With the banning of effective over the counter insecticides bed bugs are spreading throughout the United States at a very rapid rate. Bed bugs are excellent hitch hikers and once they are introduced into an environment are able to readily spread from infested locations to new locations that were previously un-infested.
Some of the more common dispersal mechanisms include overnight stays in bed bug infested locations, the purchase of infested furniture (rental furniture, used/second hand furniture, reconditioned mattresses etc.), picking up discarded items that are infested, and migration of bed bugs from one infested dwelling to another in multi-occupancy settings (apartments, college housing, medical facilities, senior communities etc.)
Bed bug bites can cause irritation to some people, but they are not known to spread or carry diseases. Because they do not carry disease local and state health departments have no legal authority to regulate their abatement from private residents, apartments, college housing, medical facilities, senior communities, etc.
The state legislature is presently working on laws to help the state and local health officials’ deal with this problem (presently only the State Fire Marshall has any authority over bed bugs but only in hotels and motels). Until new law take effect our best weapon against the bed bugs is education on preventing the spread of the bed bugs and a proper integrated pest management program. We have provided some useful links to help and provide you with as much information as possible to help the homeowner to prevent an infestation and steps to abate an infestation.