Bedbug status quo

I’ve been hearing a lot of rumor and fact thrown around in conversations about bedbugs. They seem to be entering the popular consciousness in a big way, probably because most people are starting to have real personal interaction with the pests. Until now, they’ve been somewhat of an anachronism, something your grandmother would talk about. This is because we eradicated them from the American landscape in the 50’s with a little toxin known as DDT. Well, guess what, they’re back, and we don’t really have the DDT option this time.

Various news articles around the web report warnings about the recent growth of this trend. CNN cites Orkin having 0 reports in 200 with 390 house calls in 2003. Friends from New York say it’s a growing trend, and I’ve also heard reports of people here in San Francisco that neighbors and friends have had to deal with the pests. The CDC does not have a recent morbidity and mortality report on the subject, nor does there seem to be any nationwide statistics available from a valid health organization. How big is this problem? Inquiring (and frightened) minds want to know.

Assuming that we’re headed towards a nationwide epidemic, Ask Metafilter provides a number of pragmatic solutions to an infestation: throw out your furniture, wrap everything in plastic and put it in storage, or move to New Mexico. And in most cases, they end up surviving. I’d like to have a little peace of mind, anything really to let me sleep tight.

Update: SFist has two articles on bedbugs in San Francisco: Bedbug Army attacks San Francisco and Bedbugs bedbugs whatcha gonna do.

Update: I’ve also posted a question on Yahoo! Answers looking for bedbug statistics.

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