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The Bed Bug Pandemic

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posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 09:57 AM
Bedbugs came back to the USA, Canada and other developed nations in the late 1990's. Bedbugs are incredibly efficient hitchhikers - they get around by travelling in and on peoples' luggage, clothes and shoes, and on used and new items. Bed bugs are "not known to transmit disease" and consequently, are not considered a "health risk." This determination means no controls, regulations or reporting.

In fact, bed bugs are known to carry at least 40 human diseases, including Hepatitis B and flesh-eating disease (MRSA). However, they have not yet been proven to transmit disease routinely to people. So bed bugs are not recognized by governments as a "health risk," which is a legal term calling for goverment action.

The statement "Bedbugs are not known to transmit disease" is a political-legal position, and justification for government non-action. We are all on our own.

Bed bugs can live for about 1.5 years without feeding, and because they hide just as efficiently as they hitchhike, they can totally infest an area before anyone notices. Once the infestations spread, extermination is almost impossible. Now the bugs are everywhere, including:

*retail stores
*doctors' offices
*office buildings
*movie theatres
*books and libraries
*nursing homes
*delivery vehicles
*gyms and spas
*moving trucks
*dry cleaners
*new products
*new mattresses

International travel is blamed routinely for bed bugs' return - but no one mentions Free Trade, although everyone knows bed bugs hitchhike on anything and everything, not just everyone. International Free Trade agreements were starting to be implemented at the end of the 1990's - exactly when bed bugs started reappearing in developed nations.

Obviously, bed bugs hitchhike on trade items and imported products, not just travellers and their luggage.

The international Scientific Societies flagged the importing-pests-with-free-trade issue back in 2002. Seems our governments are far more concerned about protecting free trade and the "global economy" than protecting people and our natural resources.

The political balance of free trade and natural resource protection has shifted. …this choice is a political one…

Regulatory agencies in the past felt their charge was "preventing introduction of pests while not interfering unduly with trade", they are now being told to "facilitate trade while doing their utmost to prevent pest introduction."

Scientific Societies - Exotic Pests Conference, 2002; Summary of Discussion Session VIII

The really interesting thing here is that scientists focus on regulated pests - and bed bugs are NOT regulated. Because they are not defined as a "health risk."

Our corporate-governments' strategy is to place blame for the Bed Bug Pandemic squarely on the poor and mentally ill BEFORE acknowledging the pests really are a "health risk." In fact, "bed bugs are equal opportunity pests."

NOTE on Pesticide Resistance
Beds bugs are resistant to pesticides, and new strains are resistant to DDT. As with bacteria's resistance to antibiotics, pesticide resistance spreads quickly once it develops.

Turns out genetic antibiotic resistance in bacteria is NOT transmitted vertically - down the family line - resistance genes are proved to transmit horizontally. This means resistance DNA is transmitted like a virulent infection, like wild-fire, through a community.

And the same seems to be true of pesticide resistance in insects, although the mechanism of horizontal transmission may be different. …Insects have symbiotic relationships with bacteria; their bacteria carry pesticide resistant DNA, and share it with their hosts. Pretty cool.

Also see: GMO Crops Require More Pesticides, Create Resistant Insects

And the question remains:

Why "protect the global economy" when it kills the people?


New York Times, "Bedbugs in the Duvet"

"…people who live in multimillion-dollar apartments in the tonier precincts of the Upper East Side are just not supposed to have bedbugs.

…(but) contrary to the popular stereotype, bedbugs aren’t found only in lower-income neighborhoods.

…because of the creatures’ low-rent reputation, well-to-do bedbug sufferers tend to be especially reluctant to let on that they have a problem … That wealthy bedbug victims tend to own their homes—expensive homes that might end up far less expensive were a bedbug infestation to become public knowledge—also promotes heightened discretion. Exterminators who service the neighborhood trawl around in unmarked vans and are sworn not to divulge their clients’ identities. Co-op boards and building superintendents engage in strict denials. High-priced specialists are enlisted to quietly rid Dior couture gowns, Porthault linens, and Aubusson silk rugs of their insect invaders. For those who appreciate irony, and perhaps a touch of Schadenfreude, there is this: Long-held ideas about bedbugs and poverty aside, wealthy people may in some ways be more prone to infestation. Bedbugs are equal-opportunity pests.

… What makes the Upper East Side an enticing home? To a certain extent, it’s no more or less inviting than any other neighborhood. The whole city is in the midst of a bedbug epidemic; it’s just that Upper East Siders have kept their troubles disproportionately under wraps.

To cater to his clients’ privacy concerns, Eisenberg often operates incognito. “We go after-hours and pull up in unmarked vans. The guys put on leather jackets, to look like plumbers or regular guys, and sneak into the buildings. They change into their suits up in the apartment.” Because co-op boards and management companies often take pains to deny that their buildings have bedbug issues, the word bedbugs is now a regular feature in Upper East Side real-estate contracts.

Insisting that there’s not a problem—that bedbugs only happen to other people—may actually contribute to the problem. The longer you avoid the issue, the more the bugs proliferate. The number of large, multi-unit apartment buildings is another factor, Eisenberg says—it’s easy for the bugs to hop from one apartment to the next. …

Perhaps the most significant factor that has enabled bed bugs to spread throughout the US at an exponential rate is the lack of public awareness.

The bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually transported in on luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, and other items. … Bed bugs also can be carried in on a person’s clothing or shoes…

Also check out:
* Armed Forces Pest Management Board (technical guides);
* 2012 Integrated Pest Management Conference;
* 2011 Bugs Without Borders Survey;
* 2010 Bugs Without Borders Survey: Defining the Global Bed Bug Resurgence
* Public Health Significance of Urban Pests
2008 - WHO Europe

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 10:01 AM
reply to post by soficrow

Gross... Yesterday my apartment complex had a little weiner dog in here. He was trained to sniff for bed bugs. Felt like a mexican with a drug dog circling the car!

Luckily we are bed bug free though!

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 10:25 AM
reply to post by soficrow

S&F for great reporting and analysis.

As a once quite frequent traveler, I am unfortunately very aware of the "Bed Bug Pandemic."

I'm not really a proponent of pesticides, but I was always told to basically "cook" my belongings in an open suitcase in the car for several days (when the weather was sunny and warm--basically about 100F degrees) before removing for the home. When it was not warm, I was told to take all the clothes and put them in the dryer on high for several hours (leaving the suitcase outside in the driveway or garage). Seemed to work for me, but I can't be sure.

Now when you are talking about bug infestation of foods and like products that travel over countries' borders, that is a totally different issue. What are we going to do? Cook all fruit and vegetables at high temperatures, or even radiate them?

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 10:32 AM
reply to post by watchesfromwall

Thanks. ...I doubt bed bugs hitchhike on foods much - more on imported furniture, mattresses, clothes, stuff like that. The items are probably NOT infested, but all it takes is one impregnated female to get things rolling.

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 10:49 AM
I cannot express how much I abhor these evil, EVIL little bugs. I mean what kind of freak of nature EXCLUSIVELY feeds on human blood? These wretched things, that's what. They aren't like mosquito bites that disappear after a few hours. Bedbug bites itch for WEEKS, at least they do for me. Maybe I'm allergic?

Do you know, up until a year ago I thought bedbugs were the stuff of legend. "Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" they would say to me as a child. Nothing ever did feast on me in my sleep and so I assumed these things were in the same category as Santa and the Toothfairy. So wrong. I spent the night at a friend's and awoke to find myself covered in welts. I thought I had an allergic reaction to something. That was until I saw one scurry across the sheets, squashed it, and watched it gush bright red blood. My blood I presume.
Oh, the horror!

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 11:00 AM

Originally posted by soficrow
reply to post by watchesfromwall

Thanks. ...I doubt bed bugs hitchhike on foods much - more on imported furniture, mattresses, clothes, stuff like that. The items are probably NOT infested, but all it takes is one impregnated female to get things rolling.

True, but I was thinking that they might be hiding out in crates, pallets, wrappings that are associated with food on this end. If so, maybe the heat would get them in transport.

Hopefully wrong!

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 11:58 AM

Originally posted by Erowynn
Do you know, up until a year ago I thought bedbugs were the stuff of legend. "Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" they would say to me as a child.

I personally had first-hand battling with these little bastards!

When I first saw one crawling on my wall one morning as I was getting ready for work, I thought it was a roach! I despise roaches since I was a kid – so out of anger, I thumbed it into the very wall in which it was scurrying ---- wait a minute!!! Roaches don’t have blood do they? They sure as hell don’t have RED blood! WTF???

Since it was squashed now, I couldn’t tell what kind of bug it was – so my day continued just like any other day. Then things started getting mysterious to me – I started noticing blood spots on my sheets. So I went around my apartment straightening out all the window screens so that no mosquitoes could get in. I did a great job too – no openings whatsoever.

Days, weeks go by, I notice my newly washed sheets still had these blood spots on them. My legs were still itchy from those mosquito bites too, and my self esteem was shot because I thought I did a great job with the window screens.

Well, once again, I’m up at the crack of dawn, and as I’m making my way to the bathroom, see, in the same spot where I saw the last one, another bug just truckin’ along! And I think to myself *Is that a tick? Man, that’s a weird looking tick!* so I grab my phone, take a couple of close-up shots, then I grabbed the tick and threw it in the toilet.

As I’m on the train, I remember taking the pic, so I start inspecting it and realize *This ain’t a F’ng tick!!!*. When I get to work, I start looking up pictures of boll weevil’s – well, because that’s what it kind of looked like to me – but then for some odd reason, I decided to Google “bed bugs” ---- sure enough, I found out what the little bastard was!

I then spent the next 2 months learning about these pests and I learned where they were living and I learned how to exterminate! I can’t believe how much passion I put into the eradication of these bugs! I had an extreme hatred for their existence. I lost sleep over them. They got in my head! But I did it! I killed ‘em all! Now my new sheets are blood free and my legs are no longer peppered with red spots!

Bed bugs are the spawn of Satan!

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 01:32 PM
this is kinda funny because I had a bedbug problem a few months back that was pretty annoying. Anyway my landlord took care of the problem and havent had any issues since. Last night though I had a dream that I had bed bug bites all over my arms. Weird dream.

posted on Jun, 7 2012 @ 06:04 PM
reply to post by watchesfromwall

I was thinking that they might be hiding out in crates, pallets, wrappings that are associated with food on this end. If so, maybe the heat would get them in transport.

Hopefully wrong!

Yipes. Probably right.

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 08:52 AM
reply to post by Erowynn

No personal experience with the evil things yet, but sooner or later I'm sure it will happen. I do inspect everything I bring into my home and check regularly for infestations while cleaning. ...Get huge psycho-reactions when researching bed bugs and the pandemic - mainly an itchy scalp (no, they don't get in your hair), tendency to flip back the covers and check my sheets 5 times+ a day.

...Funny - went to ER yesterday by ambulance - after falling asleep on the gurney and then all the testing, I was sent to the observation room to sit. Saw posters for a homeless shelter where an accountant friend works, remembered her stories about repeated bed bug infestations and recalled that hospitals are often infested too - jumped up, brushed off my clothes, spent the rest of my 'stay' walking. lol Was prescribed Levofloxacin, googled it when I got home, decided not to take it. ...An amusing pointless day.

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 02:11 PM

Originally posted by soficrow
reply to post by watchesfromwall

I was thinking that they might be hiding out in crates, pallets, wrappings that are associated with food on this end. If so, maybe the heat would get them in transport.

Hopefully wrong!

Yipes. Probably right.

They seem to set up camp as close as possible to their host. You wont find them in the kitchen, near food, or in electronics or in your hair. You will however, almost always find them in the bedroom, hence the moniker. The love wood! They love darkness - they're nocturnal. They love hiding behind wood picture frames - but they especially love living in your wood bed frame and/or mattress.

They'll congregate in areas of your mattress or your bed frame closest to their host, so that when it's Lights Out for you, it's Party Time for them. They're also skilled paratroopers. They'll climb up the walls, trek across the ceiling until they're right over their hotspot (you), and they'll Geronimoooo! their way into a feast fit for a small family of blood suckers.

They lay their eggs in the tiniest of cracks and/or the screw holes of your wooden bed. And their eggs are almost invisible to the naked eye. Sure, you can kill the Mama and Daddy bed bugs, but you can bet your sweet blood that their babies will be coming after you pretty soon for their sweet revenge!

And the smell! Ugh!

posted on Jun, 8 2012 @ 05:09 PM
reply to post by the_philth

Mostly good stuff, but...

Bed bugs DO like to be close to their host - in shoes and near the bed - 10 feet is their preferred comfort range but they WILL travel further. They'll infest anything with cracks and crevices, and LOVE electronics (reliable heat source?) - electronics are on the "high risk list" right up there with used mattresses and couches.

And no, they don't jump or parasail. But they do crawl really, really fast.

[Based on research by entomologists.]

posted on Nov, 7 2012 @ 04:17 AM
Yes i think the whole bed bug thing is suspicious.


posted on Nov, 7 2012 @ 05:20 AM
Never encountered one yet, but I became utterly horrified by them reading an old dream interpretation book that listed them as portents to the death of a child. The things freak me the hell out. I'm obsessed, I tells you. Obsessed.

Ugh, itching with the thought.

posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 09:45 PM
reply to post by soficrow

Bed bugs - are no laughing matter. My old apartment was infested with them. Not because I kept an unclean home but because of the conditions of the building and other tenants. It was awful. I got rid of nearly everything I owned (bedding which was new, couch, chairs, clothes) because I was moving into a new condo building and didn't want to take the bugs with me. (was just bad timing). And even with how careful I was in the move, one straggler managed to come with me - so I had the new place sprayed twice.

I still find myself four years later examining little pieces of fluff on the floor to see if it has legs...the bites were horrible and itched for months after.

posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 10:20 PM
There's a lot of fear going around the net about these things lately. It is a serious matter, but let's stay calm a second.

The first thing to do if you get them is not panic. Do not start chucking your stuff out and buy new stuff. They just fall off your stuff as you drag it outside and infest the whole house. It can just make it worse. Bed bugs will want to stay close to their host as long as they're getting a good meal and the population hasn't become too big yet. Sometimes they don't even leave a single room. But if you start chucking your stuff right away, it's sure to spread them all over. And it's about $500 to $1000 to treat a single room. Don't spread them.

They'll just reinfest your new stuff in a week anyway and so you've wasted money on new crap. It's best to keep what you have and get it treated first before chucking anything.

Also do not think you can get rid of them by MOVING. You can't, You can leave with nothing but the shirt on your back and your new place will somehow still be infected. If you do use the I'm getting the heck outta here plan, look around in your area to see if you can find someone that does vikane gas fumigation of the moving truck while it's in transit. Then you just open the door, air it out, and you move into your new place. It's expensive but it can be worth it to rid yourself of chronic infestations.

Also, while it is true bed bugs have become pesticide resistant, the vast majority of infestations aren't universally resistant to everything the pest control people use. The horror stories you see on the internet and TV are just that. Horror stories where someone has gotten a super bug that's resistant to everything.

However, the vast majority of bed bug cases are still solved by simply removing clutter, washing and bagging your clothes, buying mattress encasements, and having pest control spray two or three times and maybe spreading some Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) around the house. And the problem goes away.

My advice is if you get bed bugs, watch every single bed bug video on this guy's YouTube channel first before you panic. BedBugCentralTV

Don't freak out and burn it to the ground until you're sure that's really the best thing to do.

edit on 28-11-2012 by tinfoilman because: (no reason given)

edit on 28-11-2012 by tinfoilman because: (no reason given)

edit on 28-11-2012 by tinfoilman because: (no reason given)

edit on 28-11-2012 by tinfoilman because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 10:44 PM
reply to post by tinfoilman

the infestation in our building was particularly bad. I was itchy for awhile and couldn't figure out why - hadn't seen a bug yet until I went in the shower one day and one fricken FELL off me. Not true that they tend to stay close to the host. These suckers were everywhere. It was just bad timing. I had already planned my move and was packing when I noticed the bugs.

I thank God that I've had no issues in this building though, there have been issues on other floors with residents who tend to travel a lot...

posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 10:51 PM
reply to post by Charmeine

When you treat an apartment building it can be harder because you might have to get the landlord involved because sometimes the treatment won't work unless you also treat the apartments above/below/and around your apartment.

What I was saying is they will stay close to the host early in the infestation and you might be lucky to catch them early. So, don't freak out because they might not have spread yet. But that phase doesn't last long. Once the population starts to grow they will bust out into the walls and electrical sockets.

In a home, that's really not all that much different. You can still solve the problem by just treating the home. But in an apartment building it's now more complicated. More hosts, and now you have to treat more apartments.

posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 10:53 PM
reply to post by tinfoilman

Sorry clarification - that was in my older building that we had the bad infestation. They sprayed infected suites in this building and there have been no further reports of infestations here. The managers here are very good for that.

What grossed me out in my old building is people were picking furniture out of the trash - infested furniture that was clearly marked as "infested"...I wouldn't be surprised if they still had issues in that place. It was disgusting.
edit on 28-11-2012 by Charmeine because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 28 2012 @ 10:58 PM
We don't have bed bugs in our house. with all the big spiders in the house they wouldn't have a chance.

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