How COVID-19 Gave Us A Chance To Beat Back NYC’s Bed Bug Pandemic

Getting rid of bed bugs during covid

It’s Time to Act Now and Get Rid of Bed Bugs for Good

Article by Joseph Salvatore Knipper

It’s hard not to see some parallels between COVID-19 and bed bugs. They both appeared (well, in bed bugs’ case, reappeared) in the early 21st century. They both reached pandemic proportions in cities, largely due to a lack of information. They both can be curbed with proper precautions. Of course, the comparison breaks down after that.

While bed bugs can cause anxiety, insomnia, and formication, COVID-19 is a global tragedy that has cost nearly a million lives and widespread economic devastation. 

Just as it has an effect on everything, though, COVID-19 has had an effect on bed bugs. First some minor bad news: current infestations have gotten worse in occupied residential buildings and homes because people have been leery of letting inspectors inside. Some of the news, however, is good. COVID-19 provides a golden opportunity for both private and public spaces to make progress against the bed bug pandemic. 

Less Travel Means Fewer Bed Bugs

Bed bugs spread in two ways. “Active dispersal” occurs when bed bugs wander on their own, looking for new places to lay eggs. Active dispersal is why bed bugs affect urban areas more frequently than suburban areas, since bed bugs can just crawl between your apartment and your neighbor’s apartment.

“Passive dispersal” is when we carry bed bugs to new locations in our shoes, luggage, furniture, clothes, etc. They can also be unknowingly brought into our homes in the same way. While active dispersal is still happening during COVID-19, passive dispersal is likely to have been greatly reduced. 

Therein lies the silver lining to this pandemic cloud. Since most of us are vacationing from home, shopping from home, and working from home, then it follows that bed bugs are not spreading as fast in hotels, office buildings, and stores. 

Strike While the Iron is Hot

Since passive dispersal is reduced, now is the time to strike back against the bed bug menace!

When bed bugs aren’t fed, they are more responsive to treatment. Bed bugs can survive up to 18 months without food, so they won’t disappear from closed office buildings or theatres. However, they will be weakened. Treatment now will be more effective than when buildings are occupied.

Also, with restaurants and stores at reduced capacity, now is the perfect time to set policies that will prevent infestation in the first place. Very minor renovations—the work of a single weekend—can drastically reduce the number of places bed bugs can hide. This could include caulking baseboards, placing indicators under beds, and fixing peeling paint.

Discrete, routine inspections can warn businesses of an early infestation. Whether your business is bustling or quiet at the moment, MMPC offers discrete, after-hours inspections by certified canine bed bug inspection teams. We also offer services to assist you in making your home or business bed bug resistant.

Safety First

At M&M Pest Control (MMPC), our bed bug specialists are fully equipped with PPE. We disinfect all our equipment, and ourselves, before entering your home. Of course, we also offer touch-free payment options. Our technicians are taking every precaution to keep you, your customers, and your loved ones healthy. 

Conclusion

Quarantining one COVID-19 case can prevent many other people from getting it. The same is true for bed bugs; stopping just one infestation early can prevent many others. Let’s not let this great, global pause pass us by without giving bed bugs a good, solid kick in the antennae.

Treat now in unoccupied buildings while bed bugs are weak. Use the opportunity of reduced capacity to create a space where bed bugs can’t hide. And finally, set up routine inspections to catch early signs of a bed bug infestation. If businesses and organizations do all this now, we will make progress against two pandemics at once.