Norwich, England has seen a 50% rise in bed bugs this year, which experts attribute to the rise in foreign travel and car boot sales. (Car boot sales = trunk sales, flea markets to you nortamericanos.) I do have to ask journalists to please stop saying “they can be treated easily.”
Don’t make Bugzinthehood want to send you an embroidered cushion! (Just a little joke from the Bedbug-mafia.)
What I don’t understand is that if DDT was outlawed in the USA in 1972, and the airlines were deregulated in 1978, and if said deregulation led to an increase in travel which everyone seems to think led to the recent rise in bed bugs, then why did bed bugs really start to hit us in the last 5 years? Shouldn’t we have started seeing cases back in the 70’s and onwards? Many sources mention that changes in pest control practices (such as spraying all the baseboards in a home regularly) led to conditions in which bed bugs could flourish, but again, these have been discontinued for a few decades, so why now?
If DDT more or less eliminated bed bugs in the USA, but they still flourished overseas, why has it taken about 30 years for them to come back? Sure, there were always isolated cases, but only a few. If these bugs spread as easily as they seem to (based on cases I’m aware of right now) what took them so long to make the splash (er, bloodbath) they’re making now?
In response to the recent Salon.com story on bedbugs, one author of a letter to the editor outlined his “Tinhat theory” on bedbugs, which is that terrorists planted them in NYC hotels as a form of economic warfare. Granted, it’s a bit loopy, and I really don’t like what this person is implying about immigrants in general, but as conspiracy theories go, it has some features to recommend it. It does explain the rise in bedbugs in hotels. It does not account for the rise in bed bugs amongst residents of SRO hotels, shelters, institutions, and yough hostels, except inasmuch as those people may have some contact with the richer travelers who use hotels and/or with their infested castoff items (secondhand furniture, clothing, and other stuff).
Maybe the Dept. of Homeland Security should be dealing with a certain kind of miniature terrorist a little more aggressively. Regardless of their source, I’m sure we’d all agree with that description of the little mahogany-colored monsters!