Posted: March 11, 2011
Two weeks ago while on an assignment, I spent a couple of awkward nights in a budget hotel. The accommodations weren’t the problem—they were plenty comfortable and clean. Rather, my worries that I might pick up bed bugs and bring them home with me kept me on edge. The mattresses and upholstery all seemed insect-free; even so, I kept my clothes packed, wrapped everything in garbage bags and set my suitcase in the bathtub overnight, just to be sure.
Chalk up my actions as neurotic overkill; I don’t disagree. The contortions I put myself through were at least short-lived. Unfortunately, people who have to live with bed bugs for a long time may be possessed by a desperate yearning to be rid of them. And desperate people do desperate, dangerous things.
The pestilent return of bed bugs throughout the U.S. (which I’ve previously discussed here and here) shows no sign of ebbing, and efficient measures for stemming their spread are not at hand. At the EPA’s Second National Bed Bug Summit held this past February, experts in public health and entomology reviewed the state of the pest control technology and the mixed results of various efforts to eliminate the bugs in different cities. (PLoS)