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Effort Is Mobilized to Fight Continuing Spread of Bedbugs

Throughout the years, countless children have been ushered to bed with the catchy rhyme: “Nighty night. Don’t let the bedbugs bite!” But the funny phrase has taken on a level of seriousness within the past year as incidences of widespread infestations have been reported.

Among the forces addressing the problem is an information resource and Web site called BedBug Central, which has launched a campaign to educate the public on the proliferation of the insects, through interviews, articles, videos, online tutorials and a “summit meeting” of more than two dozen entomologists and other experts from around the world.  Among those who have joined the effort are 10 of the nation’s leading bedbug experts and U.S. Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.).

“Last year, bedbugs received a tremendous push in awareness due to constant media exposure. However, this year awareness is stagnating, not because bedbugs have gone away, but because they are not receiving enough coverage,” say Phil Cooper, president of BedBug Central. “This campaign is aimed at creating awareness in a more engaging and interactive way.”

Although awareness has increased, education is still the best way to prevent the continued spread of bedbugs, says Richard Cooper, a research entomologist and doctoral candidate at Rutgers University. Lack of education is what helped the pests become a “major problem” in the U.S., he says. “There are still myths and misconceptions that allow bedbugs to continue to spread. Without the proper education, prevention is not accomplished, and the spread is not stemmed.”

Bedbugs live in cracks and crevices, including mattress seams; on sheets; in furniture; and behind baseboards, electrical-outlet plates and picture frames. Often found in hotels, the pests can travel from room to room and in visitors’ luggage.

Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply (blood), they can live more than 300 days. Bites can leave welts on the skin and can cause allergic reactions, such as severe itching.

To engage the public, BedBug Central has collaborated with Howcast.com, a media company specializing in online how-to videos, to create 14 online videos with research entomologist Jeffrey White. As host of BedBug TV, White provides basic bedbug facts, as well as instructions and tips on prevention and treatment.

For more information about bedbugs and bedbug awareness, visit www.bedbugcentral.com.


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