The NPMA/University of Kentucky global bed bug survey hasn’t been published yet (see the NPMA press release that made the news rounds recently) but I came across an executive summary (PDF) via Pest magazine that has a bit more detail.
There were 521 U.S. and 429 international respondents.
The nature of the increase:
In a previous survey [link added-RC] of U.S. pest control firms (Potter 2008a), 6% of respondents said their companies performed more than 100 services for bed bugs during the previous year. In the more recent survey, conducted two years later, 20% of U.S. respondents reported their company doing more than 100 bed bug jobs last year and 7% reported doing more than 500. Other areas of the world where many respondents reported doing hundreds of bed bug jobs last year included Africa/Middle East (60% of respondents), Canada (37%), Asia (20%), and Europe (13%).
On views about the nexus with poverty, quite interestingly, the Europeans depart from their American counterparts:
When asked if they felt there was a correlation in their country between bed bugs and poverty, respondents to our survey were split, with differing opinions by region. In the United States, for example, 55% of respondents said that “problems tend to be worse among the poor” while 45% said “all citizens are equally affected.” A wider discrepancy occurred amongst respondents from Europe, with 77% insisting that bed bugs affected all citizens equally regardless of socio-economic standing. Nowadays, even five star hotels and high-end clothing stores are susceptible to infestation, but historically the poor have suffered the most from bed bugs.
Might this say more about European societies than about actual distribution rates?
More than half (51%) of U.S. respondents estimated that 50% or more of their customers tried to treat their problem themselves before calling a professional. Pest control firms reported seeing many ineffective and potentially dangerous measures used by do-it-yourselfers, including ammonia, bleach, fire, smoke, kerosene, wasp spray, and bug bombs, as well as professional-use pesticides bought on the internet.
And yet, does it not seem to you that this problem will finally subside when there are effective DIY solutions (and only then)?
Enough about global bed bug catastrophe. Let’s talk about NYvsBB.
Check this out:
In Sweden in the 1930s, almost half of all moving vans inspected had bed bugs, and a subsequent survey in Iceland showed that bed bugs were often found inside televisions and radios being serviced by appliance repair shops (Potter 2008b). The remarkable ability of this pest to “hitchhike” from one place to another means they can materialize almost anywhere…from a restaurant booth to a blood pressure cuff.
I like restaurant booth to blood pressure cuff.
But Iceland and Potter 2008b?
Respectfully say, nah.
Behold the statistical wonders of clever Finnish entomologists. 1 2 Markkula & Tiittanen (1970).
- If I had a nickel for every time someone turned up their nose at this here mere blog. [↩]
- I think Messrs. Reinhardt and Siva-Jothy read this paper for their 2007 review, as they read everything ever written, but they used the least curiosity-inducing citation possible. I found it by accident at the good old army’s library (I think). Highly recommend. [↩]