Bedbugs are continuing to thrive in America and the problem is not going away any time soon, pest management officials say.
Pest management company Orkin reports that Americans spent $446 million on bedbug treatments last year, compared with $70 million in 2004. The company also notes an 18 percent increase in business from bedbugs over the past year.
Midwestern cities dominate the most problematic places for bedbugs, and the problem is only occurring more frequently, according to Orkin professional Ron Harrison.
Southern cities aren’t immune to the pests, but they’re less likely to prefer a hot environment, Harrison says.
“We believe they were somewhat native to, or naturally occurring in, cooler environments, like caves,” he says.
However, about six months ago, Orkin introduced a new preventative treatment that seems to be working. A lightweight, silica gel dust is sprinkled near the edges of homes and individual apartment units to prevent bed bugs from getting out of control.
“What we’re finding is, the dust just needs to be placed along the edge of the carpet and the wall because that’s where bed bugs will migrate to,” Harrison says.
And since the newly introduced dusts don’t contain pesticides, they’re not toxic or harmful to humans. Unlike a repellent, the bugs can’t detect the dust either, so they walk right through it. It eventually breaks down the exoskeleton causing them to die, Harrison says.
“There were a lot of products used on them [in the past] and they were somewhat resistant to the products we were using,” he says. “So, we are constantly making sure we’re watching and reevaluating the products and treatments we use.”
Top 25 Cities for Bed Bug Infestations
3. Columbus, Ohio
4. Los Angeles
6. Dallas, Ft. Worth
9. Richmond, Va.
10. Dayton, Ohio
14. Washington, District of Columbia
16. San Francisco,Oakland, San Jose
17. Raleigh, Durham, N.C.
18. New York City
19. Charleston, Huntington, W.Va.
20. Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Mich.
21. Omaha, Neb.
22. Louisville, Ky.
23. Nashville, Tenn.
24. Lexington, Ky.