A majority of Americans have begun taking precautions against the spread of bed bugs, according to the 2014 Bed Bug Awareness Week survey conducted online in the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) in March 2014 among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+. The survey, which found nearly three in five (59 percent) Americans take some kind of precaution against bed bugs, is being released in conjunction with Bed Bug Awareness Week (April 20-26), a national observance to help spread awareness about bed bugs and what people can do to curb infestations.
Bed bugs are known for their hitchhiking capabilities and are easily transported, making them an elusive pest and formidable opponent. In fact, bed bugs are considered one of the most difficult pests to control by professionals, due in part to their quick breeding capabilities and tendency to hide in small, dark crevices, often unseen by the human eye, such as behind headboards and baseboards, as well as inside electrical outlets and box springs. Depending on the scope of an infestation, it can take several treatments to fully eradicate the bugs.
Industry experts agree that public awareness is key in quelling infestations. “Education and vigilance are the first steps to help stop the spread of bed bugs, and we’re pleased and encouraged to hear that so many Americans are becoming more aware of their surroundings and taking measures to protect against this troublesome pest,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “We hope the public will use Bed Bug Awareness Week as an opportunity to brush up on prevention techniques—especially as we head into the busy summer travel season.”
Below are highlights from the survey:
- 59 percent of all U.S. adults take some kind of precaution against bed bug infestations.
- 34 percent inspect sheets, mattress pads and mattresses for signs of bed bugs upon checking into a hotel
- 33 percent wash all clothes in hot water after returning home from a vacation
- 29 percent avoid visiting homes or locations that have had a bed bug infestation
- 28 percent remain vigilant of where they place their belongings when in public places
- 12 percent vacuum suitcases after returning home from vacation
- 8 percent keep their suitcases in a plastic trash bag or protective cover for the duration of their hotel stays
- If they suspected a bed bug infestation in their home, 95 percent of U.S. adults would do something to alleviate the problem.
- 69 percent would wash their sheets and bedding in hot water
- 64 percent would clean and vacuum their bedrooms
- 62 percent would contact a pest professional/exterminator
- 40 percent would buy an over-the-counter bed bug removal product
- 30 percent would throw away their mattress and purchase a new one