Guess what? Bedbugs (a.k.a., bed bugs) are making a major comeback here in the United States. These nasty little critters were largely eradicated in the developed world through the use of pesticides (e.g., DDT), but they’ve become increasingly prevalent over the past decade.
This bedbug resurgence is being driven by several factors, including increased international travel, a transition to new pest control methods (e.g., roach baiting vs. spraying) that don’t have a secondary impact on bedbugs, and the evolution of pesticide resistance.
What are bedbugs?
Bedbugs are parasitic insects of the family Cimicidae that preferentially feed on human blood. They are primarily active at night, and tend to be found in and around areas where people sleep.
While bedbugs can survive a broad range of environmental conditions, they cannot withstand high temperatures. In fact, they die within minutes of exposure to temperatures in 115-120F range.
How to kill bedbugs
Given that bedbugs can’t withstand high temperatures, a quick and easy way to make sure you don’t bring them home from a trip is to simply leave your luggage in the car when you get back home. If you leave your car parked in the sun, any unwanted hitchhikers should be dead within a day or so.
Obviously, this will only work during the summer in most places, but it’s a straightforward way of stopping a potential infestation in its tracks. And yes, this tip actually works – I learned about it from a local exterminator.