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 Quick Facts

 Reported incidences of bed bugs are increasing by over 500% in major cities
 Bed Bugs can survive up to 18 months without food
 Bed bugs have been around for thousands of years – in 1930’s one third of all London homes were infested with bedbugs

Bed Bugs New Articles – You are not alone!

Here are some news articles about Bed Bug Infestations to show how wide spread the problem is now becoming and the damage to brand reputation and financial losses it can cause if it is not effectively treated:

Don't let the bedbugs bite ...
The Guardian : Date 9/02/2010

I can't decide where, in our battle with the bedbugs, we reached the nadir. Was it when my son's reception class teacher called my wife to express her concern about the number of bites on his arms, body and face? "He says they're ... bedbug bites," she said, disbelievingly. "That's right," my wife replied. "We've got an infestation that we're being treated for." "Oh, I understand - I've come across bedbugs, when I've been travelling in Africa." The words "but not when I've been teaching in north London" went unspoken.

Was it when, for four nights running, our eight-year-old daughter kept us awake with her star-shaped sleeping position, because she was too afraid to sleep in her own bed after having awoken to see a pair of bedbugs lazing on her pillow?
Or was it when, a fortnight after we'd had the house chemically treated, I laboriously took apart the wooden frame of her bunk bed? I had spread white sheets across the floor, so I could see what fell out of the nooks and crannies of the frame, and by the end of the process the sheets were streaked red with blood from the 40 or so live and well-fed bugs I had squashed. My daughter marvelled at how much blood came out of each bug. I didn't have the heart to tell her where the blood had come from.

At this point, you're probably thinking that our house must be a vile hovel. You're probably right. It has all seemed a bit 14th century this past month, what with the bedbugs, the mice and the clothes moths. But be warned: we are not unusual. Bedbugs are on their way back, despite having been all but eradicated in the developed world by the 1980s.
In the US, in the postwar years, DDT was used to kill them off. In this country - what an English solution - the authorities shamed the population into seeking their own treatment, by drawing a link between infestation and slovenliness, thus establishing a stigma that survives today. In fact, your cleanliness or otherwise makes no difference to whether bedbugs set up home with you. All they're interested in is your blood. If you encounter them, there's a decent chance they're coming home with you. And you stand a decent chance of encountering them.
Stuart Hine, an entomologist at the Natural History Museum in London, estimates that there has been a threefold increase in London's bedbug population this decade. That figure is backed by the research of Bedbugs Limited, an extermination company founded by microbiologist David Cain after he became obsessed with the creatures.
No one is exactly sure how prevalent bedbugs are, though. There is no requirement to report infestations, and though many people do call their council's pest control department when they find them, different councils record reports in different ways. Cain used the Freedom of Information Act to request London borough council records of bedbugs. At the broadest level - borough by borough - the data offers little help. It's only when broken down almost street by street that patterns emerge: a corridor of bedbug infestation running from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham in south London, or corridors running from Gatwick and Heathrow to central London.

So why are the bedbugs biting? What brought them back to Britain? The simplest explanation is globalisation. Bedbugs are hugely effective hitchhikers: if you sleep in an infested room, they may climb into your luggage, or into your clothes. When you get home, they disembark and set up home in the darkest nooks of your bedroom, coming out in the hours before dawn to suck blood from your slumbering body. With more and more of us travelling abroad to regions where bedbugs were never eradicated, more and more of us are likely to bring them back. They thrive in homes inhabited by large numbers of people, where they are able to feed and breed freely.

We realised we had a bedbug problem just after Christmas. My wife came downstairs with a small insect - rust coloured, with a flat, oval body, a few millimetres in length - in a bowl. "This bug was crawling about on the bunk beds," she said. "What do you think it is?" Within 20 seconds, Google Images had supplied the answer.
In fact, the warning signs had been apparent for a while, we just hadn't seen them. Before Christmas our son had a perplexing rash on his leg that wouldn't clear up and the doctor had suggested it was an allergy. His room turned out to have relatively few bugs, while our daughter's had a much more severe infestation - yet we never saw a mark on her skin. Many people, it transpires, don't react to bites and so don't realise they have a problem until they find a live bug. The real eye-opener, though, was what the exterminator pointed out when he came round. At virtually all the joins in the wooden frame of the bunk beds were little black dots, as if the tips ballpoint pens had been tapped against the wood. Those black marks turned out to be bedbug faeces.

Where did we get our bugs? The exterminator estimated our house had been occupied for five months, which - to my mind - suggested we'd picked them up from a holiday house in France in the summer. Certainly, I remembered being bitten one night there, when I had been certain there was no mosquito in the room. But the exterminator reckoned we'd got them from public transport. That, he told us, is where most people pick up bedbugs. It's simple logic really: a vast number of people, including plenty who have returned from abroad (think about those corridors of infestation from the London airports into the city), offering bedbugs an array of hosts. But the transport companies are hardly at fault. Do we expect them to frisk every traveller for bedbugs? Could they check every bus and every train every night for bedbugs? That is what it would take to get the transport system clear. In the meantime, David Cain has a piece of advice for commuters: "Don't sit down on public transport."

When the exterminator had treated our kids' rooms, he left us with a lengthy manual of instructions. The kids needed to stay in their rooms because if the bugs' food source was removed, they would just infest new rooms. We were to examine the beds every day for living and dead bugs, and after two weeks we were to "deep clean" their rooms in the hope of eradicating the last stragglers. That fortnight seemed to last for ever. It was during that time that our son's teacher made the call that shamed us. It was on the last day of the fortnight that I took apart the bunk beds to find them crawling with living bugs. Even after the deep clean - performed by a woman who advised us that, in addition to never sitting down on public transport, we should always remove our clothes before entering a bedroom - we still needed another chemical treatment. That took place last week. We are praying that by next week we are clear - so we can get back to killing the mice.

So does no one have a good word for the bedbug? Even Stuart Hine, who - being an entomologist - says he can appreciate the beauty of every insect, can find nothing to admire. David Cain expresses grudging respect for their ability to thrive alongside humans for thousands of years, despite our best efforts. But I will stick up for these banes of my life. Among the things I have discovered is that the bedbug has a unique style of mating, known as traumatic insemination, in which the male simply stabs his sperm into the female's body cavity, bypassing her genitals. Professor Mike Siva-Jothy of Sheffield University has discovered that there is a "25% reduction in female lifespan" as a result - a surprisingly low figure. Siva-Jothy believes a unique organ, the spermalege, which protects the females, could in future help scientists produce a drug that reduces the transmission of diseases. There's more: what does a well-fed bedbug contain? Human blood. Some criminologists believe that scouring crime scenes for live bedbugs could provide investigators with a source of DNA. I'm not saying I won't be glad when ours are gone. But I have a little more sympathy for them than I did a month ago.

How to spot an infestation

• Look for unexplained rashes, although one in 10 people doesn't respond to bites. If you react badly, use antihistamines.
• Check your bedframe, or the joints of furniture, for black dots of between 0.5mm and 1mm - bedbug faeces. Contrary to myth, bedbugs do not live in your mattress, although they may be found in the seams.
• Check your sheets for bloodstains: you may have rolled over and crushed a bug after it has fed on you.
• If you have a severe infestation, you might notice a sweet, musty smell around your bedframe.

What to do if you're infested

• Call a professional extermination firm, and check its credentials. Many pest-control companies have diversified into bedbug control without any expertise. Following the advice of one company's website, we put grease-lined tins around our bed legs (to prevent bugs crawling up them). The exterminator guffawed at our stupidity. Don't try to kill the bugs yourself: last year an American woman blew up her home by lighting several insecticide "foggers" simultaneously: the propellant caused her gas supply to ignite. Don't use an aerosol-based insecticide, either: you'll kill some, but the fit ones will simply flee to another room.
• Don't throw away your furniture. The chances are that you will spread the bugs through your home.
• Don't flee the infested room. The bedbugs want food and warmth: if you go, they'll follow.
• Talk to your neighbours. It's possible your bugs have come from them, or that you have given them yours. One of David Cain's customers reported a recurring infestation. He was being reinfested by a neighbour, whose property was home to an estimated 150,000 bedbugs (the average infestation is around 100).
• Don't panic. Bedbugs don't carry diseases, and their presence does not make you unclean.

London hotel sued over bed bug attack
Story from The Metro: Date 16/01/2007

A New York lawyer is suing a luxury London hotel after he and his wife were bitten by bed bugs.
Sidney Bluming and his wife, Cynthia, are seeking several million dollars in damages from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Limited in the lawsuit which was filed last month in the US District Court, Manhattan.
The couple claim they suffered hundreds of bites that left their skin red, swollen and itchy during a five-day stay at the luxury Hyde Park hotel in May last year.
They also say that after their stay in the capital the bugs embedded themselves in their luggage, hitching a transatlantic ride to their own Manhattan apartment and infested there as well.
He said: 'People associate bed bugs with more of a lower end class of hotel.
'Clearly, that is not the case here. The Mandarin is as premier and luxurious as any hotel could make themselves out to be.'
The lawsuit accuses the hotel chain of fraud, deceptive trade practice, negligence, recklessness, intentional infliction of emotional distress and nuisance.

Magnolia director in bed bug case
Story from BBC NEWS: Date 3/11/2006

Film director Paul Anderson, is suing the owner of his New York apartment over an infestation of bed bugs.
The director and his wife, comedienne Maya Rudolph, were "bitten all over their bodies" after moving into the flat last month, court papers claim.
An exterminator later told them to move out, at least for a few weeks, for the sake of their one-year-old baby.
Anderson is seeking $450,500 (£235,800) in damages in the case, which also names his estate agent as a defendant.

Mind the bed bugs don't bite as critter numbers boom
Story from ThisisLondon: Date 19/10/2006

Be warned - next time you return from a foreign jaunt, you might have brought back an very unwelcome souvenir.
Experts say cases of bedbugs have shot up in the past decade, and believe the rise in trips to far-flung countries may be to blame.
They believe the parasites are stowing away in our luggage and then making their home in crevices under our furniture, beneath carpets and even in picture frames.
Once there a single female can lay up to three eggs a day, quickly creating an infestation.
Although the bugs weigh about the same as a grain of rice, they can guzzle four times their own body weight in just 15 minutes, leaving their poor victim covered in itchy red blotches.

Bed bugs bite as infestations increase
Story from Norwich Evening News 24

Outbreaks of bed bugs in Norwich have increased by almost 50pc in the past year and our love of foreign travel and car boot sales could be to blame…….

Elizabeth Kidman is a senior entomologist at the Medical Entomology Centre in Cambridge and has studied them in her labs. She confirmed incidents of bed bugs were steadily increasing.

“The thing is, a lot of people think they live in beds but they do not. They live in furniture close to beds,” she said.

“They exist there and come out to feed on you at night when you are asleep. You are their blood meal.

“Bed bugs can give you a nasty bite but they do not transmit disease. The only time you would end up in hospital is if you had a severe reaction.”

Seven-year itch proves bed bugs are biting back
Story from Daily Telegraph

Bed bugs, for years linked to insanitary households, poverty and the darker side of Dickens, are making a comeback. Infestations of the bugs, which feast on human blood and leave itchy weals on the skin, had been virtually eliminated in prosperous countries but have had a resurgence in the last seven years.
In America, wealthy householders have been horrified to discover that the cause of their bites, often on the arms and shoulders, had been bed bugs. Australia has also reported a recent "dramatic" increase.
Clive Bose, a pest management specialist, told the Institute of Biology's journal, Biologist, yesterday: "Data from some sources indicate that since the mid-1990s the numbers of reported infestations have almost doubled annually, although numbers are nowhere near pre-war levels."

Bed bugs bite £43m hole in Australia's tourism income
Story from The Scotsman: Date 4/2/2006

AUSTRALIA is suffering a bed-bug epidemic with the tourism industry losing an estimated £43 million a year because of the blood-sucking insects.
Some pest controllers have reported more than a 1,000 per cent rise in bed-bug outbreaks, said the Institute for Clinical Pathology & Medical Research at Sydney's Westmead Hospital.
The Australian outbreaks are part of a global epidemic, with the number of bed bugs worldwide doubling each year, says entomologist Stephen Doggett.
"Britain, Europe and a lot of America have reported a resurgence in bed bugs," he added.
Hotel and pest control operators in the United States reported a 20 per cent rise in bed bugs in 2004 and bed-bug infestations there have caused lawsuits, with a number of companies sued by guests who have been bitten.
Mr Doggett said the worldwide rise in the insects was a result of changing pest control measures and an increase in travellers visiting exotic locations.

Bed Bugs – research by Sheffield University              
Story from BBC Inside Out: Date 11/08/2008

In the 1930’s a third of homes had extra unwelcome lodgers in their bed posts - bed bugs.
Strong pesticides saw them off and the little mites were largely forgotten, but now they are making a comeback.
Infestations in London are increasing at an alarming rate year on year- as bed bugs become more immune to poison - and find places to breed while we sleep.
The London Boroughs have become so alarmed by the 25% year on year increase in infestations in the capital that they have commissioned research into finding out how the bugs have evolved, at Sheffield University.
Clive Boase is a consultant working on the project: "When the London bugs were tested there were a few things that surprised us… all of the London strains showed widespread resistance and what surprised us was how uniform this resistance was.
"What we thought when we started was that it wasn’t widespread, but then it dawned on us that it actually was very widespread and happening quite a long time before this work here at Sheffield."
Richard Naylor has been studying bed bugs in Sheffield for six years:
"It’s a problem that’s growing year on year… There has been quite a lot of work to see if they transmit hepatitis or aids.
"Research so far suggests that bed bugs do not transmit diseases."
Although that is good news, the beg bug invasion continues to worry pest controllers and householders alike.
So how do you sleep tight and stop the bed bug's bite?
Experts recommend checking your home every few weeks for signs of these creatures - blood spots, egg residue, minute particles of bed bug carcass and the creepy crawlies themselves. The bugs live in clean as well as dirty homes.
And if you do fear the worst, call in pest control if you think you've experienced an invasion. 

Bedbug plague strikes Santiago de Compostela pilgrim route

Story from Date 10 Sep 2008

An urgent mass disinfection of hostels along the Road to Santiago, one of the oldest pilgrimage routes in Europe, is to be carried out by Spanish authorities.

Convents and hostels along the route to the north-western Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela have become infested by bedbugs, spread by the more than 100,000 pilgrims who travel to the shrine of St James every year.
The insects, which bury themselves deep inside mattresses and pillows in the pilgrims' quarters, are causing untold numbers of travellers to have sleepless nights and are responsible for many falling ill on the way.
The Federation of Friends of the Camino de Santiago has proposed a simultaneous clean up at all overnight stops along the route from the town of Roncesvalles on the French border in the Pyrenees.
"It's a plague and it's incredibly dangerous," said Angel Luis Barreda from the organisation that oversees the pilgrimage path.
"The tiny insects are difficult to remove unless there is a strong and organised disinfection," he told Spanish daily newspaper 20 Minutos. "Action is needed".
The worst hit establishments have in the past closed their doors to disinfect the beds but they quickly become reinfested as unwashed pilgrims carry the bugs, of the Cimicidae genus, with them from other shelters.
The organisation has proposed that all the regional authorities along the 460 mile route through Spain join forces and simultaneously disinfect the guesthouses to wipe out the pest once and for all.
Mr Barreda believes winter is the best time to act when few except the most devout pilgrims attempt the route, which dates back to the ninth century.

Bedbugs on public transport spreading
Story from Daily Telegraph: Date 26/08/2008

Britain's biggest pest control company, Rentokil, has reported a 40 per cent increase in the number of transport-related call-outs in the past year.
It says more than two thirds of infestations on public and private transport involved bedbugs.
The rest were likely to be biting insects such as fleas from cats and dogs. Bedbugs are commonly found in the creases of seats and seat-belt fastenings on buses, trains and aircraft.
They thrive in small spaces and can cause anaemia if they feed on a host's blood for a long time.

Bedbugs bite back in US hotels
Story from Daily Telegraph: Date 20/05/2005

"Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" is a phrase that is coming back to haunt hoteliers in the United States.
The bloodsucking pests are enjoying a resurgence throughout the country, due to a reduction in the use of powerful pesticides that once controlled the insects.
Hotel receptions are reporting an increase in complaints from customers following an incident in 2003, when a Mexican businessman sued the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel in New York after he and a companion allegedly suffered numerous bedbug bites. Helmsley Enterprises, the owner of the hotel, settled out of court.
The epidemic has led to a rise in business for pest-control firms, with many reporting a 20 per cent increase in calls.
Rollins Inc, an Atlanta company, plans to offer hotels a preventative treatment to ensure an environment free of bedbugs for at least a year.
Bedbugs were virtually eliminated in the 1940s and 1950s when DDT was used in hotels, but the insecticide was banned in the 1960s for environmental reasons.
Bedbugs can prosper in any environment, but thrive in hotels because of the turnover of customers and the creatures' ability to travel in luggage and clothing. They are often found under mattresses and bed frames or behind picture frames.
Medical experts have attempted to reassure travellers by stating that bites are generally harmless.

Bedbugs on the rise – 90% of bed bug incidences would go unrecognised
Story from Sheffield Telegraph: Date 7/10/2008

Only one in ten Britons are able to identify what a bedbug looks like, according to researchers at the University of Sheffield.
These research findings, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, are cause for concern as bedbugs are on the rise in the Western World.

Researchers at the University presented live adult bedbugs to over 350 people across South Yorkshire,
East Sussex and Norfolk. They found that 90% of beg bug incidences would go unrecognised due to people's lack of knowledge of their appearance.

Teenagers (those aged under 15) were unable to correctly identify the flat, tea-brown, half-lentil sized blood-sucker correctly. One in five people aged over 60, however were able to recognise the small creature.

Bedbugs are on the rise in the Western World due to increased pesticide resistance, air travel and temperatures. Being able to recognise and remove an individual bedbug may help to prevent bugs from reproducing, and spreading, and so will keep their numbers low.

Dr Klaus Reinhardt, an entomologist at the University who led the study, said:

"Older people were expected to know what a bedbug looked like because of their war and pre-war time exposure to these nocturnal sleep-robbers.

"However it is also important that younger generations, in particular those that work in the travel and leisure industry, are educated in the appearance of bedbugs and their nymphs, eggs and traces. The ability to single out a lonely creature crawling over a hotel bed as a bedbug may make all the difference."

News Stories last updated: 10th June 2010


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 This week we have been called out to treat this flat in Central London, where an elderly gentleman lives.
 There were in excess of 5000 eggs and 500 live bed bugs found crawling around the place.
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