Bedbugs Take a Bite Out of Federal Agenda

Georgetown hosts summit on blood-sucking critters

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    A growing problem with tiny bugs has triggered a big, two-day meeting in Washington.

    Several federal agencies gathered on the campus of Georgetown University Tuesday to discuss the current bedbug epidemic and efforts to eradicate the pests, and it seems getting everyone to sleep tight has been no easy task.

    Besides the physical problems that come along with parasitic insects leaving itchy marks all over your skin, bedbugs also tend to bring on mental and financial problems. NBC's Suzanne Kianpour recounted the personal horror story EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe shared on the first day of the 2011 Bed Bug Summit:

    Perciasepe delivered the opening remarks, re-telling his own personal encounter with bed-bug infestation at his daughter's apartment in New York City five years ago -- the beginning of the resurgence of the these blood-sucking insects. He said they "did not have a good approach" for dealing with this issue, and touched on the subsequent health, psychological and social tensions that emerged. His daughter at one point told him she thought she had [leprosy]. He acknowledged not only how it affected his daughter and family emotionally, but also how big of a problem it is "for our wallets."


    Bedbug extermination can cost thousands of dollars in some cases, and there's still no guarantee that the treatments will work. Officials at Tuesday's summit also discussed the bugs' growing resistance to pesticides.

    Whatever chemicals are recommended to crack down on infestations, education and awarness will also be a key part of the government's plan in dealing with the bedbug crisis.

    The summit continues Wednesday and will wrap up with recommendations for a national bedbug control plan.