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Bedbug Nation: Critters Make a Comeback
Date:9/3/2010

more infestations. "They are taking up residence in people's homes and because of that they are now traveling about throughout the day with people, going into atypical locations, such as movie theaters, retail establishments, hospitals, schools, day care centers, laundromats -- all of the places where people travel during course of their day," Henrikson said.

Add to that the fact that bedbugs are now resistant to a number of pesticides.

"DDT is the insecticide that really made them extinct up through the latter part of the last century. Then when DDT was banned, they gradually became resistant to a number of commonly used insecticides," said Dr. Pascal James Imperato, dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

Now that they're back, they generally like places where there is a lot of turnover, he added, like dormitories, homeless shelters and hotel rooms, including high-end hotels.

"Bedbugs are very happy in either a very clean environment or a very dirty environment," Imperato said. "What they basically need is a warm host and plenty of good hiding places so that even very clean houses and high end hotels can harbor bedbugs. They're found everywhere. They're very democratic."

And once they've established themselves, they're awfully hard to get rid of.

"Our industry has identified bedbugs as being the single most difficult pest to eliminate, more so than termites, more so than ants, more so than rodents," said Henrikson. "They can live up to a year without eating, so they can be hiding behind your wallboards, under your rugs, in your clothing, underneath your couch, in hiding waiting for a time when they need to feed." Female bedbugs can produce 400 offspring in her lifetime, she added.

So, trying to exterminate them on your own probably won't cut it. "Usually the best way to get rid of bedbugs is to call in a professional exterminator," Imperato said. "One shoul
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