Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2008

by bedbugger on May 20, 2008 · 7 comments

in bed bug prevention, bed bugs, bed bugs in hotels, government, usa

Bed bugs have arrived in the United States House of Representatives.

All this time we’ve been waiting and hoping to see cities and states, in a painfully gradual trickle, taking action on the national bed bug epidemic. I confess I’m rather amazed at this turn of events.

On May 15, Representative G. K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina) introduced H. R. 6068, aka the Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2008. The bill’s cosponsors are: Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), Rep. Donald Payne (D-New Jersey), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-California), and Rep. William Jefferson (D-Louisiana).

This bill would establish a grant program for states to inspect hotel rooms:

whereby not fewer than 20 percent of rooms in lodging facilities in such State are inspected annually for cimex lectularius, commonly known as the bed bug.

The grants can be used to conduct inspections, train inspectors and educate hotel managers and staff in bed bug prevention and eradication.

It’s significant that Butterfield evidently felt compelled to deflect ridicule:

“Unfortunately, it’s not a joke,” Butterfield said in a news release. “Fifty years after being virtually eliminated, bed bugs are back all across the country.”

I am mindful that in 2004, UK urban pest management expert Clive Boase, in describing an “epidemiological approach” to bed bug infestations, wrote that:

Such an epidemiological approach can also help to highlight improved control strategies. For example, anything that can be done to reduce the time taken to identify and completely eliminate current infestations (e.g., the development of effective monitoring devices, or of more effective treatments) will reduce the opportunity for current infestations to give rise to new infestations, before being eventually eliminated. Such an approach will also indicate that infestations in high-turnover locations such as hotel rooms, are particularly likely to give rise to more secondary infestations in the community, and should therefore be seen as ‘priority’ infestations for control. [emphasis added]

Source: Boase, C. J. (2004) Bed-bugs – reclaiming our cities. Biologist, 51 (1), 1-4 (non-working link to PDF of article removed, 2014).

I mention this here because, although the logic is familiar to those of us who are well-versed in bed bug issues, it may escape the understanding of people — policy and opinion makers alike — who have yet to become acquainted with the most basic features of the bed bug epidemic.

I look forward to seeing the story of this bill develop. Yes, it should surprise no one that the hotel industry is first in line for legislative notice. But does it matter? Are the larger goals of achieving control of bed bugs still served? We will see.

Is this the biggest surprise in our bed bug world to date? I don’t know. I remember my reaction when Cincinnati committed itself to taking action and we first realized what the possibilities were.

So, weigh in, please. Let’s hear it all.

1 nobugsonme May 21, 2008 at 1:20 am

Thanks for that!

I think it is an exciting development.
Will it actually get passed _and_ lead to better bed bug control? It’s always hard not to be cynical.

At minimum, people will be talking about bed bugs and the need to detect and treat them early.

More evidence, too, that everyone should be writing their local, state, and national political officials about their own costly and time-consuming personal struggles with bed bugs.

2 Doug Summers MS May 21, 2008 at 11:05 am

This is the first federal legislation to specifically address infestations of bed bugs in public lodging establishments.

This will accelerate the creation of state agencies that are tasked with controlling the spread of these invasive parasites.

Representative Butterfield and his co-sponsors need our support for this ground breaking bill.

You can track the progress of this legislation on sites like Here is a link for the bill:

We need to call & write our Congressional Representatives and ask them to vote for this legislation that is currently before the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

3 fightorflight May 22, 2008 at 2:44 am

Okay, I need to get off my butt and start “writing their local, state, and national political officials about their own costly and time-consuming personal struggles with bed bugs.” Instead of just preaching to the choir here.

Putting it on my To Do list.

4 nobugsonme June 25, 2008 at 8:39 pm

A belated thanks, Doug, for the Washington Watch site. I recommend it to others.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the site, you can subscribe to an RSS feed for the bill.

If you do not know how RSS feeds work, just start a free account at and then try clicking the RSS feed subscription button for the bill.

FYI, you can also subscribe to Bedbugger, Bedbugger’s Comments, and the Bedbugger Forum posts, each of those three being a separate feed, and then you will be able to read this and other blogs via the Google Reader page–helpful if you try to keep up with multiple websites and news alerts.

5 Kevin Kirby July 10, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Unless effective legislation gets passed on the issue of bedbugs, the current procedures (or lack thereof) will only serve to spread the range of these ravenous blood-balloons.

To my mind, there is only one solution. A person with bedbugs must be temporarily isolated — given new clothes, etc. — for his/her own health and the safety of others.

Infested habitations must literally be razed to the ground.

Instead, we are seeing unscrupulous hotel owners literally chasing the bedbugs from room to room, while contaminating their rented-out living spaces with ineffective pesticides. Not only do the bugs continue to spreead, but now we have people spreading these pesticides, by contact, in public places.

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