Much to the frustration of humans, bed bugs have been happily reproducing and increasing in population around the world for about 30 years. The EPA says the rise in bed bugs is due to the growth in international travel, resistance to pesticides, ineffective treatments, and a general lack of prevention knowledge.
There’s also societal shame associated with a bed bug infestation, as bed bugs are incorrectly assumed to be a cleanliness issue. According to a 2022 report by the Cleveland Clinic, 20% of Americans either know someone who has dealt with bed bugs or have had a bed bug infestation in their own home.
“Bed bugs are what I call equal opportunity offenders,” says Joseph Latino, president of Allergy Technologies, who reports that his firm’s Allergy Technologies Affordable Housing Control (ATAHC) program has decreased the recurrence of bed bugs by 95% throughout the Philadelphia affordable housing community. “Suffering from bed bugs is simply an unfortunate incident. It doesn't make a difference if you're at the Ritz Carlton, at an affordable housing community, or at a roadside motel.”
And hiding the problem is the fastest way to make a bed bug infestation worse: One pregnant female bed bug can result in the birth of 30,000 bed bugs within just 10 weeks, and adult bed bugs can survive at least five months without a blood meal. Plus, bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers, so it’s easy to spread them to your car, a friend’s house, or hotel.
Bed bug harborage locations are quite cryptic—they can hide anywhere. “We had one situation where the bed bugs were hiding inside the hollows of a brass bed,” says Latino. Over time, a bed bug infestation can impact the mental, psychological, and emotional health of residents, consume a great deal of property manager’s staff time, and create a seemingly never-ending expensive problem.
“Building management has so many things on their plate,” says Latino. With an effective bed bug prevention and remediation program, communities can “divert money to put in a playground, replace the roof, do concrete work, and 1,000 ways they can further improve resident and staff quality of life.”
Learn more about the ATAHC property-wide, prevention-based bed bug strategy for housing authorities at atahcnow.com