Wildlife & Wild Places

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

We share this planet with billions of insects, which serve as critical food sources for other species and perform countless ecosystem services, from breaking down dead matter to aerating the soil. A number of insects feed on on other living animals, and human beings are not immune to this cycle of life. One of the more notorious invaders, bed bugs, have been making a comeback in recent years.

Bed bugs were nearly eradicated during the 1960s with the pesticide DDT. However, as scientists began to notice the chemical’s negative effects on the environment, it was banned in the U.S.

It’s not entirely clear why bed bugs are on the rise again, though it is true that most people have not actively sprayed for them for years. It is also true that many bed bugs have become resistant to some pesticides.

This infographic by www.BedBugs.Org shows some interesting (and alarming) facts about the re-rise of bedbugs in the United States.

Photo: Bed bugs infographic


Some of the more interesting data points mentioned above include:

  •       Reports of bedbugs have increased over 300% in New York City schools
  •       The bedbug population has increased by over 500% in the past few years
  •       The surprising list of cities and regions with the highest bedbug population
  •       Clean and “sanitary” rooms don’t necessarily have fewer bed bugs (though you still might want to avoid certain hotels)

Find out more about bed bugs at www.BedBugs.org.


Brian Clark Howard is a writer and editor with NationalGeographic.com. He was formerly an editor at The Daily Green and E/The Environmental Magazine and has contributed to many publications, including TheAtlantic.com, FastCompany.com, MailOnline.com, PopularMechanics.com, Yahoo!, MSN and elsewhere. His latest book, with Kevin Shea, is Build Your Own Small Wind Power System.

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