Bed Bugs Continue To Decline

Bed Bugs Continue To Decline In Cincinnati

Health Officials Credit Strategic Plan, Community Partnerships

Data released from the Greater Cincinnati Survey, a statistically valid survey conducted by the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research, show that the percent of Cincinnati residents experiencing problems with bed bugs has continued to decline, from 22 percent in 2009 to 15 percent in 2012.

Cincinnati Health Department officials see this as an indication that the City’s aggressive outreach and education efforts, and participation in the Joint Bed Bug Task Force are working to limit the impact of bed bugs in the Cincinnati area.

These data are an encouraging sign that knowledge has been gained and applied about how to decrease the spread of the pesky insects. However, health officials caution that bed bugs become more active in warmer temperatures.

When facing a bed bug infestation it is best to acquire the services of an experienced, licensed pest management professional.  Individuals attempting to combat the problem on their own are urged to only use approved pesticides, and to read and follow the label directions about how to safely apply the pesticide.

Beginning in 2008, the Cincinnati Health Department worked to develop one of the first comprehensive Bed Bug Strategic Plans in the nation. Many of the recommendations have been put into practice. Highlights include:

  1. Education. Often individuals have no idea how bed bugs spread, what should be done to limit transmission, or the best ways to eradicate them. A series of brochures, fliers, videos, public service announcements, face to face presentations and other materials have been developed and distributed to the community.
  2. Outreach. The Health Department has met with and worked with schools, businesses, “big box retailers,” pest control companies, local, state and federal government agencies and community groups to develop bed bug control policies and attend events to teach effective bed bug prevention and control measures.
  3. Surveillance. The Cincinnati Health Department is one of the first health jurisdictions in the nation to collect hard data which illustrates the extent of bed bug infestations in the homes in the City. In addition the health department licenses City hotels and motels, which allows for regular inspections, education and a quick response to bed bug complaints.
  4. Advocacy. The Health Department has worked with community partners and governments to apply for grants and lobby the EPA and other governmental entities for assistance with bed bug remediation.

Going forward it is critically important that the City continue to work in partnership with citizens in the general community, business community, and county, state and federal agencies to combat bed bugs.

"We are one of the few cities in the nation to have actual population based knowledge about the extent of the problem. It is encouraging to know that our efforts are making a difference. The City will continue to be aggressive in our response to this very difficult problem," said Dr. Camille Jones Assistant Health Commissioner Cincinnati Health Department. 

Due to increased international travel and a growing resistance to approved pesticides, bed bugs have been on the rise across the US. Though these bugs are not known to transmit disease, they can be an expensive nuisance and cause substantial mental anguish and embarrassment for those experiencing an infestation.