Alex Branch’s opening sentence in Pest exterminators get lessons on battling bedbugs, published on July 29th in the Star-Telegram, couldn’t have said it better: “You know you’re becoming a problem when people get together and spend three days discussing ways to kill you.” Hosted by Texas Pest Control Association and Bedbug Central, the first Bedbug Academy of the Southwest is being held in Arlington this year to educate people about bedbugs – how to find them and what to do when you do find them.
What an interesting way of tackling a quickly spreading problem. The academy boasts experts of all kinds – entomologists and bedbug management experts alike. Their purpose: to educate and demonstrate ways of eradicating the notoriously hard to kill little critter. Vendor tables were covered in stuffed bedbugs (yes, of the plush toy variety). Fake bedrooms were set up to hold bedbug demonstrations. There were video terminals displaying what bed bugs look like up close, and hands-on demonstrations of extermination equipment usage.
What does all of this tell you?
It tells you that bedbugs are becoming a very large problem. All over North America, led by the cities of New York and New Jersey, major infestations are being reported more and more often. Some of these exterminators have gone 18 years without ever seeing a bug – now, all of the sudden, they’re seeing them everyday.
At one time almost entirely eradicated, their re-emergence is thought to be attributed to the ban of certain pesticides, leaving exterminators powerless against the little critters – or are they? With the introduction of new extermination methods – like heat treatments – bedbugs’ chances of survival are slim to none.
It would be interesting to find out just how many bedbug cases are reported in major cites across Canada. Is it time that we hold a “bedbug academy” too?