Since insect pest infestations are often associated with less affluent areas, many people consider impoverished homes and neighborhoods to be more at risk of becoming infested with bed bugs than wealthier homes. However, according to researchers, this is not the case with bed bugs, as bed bug infestation cases have been found in roughly equal amounts within a variety of localities that all differ in their degree of relative economic prosperity. Despite this fact, bed bug infestations are accompanied by a stigma that says infestation victims must be impoverished. This common stereotype comes from the fact that the most common and hated insect pests, mainly cockroaches, gravitate toward unsanitary and ill-kept conditions. While this is most certainly true, and while this fact does make unsanitary and messy homes a target for cockroaches, bed bug populations are too numerous and not picky enough about their surrounding conditions to be associated with a particular economic class of people or where they live.
Unlike roaches, and other insect pests, bed bugs do not care about the relative cleanliness or messiness of their living conditions. Also unlike roaches and most other insects, bed bugs do not necessarily choose where to infest, as they only spread by opportunistically hitching rides on a person’s clothing, and such a person is just as likely to be rich as they are to be of a more modest-income. For example, airports, which are flooded with massive amounts of people of different classes, including wealthy first class fliers and middle-class coach fliers, are found containing bed bugs more often than most other heavily populated locations. This means that just about everyone in an airport is at equal risk of contracting bed bugs on their clothing after sitting in an infested chair. Bed bugs are also found in first class cabins as well as in coach seating areas. Bed bug infestations are also found in expensive hotel rooms. For example, a wealthy supermodel may be out of work after sustaining serious bed bug injuries during her stay in a luxurious hotel for the rich.
Now, while all individuals are, for the most part, at an equal risk of contracting bed bugs and bringing them to their home, bed bug infestations can be more problematic, especially medically, in lower-income homes. For example, some low-income individuals or families may not be able to afford bed bug eradication procedures, or they may wait until such money becomes available, at which point bed bug infestations become much larger and have usually inflicted injuries on a home’s occupants. To summarize, while just about anyone can contract bed bugs on their clothes or find them in their home, the length and severity of bed bug infestations can differ in accordance with economic class.
Have you ever assumed lower-income individuals and families to be at a higher risk of experiencing bed bug infestations?