LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Twelve months have passed since BedBug Central’s first Bed Bug Activity Survey and the “Year in Review” demonstrated some fascinating new trends in comparison to historical observations.
“Overall most of the country saw the seasonal trends that are consistent with past historical trends,” said Jeff White, Director of Innovation and Technical Content at BedBug Central, “however, we did see some abnormalities in the data that will be interesting to investigate further.”
BedBug Central’s data was collected over the course of a year where participants were asked on a monthly basis if their bed bug treatments were “up,” “flat,” or “down.” The data was then analyzed to determine if there were any notable bed bug activity trends across the country.
According to the results, seasonal trends for bed bug activity was noted.
“One observation that was clearly noted was that bed bugs, in most areas of the country, display a seasonal trend,” White said. “Many pest control companies report their revenue being ‘up’ in the warmer summer months compared to the colder winter months where many companies say they are ‘down.’ While experts don’t understand exactly what causes this trend with bed bugs, it is noted in other pests such as German cockroaches.”
White suggests that perhaps increased travel, increased people movement and increases in temperatures could all be factors as to why bed bug activity increases in the summer months.
Although the data showed seasonal trends throughout the country for much of 2017, spring of 2018 has yet to regain its bed bug momentum that it saw the previous year.
“What we’re seeing in the March 2018 data was that when we compared 2017, companies east of the Mississippi are off to a very slow start as opposed to companies west of the river,” White said.
While White may not be sure of the exact reason this trend is being noted, he explained that the regions west of the Mississippi may still be seeing a rise in the overall bed bug issue compared to areas of the East. “A possibility to explain Regions 4-6’s spring activity could just be that bed bugs are still establishing in the area and thus experiencing rapid initial establishment,” White said. “Ten years ago the Northeast experienced this initial explosion of bed bug populations and perhaps some of the regions west of the Mississippi are just now dealing with that initial explosion. This may be why they are having an increase in activity even when it is traditionally slow across the rest of the country.”
White expects that the winter slumber will end soon for the bed bugs in Regions 1-3.
“The Northeast usually sees activity begin increasing in April and May, but many companies are reporting still being extremely slow,” White said. “We have no idea why this is happening but are thinking that by June bed bug activity should increase.”
White hopes to recruit more pest control companies to participate in the surveys in order to help provide valuable information as to what’s going on with the bed bugs in the country, especially the recent slowdown.
Randy Rupert, Bed Bug Team Leader at Batzner Pest Control, has participated in the surveys and continues to look forward to the data every month.
“I like the surveys,” Rupert said. “I like to see what is happening in our territory as well as other regions. What I also like is that, when my superiors, the team or I start to freak out... ‘Why is it so slow?’ I can see that it is probably just a natural, yearly trend and not necessarily something that we are or are not doing.”
Tim Goeringer of DBA Orkin Pest Control enjoys receiving the survey results every month to see how their company compares to the rest of the region.
“I have found the information helpful in that it allows me to benchmark against other companies in our geographic region,” Goeringer said.
Rupert explained that the results from the monthly surveys help them to also help cross train their bed bug staff and find ways to get ahead of the summer infestations
“I find the surveys to be helpful,” Rupert said. “It allows us to cross train our bed bug specialist in Residential Route work during the slower bed bug months, which we can see from the surveys, happen around the same time every year. We also try to do pro-active inspections and treatments in the down months, to get in front of any infestations before the warmer, active months start.”
Both Rupert and Goeringer encourage others to participate in the surveys because of how informative the data is for their companies and others across the country.
To participate in BedBug Central’s monthly bed bug surveys and receive the complete results for each region, sign up here.