ARLINGTON, Va. — "Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” Doesn’t seem so bad in a cheerful bedtime rhyme, but it’s becoming a really big problem now that the nasty critters are invading hospitals, college dorms and even swanky hotels.
With the most effective pesticides banned, the government is trying to figure out how to respond to the biggest bedbug outbreak since World War II. Bedbugs live in the crevices and folds of mattresses, sofas and sheets, and feed on human blood. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hosted its first-ever bedbug summit Tuesday. One problem with controlling the reddish-brown insects is that there are few chemicals on the market approved for use on mattresses and other household items that are effective on the bugs.