58% of scientists responding to a survey by Principal Investigators Association believe in a surge of bedbug infestations.
The two leading sites of personal encounters with bedbugs were “home” (43%) and “hotel” (41%). Fifty-three percent of the scientists were aware of bedbug infestations in their neighborhood, town, or state.
When asked if they were taking any special “bedbug” precautions for travel, notable responses were:
* check hotel sheets and mattress for blood stains (from previous victims) and bug feces.
* keep luggage off floor; hang all clothes in closet
* check online travel warning boards for posting of infestation at your contemplated hotel-though it was noted these may not be accurate and often outdated.
Illustrative incidents from scores submitted about the bedbug experiences include:
*While interviewing for a faculty position, brought home bedbugs from the high-end hotel. We had to dispose of half our belongings, and eradication cost over $18,000.
* On a trip to Madrid received hundreds of bedbug bites. Developed severe hives affecting eyes and throat. Now travel with “epi” (epinephrine) pen.
* Eradication can take 6-8 months. Get rid of mattress. Fumigate. Spray. Dryclean or hot-launder all clothes.
Frustration was expressed with lack of official guidelines and “cures”. “Why don’t the NIH, FDA and Department of Agriculture stop chasing third-world diseases and get effective bedbug prophylaxis and treatment right here in the USA?” Also: “Test hundreds of already-approved compounds for efficacy against bedbugs”. And: “The hysterical DDT ban not only allowed malaria to kill millions, it deprived us of a great agent to aid bedbug control.”