The Rise in Bed Bugs

Prevention, Management, and Treatment

Mallory C. McKenzie, RPh, PharmD; Edward M. DeSimone II, RPh, PhD, FAPhA


US Pharmacist. 2012;37(8):47-50. 

In This Article


The common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, was nearly eradicated from developed countries in the 1940s, but within the last 10 years the United States and Canada have seen a rapid resurgence in bed bug infestations.1 A 2008 online survey of pest control professionals determined that in the past 2 years, 91% of respondents had encountered bed bugs. In the past 5 years, 37% of respondents had encountered bed bugs, while in the past 10 years, only 21% had encountered bed bugs.[2] According to data from Terminix, the most bed bug–infested U.S. cities in 2012 were Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and New York.[3] This recent resurgence may be attributed to increased rates of international travel, immigration, changes in pest control practices, and insecticide resistance. Outbreaks occur in a wide variety of settings and most often occur in single-family homes, apartments, hotels, shelters, college dormitories, and nursing homes.[4] Risk factors for bed bug infestations include rapid turnover of residents, increased population density, and frequent relocation. Unsanitary conditions and the number of people in a household are not the best indicators for the presence of bed bugs, and outbreaks are generally not specific to any geographic areas or climate conditions.[5]