NPMA survey reveals the public’s perceptions to bedbugs

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Without a doubt, bedbugs were the most talked about pest in 2010. In the USA, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) conducted a survey in November 2010 to find out just how worried people are about bedbugs and the true impact they are having on the way people live their lives.

“Most Americans recognise that bedbugs are back in a big way. Our survey shows that people are taking the bedbug resurgence seriously and making simple adjustments to daily routines to avoid infestations,” noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “It is important that the public, the government and the pest control industry work together to minimize infestations through education, building awareness and assistance.”

A full copy of the report Bed Bugs in America can be downloaded by clicking here.

Key points from the survey are:

1. Americans who have encountered bedbugs tend to be younger, live in urban areas and rent their homes. The incidence of bedbugs is three times higher in urban areas than in rural areas due to the factors such as larger population size, apartment living and increased travel and mobility which are conducive to the rapid spread and breeding of bedbugs.

2. Most Americans are concerned about bedbugs and believe that bedbug infestations in the United States are increasing. Nearly 80% are most concerned about encountering bedbugs at hotels; 52% on public transportation; 49% in cinemas; 44% in retail stores; 40% in medical facilities; 36% in their own homes, 32% equally pointed to places of employment and friends” homes. The fear of getting bitten topped the list of concerns.

 Bedbug Most Americans are concerned about bedbugs and believe infestations are increasing 

3. As the public”s awareness of the bed bug resurgence grows, many Americans are modifying their behaviours to minimise infestations: 27% have inspected or washed clothing upon returning from a trip; 25% have checked a hotel room for bedbugs; 17% have inspected or vacuumed a suitcase upon returning from a trip and 12% have altered or cancelled travel plans because of concern about bedbugs.

  • 16% inspected second-hand furniture they have brought into their homes; 15% have checked dressing rooms when trying on clothing and 29% have washed new clothing immediately upon bringing it home from a store. 
  • Of the 13% of respondents who said they knew someone who had a bedbug infestation in their home, 40% said they avoided entering the infested home and 33% discouraged those who had the infestation from entering their own home.

4. Despite widespread exposure to information, most Americans know little about bedbugs. Nearly half incorrectly believe that bedbugs transmit disease; 29% inaccurately believe bedbugs are more common among lower income households, and 37% believe bedbugs are attracted to dirty homes. 

5. Treating Infestations. Nearly half of survey respondents said they would contact a pest management professional if they experienced a bedbug infestation in their home. Conversely, 38% said they would treat the infestation themselves and 16% would contact their landlord or property manager.

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