Bed Bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae): An Evidence-based Analysis of the Current Situation
  Key Words  
  Pest control, insecticide application indoors, control strategy
  Clive Boase
  Records show that the bed bug, Cimex lectularius (L.), was common in the early years of the 20th century, but in developed countries declined steadily from the 1930s onwards, and remained at a relatively low level through the 1970s 1990s. However, in developed countries, there were nonetheless significant reservoirs of infestation remaining in inner-city areas through this period. The current bed bug upsurge appears to have started almost synchronously in the late 1990s in Europe, the United States, and in Australia. In London, the number of bed bug treatments is growing at about 25% per year. A wide range of explanations have been proposed for the increase, including climate change, increased human movement, changes in insecticide use patterns, and reduced insecticide susceptibility of the bed bugs. Studies of bed bug infestations in premises providing hospitality services suggest that persistence of infestation is related to failure to achieve full eradication. Where bed bug infestation are completely eradicated, then even very busy premises may then remain completely free of infestation for extended periods. Addressing the current bed bug upsurge is of key international public health importance. Correct identification of the factor(s) responsible for the bed bug increase is critical in developing effective management strategies. As such, strategies need to be based wherever possible on firm evidence.