“With 97 percent of U.S. pest professionals reporting they have treated for bed bugs in the past year, it’s clear that bed bugs remain a pervasive problem,” said Cindy Mannes, executive director of PPMA. “What’s more alarming, is that an overwhelming majority of bed bug calls originate as a customer calling for another type of pest, such as fleas. This extreme rate of misidentification underscores the need for public understanding of how to spot an infestation, and to hire a professional before it gets out of hand.”
Below are some key highlights from PPMA’s 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey:
1) Almost all (97 percent) pest professionals have treated bed bugs in the past year. A majority of them say that overall bed bug service work (69 percent) and the prevalence of these pests (66 percent) are increasing.
2) Bed bugs may be easily confused with other pests, as 84 percent of pest control professionals were initially contacted about a different type of pest before identifying them as bed bugs. The majority of these contacts (71 percent) were about fleas, followed by cockroaches (28 percent).
3) More than half of pest control professionals noted that they receive the most bed bug complaints during the summer, as increased travel during this time of the year may help spread bed bugs from vacation destinations to homes or even college lodgings to homes as students go on summer break.
4) The top three places where pest professionals encounter bed bugs are single-family homes (91 percent), apartments/condominiums (89 percent), and hotels/motels (68 percent). However, bed bugs can be found in high numbers in a variety of other places:
• Nursing Homes – 59 percent
• Schools & Day Care Centers – 47 percent
• Office Buildings – 46 percent
• College Dorms – 45 percent
• Hospitals – 36 percent
• Public Transportation – 19 percent
5) Bites are the most commonly reported sign of an infestation (92 percent) and more than half of people reach out for treatment after discovering bites and welts on their bodies. Although some people immediately develop a skin reaction to bites, others may take two to three days before showing obvious symptoms or any symptoms at all, meaning that people could be unaware of a bed bug problem until a full-blown infestation has taken root.
6) Typically found in couches and bed frames, bed bugs can also be found in some of the most unexpected places, including stuffed animals, wheelchairs, airplanes, school buses, purses and even inside bedside lamps.
PPMA is leading the charge for public vigilance with the launch of various media relations and social media campaigns. Industry members are encouraged to join the cause by devoting their company social media pages to bed bugs during Bed Bug Awareness Week and using the hashtag #BedBugWeek on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The toolkit, available for download on http://ppmamainframe.org/, contains a customizable press release, suggested social media content, Bed Bug Awareness Week logos, high resolution photography, media training documents and a list of video content that can be directly embedded on a company’s website.
For more information about PPMA and its marketing programs or to subscribe to Mainframe, please visit http://www.NPMApestworld.org/PPMA.