A photo provided by Virginia Tech Department of Entomology shows a female adult bedbug.
I have been following increasing reports of bedbug infestations, and though I am not a germophobe in general, I now routinely peel back the bottom sheet at hotels and check the mattress and wall behind beds for stains that could indicate a bug problem. To be fair, I have never found nor seen a bedbug.
But reading USA TODAY Hotel Check-In author Barbara De Lollis' report on singer Lauren Hildebrant saying she left a $500-a-night hotel room in Manhattan with itchy, painful bites put me on high alert. A loved one is staying at a Los Angeles airport hotel Labor Day, and I know airport lodgings are supposedly at higher risk for bug infestations because they host travelers from all over the world, staying only a night, with so much traffic making it more likely that bugs could slip in via suitcases.
So I checked out bedbugregistry.com, a free database that contains more than 20,000 reports from travelers who say they encountered bedbugs, and where in the USA and Canada. I did find one report from 2009 at the L.A. hotel, but no recent mentions of any problem at TripAdvisor.com (which is another good source for news of infestations).
Bedbugs are nothing to sneer about. They're in the USA at levels not seen since World war II, according to the Terminex pest control firm. Top bedbug cities: New York, Philadelphia and Detroit. Bugs also take an economic bite: You may have to call in an exterminator, dump your mattress and other furnishings and belongings if you carry them home. Have any readers been bitten or brought home the pesky biters?
Kitty Bean Yancey, USA TODAY