The Problem with Bed Bugs
Bed bugs in the news - National
Bed bugs are small, flat, wingless insects that feed on blood of humans and animals. They spread to new locations by crawling or hitching a ride on or in objects moved from one location to another by humans (such as luggage, clothing, pillows and other bedding, and furniture). Bed bugs can infest a variety of settings where people sleep or spend a significant period of time such as homes, apartments, dormitories, nursing homes, hospitals, and lodging including hotels and motels. Bed bugs typically hide during the day and take a blood meal at night while people sleep. Some people develop mild to severe allergic reactions to bites from bed bugs, which may be delayed and difficult to connect to bed bugs without additional information.
Adult bed bug feeding on human. Photo courtesy
of Stephen Kells, University of Minnesota
Example of skin reaction to bed bug bites. Image credit:
Texas A&M University - Center for Urban and Structural Entomology
Although bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, they can be very difficult and costly to control and can cause very stressful situations.
Examples of difficulties with controlling bed bugs include:
- Bed bugs are highly skilled at hiding and infestations often remain undetected until there is already a problem,
- Bed bugs are becoming increasingly resistant to available pesticides,
- Treatments that do not control all eggs, nymphs (immature stages), and adults can lead to re-infestations of the treated areas or spread of bed bugs to new areas.
- A related issue is people misusing pesticides in an effort to control infestations. See Pesticide misuse concerns.
Bed bugs virtually disappeared as a significant pest in the United States in the past few decades but have dramatically increased as a problem in recent years. This increase is likely due to a combination of reasons:
- Increased resistance to pesticides
- Increased domestic and international travel
- Lack of knowledge of prevention and control practices
- Lack of effective pest control practices
Bed Bugs in National News (Video, Audio, and Written Articles)
1) CBS News video (August 2010): Bedbugs are back!
2) CBS News video (August 2010): The bed bug epidemic
3) and 4) National Public Radio (NPR) (September 2010): Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let The Bedbugs... Article and Audio Story
5) Discovery Network video (May 2010): Bed bugs on the rise
6) ABC News Nightline video (April 2010): Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite, The return of insects that feed on human flesh.
9) WLWT (Ohio) video (February 2008): Bed Bugs in four-star hotel
10) WLKY (Kentucky) video (February 2011): Hospitals proactive as bed bug threat spreads
Bed Bugs in Wisconsin and Regional News (Video, Audio, and Written Articles)
1) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article and video (October 2010): Bed bugs on the rise in Wisconsin
2) Fox6News (WITI, Milwaukee) article and video (July 2009): Bed bugs beginning to bite again in America
3) WISN (Milwaukee) video (March 2011):
Video: Bed bugs reported in Milwaukee hospitals
4) WISN (Milwaukee) video (October 2010): Bed bugs spread in Wisconsin
5) WISC-TV/Channel3000.com article (August 2006):
Officials Warn Of Bed Bugs In Curbside Furniture: Inspectors Report Surge In Madison Area
6) WISC-TV/Channel3000.com article and video (November 2010):
Secondhand Furniture Could Harbor Bedbugs: Experts Urge Taking Precautions
7) WVEC-TV article and video (November 2010): Watch for bed bugs in used furniture
8) Channel3000.com article and video (November 2010):
Pest Control: Bedbugs On Rise In Madison - 20 Percent Increase In Calls To Pest Control Company
9) Channel3000.com article (September 2010):
Bedbugs Biting In Rock County: Rock County Health Department Reports Spike In Confirmed Cases
10) Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) audio story: Bed bug update with Joy Cardin and guest Stephen Kells, Associate Professor and Extension Entomologist at the University of Minnesota (September 2010). Download the mp3 file from WPR or play the audio file using most mp3 players or RealPlayer.
11) Other Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) articles and audio files: WPR search for “bed bugs”
12) Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) article (September 2010): Bed bugs are expensive to exterminate, some can’t afford it
13) Other Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) articles and audio files: MPR search for “bed bugs”
14) Chicago Tribune article (October 2010): Those pesky bedbugs won't rest - Tiny biters make leap from Chicago homes to downtown offices