Bedbug experts to gather at Rosemont summit

September 20, 2010 (ROSEMONT, Ill.)

The small pest feeds off human blood and has been found in homes hotels, stores and even in office buildings on Park Avenue in New York City.

A bedbug summit will open on Tuesday in northwest suburban Rosemont. The goal to share information and the best methods of getting rid of the pests.

"I think bedbugs are back and they're here to stay," said Jeffrey White, Bedbug Central entomologist.

But that's not stopping pest control professionals, scientists and multiple dwelling managers and government agencies from coming together to try to get rid of bedbugs. A resurgence of the insect has become a serious problem in recent years.

"Since 2003 we really haven't looked back and it's been exponentially growing and right now it is out of control," said Philip Cooper, CEO of Bedbugs Central.

Bedbugs Central, which provides information to those fighting the pest, is hosting the first annual North American Bedbugs Summit in Rosemont where for two days, 410 attendees at the soldout conference will discuss all things bedbug. This comes as more cities around the country are dealing with insect infestations in homes and hotels.

So far one of the worst bedbug problems is in New York where over the weekend Niketown in Manhattan was temporarily shut down after bugs were found there.

For a bug that does not transmit disease or signal filth and is less prevalent than cockroaches, it generates a lot of anxiety.

"Bedbugs are just a creepy insect. When they're in your bed and your couch and coming out at night to feed on you as you sleep, that's a very creepy issue," said White.

Then there is the issue of trying to he eradicate bedbugs which is creating a booming industry. Many products will be on display at the conference. Experts say it takes a multi-method approach to kill them, which can be expensive.

"Everybody and their mother is trying to get into this industry and make a buck. So you have to be careful and know what you're looking at and be cautious because there are a lot of things that work. There are a lot of things that don't work," said Cooper.

According to Cooper, Chicago has a significant bedbug problem, although it's not on par with New York's. But it does have the potential to catch up to New York in about a year and a half to two years. He says it's important now to discuss the best ways of keeping bedbugs under control.

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