WEIRD WEDNESDAY: The Invasion Of The Bed Bugs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking the bed bug situation so seriously that it has been holding a summit in the Washington, DC area over the past two days (April 14-15, 2009). The first ever National Bed Bug Summit is being held under the auspices of EPA’s Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee.

According to the EPA, the bed bug situation is no laughing matter. Greg Baumann, a senior scientist at the National Pest Management Association, explains, “Over the years, the EPA has pulled many of the most potent chemicals [like DDT] off the shelves because of environmental concerns. Pest managers can still kill the bugs, but the public needs to be patient.” (Source: Joel Rose, Marketplace.)

Mike Deutsch, staff entomologist with Arrow Exterminating has been finding bed bugs in all sorts of places: inside lamp bases, clock radios, TVs, computer keyboards, between the pages of books, inside electric switches, behind ceiling moldings, and in one case, inside a cell phone. “We’ve never seen anything like this. We certainly know that bed bugs are not restricted to beds and upholstered furniture, but now we’re finding them in places even we never thought possible.” What’s more, Deutsch say, “Expect to see a huge increase in bed bugs after spring break is over this year.”

Frequent international travel and hotel stays have helped bed bugs to make a comeback after near extinction in the U.S. The bugs find their way into suitcases and end up being carried home here to the States.

Bed bug infestations have grown at a steady clip over the last handful of years. And the public’s refusal to accept the bed bug epidemic (despite the numerous reports of infestations regularly making headlines, like this story posted on FacilityBlog last year about Fox News) will only make matters worse. And despite the stigma associated with the pests, bed bugs don’t adhere to specific socioeconomic demographics.

According to Deutsch, proactive measures to prevent infestation are limited but absolutely necessary. “The infestation problem is only going to get worse in the immediate future,” says Deutsch. “The public needs to accept this fact, get educated and take what preventive measures they can, especially since bed bug populations are extremely difficult to detect when their populations are at a low level within the home. People don’t realize there is a problem until they are getting bitten.”

Summit participants will share information on topics including the expanding impact of bed bugs on the housing, hospitality, and other sectors; factors contributing to the growing problem; and the response of the public health community and government agencies. The meeting will provide a venue to communicate with others in the diverse community affected by the increasing problem of bed bugs. Participants will also identify ideas and options for bed bug prevention, control, and management; create strategies for outreach and education; and develop recommendations for action.

EPA’s National Bed Bug Summit meeting is open to the public. If you are interested in attending, you do not need to register in advance of the meeting, and there is no registration fee. Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. While no registration is necessary, we encourage you to RSVP so we can better estimate attendance and provide meeting updates. For information on the location and times of the meeting, please contact Karen Angulo ( by e-mail or telephone (703-306-0404).


  1. OMG this is horrible, and things just seem like they keep getting worse. I was at war with bedbugs for what seemed like forever. The biggest problem I had was trying to find a non-toxic and professional solution.Getting rid of bed bugs is different than getting rid of termites or other types of pests…

  2. The Harvard University websites on bed bugs have been updated and enhanced, but moved to a new home. Access them at:
    The information continues to be offered without cost or commercial agenda. Identification resources are also available at this site.

  3. Very interesting post , very good one for all …….
    I also experience a tough time with these bed bugs in Washington dc ….really great problem…….choose any method to avoid these form there……….
    thanks for this information….

  4. Bed Bugs are everywhere these days. If you think you have them, reach out to your local pest control company and have someone take a look!

  5. I didn’t know the bed bug problem was taken so seriously. Now they’re being found in electronics, even cell phones. That’s crazy. Wonderful Article

  6. Destiny,
    Harvard University has a very helpful website regarding bed bugs at It sounds like your landlord is taking the easy way out – put the blame on the tenant and avoid any responsibility. As you saw from the blog post, there is a problem with bed bugs across the country. You may want to contact the Oklahoma Bar Association at 1-800-522-8065 to see if they can assist with your threatened eviction from the landlord.

    A temporary method to clear the bed bugs from your sleeping area is to either use steam or spray alcohol on the affected areas. This does not kill them, but makes the area less hospitable to them. A licensed pest control specialist should be used for a permanent solution.

  7. I have what I think is a severe case of Bed Bugs. I moved in my Apt 3 months and started seeing them one week into leaving there. They have sprayed but I am still getting bit. My apt is saying I brought them and I have 10 days to fix the problem or I am evicted…. Do you any way to help me I am a single mom with 3 kids

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