While there is very little silver lining on the COVID pandemic, one positive effect of the lockdown has been a significant reduction in the number of bed bugs that cause bothersome infestations. Many of these horrific pests slept due to less travel during the pandemic, but exterminators warn that this respite is about to end. Read on to learn about the imminent return of bed bugs, and be ready for another insect: if you live here, prepare for a severe insect infestation, expert warns.
Calls complaining about bed bugs have declined over the past year, according to Annihilators. “I’ve spoken to several pest control companies who said they received fewer calls for bed bug jobs over 2020.” Brittany Campbell, Entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, said Bloomberg.
Bed bugs usually move in two modes, as M&M Pest Control explains in a post. “Active spread” is when bed bugs crawl on their own and look for a new place to lay eggs. This mode is more common in urban areas as bed bugs can easily migrate between apartments. On the other hand, “passive spreading” is when the bed bugs couple a ride with your shoes, luggage, clothes, etc. so they can travel quickly and discreetly. With a huge drop in travel, bed bugs could not reach passive spread as quickly, depriving them of their fastest chance of spreading. We didn’t see the last of them, however, exterminators warn. For more up-to-date information, subscribe to our daily newsletter.
Once the trip resumes – to the office or on vacation – the Annihilators predict the mistakes will be back. Last fall, when it felt like there was the shortest respite from COVID, calls to the bed bug service began to rise again. Benjamin Hottel, a technical service manager at Orkin, said Bloomberg.
The beetles haven’t gone away – they have just been waiting for their preferred mode of transport to resume. According to M&M Pest Control, bed bugs can live without food for up to a year and a half. Or as Richard CooperTerminix’s senior director of specialty services told Bloomberg, “Right now they’re not moving, but they’re not dying out. They aren’t gone, just inactive.” And for more insect warnings, if you see this bug that will invade the US, don’t kill it.
With the pests passively spreading, now is the best time to fight back the beetle. Although these insects can live without food for up to 18 months, according to M&M Pest Control, they respond better to treatment when they are in a debilitated state because they are not being fed.
The pest control company suggests taking precautionary measures while companies operate at reduced capacity to reduce the spread when the world gets busy again. This includes minor renovations like sealing baseboards, placing indicators under beds, and fixing peeling paint to prevent pests. And for a bug that is almost indestructible, even if you run over it with your car, you can’t kill that bug.
Of course, there are more than bed bugs locked up with us in this story. Although the number of bedbugs has decreased overall, this is partly due to the fact that people are reluctant to invite an exterminator into their home for hours out of fear of being infected with COVID.
“Bed bugs are still prevalent in apartment buildings and are spreading in these communities,” Cooper told Bloomberg. “This can lead to an increase in resident self-treatment that is unlikely to be effective, encourages further diffusion, and can be unsafe if residents fail to use appropriate materials or misuse materials.” And to keep even more insects afraid, discover the 50 Most Dangerous Insects in America.