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Some interesting features in Google Trends for 'Bed bugs'

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  1. crossroads

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 22 2017 11:50:55
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    https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=BED%20BUGS

    shows a few quite interesting features, for Google searches for "Bed bugs" since 2004:

    i) 2004-2010: interest increases slowly though unevenly. There's a seasonal variation but not it's not very regular or clear cut. Interest never exceeds 25% of the 2010 peak.

    ii) Something happened (what?) in 2010 to make interest spike up dramatically -- and the change was permanent. Although it never reached the same level again, interest remains above 50% of the 2010 peak thereafter.

    iii) After the 2010 discontinuity there is a very clear and regular seasonal variation, by around 25%. Interest invariably peaks at over 50% in Aug of each year, troughs at around 30% in January. I guess this shows the dominance of North America in this issue?

    iv) Tiny Singapore comes in at number 4 on the list -- didn't realize the bed bug problem was so bad there! And UAE and Kenya make surprise showings in the top 5.

    So... what was the event in 2010? Any ideas?

  2. BigDummy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 22 2017 12:04:20
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    Could have been something as simple as media coverage for that year.

  3. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 22 2017 12:05:27
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    Hi ,

    With regards iii) you get seasonal patterns in people responsiveness to bed bugs which when combined with the seasonal patterns in people travels (and thus exposure) it can make bed bugs appear to be a seasonal issue when it is not.

    A few years back we conducted an FOI survey for major cities in the UK and that different cities can have different seasonal patterns. It can be useful to take that high level perspective at times.

    I am also not sure you will find a single event in 2010, often with these types of issues it takes multiple factors to reach the tipping point that shows up in that data set.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

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  4. crossroads

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 22 2017 12:14:37
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    BigDummy - 5 minutes ago  » 
    Could have been something as simple as media coverage for that year.

    Yes, assume it would be, was wondering coverage of what though.

    bed-bugscouk - 5 minutes ago  » 
    With regards iii) you get seasonal patterns in people responsiveness to bed bugs which when combined with the seasonal patterns in people travels (and thus exposure) it can make bed bugs appear to be a seasonal issue when it is not.

    Interesting point about responsiveness, such as people feeling more bothered by the issue in hot weather?

  5. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Wed Feb 22 2017 12:38:48
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    crossroads - 18 minutes ago  » 

    bed-bugscouk - 5 minutes ago  » 
    With regards iii) you get seasonal patterns in people responsiveness to bed bugs which when combined with the seasonal patterns in people travels (and thus exposure) it can make bed bugs appear to be a seasonal issue when it is not.

    Interesting point about responsiveness, such as people feeling more bothered by the issue in hot weather?

    No more like:

    People reporting being bitten for 3 days who have actually been farming bed bugs for 2-3 months but who have only responded to their presence by showing skin reactions for a few days.

    The reality is that such a person has been being bitten for the 2 - 3 month period but only responds when the environment they are in comes warmer. In the case of London we have learned to observe certain parameters and weather conditions so we are all loaded up and ready for the first wave of things "getting busy".

    We also schedule a lot of our ProActive account management into these periods so keep the team busy with commercial system refreshes and QC work while the reported cases are down.

    David

  6. crossroads

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Feb 23 2017 1:50:27
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    Fascinating, so you're saying it's the actual physiological response to the bite which is temperature dependent.

    Looking at Australia, the seasonal variation is reversed as expected,
    https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=AU&q=BED%20BUGS
    ie peaks are in January, troughs in July/Aug.

    And in Singapore, there is no clear seasonal variation, as expected:
    https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=SG&q=BED%20BUGS

    Which US state has least interest in this topic? It's Oregon:
    https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&geo=US&q=BED%20BUGS
    and this is true for both the long term results and just the past year.
    You can see this by downloading the csv from the sub region section.

  7. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Feb 23 2017 8:25:42
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    Hi,

    In some people yes the equation is:

    bites + temperature = skin response

    others it's:

    bites + secondary environmental factor (usually pollution) = skin reactions

    bites above threshold response level = skin reactions

    As you have observed the peaks are in warmer months but that is also because people tend to also travel more at the "holiday" time of the year. This increased travel leads to increased exposure events which reinforces the pattern.

    Its a complex area because there is no accurate way to predict or model how a person responds. A classic example would be a client of mine from about 7 years ago. The husband got exposed to bed bugs about 2 years before the symptoms started so had in the region of 20,000 insects in the frame of the bed (enough to fill multiple pint glasses) and yet had only reported bites for 3 days. Through talking to him we were able to see that the skin reactions started on the day he started a new job. Rather than commuting out of the city to a green field rural site he was now working in the financial district in the center of the city.

    The solution in this case was to completely remove the slats from the bed, bag them and have them replaced. This effectively removed 98% of the live samples and reduced the case down to a single treatment. We even had a spare set of ikea bed slats in the warehouse so they could avoid the car park queue.

    This is in essence why I am so ridged about not diagnosing based on skin reactions because not being bitten does not always mean you don't have bed bugs.

    David

  8. Poiqm

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Thu Feb 23 2017 16:40:50
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    Thanks for posting this, it's very interesting!

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  9. crossroads

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Feb 24 2017 2:06:37
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    Poiqm - 9 hours ago  » 
    Thanks for posting this, it's very interesting!

    You're very welcome

  10. Ombugsman

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Mar 10 2017 14:44:24
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    Jeff White looked at the google results in greater depth and talks about his finding in this video:

    [+] Embed the videoGet the Video Plugin

  11. crossroads

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Mar 11 2017 12:13:29
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    Thanks Ombugsman, I hadn't heard of the 2015 paper which Jeff White references. Seems it describes the same results as above, but it also looks at searches for exterminators. Very interesting that those are continuing to increase, rather than plateauing.


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