficult to get rid of them. To prevent bed bugs, we recommend using the acronym – S.L.E.E.P.

Survey the area for signs of bed bug infestations, such as red or dark brown spots on bed sheets.

Lift the mattress, and other furniture items to look for bed bug hiding places.

Elevate all luggage and personal items. Use racks to keep these items away from carpets and beds.

Examine all luggage and personal items before returning home to prevent bed bug migration.

Professional extermination service are available in the event of a bed bug infestation.

Note: If the hotel is infested with bed bugs, it is a good idea to recommend these professional services to the hotel manager, or refuse to stay in that hotel.

Bed Bug Inspection

Before deciding to stay at a particular establishment, travelers should ensure their room is bed bug free. Although the above steps provide a basic outline for bed bug prevention, there is much more information needed in regards to bed bug inspection.

The first step in bed bug inspection is checking the cracks in the foot and head boards of the bed. It is also recommended to check int eh side railings and bed posts, as bed bugs love to hide in an area near the bed. Once the exterior of the bed has been inspected, the tops, sides, and bottom of the mattress should be inspected. This means thoroughly examining every are of the mattress, including any button, rips or seams.

Bed bugs also like to hide in the walls, and other areas near furniture where humans frequently rest. For this reason it is wise to check the electrical sockets, wall fixtures, picture frames, and cracks or seams in walls. After this, check all appliances such as radios, televisions, and phones and any other item that the bed bugs may hide in.

Dogs Used to Detect Bed Bugs

Bed Bug Bed Covers

Since bed bugs are a very common pest, frequent travelers are likely to encounter them sooner or later. Therefore, it may be wise to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Instead of relying on bed bug free hotels, travelers may do better to prepare for a bed bug infestation by bringing their own bed bug bed covers. Bed bug covers encase the entire mattress, trapping the bed bugs in the mattress while the consumer rests easy. There are two kinds of bed bug bed covers; vinyl and fabric.

Of these types, the vinyl is usually less expensive, however is also less comfortable. Vinyl bed covers also tear easily in comparison to fabric bed bug bed covers. Although the initial investment is higher with a fabric bed cover, many experts say the cost is less in the long run, as users have to replace them less frequently. All frequent travelers should carry a bed bug cover with them to any new destination.

Storing Luggage

Even worse than a temporary bed bug infestation ruining a vacation, is a permanent bed bug infestation ruining a household. Therefore it is very important to ensure these pesky blood feeding parasites stay where they are. The primary mode of transportation and migration for bed bugs is luggage. These tiny parasites are capable of penetrating virtually any kind of luggage, including backpacks, suitcases, clothing articles and even electronic appliances.

Therefore it is crucial to make sure all luggage is placed in an area where bed bugs cannot access it. Many people place their luggage in the bathroom, or on an elevated shelf away from the bed. There are also luggage bags made especially for this purpose, and one can even temporarily store luggage in a large contractor or trash bag as well. Regardless of the chosen method, it is imperative to prevent the spread of bed bugs.

Sprays Are Ineffective

Perhaps the most common misconception about bed bugs is that there are repellents that can be used to deter them. The truth is actually the exact opposite; bed bugs are some of the most determined pests known to man, and even the strongest repellents have absolutely no effect on them. This is not to say that the repellent won’t kill them, as it will in time, however it does little to stop them from attacking. In fact, studies have shown that the bed bug will actually remain in contact with the repellent almost obliviously, until it dies!

This is a stark contrast to other insects and pests, who can easily be deterred by the slightest scent of a repellent. Since sprays don’t work, bed bug extermination is often extremely difficult, requiring several visits. This is obviously not an option when traveling, so rather than relying on extermination techniques, it is best to adhere to the aforementioned prevention and inspection tips, to minimize the effects of bed bug infestation when traveling.

More information for travelers



Pennsylvania is slowly discovering millions of unwanted guests. Bed bugs – a strain of insect that was previously eliminated in the United States – have come back with a vengeance. Reports from major population centers in Pennsylvania have made it clear that the pests, which have become an annoyance in New York City, have spread west into Pennsylvania’s biggest cities and major towns.

The bugs are fairly harmless – they sleep during the day in the mattress of a bed, the cracks of home walls, and the comfortable pockets of space left during construction. But during the night, they exit the mattress and spend their time feasting on the home’s inhabitants. Serious outbreaks of the bugs can lead to hundreds of bugs, and that’s just in a single night.

Residents of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have been reporting the bugs at increased levels over the past twelve months, with reported cases increasing on a near weekly basis. Pest control businesses in the state have been working overtime on their bed bug cases, as the small bugs are particularly difficult to remove. Just ten years ago, they were unlikely to receive a single case annually.

While other states have experienced bed bug outbreaks on larger scales than Pennsylvania – New York City and San Francisco are major hotspots – the bugs have become more common in cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Small towns have also been affected by the annoying pests, although their lower residential density makes it less likely that the bugs can spread easily.

We’ve gone in-depth in Pennsylvania, searching for the state’s largest bed bug infestations and news on the control of the bugs. Please see below for specific information on the cause of bed bugs, ways to remove the bugs from your residence, and the most frequent areas for bed bug reports in the state.

How are bed bugs spreading through Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is a fairly diverse state. Home to both highly dense cities and a largely rural farm area, it’s not the perfect environment for bed bugs to spread easily. However, due to its large cities and its links to interstate transportation, bed bugs have spread from one area to another. The most common reason for the spread of bed bugs is travel, particularly from international tourists and local hotels.

Bed bugs are also spreading from other major cities on the East Coast. New York City is currently the country’s most frequently reported bed bug area, with hundreds of apartment complexes found to contain the pests. Due to unintentional transport in luggage, clothes, and other furniture, it’s now believed that Philadelphia – Pennsylvania’s largest city – is the country’s second bed bug center.

Which cities are most at risk for bed bug infestation?

Pennsylvania’s bed bug capital – and one of the United States’ bed bug capitals – is Philadelphia. A total of almost five-hundred bed bug cases have been reported over the last twelve months – a large increase from previous levels. In 1990, pest control companies were unlikely to receive more than two or three calls annually. In 2010, many companies are tending to several cases on a daily basis.

The second-most likely area for bed bug activity is Pittsburgh, the state’s secondary city and one of its most important industrial centers. As one of the state’s major business and travel centers, hotels and short-term accommodation options make up a large portion of Pittsburgh’s bed bug complaint count. Several regional hotels have been forced to temporarily close in order to remove the bugs.

Why are bed bugs appearing so frequently in Pennsylvania?

The state’s temperate climate isn’t an advantage when it comes to bed bug infestations. The bugs are relatively hardy and can live in even the chilliest of temperatures, although extreme heat has proven effective during eradication. Pennsylvania’s largely urbanized population centers allow for the bugs to easily transfer from one person to another, particularly on public trains and busses.

Bed bugs in Philadelphia

Due to Philadelphia’s fairly public bed bug problem, businesses in the hotel industry have taken to fighting the pests head on. A recent conference at the Marriott Downtown explained the problem in simple terms to hoteliers, encouraging cleaning staff to examine mattresses and use dissolvable bags for laundry. While New York’s hotels are faring worse, Philadelphia appears to be improving.

However, many of the city’s residential areas are still home to bed bugs and other common pests. In contrast to previous decades, the amount of call outs for bed bugs has steadily risen over the past ten years in Philadelphia. New treatment options such as high-heat air blasting are proving effective, as the pests are immune to most chemical treatments and require repeated doses of commercial sprays.

Bed bugs in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh has experienced bed bug outbreaks for the last six years. The small bloodsuckers have appeared on and off the radar for the better part of a decade, with occasional outbreaks annoying both residents and apartment complex owners. While high-profile lawsuits have been filed in San Francisco and New York City aimed a major hotels, Pittsburgh’s hotel industry has yet to suffer.

However, the bugs are still a major annoyance for residents. While fewer apartment buildings and residential homes in Pittsburgh are infested, the severity of the infestations are as high as those in New York City and other large metropolitan areas. No commercial outbreaks have been reported this year, although several unnamed hotels have been affected by the pests.

Recent outbreaks and news coverage in Pennsylvania

Recent outbreaks in Pennsylvania have been relatively minor. The few cases that are reported on are from small residential buildings and isolated buildings, with commercial buildings and offices fairly free of the pests. While a number of hotels within the city are said to contain bed bugs, local media outlets have not named any specific chains, independent operators, or bed bug hot spots.



What was once a minor annoyance is quickly turning into a nationwide problem. Bed bugs are back in the USA, and they’re becoming more difficult to eradicate every day. Ohio appears to be a source for the bugs, with numerous hotels and private residences within the state suffering from outbreaks, repeated infestations, and the long-term stigma of being associated with the nasty pests. The bugs were largely eradicated in the United States following World War II, with most towns and cities in Ohio reporting little more than ten infestations annually. But after high-power sprays were outlawed earlier this century, the bugs have started coming back in massive numbers. Outbreaks in cities such as New York and San Francisco are becoming commonplace, as are health scares.

Thankfully, the bugs aren’t a major health risk, nor are they a particularly painful experience. That said, they are an incredible annoyance and one of the most excruciatingly difficult pests to remove from your home. A single stay in an infested bed is enough to transfer the bugs to your hair, to your suitcase, and eventually into your own bedsheets, mattress, and comforter. Not only that the bugs multiply and spread once they find a home. Most residents with experience of infestations can speak of their scale once the bed bugs have arrived in a home, they can spread to different rooms, floors, and areas rapidly. It’s not uncommon to find bed bugs throughout a home in electrical sockets, desks and other wooden furniture, and even in curtains and lampshades.

Ohio is, quite unfortunately, one of the hardest hit states in the nation. Currently, the US’s bed bug infestation leader is New York City, where the bugs have rapidly multiplied and taken residence in some of the city’s most prestigious and expensive addresses. Other outbreak zones include the city of San Francisco, where this infestation was spotted in a major inner city hotel chain. We’ve prepared this guide to alert Ohio residents of the dangers presented by bed bugs, as well as the scale of their infestations. Included is information on removing the parasites from your home, documentation of major outbreaks, and specific information on outbreak zones in your city.

How are bed bugs spreading through Ohio?

Ohio’s relatively central position has made the state a popular location for travelers, particularly those traveling by road from one side of the country to another. This long-distance driver demand has also made the state a center for short-term accommodation, particularly motor hotels that can thrive on single-night visitors and traveling guests. Pest control experts have pointed to hotels as a leading source of bed bugs, claiming that the bugs can easily spread from guests’ luggage. International visitors are a major source of the insects, with bed bugs clinging onto their luggage in East Asia and Eastern Europe, and quickly traveling across the Atlantic to our shores.

Most cases are inconsequential, although some end up in rapid outbreaks. This viral spread has put two industries in ‘bed bug lockdown’ mode, the travel industry and the hotel and short-term accommodation industry. The bugs typically spread from people’s luggage and clothing onto hotel bedsheets, where they take up residence in mattresses and pillow contents. One hotel can host millions of the bugs, with eggs hatching rapidly and populations soon multiplying. Another major source of the bugs is Ohio’s advanced transportation network.

Before international visitors can reach hotels, many spend their journeys aboard state buses, regional trains, or railway services within cities. With infested bags and equally bug-ridden clothes, it’s a simple journey for the bugs to crawl onto seating surfaces, automobile structure, and even overhead storage bins. Finally, imported products can occasionally bring the bugs into the USA. Shipments of imported clothes and other fabric-based items have been found to contain the bugs, leading to the closure of several prestigious fashion retail outlets and the fumigation of many others. The majority of goods housing the bugs are imported from Europe and Asia, where the bugs are a minor annoyance.

Should transportation services and hotels be avoided?

No. While hotels, buses, and trains are major sources of the bugs, avoiding them entirely is unlikely to give you any protective advantage. Ohio’s transit systems are regarded as free of the pests, with a small amount of isolated cases appearing each year. Such cases are typically acted on rapidly using commercial spray teams and professional exterminators. However, problem cases do slip through the cracks. Bed bugs have been found in several hotels in the state, including high-end chains and luxury boutiques. Unlike ticks and roaches, the bugs aren’t attracted to dirty rooms or messy settings, they’re equally at home in a luxury hotel room as they are in a low-end hostel. Cleanliness, paradoxically, may even help the bugs reach the mattress. That said, there are numerous ways to avoid the bugs when staying in a hotel room or riding on the state’s extensive public transportation system. We’ve detailed several in the following page sections, including some simple tips that can be applied to any hotel room or temporary accommodation area.

Which cities are most at risk of bed bug infestation? There are several reasons for the spread of bed bugs, with international travel the most obvious, and also the most devastating. With that in mind, it’s Ohio’s cosmopolitan traveler-friendly cities that are likely to house the bugs. Cities such as Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati each contain extensive tourist attractions and travel areas, making them major centers for bed bug infestations. Smaller centers are also likely to attract the bugs. Population density is a fairly reliable metric for calculating the bugs’ ability to travel between houses and cities that are dense are more likely to see the bugs moving from one room to another. In fact, it’s prestigious and expensive Manhattan that’s fallen victim to the bugs the most, primarily due to its building density and compact residences. That means that any city, particularly those with greater housing density, could be at risk.

We have outlined Ohio’s major centers below and addresses specific outbreaks, but don’t take exclusion as a guarantee of cleanliness. All cities, towns, and residences are at risk of housing the bugs, and while size is certainly a factor for the bugs’ prevalence, lack of size is not a guarantee that they’re absent.

What bed bug treatments are available for Ohio residents?

Due to Ohio’s high population and recent series of bed bug outbreaks, a number of different control options are available. Common pesticides tend to be ineffective against the bugs, with chemicals as likely to affect residents as they are to hurt the bugs. Repeated spraying of mattresses and furniture is likely to eliminate the bugs, although several sessions are required for full elimination. Alternatively, heat-based control treatments are becoming more common. Some exterminators now offer a ‘heat blast’ treatment wherein rapid hot air is pumped into a home. As the bugs are unable to cope with high temperatures, they will die off as the ambient temperature of the home’s furnishings increases. Eggs and larvae are also killed, ensuring that the bugs are completely eliminated.

What steps can homeowners take to prevent or eliminate bed bugs?

Bed bugs spread rapidly, and preventative action is always more effective than action taken after the fact. When staying in Ohio hotels, guests should ensure that their luggage is isolated from any hotel furniture. One common trick involves placing your suitcases and extra bags in the hotel’s bathtub, as the nook-and-cranny-loving bugs are unlikely reside in it. More than anything, keep bags isolated. Secondly, guests should check hotel sheets and bedding for the bugs before going to sleep. Duvets and mattresses are the most frequent sites for infestations, with each capable of housing thousands of the bugs at a single time. Check over mattress seams for black trails and small bugs, and ensure that you wash your hands, hair, and clothing thoroughly if you stumble across an infestation.

Finally, removing mess from your home can help keep the bugs from spreading. While bed bugs are not drawn to messy environments, clothes that are strewn upon the floor represent an ideal place for the bugs to live. Messy duvets and comforters are particularly troublesome places, as bed bugs can use them to climb upwards onto pillows, mattresses, and further afield into furniture and storage.

Bed bugs in the Columbus Area

Bed bugs are becoming a growing problem in the Columbus area, with hundreds of private cases emerging in 2010. Pest control experts have stated that the number of infestations is increasing on a monthly basis, both as the bugs spread further and as homeowners gain awareness of infestations in the city. Residents have formed the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force in order to conglomerate and share information about the bugs. The group aims to influence policy and legislative decisions in the state to ensure that the bugs are eventually eliminated from homes and commercial buildings. Hotels are still thought of as the major source in the city, along with several problematic apartment buildings.

Bed bugs in the Cincinnati Area

Cincinnati has experienced bed bug outbreaks for the past ten years, with cases escalating rapidly over the past five. The bugs have become such a major problem that the city formed the Bedbug Remediation Commission in 2007 with aims of combating their expansion. So far, efforts have helped remove the bed bugs from problem areas, although new outbreaks continue to appear. Businesses have appealed to state and local government for an exclusion to the recent poison bans, claiming that the use of high-power chemicals could eradicate the bugs. Their requests have, for the moment, been turned down, giving many residents no option but to use local pest control businesses to remove the bugs from their homes. Treatment options are easily available, albeit quite costly.

Bed bugs in the Cleveland Area

Numerous high-profile outbreaks have occurred in Cleveland, including a series of infestations at a local apartment complex for senior citizens. The bugs have reappeared in several problematic hotels and commercial buildings, even after pest control experts have taken measures to ensure that they’re not an issue. Building operators have blamed the return on unclean clothing, which can house bugs. A repeat infestation at the CMHA apartment building has worried exterminators, many of whom are forced to work with less effective chemicals than in previous years. While the ban on chemicals has obvious health benefits, many residents in the building believe that they may represent a worthwhile removal option, particularly as apartment tenants take up sleeping in plastic bug-proof sheets.

Bed bugs in the Dayton Area
Infestations have become fairly commonplace in Dayton. A local school was forced to deal with an outbreak just over one year ago, with small recurring infestations annoying parents and students. A health department official has stated that the school may require long-term extermination efforts, as the bugs have a tendency to nest fairly far from the spots at which they are commonly spotted. Outbreaks have become more common over the past three years, as the Dayton Daily News reported in 2008. Used furniture and hotel bedding are the most common documented sources of the pests, a news report claims. Residents of Dayton are advised not to purchase used couches or mattresses, as the items could house colonies of thousands of the ultra-resistant pests.

Recent outbreaks, media coverage, and its economic impact

Most outbreaks have occurred on a city-wide level and statewide outbreaks are rare. However, Ohio is listed as one of the country’s worst states for bed bugs and residents are growing more aware of the problems on a daily basis. With several major hotel chains forced to temporarily close, it’s the local travel lodging industry that’s felt the financial impact of the bugs the most. Landlords and homeowners are also in arms about the bugs, as they can cause severe damage to a property’s value when their presence is publicly reported. The cost of removing the bugs can reach into the hundreds-of-thousands of dollars for major residential complexes, costing some owners an expense that certainly isn’t prepared for.



The EPA’s Second National Bed Bug Summit in Washington, DC

The Environmental Protection Agency hosted the second National Bed Bug Summit (the first of which took place in April of 2009) on February 1-2, 2011 in an attempt to organize a concerted national response to an issue that has caused suffering and financial loss for thousands of American citizens and business owners. Among the summit participants were pest control professionals, scientists and statisticians from various research laboratories, city officials, private bed bug eradication firms, and members of multiple government organizations (including representatives from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

National Bed Bug Summit Agenda

The agenda of the summit was to assess and share all available knowledge pertaining to the bed bug epidemic, introduce new ideas for controlling bed bug infestations in communities, and devise a national strategy for effective bed bug eradication. Leaders in the field discussed the current methods being used to fight infestations at the state, federal, and local levels, as well as possible improvements in bed bug control, prevention, and eradication techniques.

In particular, focus was geared toward methods of controlling bed bug infestations in shared environments such as hotels, school campuses, and public housing units. The group also discussed the importance of educating consumers, business owners, and employees in relevant industries, particularly those related to hospitality. Researchers in the field revealed important bed bug knowledge and discussed future funding requirements for additional research projects. The following information reveals some of the conclusions reached at this year’s National Bed Bug Summit in Washington, DC.

EPA Proposes bed bug Eradication Funding

One of the main issues associated with eradicating and effectively controlling bed bug infestations is the exuberant cost of bed bug eradication services, which can cost business owners and homeowners tens of thousands of dollars per year. However, without the necessary funding to pay for such services, even more money could be lost in unnecessary bed bug lawsuits. Thus, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a bed bug eradication fund, which would allocate grants of up to up to $550,000 to eligible communities (primarily school campuses and public housing units) to cover the cost of bed bug eradication and control.

HUD Announces Community Awareness Plans

On day two of the summit, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) revealed plans to promote a bed bug community outreach service that will focus on increasing awareness and educating members of the community. Particularly, the outreach services will be targeted towards property owners, hotel managers, school officials, and public housing unit administrators, and will cover a variety of related criteria including bed bug prevention, recognition, control, and eradication. The outreach program will also inform communities of their possible eligibility for the aforementioned EPA bed bug eradication grants.

EPA Introduces Three New Initiatives

To limit the financial, physical, and sociological impact of the bed bug epidemic, the Environmental Protection Agency introduced three new initiatives at this year’s Bed Bug Summit in Washington, DC:

Educating Consumers about the Importance of Recognizing Bed Bug Infestations Early

Once bed bug infestations become well-rooted within a structure, it can be nearly impossible to completely eradicate the infestation, and control measures are therefore resorted to at this point. However, with early recognition is possible to prevent an infestation from becoming ineradicable. Thus, throughout the summit the EPA has continually stressed the importance of teaching the public how to recognize bed bug infestations early.

Oftentimes, the first telltale sign of a bed bug infestation is the appearance of bed bug bites, which are usually arranged in curved or straight-line patterns (bed bugs tend to feed on the skin as they move along their victim). Officials recommend that anyone that notices such bites on their skin (or the skin of their tenants) should call a bed bug eradication professional immediately to have the structure inspected.

Educating Industry Professionals to Prevent Treatment Resistance

The second day of the summit focused primarily on integrated pest management procedures, which take a proactive multipronged approach to bed bug control by utilizing several prevention and eradication methods simultaneously for higher success rates. Officials and industry specialists are recognizing that bed bugs are becoming increasingly resistant to all forms of chemical treatments, and are therefore more likely to be susceptible to multiple eradication methods at once.

Thus, bed bug eradication professionals are being instructed to treat bed bug infestations more aggressively and urgently. Rather than trying a single treatment and waiting to see if it works, it would be advisable to exhaust multiple treatment options initially, in order to minimize the possibility of a bed bug infestation developing resistance to a particular treatment.

Progressing in the Research and Development of Effective Bed Bug Pesticides

Officials know that at one point in the recent past bed bug infestations had been all but eradicated in the United States. However after small populations of bed bugs became resistant to the main insecticides used to control them (such as deltamethrin), their numbers once again increased to epidemic proportions during the last two decades. According to scientists, bed bugs are capable of acquiring mutations in the nerve cells that effectively block the neurotoxic effects of the insecticides used to paralyze and kill them.

Ultimately, whether or not this bed bug epidemic will be controlled will rely on the development of new effective bed bug pesticides. Thus, another initiative discussed at the summit is the progression (and funding) of research and development related to effective bed bug pesticides. By acquiring funding for studies that reveal the nature of the bed bugs’ resistance to various pesticides, scientists can design new pesticides that may be able to eradicate bed bug infestations completely.

Although the above initiatives were the central components of the Bed Bug Summit agenda, there were a number of presentations and speeches related to other aspects of bed bug control, such as topics related to federal, state, and local legislation, controlling bed bug infestations in large urban areas, and the designated focus and activities of relative agencies.

EPA National Bed Bug Summit

The (EPA) Environmental Protection Agency is finally waking up to the bed bug epidemic in America. They’re taking the issue so seriously that they actually had a summit in Washington, DC area This week (April 13th, 2009). The very first National Bed Bug Summit is being conducted by the EPA’s Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee.

According to the EPA, the bed bugs infestations in the US are a serious threat to the nation’s health. Their past involvement with bed bugs has only been to outlaw the most effective anti-bed bug chemicals and pesticides.

Summary of the EPA Convention:

EPA Holds First Ever National Bed Bugs Summit

On April 14 and 15, 2009 the EPA held the first ever National Bed Bug Summit. The summit took place over a span of two days in Arlington, Virginia. As with any national summit, this one was a meeting of the minds for all those whose industries are affected by, either directly or indirectly, by the effects of bed bugs throughout the country. Bed bugs have affected a range of communities, so the summit was a perfect way for these sectors to come together and communicate.

One of the main focuses of the EPA’s National Bed Bug Summit was to share information. At the summit, a variety of topics were discussed. The effects of bed bugs on the hospitality and housing industries, the scope of the bed bug problem, why the problem has grown so exponentially in recent years, detection and control methods and tools, future prospects for detection and prevention, and the response of the public health officials to the bed bug epidemic were the main areas of focus. Attendees also had the opportunity to discuss and learn about ideas and options for outreach and education strategies and bed bug management, control, and prevention all the while also having the chance to chime in on recommendations for such issues.

The first ever National Bed Bug Summit was open to a variety of groups to discuss the very serious issues of bed bugs, bed bug bites, and insecticides used to tame the little beasts. The summit’s attendance was comprised of certain industry sectors ranging from housing and hospitality to furniture rental companies to health care and assisted living. The pest management industry also made its presence known with officials and representatives from companies that conduct bed bug treatment and inspections as well as manufacturers of chemicals and technologies used during those treatments. Of course government agencies, academics, extension officials, and IPM practitioners were also present and participating.

Like many other summits held by the EPA, the National Bed Bug Summit was mainly to encourage and inspire discussion among a diverse group of stakeholders affected by bed bugs and to directly address the growing number of problems caused by the recent increase in bed bug infestations throughout the country. The summit not only intended to address such issues but also to develop recommendations on how to deal with them. With careful planning and an efficient agenda, the EPA achieved these goals using EPA-facilitated workgroups.

Tuesday, April 14th, the first day of the Summit, all attendees were sectioned off into ten different workgroups. The workgroups were assigned based on the attendees’ affiliations so that each group had a combination of Federal and state government agencies, public health organizations, universities, and pest control companies. Each group was given the same assignment and five main topics which included research, the role of the government, consumer education and communication, pest control operator education and training, and the role of property owners and managers. All ten workgroups were asked to identify the main factors contributing to the bed bugs problem, identify and discuss possible solutions to that problem, and lay out recommendations based on their findings.

Before meeting on the second day of the Summit, Wednesday, April 15th, the EPA compiled all the findings of the ten workgroups by topic for later discussion and analysis. Then, all attendees reconvened to review each workgroup’s recommendations and findings. This day was comprised of heavy discussion and debate regarding each workgroup’s recommendations. All views and opinions were welcomed and considered.

The EPA’s first National Bed Bugs Summit was extremely successful in achieving its goals to combat the resurgence of the bed bugs issue. The ten workgroups came up with some effective solutions which include but are not limited to design improvements, allergic reactions to bed bugs bites and insecticides, products for humans, resistance, disease transmission, and alternate hosts. Plans and solutions for leveraging existing funding sources to include bed bugs studies and treatments and to demonstrate it as a public health issue were also designed.

Innovative, as well as obvious solutions and recommendations were also made. For instance, all workgroups agreed that all levels of government should collaborate and cooperate on the bed bugs issue in addition to creating a national foundation and an EPA bed bug-specific website to spread awareness. Mentions of Internet-based outreach programs, including popular methods such as podcasts, and public service announcements were introduced. All agreed that mini, sector-specific summits should be considered as well as another National Bed Bug Summit.

For anyone who may have missed the summit and is interested in learning more about the events that took place, the EPA has posted such information on their website. At the EPA’s website interested parties may find the full and final agenda and the public docket including attendance sign-in sheets, public comments submitted to the docket, and public comments received at the summit. Furthermore, a summary of workgroup results in addition to a summary of recommendations developed at the summit can also be found online.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported that 140 Minneapolis and St. Paul landlords have started a “bed bugs task force”.

Bed bugs are most commonly associated with dirty motels and a classic bedtime rhyme. But they’re finding their way into homes and businesses throughout the Twin Cities area.

Of the 140 landlords, just five say they’ve NOT had issues with the critters. They attribute the major uptick in bed bug reports to a sagging economy (among other factors). People in lower income housing often dig through trash and will bring mattresses found in the garage back to their homes.

Bed bugs can live up to ONE YEAR w/o feeding. This means unless you actively find a solution to the problem, it’s not going to go away.

Turner Pest Control in Jacksonville Florida actually employs a dog to sniff out hiding bed bug dwellings and colonies. The dog, a Jack Russel Terrier, is said to have an accuracy rating of over 90%. It takes the pooch just minutes to hone in on the harbitures. The best thing about Turner’s new employee….you pay it in Pupperonies!

Dogs Used to Detect Bed Bugs

You may have never thought of bed bugs as a public enemy, but indicates the issue has made its way to the chambers of the city council.

The problem stems from encounters by the city’s first responders. Police are often called to handle domestic disturbances or other in home emergencies. Bed bugs often infiltrate any equipment police bring with them. While that equipment is stowed in the trunk of the cruiser the bed bugs migrate to the cabin of the cruiser and then onto the clothing worn by the officer. That scenario often introduces bed bugs into the officer’s home.

Similarly firefighters are also encountering a growing trend in transference. When they battle a blaze it is not uncommon for bed bugs to attach themselves to equipment and clothing in order to escape the heat.

According to, “Fraternal Order of Police President Kathy Harrell and International Association of Fire Fighters Local 48 President Marc Monahan said it was difficult for them to say how many of their members had come into contact with bed bugs but that anecdotal evidence shows the problem getting worse.”

They further indicate the problem is exacerbated by the fact that first responders often share responsibilities with either more than one precinct or more than one firehouse. This allows problems with bed bugs to transfer to other facilities and by default into other homes.

While the city does provide pest control to the facilities it isn’t always enough. The city council drafted a proposal that would allow city staff to work toward negotiations with local pest control companies to provide reduced rates for pest control at the homes of police and fire department personnel.

To further assist their staff they are also encouraging the use of on-board ‘bug spray’ in city vehicles.

Some suggest similar problems occurs when home health nurses make visits and leave with bed bugs in their clothing and equipment.

Unlike many other insects, bed bugs can live in a dormant state for more than a year. And unlike cockroaches the cleanliness of the home is not a factor in the presence of bed bugs. The presence of body heat and carbon dioxide is all that is needed to create an environment conducive to the presence of bed bugs.

Bed bugs do not feed on waste, but on the blood of a host.

This is the primary reason bed bugs are so adaptable to transference. The size of the bed bug also makes it difficult to detect. Most sources indicate bed bugs are about the size of a poppy seed and generally feed at dawn. They extract food through the blood of their host leaving behind welts and bumps. Those affected by the bites may not even be aware of the issue until long after the bedbug has resumed its hiding place in some of the smallest places in the home.

Meanwhile, Hotel & Motel Management announced a new strategy for bedbug management. indicated, “The ThermEx program will be unveiled at the 2008 National Pest Management Association’s annual PestWorld conference.”
While most bedbug solutions rely on chemicals to kill the insects, the ThermEx program relies on; “Research [that] has shown that heat is a more effective method for treating bed bugs rather than residual products. This is due to the bed bugs’ ability to hide in every crack and crevice in a room. Additionally, it is difficult to apply a product that will reach the entire bed bug population and residual products will not affect the eggs. A heat remediation treatment typically only takes 48 hours to eliminate an entire bed bug population while a residual treatment can take up to 12 weeks to work effectively.”

The implication behind this news is not lost on facilities that house large numbers of individuals. Nursing homes, college dorms, homeless shelters and other health related facilities would often find they struggle with bed bugs and the potential of a non-toxic and quick solution may appeal to those who must make decisions affecting their residents.

One of the reasons proponent of the ThermEx system are excited about the idea is that chemical solutions do nothing to eradicate eggs left behind by the dead bed bugs. This new system promises to eliminate the entire bed bug population.

The downside to any potential solution is that bed bugs can be reintroduced to any residential property easily. The reason motels and hotels may be most interested in a more comprehensive solution is that these facilities are often an insect way station for bed bugs. They come and go through the luggage and clothing of guests.

For those who suffer bed bug bites it may take up to nine days to observe the welt and may remind the inflicted of a mosquito bite. And like a mosquito bite the bed bug bite will provide an intense itch in many that suffer a bite. In about half of all bedbug bites no visible evidence of a bite will exist.

Finally has reported that New Jersey Lawmakers are considering a bill designed to make landlords responsible to keep apartments bed bug free. reports that, “Under the bill, landlords would have to exterminate bedbugs at their own expense when an outbreak occurs. Those who fail to take action could face fines of $300 per infested apartment and $1,000 per infested common area. The measure would also allow local health boards to conduct exterminations and bill unresponsive landlords.”

Landlords protesting the bill indicate that many times the tenants are responsible for bringing bedbugs into what may have been an environment free of the pests.
The pending legislation may provide some of the harshest penalties for landlords who allow the presence of bedbugs on their rental properties.



New York is one of the country’s most diverse states, housing its largest metropolitan area and also some of its most pristine natural attractions. While the state’s continental climate, temperate winters, and preserved parkland generally keep disease and unwanted pests at bay, there are some pests and inconveniences within the state for homeowners and apartment dwellers.

One of the most visible – and most annoying – is the bed bug. Infestations have been reported in the state on an on-off basis over the past five decades, with DDT spraying in the late 1950s going some way towards eliminating their presence in the state. However, with use of the chemical now tightly controlled and population density continually increasing, New York’s bed bug problem still remains.

The most visible problem areas are the state’s cities, with New York City reporting the highest rates of bed bug infestation. As the bugs spread throughout homes, apartments, and contained buildings, a proactive response is required to remove them completely. With New York City’s density and the city’s variable climate, bed bugs are able to spread fairly easily.

How are bed bugs spreading throughout New York?

There are several reasons for the spread of bed bugs throughout New York, the most frequent of which is the state’s warm summers and favorable environment for the bugs. Most strains of
bed bugs are resilient to cool winters and fairly comfortable living in buildings, giving the state’s somewhat chilly seasonal temperatures little advantage in combating their spread and mating.

It’s in the fairly warm temperatures seen throughout the summer that they thrive. Building owners in major centers such as New York City and Rochester report an increase in the number of infestations during the state’s summer months – a seasonal increase that has prompted routine spraying in many major buildings and housing complexes.

One of the reasons for the swift spread of the bugs is the state’s population density, particularly that seen in major centers. New York City has experienced continual bed bug infestations since the mid 1990s, with apartment owners in dense areas such as Midtown Manhattan reporting more cases than homeowners living in less dense areas. In short, density leads to the spread of bed bugs.

Another major reason, although one that’s less significant than population density, is the age of many of the state’s buildings. As one of the United States’ oldest major population centers, New York has a large collection of older houses and historical apartment buildings. Without routine spraying efforts, these buildings can become major centers for bed bugs and other insects.

Which major centers are most at risk for bed bug infestation?

Due to its population density and sheer size, New York City has the highest level of infestations per capita. The city’s built-up nature and limited park space (when compared to regional towns) makes it an ideal location for the bugs to reproduce. Reports of infestations have slowed since their peak in the mid-1990s, although occasional cases of widespread bed bug infestations still appear.

Smaller population centers such as Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo also experience occasional bed bug infestations. However, due to their relatively low population density, the spread of such cases tends to be limited and infestations are more easily solved. Small towns in the state have reported isolated infestations, through its unlikely the bugs will spread rapidly.

Bed bugs in Manhattan and Downtown New York City

Bed bugs are a major issue in New York City’s most dense areas. During the late 1990s, a surge in the number of reported cases lead to the city starting its own task force to fight the bugs, with one city division going so far as to recommend forced spraying in residential buildings. While bed bugs are less prevalent than they once were, they remain an annoyance for Manhattan residents.

The most frequently affected areas are those with dense residential accommodation – Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Downtown, and Harlem areas tend to report the most cases. Despite their greater density, commercial office spaces rarely experience infestations due to the lack of inhabitable space for the pests. Apartments, condominiums, and dense townhouses are most at risk.

Bed bugs most often reside in bedding, furniture, and closet spaces. This means that the city’s large apartment complexes and shared housing buildings are most at risk of infestation. The bugs spread by ‘jumping’ – quite literally – from the clothing of one host to another, making the city’s transport system a likely area for the spread of bedbugs. In short, keep your distance when on the subway.

In most Manhattan residences, building management is responsible for ensuring that bed bugs don’t spread far. If you spot bed bugs in your apartment or condo, contact the building management team as quickly as possible – the bugs spread quickly in dense spaces, and could very easily become an issue for your neighbors. In private residences, it’s best to contact an exterminator.

Residents have implemented a number of measures to stop the spread of bed bugs in central New York City. The ‘Bedbug City’ map is one of several visual interpretations of the bugs’ infestations, using Google Maps to highlight problem areas. Retail outlets that are infested with the bugs act quickly to eliminate them, as evidenced by the recent Hollister bed bug fiasco in SoHo.

All in all, Manhattan remains a major centre for bed bugs in New York City, and residents should be vigilant in ensuring that their properties don’t become infested. While the borough experiences less infestations on average than residential areas such as Brooklyn and Queens, it remains one of New York State’s most at-risk counties. Check apartments before renting, and spray homes regularly.

Bed bugs in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Suburban New York City

Recent statistics from the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development have shown an increase in the number of reported cases in Brooklyn, making the largely residential borough the most infested in New York City. The large and densely populated borough reportedly receives close to 1500 more calls year than its neighbor and runner-up Manhattan.

The department has pointed to numerous reasons for the borough’s high rate of infestation, the most obvious of which is its large number of residential buildings. While Manhattan is home to most of the city’s hotels and commercial buildings, its rate of infestation remains lower due to more vigilant cleaning efforts. Hotels and offices are more likely to spray for bugs than renters and homeowners.

Another major cause is the borough’s large amount of low-cost accommodation. While Manhattan remains New York City’s hotel center, Brooklyn is home to a larger number of low-price hotels and shared hostels. Studies suggest that while high-end hotels are equally as vulnerable to infestations, their efforts in removing the bugs tend to be more dedicated and effective.

Recent bed bug reports in the borough include an outbreak at the District Attorney’s Office – one so severe that it prompted the buildings closure for several days. Well-known area blog McBrooklyn is one of several to report an increase in bed bug complaint rates, claiming that there has been a 1,900 percent increase in the number of reported cases in the last six years.

Another well-known city website – particularly to residents that have experienced outbreaks – gives advice on the legal side of bed bug infestations in the city. Most of its reported cases are from home and condo buildings in Brooklyn, although a smaller number come from residences in Queens and the Bronx, primarily from similar shared apartment buildings and co-op housing complexes.

Due to its lower population density and house-centric construction, bed bug outbreaks are fairly rare and isolated in Staten Island. Individual callouts are frequent and infestations do occur, although it’s rare for the bugs to spread throughout an entire block, as is seen in Brooklyn and Queens. The outer reaches of Queens are also unlikely to experience outbreaks, due to their lower population density.

Bed bugs in the Greater New York City region

New York City isn’t just the city itself – the Greater New York City area spread across four states and houses close to twenty-million residents. With a high population density and many buildings that, simply put, aren’t adequately cared for, outbreaks remain common in areas such as Yonkers, Jersey City, and smaller residential communities across Long Island.

Recent developments have pointed towards a greater level of government assistance for building owners experiencing outbreaks. The New Jersey Pest Control Convention highlighted the amount and frequency of outbreaks in the area, claiming that a greater level of monitoring and vigilance is required in order to keep houses, apartment buildings, and co-op residences free of the pests.

In April, a conference hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency further raised awareness of the bugs in the Greater New York area, highlighting their potential to spread throughout less dense areas such as the region’s largely suburban residential zones. Problem areas include schools, small apartments, and public transportation – one area where the pests can easily spread through clothes.

While rates of infestation are lower in New York City’s surrounding areas than in the city itself, a number of legal measures have been taken to ensure that the pests are unable to spread easily. The ‘bed bug bill’ – one of several measures passed in New Jersey, has mandated that building owners and landlords must spray for bedbugs as soon as they have notice, else they could face a fine.

The fines are, expectedly, fairly steep. Each infested bedroom could cost landlords up to $300, with common areas and hallways approaching $1,000 per reported offense. The surrounding counties are fighting bed bug issues directly, using measures that many believe should have been implemented in New York City close to a decade ago. Reported cases in the region are declining, albeit slowly.

Recent outbreaks, and how they’ve affected businesses

The most alarming outbreaks in New York are those that occur in commercial buildings, especially retail outlets and high-traffic locations. Outbreaks in the Abercrombie & Fitch stores have remained a leading feature for the city’s news media over the past two months, with most outlets using them as an example of the city’s growing problem with unwanted and easily spreadable household pests.

One of the city’s major co-op housing projects has also experienced an annoying – and expensive – outbreak. The unnamed Theater District co-op complex was forced to shell out almost $250,000 in fees to remove the bugs from its buildings, after residents filed complaints with management. The cost of fighting an infestation increases with time, as the bugs can spread from one unit to another.

A less recent New York Times study has pointed to the bugs’ lack of discrimination when it comes to social class or spending habits. Exterminators have reported that many of the city’s most expensive and exclusive hotels are home to the bugs, most of which spread through cleaning units and shared usage of furniture. Luggage is also a home for bed bugs, and can spread from bag to bad unnoticed.

For commercial operators within the city, bed bugs remain (and will likely continue to be) a major issue. Their invisibility during daytime hours makes them a difficult force to combat, and a strong resistance to standard extermination sprays makes them an even more difficult pest to force out of houses independently.

The most obvious, and beneficial, solution is to contact a qualified exterminator. Due to the large amount of reported cases within New York City and its surrounding areas, bed bug exterminators tend to be fairly priced and readily available. Treating the bugs before they become ubiquitous is important – it will lower the cost of extermination and lower the risk of them spreading.



Washington DC may be the capital of the United States, but it’s New York City that’s gained the title of the nation’s bed bug capital. The large coastal city is home to thousands of infested buildings, and until recently has been considered the most dangerous spot in the nation for anti-outbreak travelers, creepy crawly haters, and renters dedicated to keeping their apartments free of the parasites.

But bed bugs are slowly moving out of New York City, resulting in outbreaks in nearby cities and a cocktail of problems for those living in the city’s extensive suburban area. New Jersey is one of the nearby problem sites – a small state that acts as home to many of the Eastern Seaboard’s most rich and prestigious names. From nearby Newark to Atlantic City, the bugs appear to be taking over.

Outbreaks have become more common in New Jersey over the past five years – an exponential rise that pest control experts believe is due to higher rates of travel in the state. The lack of chemicals to fight the bugs with is also an issue, as the most effective anti-pest sprays have either been banned or weakened to the point of ineffectiveness over the past decade.

That’s left many residents with no option other than to fork out thousands of dollars for expensive heat treatments and multi-stage spraying routines. As much of New Jersey’s population resides in rental accommodation, particularly small apartments and shared co-op housing units, the cost of a single infestation can often become a point of contention between building owners and their tenants.

New Jersey’s state government appears to be siding with the renters. A recent bill – dubbed the ‘bed bug bill’ by its supporters, gives tenants the right to pass bed bug issues on to their landlords, giving a $300 non-compliance fine to building owners and up to $1,000 for persistent infestations that are not met with chemical treatment. The bill isn’t popular amongst apartment owners, but it’s working.

Or at least, it appears to be. The number of reported cases in the state continues to rise, although at a slower rate than it has over the past twelve months. Like area in nearby New York City and cities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey’s bed bug population has increased at an exponential level during the last five years. Growth is still cause for concern, although it is getting relatively slower this year.

Authorities hope that the bugs can be wiped out from the state’s private residences, hotel rooms, and office complexes within the next two years. However, with the scale of many outbreaks and the risk associated with effective chemical treatments, New Jersey’s pest problem could persist. Residents in the state are hopeful that it will at least escape without the PR problem that NYC has inherited.

How are bed bugs spreading through New Jersey?

New Jersey’s position – dubbed the ‘double-corked barrel’ by early settlers – makes it a frequently visited location for travelers and residents of both New York City and Philadelphia. While the two cities offer a great deal of income for New Jersey’s businesses and public recreational spaces, they also bring one unwanted guest in abundance – creepy, crawly, and utterly uncomfortable bed bugs.

In fact, the two connecting cities form the United States’ bed bug core, housing more infestations than any other major population centers. As New Jersey forms the hub of rail and bus travel on the country’s East Coast, it’s inevitable that bed bugs end up jumping from suitcases and other bags on to public rail furniture, bus seats and storage areas, and even clothes stored in overhead lockers.

The state’s position as a frequent overnight stop also puts it at risk of bed bug infestations. Most of the reported bed bug infestations occur in short-stay hotels, particularly those popular with drivers and traveling businesspeople. Due to the high turnover and limited amount of time to prepare rooms for new guests, bed bugs and other pests can often go unnoticed for weeks at a time.

That’s more than enough time for the pests to spread, even to other floors of a hotel complex. While the hotel owners are forced to battle the bugs on their own turf, the infested luggage can transfer the pests to hundreds of other hotel rooms in just days. While hotel owners are becoming more vigilant in their checking of guests’ luggage, many remain unaware of potential bed bug carriers.

Which cities are most at risk of bed bug infestation?

All major population centers are at risk of seeing large-scale bed bug outbreaks, although few are likely to experience infestations on a similar scale to those seen in New York City. Due to the high density of New Jersey housing, the risk of bugs spreading from one room or apartment to another is fairly high. Owners should remain vigilant and aware, particularly if they live in inner city areas.

High-density areas such as Jersey City, Newark, and Trenton are particularly at risk of infestations and repeated outbreaks. If you are planning on traveling to a major center in New Jersey, we advise you to check the Bed Bug Registry in order to ensure that any hotel rooms and public facilities used are free of the pests. Not only will you avoid the bugs, this could help stop them from spreading.

Is New Jersey’s proximity to New York City to blame?

New Jersey’s proximity to New York City, and in particular its position as part of the Greater New York Area, may have something to do with its propensity for gaining bed bug infestations. NYC is now the nation’s bed bug capital, housing thousands of bed bug infestations and even allocating a major government fund to fight the critters. It’s quite likely that the bed bugs originate in New York.

But it’s not completely likely, and claiming that the vast majority of infestations come from New York City is unlikely to help solve problems entirely. Both Philadelphia and New York City – two cities that are home to some of the largest bed bug populations in the USA – are in close proximity to New Jersey, lending credit to theories that the two cities are contributing to outbreaks in the state.

New Jersey residents traveling to New York, Philadelphia, or other bed bug centers including San Francisco should ensure that they do not come in contact with the pests. Once again, check hotels for reported bed bug outbreaks using the Bed Bug Registry to ensure that your sheets, and maybe even your own home, is free of bugs and unsuitable for an infestation or long-term outbreak.

What bed bug treatments are available in New Jersey?

A wide range of treatments are available in New Jersey, including traditional spray-based poisons and more advanced heat treatment options. Due to the widespread outbreaks in New York City, an exodus of pest control firms has occurred, with numerous Jersey-based operators offering bed bug removal services to apartment dwellers, homeowners, and building operators across the Hudson.

However, all of these services are available to New Jersey residents too, often at a more competitive rate than across the river. As the bugs are so notoriously difficult to remove from bedding and other furniture, it’s recommended that those experiencing an infestation use multiple ‘cures’ in order to remove the bugs. Spraying combined with heat treatment is a popular, albeit expensive, option.

Bed bugs in Jersey City and the Greater NYC Area

While widespread outbreaks are rare, isolated infestations are a fairly frequent occurrence in Jersey City. Due to the city’s proximity to ultra-infested Manhattan Island and its travel-friendly roadway design, bugs are primarily spread throughout the city by commuters from the island and tourists in its many hotels. Despite the annoyance, the bugs are fairly easily dealt with by local pest control.

Jersey City is covered by the state’s ‘bed bug bill’, which re    quires landlords to pay for pest control and related expenses. If your hotel room is affected by the bugs, you may be able to pursue action against the hotel company in question. Apartment tenants and those renting houses in the city are best off appealing to their landlords, and later to city officials should no action take place.

Bed bugs in Newark and its surrounding cities

There have been several media reports of bed bug outbreaks in Newark over the past year. Due to the city’s close proximity to bed bug hotspots and its cosmopolitan nature, a number of buildings within the city core have been affected by the parasites. A recent report hinted at entire apartment complexes being infested, including a five-story building in central Newark city.

Furthermore, several airport area hotels have been reported as housing the annoying insects. The city is one of the East Coast’s largest domestic travel hubs, leading to huge demand for overnight accommodation. Travelers are advised to avoid airport hotels, or simply check bedsheets, couches, and other furniture before committing to a hotel room in the city.

Bed bugs in Trenton and Central New Jersey

Trenton is one of several cities in New Jersey to have passed legislation making bed bug outbreaks the responsibility of landlords and apartment owners. The bill requires that landlords incur the cost of first and second-round cleaning, while tenants may be forced to incur further charges depending on the severity of an infestation and the amount of spraying required to eliminate the bugs.

Major outbreaks have been fairly rare in the city, although a few small apartment buildings have had minor issues with the bugs. As with many other New Jersey towns, the vast majority of cases have been relatively minor, with bed bugs being eliminated through repeated spraying and heated treatment services. Trenton is at a higher risk than West Coast cities, but it’s not a major hot spot.

Bed bugs in Atlantic City and other Southern New Jersey cities

If New Jersey has a bed bug activity center, it’s Atlantic City. The coastal resort city is home to hundreds of hotels and casinos, each designed to lure in tourists visiting the city for a weekend or two. Due to the city’s short-term accommodation quota and the large amount of business travelers opting to stay within its limits, bed bugs have become a major issue for hoteliers and businesses.

A bed bug registry reports two high-profile infestation cases in Atlantic City, advising visitors to avoid the affected hotels until pest control efforts are completed. As the city is a major tourism spot, visitors are advised to check recent reviews of hotels in the central city area – particularly those on the boardwalk – for bed bug alerts and other potential issues.

Recent outbreaks in New Jersey and related press coverage

New Jersey’s bed bug activity has mirrored that of neighboring New York City, albeit at a slightly slower pace. The state’s major centers have battled the bugs for the better part of a decade, with a significant growth in call volume every year. High-profile cases have been reported, including an unusually troubling bed bug outbreak in the Goldman Sachs office building in Jersey City.

As Jersey City accommodates more large businesses, the economic impact of bed bug infestations is likely to rise. A large portion of New York City’s infestation cases have been reported in offices and other commercial buildings, as opposed to the residential areas most associated with the pests. If bed bugs continue to appear in seats and furniture, the cost to businesses could be very large.

There’s also the obvious stigma of an outbreak – one that’s doubly as horrifying for a brand-driven business. Several businesses in the New York City area have already fought off the negative press brought by the bugs, and many fear that the PR disasters could spread into New Jersey. With news like this becoming increasingly common, those fears may be realized sooner than many imagine.