According to the Antigua Observer, bed bugs have been found in the island’s Land Registry office.
However, not to worry: the six bed bugs found are assumed not to have bitten anyone.
Despite an infestation being found at the Land Registry, [Lionel Michael, Chief Environmental Health Officer of Antigua and Barbuda] said the insects had not affected any persons.
“We found about six in two chairs but they weren’t engorged, they didn’t feed on anybody, they didn’t bite anyone. You can see with the human eye that when they bite somebody — they become larger.”
In the case of any detection of the bugs, Michael advised persons not to overreact to and use natural remedies where possible.
Among the “natural remedies,” Michael apparently recommends hot water. While it is true that bed bugs can be killed on contact by boiling water, in most cases you need to kill bed bugs and eggs that you can’t find and spray directly, and in such cases, pesticides or other measures are necessary. Knowledge of how to use these safely and effectively is crucial.
As for the idea that these six bed bugs had not bitten anyone in the office, it is true that non-engorged bed bugs may not have fed very recently. However, each bed bug will feed at least once a week or so.
Those six bed bugs were not just hanging out in those chairs enjoying the Land Registry office. They were waiting for their next meal. They may have been there for some time, and they have likely bitten the people who sit in those chairs.
I also want to draw your attention to this part of the article:
Meanwhile the Chief Health Inspector said the report at the land registry was not the first one.
“Before the bedbug story broke I had a report from a lady who informed me she had bedbugs but I didn’t go look at it at the time because I was away.
“She is very much aware of what bedbugs look like, and those of us born in 50s and 60s we still recognise bedbugs but those born after won’t. I did advise her some of the things she could do and she would have used aggressive radical measures and gotten rid of them,” Michael said.
It’s important to take note of statements like this, because the media in North America often implies that bed bugs are the norm “in other countries” where they’re simply “tolerated”.
I just don’t see any evidence of that. I do see a lot of evidence that people all over the world are as surprised as those in North America that bed bugs have “sprung back,” and just as horrified by their presence and recent spread.
Map image credit: image in the public domain, edited by M. Minderhoud.