Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.

Agriculture

Don't let the bed bugs bite

November 16, 2010
By Terri Randolph and Matt Camper

Bed bugs! Just mentioning them makes our skin crawl and sends us into an involuntary scratching frenzy! Bed bugs have made an alarming come back and can be found throughout the country, wreaking havoc on large cities, including Denver. While commonly found in homes prior to 1930, this human pest was largely unheard of for the past 80 years.

Spreading at an alarming rate

However, this pest is spreading at an alarming rate, increasing 500 percent within the past few years. What caused their resurgence? More than one cause is likely and may include:

  • increased domestic and international travel
  • resistance to currently registered pesticides
  • lack of awareness for bed bug management

New focus on preventing infestations

At the present time, management practices include what to do once you have an infestation. In other words, the focus has been on detection (using traps and dogs) and control (such as pesticides and heat treatments). However, due to the pest’s proliferation, education and outreach programs are now focusing on preventing infestations.

Preventative measures may include smart travelling procedures such as:

  • checking hotel rooms prior to moving in
  • placing luggage on a table rather than a bed
  • emptying luggage contents into a dryer or heat unit after travel
  • using a detection dog to sniff luggage before it enters the home

Public awareness and education

At Colorado State University, a handful of Extension specialists and research associates within the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management are working on public awareness and education of this pest.

Travelers beware

Be wary travelers. Bed bugs do not care about your economic status. If you are still breathing, you are a suitable host. As the old children’s rhyme says:

Good night, sleep tight, and whatever you do, don’t let the bed bugs bite.
For if they do, hit them with your shoe, until they’re black and blue
.

Originally published in the College of Agricultural Sciences Ag Family newsletter, Fall 2010.