Bed bugs were major cosmopolitan insect pests before and during the first half of the 20th century in the United States. However, bed bugs were almost entirely eradicated from the country during the latter half of the last century. It was not until 1995 that bed bugs reemerged in urban and suburban areas all over the US and elsewhere. According to an online survey, bed bugs were encountered by a whopping 91 percent of pest control companies between 2006 and 2008, and today it is unlikely that any pest control company that has existed for more than a month has not already encountered bed bugs. While bed bugs are often associated with apartments and hotels, single family homes see the highest rate of bed bug infestations.
A survey of pest control companies carried out one decade ago found that 80 percent of respondents found bed bug infestations within single family homes, while 72 percent of respondents found bed bug infestations within apartments and condominiums. Hotels and motels came in third with 58 percent, and 24 percent of pest control companies reported bed bug infestations within college and university dormitories. Infestations were also disturbingly common within nursing homes, schools, hospitals and dry cleaning businesses. Another survey found that 98.2 percent of pest control companies reported finding bed bugs on mattresses, while 94.1 percent found bed bugs on carpeting and baseboards. During the daytime hours, bed bugs remain largely hidden within small cracks and crevices where they cannot be readily seen. At night, bed bugs emerge from their hiding places in order to collect blood meals from sleeping humans.
These two surveys were carried out during a time when bed bug control methods were relatively underdeveloped, as most bed bug treatments at the time entailed vacuuming the insects, and the use of strategically placed sticky traps. However, many recent advancements have been made in bed bug detection methods and eradication strategies. For example, bed bug-sniffing dogs are being used as bed bug detectors, and heat treatments have been gaining popularity as an effective bed bug eradication method.
Have you ever sustained bed bug bites? If so, did the bed bug bites immediately trigger an irritating reaction, or was the reaction delayed for a period of time?