We all know that bed bugs are a growing problem. Even though they were nearly eradicated decades ago, they have returned in numbers over the last few years. Now, Virginia’s urban pest management specialist says that bed bugs are here to stay.
“We’re into bed bugs now and forever,” said Dini Miller, an associate professor at Virginia Tech. “Because of the regulations dealing with new pesticides, we’re not going to have a miracle product.”
Miller spoke with a group of teachers, social workers, and law enforcement at Virginia Tech. Miller stressed that since bed bugs cannot be eradicated completely, we need to focus on intelligent treatment methods to suppress them.
“We can get rid of the 97%, but those last few are harder,” Miller said. “The habits of the people, the amount of clutter they have in their house really protect the bed bugs.”
The presentation touched on the unique challenges of bed bug treatment, especially the impact of multi-unit housing complexes. “Most pest control companies will tell you they’re 97 or 98% effective, but there’s not a lot of going back and looking. They’re waiting for new complaints,” Miller added.
The Bristol Herald Courier spoke with Dave Baldwin, the executive director of the Bristol Virginia Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Baldwin estimates that his group has spent over $20,000 on bed bug treatments over the last six months.
“We have regular, ongoing problems with bed bugs,” Baldwin said. “Every week, we are in some stage of the process of inspecting someone’s apartment, getting a complaint, arranging for a pest control guy to confirm, or actually doing the treatments.”
Baldwin noted that a large part of the cost is re-treating the same apartments again. “It’s not just treating the problem, but it’s educating people about changing behaviors to not bring the problem back. It’s an ongoing problem and we don’t have a solution. We don’t see the end of it.”
Photo credit: Allison Hedrick