I thought this was a joke when I first heard about a “bed bug epidemic,” but it is a very real problem all over the country. Bed bugs are causing a growing problem in the Tri-Cities according to an article dated October 5, 2010. Back during the summer in New York City, the South Street Seaport Abercrombie & Fitch store was closed because of bed bugs on July 6, 2010, for one week and was the second of their stores to close temporarily.
According to WFAA on October 4, 2010, an apartment complex had to be evacuated in Fort Worth, Texas, because of bed bugs. A second complex might have to be evacuated as well. Also, there was a report of bed bugs in a hotel.
The Tri-Cities article states that a great way to check if your hotel room or even your bedroom has bed bugs is to remove the sheets from the bed. (another source says the first signs may be small red and brown spots on your sheets) Take a close look at the grooves and linings on your mattress. If you see black spots then that’s a sign of bed bugs. Those are feeding spots from the bed bugs. You probably won’t actually see the bugs. They suggest washing all clothes as soon as you return from a trip and even to wash the luggage.
Wikipedia has some good info on bed bugs and says that bedbugs were eliminated from developed countries in the 1940’s but have been largely on the increase since 1995, probably mainly due to greater foreign travel, but also because of the use of second-hand furniture, and the focus being on other pests and not bed bugs. They do not cause disease, but they can cause a rash and itching. They are being found everywhere from homes to fancy hotels, even in the fabrics of clothing at some stores (like the New York Abercrombie & Fitch stores during the summer).
You can go to BED BUG REPORTS.com to find the latest bed bug findings. There have been 20 new reports just within the last two days! This makes me itch just writing about this!