Bed bugs reach an all-time high

According to Google Trends, that is:

Insofar as internet search interest in particular insects reflects infestation levels, it seems summer 2010 is a banner year for our little cimicid friends. Peaks occur every summer as rising temperatures increase both the reproductive rate of the bugs and their motility.

Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug

Incidentally, it’s a shame Gawker can’t seem to figure out what real bed bugs look like. I certainly wouldn’t mind an infestation of stag beetles. That’d actually be kinda cool.

9 thoughts on “Bed bugs reach an all-time high”

  1. Seriously, where did they get that photo? Is that a weevil peeking out from under the covers? Besides, who sleeps in bed coverings that disgustingly dirty? New Yorkers should have taken the medical entomology course I took. We sat during 2 different lectures with bed bugs in screened vials held to our arms to demonstrate Jones-Mote levels of hypersensitivity. Only 1 fellow out of 8 had never been bitten by a bed bug before… that is, until class.

  2. If I ever get bedbugs (which I hope is never–I know people who’ve been infested), I think I’ll make the most of it by telling everybody about all the kinky, traumatic sex going on in my bed.

  3. I lived in US Forest Service housing for a summer and we had a minor bedbug problem. It really freaked me out, even though I don’t think that I ever actually got bit (or at least got a welt from a bite). When I moved, I washed EVERYTHING in really hot water, and apparently that did the trick because it has been 5+ years and I haven’t seen a bedbug since.

  4. By the early 1950’s bed bugs were nearly eliminated from the North American continent as a result of the widespread use of DDT. Their numbers were so decimated that generations raised after that time thought they were a myth, perpetuated in a nursery rhyme. Unfortunately, bed bugs are very real. The banning of DDT and the marked increase in international travel, have rapidly given us a resurgence of these nasty pests. Their increase started slowly at first, sort of like the front side of a bell curve, but then accelerated and intensified. We now appear to be on the steep and rapidly rising back side of the curve, with no idea of when the population will peak or when the curve will flatten out.

    Read the entire post at:

    1. Hi Harry. From what I understand, we used so much DDT (and Dieldrin, and others) that the surviving bed bugs evolved considerable resistance to chemical control. See, for example, this 1958 paper:

      Now the resistance is coming back to bite us. As many pest control folks can attest, the more common pesticides simply don’t work against bed bugs. Un-banning DDT for bed bug control is unlikely to do anything.

      1. We can never and should never un-ban DDT. Period.
        However, the issue remains that unless a better, pro-active means of protection is developed bed bugs will become all pervasive and we will be continually battling them at great expense in terms of money, time and misery. The answer may or may not be a synthetic chemical means. It may be a naturally based chemical solution, it may be biological or some other means not yet discovered. But we had better discover the solution soon.

      2. Harry- That’s true.

        I suspect a “magic bullet” won’t be forthcoming, though, and any progress on the bed bug front will have to involve a patchwork of different methods.

        You’re right that the current outlook is pretty dismal.

  5. WTF Gawker!! Not only is it obviously photoshopped…but with beetles. Sigh.

    And, what you said about DDT. Most bedbugs remain resistant to DDT.

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