2020 was a difficult year for everyone, and that’s putting it mildly. While some of us suffered and struggled more than others, no one escaped the COVID-19 pandemic totally unscathed. So if I told you there was at least one silver lining to the recent global pandemic you’d have every right and reason to think I had gone completely off my rocker.
We all remember how COVID-19 caused a sudden, and a prolonged, drop in both international and national travel. In fact, we’re still a long way from returning to pre-pandemic norms. But there were some unexpected side effects of the travel bans and lockdowns. The one that concerns us here is the distinct, and definitely welcome, drop in bed bug infestations.
If 2020 can be said to have any silver linings that’s one we can all welcome. But it’s only temporary, and when travel returns to normal we should expect to see an uptick in bed bug activity.
Bed Bugs and How they Travel
Bed bugs have two basic modes of travel – active and passive dispersal. Active dispersal is when bed bugs move on their own accord, crawling from area to area looking for ideal places to nest and lay their eggs. This is most common in urban areas where bed bugs can more easily move between apartments and office blocks.
Passive dispersal is when bed bugs hitch rides on luggage, freight, and the shoes and clothing of temporary hosts. This is the primary mode of travel that allows bed bugs to move freely between workplaces and homes. This is also the manner in which bed bugs travel between neighborhoods, throughout towns and states, and across state and international borders.
Bed Bug Infestations on the Decline – For Now
The recent drop in travel due to COVID-19 has had a definite impact on the passive dispersal of bed bugs throughout the country. With fewer people traveling, and more people working from home, there have been fewer opportunities for bed bugs to hitch rides on temporary hosts. That’s made it more difficult for these pests to spread among communities leading to a dip in reports of new infestations.
Homeowners, as well as business owners, across the country have seen a definite drop in new bed bug activity. Over the last year pest control services in every state have seen a dip in calls for inspections and removals. Unfortunately, that’s all about to change. As the country returns to normal, or at least something approaching normal, we can expect these blood-sucking pests to make a ferocious return.
Waiting Patiently to Make Their Return
While there has been a marked drop in bed bug infestations these blood-sucking pests aren’t disappearing entirely. They are only waiting out the pandemic, much like the rest of us. The difference is bed bugs are resilient and they can survive just about anything – including lack of food and shelter.
In fact, the average bed bug can happily survive extreme temperatures without breaking a sweat (if insects sweated, but you get the idea). They can even survive up to 18 months without a blood meal. So while a lack of available travel options may have slowed these pests down they aren’t down for the count. Not by a long shot.
Bed Bugs Expected to Return to Previous Levels of Spread
This short respite from bed bugs isn’t expected to last for much longer. Pest control experts warn that bed bugs will begin to spread again once travel restrictions are relaxed. Moreover, as people begin to abandon their home offices and return to their communal workspaces bed bugs will be able to take advantage of new hosts/travel companions.
With passive dispersal at an all time low now is the time to take action against the bed bug population. If you have been concerned about bed bugs in your home or workplace now is the time to schedule a full inspection. This is also an ideal time to schedule a professional removal treatment. Dormant bed bugs in your home or office will be weak due to lack of food and much more susceptible to your removal expert’s treatment program.
As the world slowly returns to normal it’s important that you guard against any potential bed bug infestations. Take steps to protect your home and workplace and, if necessary, contact your bed bug removal experts at the earliest opportunity.