First, the basics. Yes, bed bugs are real. Yes, they can bite you while you sleep. And yes, it appears they are making a comeback.
This week the New Jersey Assembly passed a “bed bug bill.” It requires landlords to promptly exterminate known bed-bug infestations.
It was believed that bed bugs had been eradicated from the U.S. Strong pesticides such as DDT seemed to wipe them out.
But recent reports indicate that the bed bugs are back. Not just in the U.S., but also in Canada and England.
What happened? DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972. Common pesticides used today seem to be less effective against bed bugs.
Also more people today are traveling to other parts of the world where bed bugs may have been thriving. The tiny bugs can easily hitch a ride on clothing or in a suitcase.
Bed bugs tend to appear more commonly in buildings where large numbers of people sleep. This includes four-star hotels as well as budget motels and youth hostels. It also includes apartments, college dorms and homeless shelters.
But bed bugs can reside in your home too. It’s not an issue of cleanliness. The bugs can hide in tiny crevices of the bed frame, headboard, mattress or other places in the room.
Bites from a bed bug can cause itching and discomfort. The good news is that the bugs don’t transmit disease.
The bad news is that it can be difficult and costly to get rid of them. Treatment by a professional exterminator may be required.