Bed bugs: National Bed Bug Forum for pro bug-killers being hosted in Broomfield

Right now, more than 500 people are meeting at a hotel in Broomfield to learn about one creepy, crawly, nationwide problem: bed bugs. The National Bed Bug Forum is the first event of its kind in recent memory, says Missy Henriksen, spokewoman for the National Pest Management Association. Why? "Problems with bed bugs have reached pandemic proportions," she says.

Today, tomorrow and Friday, pest management specialists from all over the country are convening at the Omni Interlocken Resort to hear talks by researchers, industry leaders, doctors and even insurance experts. The sessions have names such as "The Biology of Bed Bugs," "The Universe of Detection" and "Getting Customers to Bite: How to Successfully Market Your Bed Bug Services." The conference is closed to the public -- and the media.

Henriksen explains that much of the discussion will be technical; in other words, it's not a neighborhood forum on how to spot these suckers. Instead, it was prompted by what she describes as an industry-wide "clamoring for information" on how to vanquish bed bugs.

"Bed bugs have become the talk of our industry," Henriksen says. In 2000, she says, less than 25 percent of pest management professionals reported treating bed bugs. Last year, that number jumped to 95 percent.

And not only are bed bugs everywhere, but "they've been identified as the single most difficult pest to eliminate," she reveals.

That being said, Henriksen offered us some helpful tips for avoiding them.

  • Check your bedsheets for tell-tale blood spots.
  • Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation.
  • Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
  • Consider bringing a large plastic trashbag to keep your suitcase in during hotel stays.
  • Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspections.
  • Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.

While Henriksen assures us that the association chose Denver as the site for its conference because of our fair city's location and not because we're super-infested with bed bugs, there will likely be a lot of suitcase vacuuming going on after the conference. But locals -- and their visiting relatives -- can rest assured about one thing: the Omni Interlocken is probably now the most assuredly bed-bug-free hotel in the state.

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar