Are Bedbugs on the Decline or is the Media Tiring of the Story?

Live bed bug
Live bed bug (Photo credit: StarMaster)

Portland Bed Bug Story

Carl Leibowitz said he was in a Portland, Oregon hotel room Friday afternoon when he “started to get these like — I felt like there were bites, and I was thinking I got a mosquito bite. And I just noticed there were three of them. And then later on, I started to notice, up by my shoulder, there were more bites. And I went out and got some Benadryl, took Benadryl, went to sleep, and then I woke up at 6:30 in the morning on Saturday and when I woke up, I’m like — got bites all over me.

“And I turn on the light and my pillow is covered in blood. And when I looked down at the pillow, there’s blood everywhere, I feel on my head there’s all these bites, and I start to freak out. I don’t know what happened to me.”

Leibowitz headed for the emergency room. He says he had 43 bites in all, “all over my back, my shoulders, on my feet, all over my head.” (

What is the bedbug story today?

The last two years we were inundated with bedbug horror stories like this.  Both local and national news stations, radio stations, and newspapers ran with stories that we were under attack!

Bedbugs were invading our country’s homes, schools, offices, vehicles, and they were even hiding in our library books. We weren’t safe if we left on an expensive vacation because the hotels were infested too. Billy Crystal took to one of the nation’s biggest stages, The Oscars, and joked about bedbug migration in our movie theaters.

During that time a lot of pest control companies experienced an unexpected boom, but these last several months have seen a sharp decline in media reported bedbug infestations.

With this recent lack of media coverage can we assume that bedbugs are on the decline?


Most pest control companies have seen no decline in the expansion of bedbugs in their businesses. In fact, bedbug infestations are growing at exponential rates—some reports say as much as 75% from the same time last year. The Bedbug Crisis Hotline has increased ten fold in the last 6 months. Some of this can be attributed to both the media and the pest control industry raising awareness and educating the public about bedbugs.

It may be safe to say that the media’s interest in bedbugs is receding because they often report on stories they can in some way sensationalize. If the topic doesn’t make the hair on the audience’s neck stand up anymore, they don’t report on it.

The bedbugs are still here. They still bite us and we still have to get rid of them. The story is still the same, despite the media’s lack of recent coverage.


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