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Expert knowledge about Bed Bugs

CAN BED BUGS DEVELOP THERMAL TOLERANCE?

PCT Pest Control Technology on December 16, 2020

by Aaron Ashbrook, Mike Scharf, Gary Bennett and Ameya Gondhalekar

Research out of Purdue University looks at why bed bugs can survive even after a heat treatment.

The bed bug resurgence has prompted the pest management industry to utilize a multifaceted approach that includes chemical and non-chemical control tools. For controlling bed bugs with heat in urban environments, the three methods used by PMPs are steam, compartmentalized heaters and whole domicile heat treatments. All these methods can eliminate bed bugs when properly utilized.

The choice of what heating method to use depends on the scale of pest management that is needed. Steam is used to spot treat areas of heavy bed bug aggregations on furniture and other areas. A wide nozzle spout should be used to ensure that bed bugs are not propelled around the room. To ensure efficacy, the spout of the steamer should be placed directly on top of the bed bug harborage area; the steamer should move at a rate of 1 foot per second. Rutgers University researchers have shown that when steaming furniture, heat should be applied from the bottom up to prevent bed bugs from falling and resulting in sublethal exposure. They also have shown that steam causes low mortality in bed bugs harboring under leather fabric but does work well on bed bugs hiding under cotton and polyester fabric.

TEMPERATURE AND TIME REQUIRED FOR CONTROLLING BED BUGS (CIMEX LECTULARIUS) UNDER COMMERCIAL HEAT TREATMENT CONDITIONS

NIH National Library of Medicine

by Stephen A Kells and Michael J. Gobirsch

Developing effective alternative approaches for disinfesting bed bugs from residential spaces requires a balance between obtaining complete insect mortality, while minimizing costs and energy consumption. One method of disinfestation is the application of lethal high temperatures directly to rooms and contents within a structure (termed whole-room heat treatments). However, temperature and time parameters for efficacy in whole-room heat treatments are unknown given the slower rate of temperature increase and the probable variability of end-point temperatures within a treated room. The objective of these experiments was to explore requirements to produce maximum mortality from heat exposure using conditions that are more characteristic of whole-room heat treatments. Bed bugs were exposed in an acute lethal temperature (LTemp) trial, or time trials at sub-acute lethal temperatures (LTime). The lethal temperature (LTemp99) for adults was 48.3 °C, while LTemp99 for eggs was 54.8 °C. Adult bed bugs exposed to 45 °C had a LTime99 of 94.8 min, while eggs survived 7 h at 45 °C and only 71.5 min at 48 °C. We discuss differences in exposure methodologies, potential reasons why bed bugs can withstand higher temperatures and future directions for research.

RAPID KILLING OF BED BUGS (CIMEX LECTULARIUS L.) ON SURFACES USING HEAT: APPLICATION TO LUGGAGE

WILEY on August 1, 2016

The resistance of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) to chemical insecticides has motivated the development of non-chemical control methods such as heat treatment. However, because bed bugs tend to hide in cracks or crevices, their behavior incidentally generates a thermally insulated microenvironment for themselves. Bed bugs located on the outer surface of luggage are less insulated and potentially more vulnerable to brief heat treatment.

 

BED BUG CONFIDENTIAL: AN EXPERT EXPLAINS HOW TO DEFEND AGAINST THE DREADED PESTS

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN on January 23, 2012

by Kate Wong

​Everything you ever wanted to know about bed bugs but were afraid to ask.

Chances are, you or someone you know has had a run-in with bed bugs. It might have happened in a scrupulously clean bedroom. Or maybe it was a hotel room, office or college dorm. In the February issue of Scientific American entomologist Kenneth Haynes of the University of Kentucky explains how, after a lengthy absence, bed bugs are staging a comeback. The good news is scientists are intensively studying these insects, and their insights suggest novel ways of detecting the bugs and eradicating infestations. Some of those potential solutions are a long way off, however. In the meantime the best bet is to avoid bringing bed bugs home in the first place. I called Haynes to ask him how to do that and what to do if one suspects an infestation (eek!), among a bunch of other practical-minded questions.

SCIENTISTS EXPLAIN HOW BED BUGS SHRUG OFF PESTICIDES

INFECTION CONTROL TODAY on September 11, 2013

The bed bug’s most closely guarded secrets — stashed away in protective armor that enables these blood-sucking little nasties to shrug off insecticides and thrive in homes and hotels — were on the agenda at a major scientific meeting. In a talk at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, scientists are describing identification of the genes responsible for pesticide-resistance in bed bugs, and the implications for millions of people trying to cope with bed bug infestations that have been re-surging for more than a decade.

SCIENTISTS MAY HAVE FOUND A WAY TO DESTROY THE BEDBUG

FOX NEWS SCIENCE on February 3, 2016

Scientists have for the first time sequenced the genome of New York City bed bugs, a project that could one day offer a way to contain one of the world’s most hated insects.

One group of researchers, in a Nature Communications study, found that genes in the bedbug, Cimex lectularius, are expressed the most after it feeds on blood for the first time. The group, led by the American Museum of Natural History’s Jeffrey Rosenfeld, also compared bed bug DNA from every New York subway station and found those from different parts of the city had different genetic makeups.

MASSIVE RESISTANCE: BED BUGS’ GENETIC ARMOR SHIELDS THEM FROM PESTICIDES

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN on March 14, 2013

by Marissa Fessenden

The nocturnal pests are equipped with a large array of genes that thwart chemical sprays, but scientist are probing for weaknesses.

One of humankind’s most intimate blood-sucking roommates, the bed bug, is notoriously resistant to the pesticides used against it.  Now researchers have pinpointed the genes responsible for this resistance.  The finding highlights how ineffective our current chemical arsenal has become, and could help researchers design pesticides better able to destroy the pests.

CUTICLE THICKENING IN A PYRETHROID-RESISTANT STRAIN OF THE COMMON BED BUG

Research article published in PLOS ONE on April 13, 2016

by David G. Lilly, Sharissa L. Latham, Cameron E. Webb, Stephen L. Doggett

Abstract

Thickening of the integument as a mechanism of resistance to insecticides is a well recognized phenomenon in the insect world and, in recent times, has been found in insects exhibiting pyrethroid-resistance. Resistance to pyrethroid insecticides in the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., is widespread and has been frequently inferred as a reason for the pest’s resurgence. Over expression of cuticle depositing proteins has been demonstrated in pyrethroid-resistant bed bugs although, to date, no morphological analysis of the cuticle has been undertaken in order to confirm a phenotype link. This paper describes examination of the cuticle thickness of a highly pyrethroid-resistant field strain collected in Sydney, Australia, in response to time-to-knockdown upon forced exposure to a pyrethroid insecticide. Mean cuticle thickness was positively correlated to time-to-knockdown, with significant differences observed between bugs knocked-down at 2 hours, 4 hours, and those still unaffected at 24 hours. Further analysis also demonstrated that the 24 hours survivors possessed a statistically significantly thicker cuticle when compared to a pyrethroid-susceptible strain of C. lectularius. This study demonstrates that cuticle thickening is present within a pyrethroid-resistant strain of C. lectularius and that, even within a stable resistant strain, cuticle thickness will vary according to time-to-knockdown upon exposure to an insecticide. This response should thus be considered in future studies on the cuticle of insecticide-resistant bed bugs and, potentially, other insects.

EPA EVALUATION ON PESTICIDES TO CONTROL BED BUGS

The EPA has registered more than 300 products for use against bed bugs. Most of these can be used by consumers, but a few are registered for use only by specially trained professionals. EPA evaluates data on the safety and the effectiveness of the products before approving them.

HEAT TREATMENT SOLUTIONS FOR ELIMINATING BED BUGS

THE CLASSY CHICS on August 19, 2016

There are various treatment solutions for dealing with bed bugs. Heat treatment continues to be a popular consideration for many people who seek an effective way to treat infestations. Bed bugs are parasites and require a host whose blood they can feed on. Common infestation spots for bed bugs include mattresses, headboards and box springs. They are small enough to hide in tiny cracks in walls. A bed bug infestation is most likely to be within a short distance from the host’s bed.

STUDY FINDS BED BUGS MAY BE LESS SUSCEPTIBLE TO FREEZING TEMPERATURES

Exposing bed bug-infested clothing or other small items to freezing temperatures may be a viable control option for people at risk of bed bug infestations. However, a new study has found that bed bugs may be less susceptible to freezing temperatures than previously reported.


In an article in the Journal of Economic Entomology called “Cold Tolerance of Bed Bugs and Practical Recommendations for Control,” the authors describe how exposing bed bugs to freezing temperatures affects them, and they provide practical recommendations for management of potentially infested items.

NEW RESEARCH: FOGGERS INEFFECTIVE AGAINST BED BUGS

Consumer products known as “bug bombs” or “foggers” have been sold for decades for use against many common household insects. However, recent research published in the Journal of Economic Entomology (JEE) shows these products to be ineffective against bed bugs.
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