Bed Bug Facts & Statistics
February 9th, 2012
- From the NPMA/University of Kentucky Bugs Without Borders Survey:
- 95 percent of U.S. based professional pest management companies have encountered a bed bug infestation in the past year.
- Prior to 2000, only 25 percent of respondents had encountered a bed bug infestation.
- Bed bugs are a much greater problem in urban and suburban areas with larger populations of people who live close together and interact in enclosed spaces on a regular basis. Because of the bed bugs’ ability to “hitchhike” on people and their belongings, these living environments will continue to see higher infestation occurrences than those living in rural areas. According to the survey, 52 percent of pest management companies report treating bed bug infestations in rural areas compared to 71 percent in urban and 80 percent in suburban areas.
- Bed bugs are THE most difficult pest to treat, according to 76 percent of survey respondents, more so than cockroaches, ants and termites.
- As for where infestations occur, residences top the list with 89 percent of pest professionals treating bed bug infestations in apartments/condos and 88 percent treating bed bug infestations in single-family homes. Respondents also report other common areas, with 67 percent treating bed bug infestations in hotels/motels, 35 percent in college dormitories, 9 percent on various modes of transportation, 5 percent in laundry facilities, and 4 percent in movie theatres.
From the NPMA’s Bed Bugs in America Survey:
- One out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel
- Americans who have encountered bed bugs tend to be younger, live in urban areas and rent their homes. The incidence of bed bugs is three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas due to factors such as larger population size, apartment living and increased mobility, which are conducive to the rapid spread and breeding of bed bugs.
- Bed bugs are found in all 50 states. Specifically, the pests were encountered by 17 percent of respondents in the Northeast; 20 percent in the Midwest; 20 percent in the South; and 19 percent in the West.
- Most Americans are concerned about bed bugs and believe that infestations in the United States are increasing. Nearly 80 percent are most concerned about encountering bed bugs at hotels; 52 percent on public transportation; 49 percent in movie theaters; 44 percent in retail stores; 40 percent in medical facilities; 36 percent in their own homes; and 32 percent equally pointed to places of employment and friends’ homes. The fear of getting bitten topped the list of concerns.
- As the public’s awareness of the bed bug resurgence grows, many Americans are modifying their behaviors to minimize their risk of an infestation: 27 percent have inspected or washed clothing upon returning from a trip; 25 percent have checked a hotel room for bed bugs; 17 percent have inspected or vacuumed a suitcase upon returning from a trip and 12 percent have altered or canceled travel plans because of concern about bed bugs.
- Sixteen percent of survey respondents inspected second-hand furniture they have brought into their homes; 15 percent have checked dressing rooms when trying on clothing and 29 percent have washed new clothing immediately upon bringing it home from a store.
- Of the 13 percent of respondents who said they knew someone who had a bed bug infestation in their home, 40 percent said they avoided entering the infested home and 33 percent discouraged those who had the infestation from entering their own home.
- Despite the availability of information, most Americans still have misconceptions about bed bugs. Nearly half of respondents incorrectly believe that bed bugs transmit disease. However, research conducted to date has shown that bed bugs do not transmit disease to their human victims, although some people may experience itchy, red welts; 29 percent inaccurately believe bed bugs are more common among lower income households, and 37 percent believe bed bugs are attracted to dirty homes. Bed bugs do not discriminate in regard to household income and are found in both sanitary and unsanitary conditions.
Other NPMA Bed Bug Facts:
- Bed bugs can lay one to five eggs in a day and more than 500 in a lifetime.
- Bed bugs can live for more than a year without eating.
- Bed bugs can withstand a wide range of temperatures, from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bed bug draw blood for about five minutes before retreating to digest.
- Bed bugs hatchlings are so small they can pass through a stitch-hole in a mattress.
- Bed bugs can ingest seven times their own weight in blood, which would be the equivalent of an average-sized male drinking 120 gallons of liquid.
- Bed bugs are found in all 50 U.S. states.
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