What did they discover at the National Bed Bug Summit?
Early in February, experts from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. for the second annual National Bed Bug Summit – an event organized by the federal government in an effort of curb the recent bed bug outbreaks nationwide.
Many things were discussed at the summit – from initiating community programs to help stop the spread of the blood-sucking insects, to ways of combating infestations once they’ve been discovered.
But chief amongst these topics was the sinister realization that the bed bug problem was getting worse, not better.
For many attending the summit, bed bugs were a recent problem. In fact etymologist Richard Cooper, attending the event, recalled his amazement when he saw his first ‘real’ bed bug in somebody’s home a couple of decades ago.
“I had to do a double take! I couldn’t believe that I was actually seeing a true bed bug.”
So what’s changed? Why have bed bugs gone from the brink of extinction to invading hotels and homes all across America?
Experts agree that two factor are contributing to the spread of bed bugs:
- The banning of pesticide DDT in 1972.
- Bed bugs growing immune to the pesticides that replaced DDT
DDT was so effective at treating bed bugs that its use practically exterminated the parasite for good by the end of the 1960s.
However, the federal government banned its use in ’72, linking the highly toxic pesticide to cancer, and the near-extinction of the American Bald Eagle. That ban perhaps gave bedbugs the break they needed.
Since the banning of DDT, a variety of other synthetic pesticides have been used against them, but bed bugs are shown to be rapidly building immunity. This is why bed bug infestations have exploded in the past few years.
Over the course of the summit, several measures were outlined that would help people reduce the risk of bed bugs in their own home – like not bringing in used mattresses or furniture other people had discarded.
In the spirit of that advice, we’ve got some of our own recommendations for people to consider in preventing bed bugs getting into their home – and dealing with infestations more quickly when they do discover them.
- The first is: detection is protection. Identifying bed bugs quickly is a major aid in dealing with infestations – and preventing them in the first place. Since bed bugs can be brought home from a stay at a motel or hotel, it’s recommended that everybody check their bed board and mattress when checking in – for bugs themselves, or for the white powder residue that gave away a recent bed bug treatment.
- Secondly, there are practical measures you should adopt to keep bed bugs out of your homes altogether – including washing new clothes as soon as you buy them. A spin cycle on ‘hot’ in the tumble dryer is enough to kill most bed bugs and their eggs; and is especially important since even stores like Nike have reported infestations.
- Finally, we advise all homeowners to educate themselves about treating bed bugs if they do discover them. There are variety of treatment options available that let you deal with the problem by ‘doing it yourself.’
To tackle a bed bug infestation, we recommend using our 100% natural, 100% organic bed bug sprays and treatments [link to product]. these treatments use food-grade ingredients to naturally disrupt a bed bug’s ability to breath, feed and mate. They incapacitate bed bugs on contact, and kill them dead within 30 seconds.
Even more significantly, the ingredients used in our bed bug killer sprays disintegrate bed bug eggs on contact; something no synthetic chemical pesticide can do.
And using natural ingredients means our products are safe to use around family, children and pets, and bed bugs can’t build immunity to them.
If the National Bed Bug Summit achieved anything, it was to establish that this nation is at war with bed. We agree – and believe that our 100% natural and 100% organic bed bug killing products might just be the secret weapon needed to turn the tide.
Newspaper headlines, news reports and TV stories have all reported one thing recently: Bed bugs are back.
With the invention of modern pesticides and the vacuum cleaner, these parasitic insects, Cimex lectularius, were almost wiped out in North America during the 1940s and 1950s – but like in all good underdog stories, they came back bigger, badder and more prolific than ever.
Now, even the ritziest hotels and smartest shops are falling victim to bedbug infestations – from New York’s Waldorf-Astoria to the Empire State Building. Even the United Nations sprayed for bed bugs in 2009!
So what’s spurred this sudden insect epidemic?
Early theories claimed that the surge of recent bedbug infestations were a result of Cimex lectularius developing a genetic immunity to common pesticides like DDT.
Research has since disproven this theory, however – the DNA of modern bedbugs is identical to that of the bugs from the 1940s and 1950s.
A more likely explanation is that bedbug populations have grown as the use of chemical pesticides has dropped – the most effective pesticide, DDT, was banned in 1972 after a public outcry spurred by Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring.
Other experts link the explosion in the bedbug population to global warming – as bedbugs traditionally thrive in warmer climates. A more controversial theory connects the sudden influx of bedbugs to the influx of immigrants from south of the border – although many consider this theory as nothing more than racism.
Regardless of the cause, the effect is here for us all to see – in New York alone, reports of bedbug infestations rose from 500 in 2004 to 10,000 in 2009.
The most terrifying aspect of this epidemic is the fact that any of us can fall victim to it. All it takes is a single “gravid” bedbug (a female carrying eggs) to kick off an infestation in your home – no matter how clean and hygienic it is.
And that single bedbug can hitch a ride in a multitude of ways – in your luggage, when you stay at a hotel, or in clothes you buy from a store. Your children’s stuffed toys can take them too and from daycare, and some people have even reported infestations after visiting an infested movie theatre.
And while bedbug infestations are easy to get, they’re increasingly difficult to get rid of. Bedbugs are some of the most resilient insects on Earth – able to withstand temperatures of 10 degrees below freezing, and living without feeding for up to a year. Female bedbugs lay around 400 eggs – and given that it takes just one “gravid” to restart an infestation, it’s incredibly difficult to get rid of them once you’ve got them.
The most obvious solution is a chemical treatment, or spray for bedbugs. You can either get a professional to do this, or do it yourself. The problem with a professional is that they’re expensive – and doing it yourself involves using chemicals that might be dangerous to yourself and your family – especially if you have infants, toddlers or pets in the house.
A new solution is Nature’s Response Bed Bug Treatment. Nature’s Response uses a holistic approach to bed bug management, with a treatment that combines naturally occurring substances in a way that quickly and effectively kills adult and nymph bed bugs.
The advantage of Nature’s Response Bed Bug Treatment is that it uses only natural, food-grade ingredients – making it a safe alternative to artificial chemicals and pesticides. While entirely natural, it’s also clinically proven to be highly effective at killing bedbugs, and helping manage infestations almost instantly.
To maximize the effectiveness of Nature’s Response Bed Bug Treatment, we also offer a series of blog posts and articles on the best ways to eliminate an infestation – from removing an infested mattress, to natural ways to kill bedbugs and bedbug eggs in your clothes and bedding.