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
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
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:
*books and libraries
*gyms and spas
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
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