Dawn Biehler, Geography and Environmental Systems, on WHYY Philadelphia

Published: Jan 24, 2014

Entomologists believe bed bugs have started making a comeback in places like Philadelphia in recent years. A report that aired on WHYY in Philadelphia January 17 examines the city’s battle with bedbugs and how it has evolved.

Dawn Biehler, assistant professor of geography and environmental systems, was interviewed for the story and commented on the history of bedbugs in the United States and how they appeared consistently up until the 40s and 50s.

Dawn Biehler book cover

“It was almost kind of an accepted condition of urban life that every once in a while, you were going to get bedbugs,” Biehler said. “Some people had bedbugs pretty much constantly.”

Bedbugs have made a comeback in places like Philadelphia as they’ve developed resistance to chemicals aimed at pest control, and Biehler commented how bedbugs can cause many problems such as “degradation of mental health” by creating problems such as loss of sleep and family divisions.

You can listen to the full story on WHYY and read the accompanying article here. Biehler also analyzed the history and transformation of the phrase “sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite,” and that can be heard here.

Dawn Biehler is author of Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats published in 2013.

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