Benefits of the Virus Pandemic? Bed Bugs Struggle to Find Human Blood Now

Bed bug feeding on human skin

Photographer: VW Pics/Universal Images Group Editorial/Getty Images

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They latch onto clothes and luggage in search of human blood. But less travel during the Covid-19 pandemic has helped keep away these unwanted visitors: bed bugs.

Pest professionals have gotten fewer calls over the last year in part because the insects, which like to settle into mattresses, haven’t been able to spread as widely. Terminix Global Holdings, a pest management company, said it expects to see “continued lower trends in bed bug services due to reduced travel during the pandemic,” according to its 2021 outlook released Thursday.

The Memphis, Tennessee-based company, with a market value of $5.9 billion, reported that one-time sales of new bed bug services declined by about $3 million in the second quarter because of Covid-19.

Bed bugs typically spread through human movement and can be found anywhere humans linger, including homes, hotels, hospitals and cars. Their bites are painless but they are difficult to eliminate. They were nearly eradicated in the U.S. in the 1940s because of potent pesticides, but the bed bug population spiked again in the early 2000s with an increase in international travel.