‘Bed bugs are back!’ cries the US National Pest Management Association. They’re supporting a bill being put before the US Congress, intended to allow Americans to sleep more safely in their beds.
The proposed legislation aims to repel a growing invasion that threatens to literally suck the life blood out of the world’s remaining superpower.
The tiny beasts are also enjoying a boom on this side of the Atlantic. They’re becoming a ‘major public health issue’ north of the border, according to the Royal Environmental Health Institute for Scotland. The Bed Bug Foundation (yes, there is such a thing) reports that London’s population of the things increased by 26% every year from 2002 to 2007.
That trend seems to be continuing, with the UK’s largest pest control firm, Rentokil, reporting a 24% increase in Bed bug calls during the first half of 2010.
The last decade has seen the pests break out of the seedy hotels and shabby bedsits with which they’ve long been associated. They’re increasingly taking up residence in smart hotels and tidy homes.
Despite their name, bed bugs are happy to settle almost anywhere with lots of people. They find moving from place to place incredibly easy and are comfortably at home in shops, museums, galleries and theatres.
Changing attitudes to the use of chemical pesticides has probably caused the global explosion in the bed bug population, along with a more mobile lifestyle. It’s never been so easy for the creatures to hop between cities, countries or continents, tucked invisibly into the folds of clothes and luggage.
Pest control experts are becoming more concerned about the world wide bed bug problem. Hence the American ‘Bed Bug Management, Prevention and Research Act of 2011’ being presented to Congress.
If passed, it’ll create a task force focused on finding ways to stop the blood sucking insects from attacking their citizens. As any visitor to the US will know, the Americans take their homeland security very seriously indeed.