Bed bugs are often spread through travel locally, nationally, and globally. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, the level of these different types of travel drastically decreased. The question then needs to be asked, are bed bugs disappearing because of this? According to a recent article in Crain’s Chicago Business, they have seen a reduction in the number of bed bug infestations in the Chicago area since the start of the pandemic. READ ARTICLE
Less travel has definitely impacted the types of infestations that have occurred over the past year. Over the past year, people have not traveled as much as usual. Travelers who would usually take planes, trains, or buses have avoided these form of public transportation. With the reduction in use of these forms of public transit also came a reduction in the use of hotels and Airbnbs. Even more, some Airbnbs and hotels closed or shut down. These different types of shared spaces are all very common avenues for bed bugs to spread. When people stopped traveling last spring, the traveling of the bed bugs temporarily subsided as well.
Where Bed Bugs Are
Even though travel is decreasing, this does not mean that bed bugs are all gone. Bed bugs do not just disappear from hotels when people disappear, unfortunately. Bed bugs are resilient and can live for long periods of time without eating. Hotels are just one place that bed bugs can appear. While the occurrence of bed bugs in hotels have decreased, there are other common places for bed bugs to hide. There are still plenty of infestations in local communities, particularly in community settings such as condos and apartment buildings. The close proximity of these more permanent living spaces makes the perfect environment for bed bugs. Many of these infestations are spread locally through everyday occurrences, such as a sleepover or hanging out with a friend for a few hours.
Who Gets Bed Bugs?
It may be easy to think that because you maintain a clean lifestyle or do not travel often that you will never get bed bugs. On top of this, you may even go to further measures in order to prevent bed bugs from entering your house. The fact of the matter, though, is that anyone is susceptible to getting bed bugs. They can be spread through contact with other people or even in your own or someone else’s luggage. Once they are in your home, they look for a consistent place to feed. This can be a bed or even a couch if a person spends enough time there. Having said this, if you can answer “yes” to the questions “am I a person who comes into contact with other people?” and “do I have places in my house where I spend time regularly on a daily basis?”, then you could get bed bugs. Notice, this means almost everyone is susceptible to these pests!
Why They Won’t Disappear
With the decrease in use of public transit and temporary living spaces, the question still remains: are bed bugs disappearing? The simple answer to this question is no. Unfortunately, bed bugs will not be disappearing anytime soon. Even though these common ways of transmitting bed bugs are occurring less, there are many other ways that bed bugs can be spread. If you do end up having an infestation, there are different strategies to eliminate the problem. With different treatments, you may experience relief from these pests for a period of time; however, even though you may have no bed bug bites for a period of time, they can live over a year without eating a blood meal. When they are without a host to feed on, they go to a dormant stage where they survive minimally until food can be found.
Many customers we talk to say that they will just stay out of a particular room or a hotel room so that the bugs will go away. This strategy is not effective because you will not be able to outlast a bed bug. Once you shut off a particular area of your home, the bed bugs will soon start to detect the carbon dioxide given off by humans in other rooms in the house. Thus, your infestation that started in one room will slowly move into other areas of your house. Your bed bugs are not disappearing, but simply relocating. As the bed bugs move to other areas of the house and the infestation broadens, the more difficult and more expensive killing bed bugs can become.
How to Treat a Bed Bug Infestation
Since the answer to the main question “are bed bugs disappearing?'” is no, the best way to get rid of bed bugs is with heat. A bed bug treatment with heat kills all stages of the bed bug life cycle, including the eggs. Chemicals do not kill the eggs. Additionally, bugs do not seem to be deterred too long by over-the-counter bombs or chemicals. These types of treatments push the bugs into hiding, and often times, into neighboring apartments, even. READ MORE Even more, once the bed bugs are pushed into places that are not normal for them, any type of treatment can be much more challenging.
We encourage people to avoid using chemicals, bombs, sprays, and foggers when they come upon bed bugs. It makes the heat treatment much more efficient and effective to kill the bugs in their natural habitat, which is generally within 6 feet of your bed (or sometimes a couch or chair where someone may spend a lot of time).
So, are bed bugs disappearing? The answer, for now, is “No”. Give us a call if you find that you have a bed bug infestation in your home. We offer a free phone consultation to help you formulate the best treatment plan for your specific infestation. We offer heater rentals and full-service options in some locations. We want to help you eradicate bed bugs for good!