While the problem of bed bugs is not new, the recent increase in their numbers has raised alarm bells and fears. Bed bugs are considered a major public health and socioeconomic burden. Approximately 68 percent of pest control experts say that they are among the most difficult insects to control. The problem also poses a significant risk to public health, since bedbugs can carry up to 45 disease-causing pathogens.
Recent surveys have shown that the number of infestations has increased. According to Orkin, the most heavily infested city in the United States is Washington DC, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and Baltimore. The New York City area was ranked sixth, just ahead of Columbus, Ohio. Another survey from Terminex found that New York ranked high in bedbug infestations among 15 American cities. And the number of bedbug complaints filed with the New York City Council rose from 537 to 10,985 over the last five years. This growth has prompted the city to implement restrictions on mattress disposal, as well as other measures to discourage the bugs.
Although bed bugs tend to be more prevalent in the Northeast, they can also be found in the Midwest, the South, and the West. It’s not just hotels where the problem is widespread; people can also find them in purses, bedside lamps, and airplanes. While bed bugs have historically affected poorer areas, their numbers have increased in developed areas as well.