Bed Bugs are significantly increasing in numbers in Oregon and Washington

Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are found throughout the world and are significantly increasing in numbers in Oregon and Washington and across the United States. This sudden increase in bed bug infestations has resulted in anxiety among home owners, increased negative exposure of the multi-family housing and hotel industries and a need to educate the public and public health officials on safe and effective control measures. Even though we don’t fully understand all of the reasons behind this increase, contributing factors include resistance to and the reduction in the use of urban pesticides.

A recent survey found that over 70% of all bed bug treatments are for multi-family, hotels and motels, and other hospitality establishments. The problem will only continue to grow as a result of the increase in the density of the population, global warming, and more and more people traveling and living more transient lives.

Complicating matters, there is a small group of related blood sucking bugs in the bed bug family, bat bugs and swallow bugs that can be confused with bed bugs. It’s important to identify the species of bed bug because due to their different habits, proper identification will determine where to direct treatments to be most effective.

During the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of bed bug infestations reported from homes, resort hotels, apartments, universities and cruise ships. Over time, as society becomes more experienced in recognizing bed bug infestations early, bed bug infestations in communities should decline. They key is to address the problem early.