June 19, 2024

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The Global Bedbug Crisis: Why Are They Spreading Worldwide?

The Global Bedbug Crisis: Why Are They Spreading Worldwide? They Suck 7 Times More Blood Than Mosquitoes! 

The Global Bedbug Crisis: Why Are They Spreading Worldwide? They Suck 7 Times More Blood Than Mosquitoes! 

In recent months, a “bedbug crisis” has been gradually spreading across multiple countries and regions globally, sparking panic among local populations.

According to reports from Hong Kong media, this crisis has silently extended to Hong Kong.

Recently, a photo allegedly showing bedbugs on seats of the Hong Kong Airport Express train circulated widely on social media. Additionally, several Hong Kong citizens have shared images of bedbug infestations in their homes.

The amount of human blood they consume is seven times more than mosquitoes, causing issues like insomnia and anxiety.

This “bedbug crisis” was first reported in France, originating around the end of August to early September this year. Many places experienced bedbug infestations.

More than 20 schools in France had to temporarily close due to bedbug outbreaks.

Subsequently, bedbug crises emerged in various parts of the UK, with many locations such as hotels, subways, cinemas, and hospitals frequently discovering bedbugs.

The Global Bedbug Crisis: Why Are They Spreading Worldwide? They Suck 7 Times More Blood Than Mosquitoes! 

Presently, concerned individuals in the UK are worried that these bloodsucking insects have infiltrated their homes. Numerous pest control companies have reported a sharp increase in cases of “delusional parasitosis (DP).” This condition causes individuals to mistakenly believe they are infected by bugs, worms, or other organisms, leading to extreme measures to rid themselves of the imagined infestation, including resigning from jobs, burning furniture, abandoning homes, and dangerously using potent insecticides.

According to the latest reports on November 13th, the UK pest control company Rentokill stated that bedbug reports in October this year had increased by 1966% compared to the same period last year, although confirmed cases increased by only 65%. Since last year, the company has received almost 200% more calls regarding bedbug treatments.

Simultaneously, bedbugs in New York are increasing. Mark Loverde, head of a pest control company in Staten Island, New York, stated that after the Paris Fashion Week from September 25th to October 3rd, “New York’s socialites and internet celebrities returned with unwanted souvenirs.” These parasites “spread in people’s clothes, personal items, and luggage… they can enter the smallest, most microscopic habitats,” warned Loverde.

Experts highlight that bedbugs have a stronger survival ability than mosquitoes and suck seven times more human blood, feeding for “as short as 3 minutes and as long as 10 minutes” each time. Consequently, bedbug bites cause more severe itching and, in serious cases, can lead to insomnia.

A study published previously in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” suggested that bedbug infestations could cause psychological distress such as vivid nightmares, flashbacks, hypervigilance, insomnia, anxiety, avoidance behaviors, and personal dysfunction.

According to a recent survey released by the French government, around 11% of households in France have experienced bedbug problems, resulting in insomnia, psychological issues, absenteeism, and school truancy.

The “bedbug crisis” is extending to South Korea, with Hong Kong media suggesting it might have reached Hong Kong.

Far from easing in European countries, the bedbug crisis has now extended to South Korea. As of November 6th, more than 30 cases of bedbug infestations were reported in 17 cities and provinces across South Korea. Meanwhile, the pest control agency in Singapore mentioned that this year’s bedbug infestations might be 30% more severe than the usual peak period.

After its widespread appearance in South Korea, pictures allegedly showing bedbugs on seats of the Hong Kong Airport Express train circulated extensively on social media over the past weekend. The MTR Corporation stated on November 11th that, following passenger reports, they promptly conducted checks and found no bedbugs. The train has undergone high-temperature deep cleaning. The organization has pledged to intensify inspections and cleaning, particularly for non-metal seats on trains. Additionally, they will conduct pest control on the Airport Express, Disneyland Resort line, high-speed trains, and first-class carriages of East Rail Line trains. Hong Kong’s Transport Department has also responded, urging non-franchise bus operators to enhance carriage cleanliness.

Yip Yip-wun, a member of the Hong Kong Pest Control Operators Association, stated that the “bedbug crisis” has raised concerns among Hong Kong residents. In his pest control company, queries from citizens have surged by nearly 40% recently, with almost 50 cases over the past week.

On social media discussion forums regarding bedbugs and vermin, several Hong Kong citizens showcased evidence of bedbug traces in their homes, including on beds or sofas, some belonging to middle-class families. One netizen named Chan sought help on a social platform: “I am traveling now, the guest room is very dirty, lots of bugs crawling on the walls, and I have red swellings on my back and chest, seems like bugs, and I brought them back to Hong Kong…”

Chen Tse-sum, Chairman of the Hong Kong Society of Vector Control, stated that there’s a chance bedbugs are transported globally via planes, direct buses, railways, or ships, beyond the affected regions like the UK, France, and South Korea. With South Korea being a popular destination for Hong Kongers, luggage wheels might “harbor bedbugs,” causing significant trouble if they infest homes.

Following the panic among populations in various countries and regions due to the bedbug crisis, Moroccan authorities announced new measures on November 11th. These regulations enforce stricter import rules for second-hand goods to safeguard public health and prevent a potential bedbug crisis in the country. These regulations specifically target certain items, including carpets, bed sheets, blankets, wooden furniture, parquet floors, and second-hand household appliances, requiring special prior authorization from relevant authorities to import these goods into the country.

The decision aims to prevent the spread of bedbugs in Morocco, as these insects have already caused panic in many European countries. The Moroccan Ministry of Health reassured the public that there were no documented cases of bedbug infestations in the country.

Why have bedbugs suddenly spread globally? Is it linked to their evolving resistance to pesticides and climate change?

Reports indicate that despite governments worldwide “standing on guard,” “these vampires are now everywhere.” What’s worse, according to a scientific review in January this year, bedbugs have experienced a “global resurgence” over the past 20 years. The study noted, “This resurgence has been widespread, affecting almost every sector of society.”

The reasons behind this phenomenon include “an increasing number of people living in cities where bedbugs thrive in warm, densely packed bodies. Our increased frequency of travel has provided opportunities for bedbug transmission.” James Logan, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, also believes that the continuous increase in bedbugs globally is partly due to global travel, “especially following pandemics, people’s mobility is significantly greater than a few years ago.”

However, according to research, the main reason for the “prosperous period” of bedbugs is that they have evolved resistance to many pesticides, which are our primary defense. In fact, these organisms now possess resistance to “most major classes of pesticides.”

“Insecticides, especially neonicotinoids, are ineffective,” said Dr. Zhou-yang Li, an urban entomology professor at the University of California, Riverside and a co-author of the aforementioned study, “This way, bedbugs can never be eradicated.” Currently, heat treatment is one of the most effective methods because research indicates they are less likely to evolve heat resistance.

Simultaneously, Logan stated that several factors are behind the rising number of bedbugs, “climate change being one of them.” He explained that most insects breed better in warm climate conditions, “so if there are more warm months in a year, insects have more opportunities to reproduce.”

The Global Bedbug Crisis: Why Are They Spreading Worldwide? They Suck 7 Times More Blood Than Mosquitoes! 

(source:internet, reference only)

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