Elements of the National Bed Bug Strategy: an independent perspective

Posted by: on February 15, 2011

It was pretty exciting to be at the EPA Bed Bug Summit last week with the “world’s most renowned experts” and the head honchos of so many government bed bug programs. The first day we heard presentations from most of the stakeholders (except property managers and tenants associations.) On the second day, we split into breakout sessions from some heavy brainstorming. I chose “Elements of a National Strategy for Control.” This felt important! We were galvanizing for a crusade against those darned bugs! I was impressed with the level of thoughtfulness and enthusiasm for the good fight that echoed in the room. The document we came up with to bring back to the closing was concise, clear, pragmatic.

The main talking points were: to create a clearinghouse so that information could be shared across agencies to save resources and combat the of misinformation floating around on the internet, producing educational materials for consumers and businesses, such as public service announcements, come up with uniform national standards and to tailor control services to the level of infestation and type of structure. In the moment it felt like progress, but later, I realized that the themes sounded familiar. I decide to review the notes from the first EPA Bed Bug Summit back in 2009. Working group #1 at that summit recommended an inter-agency taskforce (that did happen) to coordinate efforts, provide guidelines, create a clearinghouse, develop an educational curriculum such as PSAs. Hey, come on guys, you’ve burst my bubble. No says that it will be easy to turn around our attitudes and behaviors on the bed bug front, but why are we reinventing the wheel here? We were recommending the same ideas over again instead of pushing the strategies ahead. The best and most promising idea from 2009 didn’t even make a reappearance; subsidizing control services. I’d love to see some serious negotiating between the agencies on how to design and implement provision of free or low-cost detection, control and protection services.

While we wait for the information clearinghouse to appear, let’s talk about the misleading information that is on the web now. Is there some product or information you have come across that confounds, appalls or amuses you? We definitely have some favorites to share with you. Watch this space.

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