Why are people so ignorant about bed bugs? Perhaps because the media keeps publishing misinformation about them!
The latest example: the Daily Mail picks up a Sheilas’ Wheels Insurance press release about their annual “Bed Bug Audit,” which polls Brits about their domestic habits.
The latest poll found that one in six British men wash their sheets only once a month, and 46% of Brits have eaten a meal in bed. (More on that in a moment.) The article notes:
Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance spokeswoman Jacky Brown said: “We spend so much time in our beds that it is astounding so many Brits and particularly bug busting men – do not keep them clean.
“Simple measures like avoiding eating in bed, leaving the sheets exposed during the day and washing them regularly can help avoid an infestation.
“Bed bugs in the home can be an extremely unpleasant experience so it is important that homeowners have a way to deal quickly with an infestation such as our pest cover otherwise the upcoming cold spell could provide a nasty wake-up call.”
The Sheilas’ Wheels press release this article is drawn from notes that new home insurance customers as of 11/27 will receive a limited amount of coverage for a bed bug infestation:
As from 27th November all Sheilas’ Wheels new business customers purchasing pest cover will now be covered for the treatment/extermination of bed bugs in one infested area in the event of an emergency.
The phrase “one infested area” suggests the coverage will be limited in value and perhaps just enough to help with a problem which is detected very early and hasn’t spread. All the more reason the firm’s clients need to be more educated about the pest and how to detect it.
It sounds like Sheilas’ Wheels is confusing bed bugs with dust mites. Note to insurers: if you’re going to cover bed bug outbreaks in the home, you ought to learn a bit about this pest.
Although regular vacuuming and sheet-washing might, with a lot of luck, deal with a newly-introduced bed bug, bed bugs are not caused by poor housekeeping habits or eating in bed. Moreover, “leaving sheets exposed during the day” will do absolutely nothing to combat this blood-sucking pest.