IEHA is pleased to share this update on bedbugs from the US EPA. To help find solutions to the nation’s bed bug problem, the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup is convening a second national summit set for February 1-2, 2011, in Washington, D.C. The summit is open to the public and will focus on ways the federal government and others can continue to work together on management and control of these pests.
The first federal bed bug summit was held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April 2009. Since then, EPA has helped organize the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup, which consists of EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and National Institutes of Health.
The summit’s agenda will feature discussions on progress since the last summit from various perspectives, including federal, state, and local governments; research; housing industry; and pest management industry. The agenda also includes identifying knowledge gaps and barriers to effective community-wide bed bug control, proposals for next steps in addressing knowledge gaps and eliminating barriers, and developing a framework for addressing the highest priority needs.
As a reminder, here are steps you can take to prevent bed bugs:
- Remove clutter where bed bugs can hide
- Seal cracks and crevices
- Vacuum rugs and upholstered furniture thoroughly and frequently, as well as vacuuming under beds (take the vacuum bag outside immediately and dispose in a sealed trash bag)
- Wash and dry clothing and bed sheets at high temperatures (heat can kill bed bugs)
- Be alert and monitor for bed bugs so they can be treated before a major infestation occurs
- Before using any pesticide product, read the label first, then follow the directions
- Check the product label to make sure it is identified for use on bed bugs. If bed bugs are not listed on the label, the pesticide has not been tested for bed bugs and it may not be effective.
Before the summit, the federal workgroup will meet with researchers to evaluate and develop a research agenda related to bed bugs. The summit will be held at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center at 3800 Reservoir Road, N.W., Washington, D.C. The agenda and information on attending the meeting via webinar will be available on EPA’s website.
More information on the summit: http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/cb/ppdc/bedbug-summit/2nd-bedbug-summit.html
More information on bed bugs: http://www.epa.gov/bedbugs
More Bed Bug Tips - Q&A
With bed bug infestations on the rise, you may want to learn more about keeping your home free of these invasive insects.
Q: Where are some of the places that I might find bed bugs?
A: Bed bugs love dark, secluded spaces with a lot of nooks and crannies to hide in. They also need access to humans for their meals. So they do best in places like hotels, hostels, dormitories, camps, apartment buildings and even hospitals, movie theaters and air and rail cabins.
Q: Why is travel such a big bed bug risk?
A: Travel creates risk mainly because you are moving from place to place frequently and using spaces that have been visited by many different people from many different places.
Q: How will I know if there are bed bugs in my room?
A: Most hotels do everything they can to prevent infestation. Taking a few simple steps can lower your risk. When you get to a hotel, check your room for any signs of bed bugs. They could be lurking on the bed itself, in headboards, wall hangings, draperies, furniture or carpets. Check seams and edges carefully for any live bugs, skeletons, eggs or tiny blood stains.
Q: If I don’t find anything in my inspection, am I safe ?
A: It’s a good idea to use the metal luggage rack the hotel provides. Bed bugs cannot easily climb metal. If you have more items with you than fit on the rack, keep them in the bathtub or on the bathroom counter, as smoother surfaces also inhibit bed bug climbing.
Avoid putting your clothing, luggage or bags on beds, as this is the most likely place bed bugs may hide. If you are very concerned, bring a plastic trash bag and put your whole suitcase and other luggage in it overnight.
Q: What should I do when I get home?
A: Leave your luggage in the garage or another place outside your home, so any bugs hidden in your luggage will not get into your house. Wash and dry every item of clothing in hot water and dry them on high heat immediately when you return. Bed bugs do not tolerate heat, and laundering items will reduce the risk that any stowaways get into your home.