The current state of the world wide bed bug infestation is characterized by continuing spread, increasing resistance of the bed bugs to modern pesticides, but increasing efforts on the part of residents, municipalities, and courts to compel landlords and property managers to treat the infestation. There is also an increasing public awareness about bed bugs, manifesting itself in a spectrum of responses ranging from panic and fear to educated awareness about how to <a href=”search for and report bed bug infestations on a regular basis.
The bad news is that at its worst bed bug infestations that are not controlled at an earlier stage can lead to property damage, mental problems ranging from anxiety to post traumatic stress disorder, and the occasional need for residents to abandon their living quarters. The good news is that proper education can lead to a responsible approach to bed bug prevention, which includes spotting the insects at an earlier stage of infestation and thereby containing the spreadl more effectively. In between the two extremes, there are multiple examples of resident empowerment manifesting as complaints to local health departments and housing authorities and class action suits.
Although health authorities have described bed bugs as “annoying but harmless,” recent research coming out of University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, suggests that bed bugs may be capable of transmitting Chagas disease, a parasitic infection that can cause fatal heart damage. A Harvard expert called the evidence compelling but not conclusive. He cautioned the public about becoming overly panicky about the infestation and advised concerned residents to contact their local pest management company. There has been a rise in Chagas disease in America, which parallels the rise in bed bug populations, but the increase may be explained, at least in part, by migration from Latin America, where Chagas disease is common.
The current bed bug trends, when taken as a whole, suggest that increasing education, prevention, and eradication efforts must be used to counterbalance the continuing spread of the insect that is, at least in part, resistance to modern pesticides.