What You Should Know About Bed Bugs

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April 16, 2009

Bed bugs

Bed bugs have made a comeback in what is being called the biggest outbreak since World War II, according to an article by the Associated Press . The Environmental Protection Agency held its first-ever National Bed Bug Summit, April 14-15, to discuss the expanding impact the insects are currently having on housing, hospitality and other industries. According to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, improvements in hygiene and the widespread use of the synthetic pesticide DDT during the 1940s and ‘50s all but decimated the bed bug population in the U.S. In other regions of the world, however, they have remained common. Recently the little bugs have hitched a ride back to the U.S., courtesy of increased international travel. So what exactly are bed bugs? According to the University of Kentucky, they are small, brown-ish insects with flattened bodies that hide close to where people sleep, like in mattresses, box springs, bed frames or headboards. Bed bugs feed on blood, and they are typically active at night. Bites can result in an itchy red welt or swelling, but some people have no reaction at all. Right now you're probably wondering, "How do you get rid of them?" The EPA's Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee planned the recent summit in order to identify ideas and options for bed bug prevention, control and management. According to the EPA, DDT, which was used in the past, was removed from the market due to its effects on health and the environment. The Associated Press reports that extermination can cost between $400 and $900.

  • Read the Associated Press story.
  • Learn more about bed bugs on the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture's site.
  • Learn more about your sleep environment .