Bedbug summit held in Washington to tackle infestation
A bedbug summit is being held in Washington to help deal with the nightmare of bedbug infestation that is sweeping the country.
These tiny insects have infested college dorms, homeless shelters and even upscale hotels all across the country. They live in the matresses, sofas and even on sheets, and they emerge from these hiding places sometime before dawn to feed on human blood.
The Environmental Protection Agency has held this summit to help deal with the problem, in which 300 participants took part to get advice and recommendations on how to deal with the bugs. The Sheraton where the conference is being held today and tomorrow does not have bed bugs.
"The problem seems to be increasing and it could definitely be worse in densely populated areas like cities, although it can be a problem for anyone," said Lois Rossi, director of the registration division in the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs.
There are few things that can help get rid of bedbugs, and the few chemicals are quite harmful to humans. The bugs also travel with people from country to country.
"This is a worldwide resurgence," said Dini Miller, an entomologist and bedbug expert at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, who until 2001 only saw bedbugs on microscope slides dating from the 1950s. Now she gets calls several times a day from people who are often at their wits end dealing with the problem.
Bedbugs do not transmit disease but their bites are annoying and can get infected. Often people don't wake up when they are bitten as well.
One of the only ways to get rid of them completely is to throw everything out if your place gets infected, but people often cannot do that as it's too expensive.