Found worldwide, bedbugs are most common in developing countries. Still, reports of bedbugs in luxury hotels are not uncommon. They are most commonly found in areas like hostels, hotels, shelters, and apartment complexes where there are many visitors coming and going. When they enter your home, it's often because they have hidden in luggage, furniture, clothing, or boxes that are being moved. They can also travel on pets' fur. Increases in international travel may be responsible for the rise in bedbug sightings.
No. Bed bugs are also pests in poultry operations, and they're known to parasitize bats. Some labs that study bed bugs rear them on guinea pigs and mice. The bugs might feed on cats and dogs. Fur is probably a barrier to them, but they could feed at any place on the body without fur. Bed bugs are not specific to humans, but they are adapted to parasitizing us.
Some people experience anxiety, sleeplessness and unease as symptoms of having had bed bugs. Let's face it, bed bug infestations are understandably significant psychosocial stressors, and some people may experience sleeplessness as they worry about bugs biting them or their family members. Not surprisingly, people have been known to self-isolate, avoiding family and friends out of concern for spreading the infestation, or (if word gets out that they have bed bugs) they may be avoided by friends or others in the community, or find they have problems at work. As a result, victims of bed bug infestations may experience moderate to severe levels of stress, anxiety and depression. In severe cases, these persons should seek counseling and treatment as required.
Bed bugs are a growing problem in schools and daycares. Typically they are introduced by students or staff living with an infestation at home. Pinpointing where the bugs exist can be challenging in such environments since there are no beds or sleeping areas for the insects to congregate. (Similar challenges occur when bed bugs are found in offices, libraries and retail stores.) Usually only small numbers of bed bugs are spotted, often on a student’s clothing, backpack, chair or desk. While this does not necessarily confirm that the child’s residence also has bed bugs, the parents should be notified that the home should be inspected, preferably by a professional. Teachers, nurses, and staff should be educated about the bugs and what they look like. Bed bugs should also be considered if a student frequently has reddened itchy welts --but keep in mind such reactions can be for reasons other than bed bugs.
Prior to the mid-20th century, bed bugs were very common. According to a report by the UK Ministry of Health, in 1933, all the houses in many areas had some degree of bed bug infestation. The increase in bed bug populations in the early 20th century has been attributed to the advent of electric heating, which allowed bed bugs to thrive year-round instead of only in warm weather.
While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.