America's bedbug invasion: By the numbers

Calls to bedbug exterminators in the U.S. have risen by 57 percent in the last five years — prompting fears of a national epidemic. Here are some stats behind the invasion

Bedbugs are spreading through the United States.
(Image credit: Corbis)

The country is slowly being invaded by the determinedly vexing cimex lectularius, commonly known as the bedbug. Infestations in the U.S. have been on the rise since the mid-90s, thanks to an increasingly mobile population and the critters' growing resistance to pesticides. (Watch a local report about bedbug infestations.) Though particularly acute in New York, the problem is spreading quickly across the country. Here are some alarming stats:


Percent increase in the number of calls to bedbug exterminators nationally since 2005

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Number of confirmed infestations in NYC six years ago


Number of confirmed infestations in NYC last year


Percent increase in calls to bedbug exterminators in Houston in the last two years

1 in 6

Chances that a residents of Cincinnati had a bedbug infestation in 2008 — a few years prior there were no reports in the entire state of Ohio


Number of days the New York branch of the Hollister clothing chain was shuttered so that its bedbug infestation could be eradicated


Number of weeks Hollister allegedly waited to tackle its bedbug problem after the staff's initial complaints. (Other NYC retailers and media offices that have reportedly suffered infestations include: Victoria's Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, Marie Claire magazine, and FOX News.)


Number of bites one woman allegedly received at a New York hotel in 2007


Amount a Chicago jury awarded in 2003 to a couple who were besieged by bedbugs in a local motel


Average amount a victim could expect to receive in an out-of-court settlement over bedbug infestation, according to one lawyer

$50 million

Amount that Rep. George Butterfield (D—NC) proposed Congress spend to help tackle America's bedbug problem. Sadly, his "Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2008" (its actual name) never became law

80° F

Temperature at which bedbugs grow fastest and lay the most eggs

1 out of 3

Number of humans who don't feel bedbug bites


Number of days an adult bedbug can survive without food

Sources: MSNBC, Gothamist, L.A. Times, Business Week,

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