Battling Bed Bugs in the USA
  Key Words  
  Cimex lectularius, pest control, pesticides, litigation
  Michael F. Potter, Alvaro Romero and Kenneth F. Haynes
  The bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., has made a rapid and unexpected comeback in the United States. In an online survey of 509 U.S. pest control firms, 91% encountered bed bugs in the past two years, whereas only 37% recalled seeing them five years ago. Perpetual movement of people, zero tolerance for bug bites, marginally effective management tools, and health concerns about pesticides have created the most difficult pest challenge in a generation. Infestations are occurring in homes, apartments, hotels, dormitories, health care facilities, schools, laundries, movie theaters, and public transportation. News media coverage has been intense, and several lawsuits have been filed with some plaintiffs requesting compensation in the millions of dollars. Unreliable insecticides and widespread pyrethroid resistance has necessitated the use of vacuums, steamers, bed encasements and other non- chemical methods. Consequently, companies are often finding elimination time consuming and tedious. Barring future availability of improved insecticides with safety margins permitting liberal application, the outlook for a simple solution is not encouraging.