The only thing worse than bringing bed bugs into your home after a vacation is to have them come crawling over from your neighbor’s house. If you happen to live in a multi-unit housing complex, your neighbor is a potential source of bed bugs and can spread the creepy crawlers throughout the building without even knowing it.
The mode and frequency of bed bug movement within and between apartments are the most significant findings of a new study from the Public Library of Science (PLOS), published in the September issue of Discover magazine. Here, entomologists from Rutgers University captured and marked bed bugs from six infected apartment units in New Jersey, released them, and then closely monitored them for 32 days to observe where they ended up.
After a week from the release, there were between 2,433 and 14,291 bed bugs in each of the monitored apartments. Even in the absence of a host and the chance of a blood meal, the marked bed bugs continued to be recovered 134 days later, while the naturally existing unmarked bed bugs, mainly large nymphs and adults, were still found 155 days later when the study ended.
Hotel and resort managers have all the reason to think of ‘bed bugs’ as the dirtiest words in their industry.
The problem isn’t so much the bugs themselves, but how travelers react to online reviews of hotels that have been reported by past guests to have a bed bug infestation. A new study by the University of Kentucky, USA, has put some hard numbers to the financial impact of online reports of bed bugs in hotels. Results show that, on average, a single report of the pesky critters in a recent traveler review decreases the value of a hotel room by $21 per room per night for leisure travelers and by $38 for business travelers.
Conducted in May this year, the study surveyed more than 2,100 respondents – 1,298 leisure travelers and 790 business travelers – about how they would react to various problematic issues encountered in hotel rooms.
Pesticide exposure is typically a concern for farm workers who apply them, but sometimes unsuspecting people are put through life-threatening experiences by coming into contact with the toxic chemicals.
A couple of months ago, an entire Delaware family became violently ill while vacationing in the U.S. Virgil Islands. Steve Esmond, his wife, and their two sons – one 16 years old and one just over 14 years of age – were enjoying their stay at a luxurious villa located in St. John, when Esmond was found unconscious in their hotel room. Two weeks later, his wife and sons started having seizures as well, and the family was airlifted to hospitals in the United States, where the boys and their father remained in critical condition.
An investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the family was poisoned by the highly toxic pesticide methyl bromide, which was used by employees of the pest control company Terminix to fumigate the condo below theirs in order to “deal with an indoor bug.” Methyl bromide, an odorless fumigant and pesticide, can be fatal or cause severe problems in humans, ranging from lung injury and respiratory damage to neurological problems.
Saving up money for months, taking time off of work in advance, or buying a new suitcase are no longer the biggest stresses of people planning a summer vacation this year. The possibility of bringing home the nasty miniature vampires we call bed bugs is a far bigger worry among travelers lately, as news about the persistence and ever-growing resilience of the hard-to-eradicate pests continue to make the headlines.
But while it’s well-known by now that hotels and motels are some of the little critters’ favorite hangouts, and most people are equipped to limit critter trouble during their stay, rarely do they think about the presence of bed bugs in the cars they rent. Just last week, a Long Island man set his rental car ablaze while attempting to eradicate bed bugs inside the vehicle.
Newsday reports that the 44-year-old man doused the entire car with rubbing alcohol, then climbed inside and lit a cigarette.
You’ve probably heard all about bed bugs in hotel rooms, and perhaps you stumbled upon a few of the bloodthirsty critters in your own home, as well. But did you know they can be hiding inside books in the public library, in clothing in retail stores, and along the seams of your seat in trains and planes?
Using public transportation is good for the environment, but riding on planes, subways, trains, buses, taxis, and even cruise ships may expose you to problems from bed bugs as their riders may bring them inside in luggage, clothing, and personal possessions. The risk increases when using public transport in areas with a high incidence rate of residential bed bug infestations.
Being small and agile, bed bugs thrive in small places. Inside the house, they lodge inside cracks, crevices, and along the seams of the mattress, identifying their host by carbon dioxide, warmth, and by certain chemical substances.