Bedbugs have not gone away, they've just found new places to hide. But the answer to the bedbug apocalypse might be right in your closet, or under your bed.
The latest weapon in the battle against the pesky critters? Luggage.
"The Achilles' heel of a bedbug is heat. They die if it gets to 140 degrees," said James Bell, CEO of a company that makes luggage that reaches temperatures hot enough to kill bedbugs and their eggs.
Like something out of a James Bond movie, ThermalStrike suitcases—which come in two sizes and sell for $249 and $199—are billed as something that can nuke bedbugs into oblivion. The luggage plugs into a 110-volt socket and heats up its interior infrared panels to 140 degrees. The company recommends setting the timer to eight hours for full effect.
It's been a few years since the media hysteria peaked—along with cases of itchy people desperately dousing themselves or furniture with flammable liquids. Still, the problem is as bad as ever, according to industry officials. In the last few weeks, the pests have been found practically everywhere, from New York City subways to Naval Academy dorm rooms.
And a survey last week by pest-management company Orkin finds renters fear bedbugs over anything else. They're not the only ones.
"Bedbugs have increased dramatically as a public health pest throughout the country," the Environmental Protection Agency reports. Not surprisingly, the number of bedbug-fighting products has grown as well. More than 300 different products are now registered by the EPA for use against them (though that doesn't indicate an endorsement).
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