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Bed bugs: There's less sleeping tight as the scourge spreads

bed bugbedbugbugscollege dormday care centerdormitoryinfestationinsectsoest managementpestpesticidepesticidepreschool

Bed bugs Just as the time comes to send the kids back to school and college, a new survey reveals that bed bug infestations are up in exactly the places where kids and their parents will be hanging out.

According to the cleverly titled report "Bugs Without Borders" from the National Pest Management Assn., bed bug infestations are increasing in truly yecchy ways over just a year ago. The numbers are measured by the percentage of pest-control companies that say they've been called on to eradicate the tricky little suckers in the last year:

    College dorms: 54%, compared with 35% the year before.

    The hotel where you stay while dropping your young scion off at the dorm? 80%, up from 67% in 2010.

    Schools and day care centers: 36%, up from 10%.

    Of course, more than school-related places are affected. Almost all pest companies -- 99% -- have been called on to eradicate bed bugs somewhere in the last year. The numbers are up at nursing homes, movie theaters, offices and hospitals. Of course, remember that 80% at hotels doesn't mean that four-fifths of hotels are infested; it means that 80% of pest workers have responded to infestations at a hotel.

Still, with numbers clearly rising nationwide, it's hard not to just duck under the covers at home and stay there.  But then, under the covers doesn't feel so safe either.


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--Karin Klein

Photo: Mother and child bed bugs. Credit: Tim McCoy/Associated Press


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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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