Six months ago, a prominent Washington D.C couple discovered bedbugs in their rental apartment. To get rid of the infestation, they had to move out of their apartment for three months. (The reason it took so long was because the exterminators were so busy de-bedbugging some of Washington's five-star hotels that they had no time to return to spray the couple's apartment). The couple still doesn't know how the bedbugs actually arrived, but the husband travels often.
Like mosquitoes, bedbugs feed on blood. These insects live in the home, especially in and around the bed, and most of the time bite at night when people are sleeping, though they will feed at any time of day, if necessary.
Bedbugs didn't exist in the 40s when pesticides such as DDT were widely in use. Why the recent resurgence? Experts say it's due to more international and domestic travel, increased resistance of bedbugs to pesticides, ineffective pest control practices, and people not knowing what to do to prevent infestations. The wife in the bedbug-infested couple, a well-known internist (and whose name I promised not to use or the property manager will make her life miserable), says, "Bedbugs don't cause disease, but an infestation can make you go crazy."
While there is no instant fix for bedbugs, there are ways to control and avoid them when traveling. Here's what the bedbug-free doctor suggests:
Inspecting the bed is more complex than you think. For an excellent video, see: "How to Inspect a Bed for Bedbugs"
Follow Margie Goldsmith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/margiegoldsmith