Emerging Disease Issues — Bed Bugs

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  1. Emerging Disease Issues

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, flat insects that feed on the blood of people and animals when they sleep. Bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. Bed bugs are not a sign of a dirty home or poor personal hygiene. Bed bugs are not known to spread disease, but can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. If you think you may have bed bugs, it’s very important to do a thorough inspection, and to begin treatment as soon as possible. Treating a bed bug infestation early will save much time and expense. Please read below for important information on how to deal with bed bugs.

Who is at risk?

Any home is at risk of a bed bug infestation.

Bed bugs are not a sign of a dirty home or poor personal hygiene. Bed bugs are hitchhikers — they travel to new places by hiding in furniture, suitcases, or other objects that get moved around. Before bringing new items into your home, especially items such as used or antique furniture, mattresses, or bedding, you should inspect them for signs of bed bugs. Also be on the lookout for signs of bed bugs when you travel. In multi-unit housing, bed bugs can also spread from one infested home to other neighboring homes be crawling through walls, ceilings, and hallways.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs of a possible bed bug infestation

Many people will react to bed bug bites with an itchy welt, similar to a mosquito bite. However, bite reactions can vary from person to person, and some people do not react at all. Fortunately, bed bug bites have not been found to spread any diseases.

Other signs of a bed bug problem can include: finding small wingless bugs in cracks and crevices around the bed, seeing small blood spots or bed bug fecal matter on bedding, or finding bed bug eggs and/or cast skins. Not all bugs that you find in your bedroom are bed bugs — if you find a bug that you suspect is a bed bug, you should save it to show to an expert.

Diagnosis and Testing

How do I find out if I have bed bugs?

The only way to find out for sure that you have bed bugs is to find a live bed bug in your home. You can’t tell just by looking at the bites. If you suspect that you may have bed bugs, you should do a careful inspection of your bed or sleeping area. You can also contact a pest management professional to do an inspection for bed bugs.

For detailed instructions on how to inspect for bed bugs, see our booklet «Getting the Bed Bugs Out».

Treatment

How do I get rid of a bed bug infestation?

Eliminating a bed bug infestation is a complicated and labor-intensive process. Your best bet is to act quickly and bring in an experienced pest management professional. There are several different treatment methods that professionals can use, separately or in combination, to eliminate bed bugs from a home.

Bed bug foggers (a.k.a. «bug bombs») are not effective at killing bed bugs. Many of the «all-natural» sprays available on the market are also ineffective at controlling bed bugs. We do not recommend using rubbing alcohol to treat a home for bed bugs — it’s effectiveness is limited and it is highly flammable. For more information on treatment methods that can be safely used by nonprofessionals, see our booklet «Getting the Bed Bugs Out».

Prevention

Don’t bring them home!

Avoid picking up used mattresses or secondhand upholstered furniture because it’s hard to see whether they harbor bed bugs. Other used furniture must be carefully inspected and cleaned before you bring it home. Scrub furniture with soapy water or a household cleaning product to remove any possible bed bugs or their eggs.

Second-hand clothing should be placed in a sealed, plastic bag and emptied directly into the washing machine. Wash in hot water and dry on high heat setting to kill bed bugs and their eggs.

When visiting hotels inspect the room for signs of bed bugs prior to unpacking luggage.

www.michigan.gov

In Bedbugs, Scientists See a Model of Evolution

In the closing sentence of “The Origin of Species,” Charles Darwin marvels at the process of evolution, observing how “from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

Few people would describe bedbugs as most beautiful or most wonderful. Yet this blood-feeding pest may represent an exceptional chance to observe the emergence of Darwin’s “endless forms”: New research indicates that some bedbugs are well on their way to becoming a new species.

“For something that is so hated by so many people, it might just be a perfect model organism for evolutionary questions,” said Warren Booth, a biologist at the University of Tulsa and a co-author of the new study, published in Molecular Ecology.

Scientists have been very slow to appreciate the biology of bedbugs despite the fact that the insects have infiltrated human shelters for thousands of years. That’s because the insects practically vanished at the dawn of modern biology in the 1940s, thanks to the widespread use of DDT.

Bedbugs have returned with a vengeance in recent years, partly because they have evolved resistance to pesticides, and scientists are struggling to learn more about these pests. It’s a much bigger challenge than examining, say, monarch butterflies.

“It’s very hard to study in them in the wild, because often people don’t want you to use their house as a laboratory,” said Toby Fountain, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki. “They just want to get rid of them as quickly as possible.”

Dr. Fountain, Dr. Booth and other bedbug experts study the insects by collaborating with exterminators, who preserve some specimens in alcohol and ship them to the scientists. The researchers extract the DNA, finding clues to the bedbug’s natural history.

Variations in their genes reveal a lot about how the insects move around the world. As it turns out, their DNA even offers clues as to how bedbugs became such annoyances in the first place.

For the new research, Dr. Booth collaborated with Ondrej Balvin, a bedbug researcher at Charles University in Prague who collected bedbugs from across Central Europe with his Czech colleagues.

The common bedbug, Cimex lectularius, feeds not only on humans but on other animals, especially bats. So as well as collecting human-feeders, the researchers gathered bedbugs from bat roosts in houses, churches and castles.

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Little was known about the bugs that depend on bats for their meals. “The big thing that this paper adds is the bat side,” said Dr. Fountain, who was not involved in the new study.

Dr. Booth compared DNA sequences from 214 bedbugs. Those that live with bats, he found, were genetically quite distinct from those living with humans.

“The pattern was so stark, I’d never seen anything like it,” Dr. Booth said.

The results support a hypothesis that Dr. Balvin and other researchers have put forward to explain how bedbugs started making life unpleasant for humans. They argue that Cimex lectularius started out living in caves, feeding on bats. When early humans showed up in the caves, some of the bedbugs turned their attention to their new hosts.

“This paper shows that that is true,” Dr. Booth said.

When humans left caves and began building dwellings, they brought their new admirers along. But humans represented a new challenge for the insects, requiring new adaptations.

For one thing, we sleep at night, not in the daytime, which meant that the bedbugs had to shift their schedule. Dr. Balvin and his colleagues also have found that bedbugs that feed on humans have longer, thinner legs than those on bats, perhaps because bedbugs that feed on people no longer need to cling to bats hanging from cave roofs.

The insects also evolved adaptations for feeding on human blood. Researchers at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic have found that bedbugs adapted to feeding on humans have a shorter life span if they drink only bat blood.

Once humans started putting up buildings, bats began building roosts in them. Dr. Booth’s new results suggest that the bats brought their own bedbugs, too.

Yet for thousands of years, the two populations of bedbugs have shared the homes but haven’t interbred — although they can, for now. Bedbugs that feed on humans still belong to Cimex lectularius, Dr. Fountain said. But the two populations are diverging.

For instance, many bedbugs that feed on humans carry a genetic variation that makes them resistant to pesticides, Dr. Booth found. The bedbugs on bats still carry a version of the gene susceptible to pesticides.

Dr. Fountain said that the scenario laid out by Dr. Booth and his colleagues is consistent with their evidence, but that it needed to be confirmed with a bigger survey of bedbugs from around the world.

“The cool thing is we have the tools to be able to do it, which we didn’t have two or three years ago,” Dr. Fountain said.

If bedbugs continue to infest our buildings, they will diverge even further from their bat-feeding cousins. At some point, they will become a species of their own, adding one more branch to Darwin’s tree of life.

www.nytimes.com

That Itchy Feeling? It May Just Be Love

“A theatrical blast of fresh air” might seem an odd way to describe a show in which large quantities of (fake) insecticide are sprayed about the stage, but that’s just the right phrase for “Bedbugs. ” at the ArcLight Theater.

This audacious rock-’n’-roll concoction about mutant bedbugs that terrorize New York City never stops surprising, with its performances, its choreography, its props and special effects. The subject matter may leave you feeling itchy, but with the delirious sensory overload the show provides, you’ll quickly forget the discomfort.

Carly (Grace McLean) has a very personal reason for wanting to develop a pesticide to wipe out bedbugs: They were responsible for the death of her mother (Gretchen Wylder). But the compound she comes up with, instead of killing them, turns them into giant bloodsuckers that feast on humans. The resulting gang, or swarm, or whatever a group of bedbugs is called, is led by a glam god named Cimex, played by Chris Hall with such strident panache that of course Carly is going to fall for him.

So far, this probably sounds like every other rock musical about bedbugs and exterminator-insect romance that you’ve ever seen. But Fred Sauter (book and lyrics) and Paul Leschen (music) tossed in a little something extra named Celine Dion. Oops, sorry; that name is actually Dionne Salon, and how she and her tacky divahood figure in the plot is too ridiculous to describe here. The performances by Ms. McLean and Mr. Hall are spectacular, so to say that Brian Charles Rooney’s Dionne steals the show is saying quite a lot.

The play was seen in 2008 at the New York Musical Theater Festival, and why it has taken six years to mount this fuller, tighter, higher-budget revision is a mystery. But the wait was certainly worth it. Robert Bartley serves as both director and choreographer, and his work is clever — who knew scratching could be a choreographic element? — and makes great use of the ArcLight’s limited space. The supporting cast, especially Nicholas Park as Carly’s lab assistant, rides the juggernaut commendably, even when asked to embody some creaky stereotypes, and startling costumes and prop-room flourishes seal the deal. The sci-fi slapstick tradition of “Little Shop of Horrors” and “The Rocky Horror Show” is alive and well and, now, six-legged.

www.nytimes.com

A trap for bedbugs?

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have discovered the shed skins of bedbugs retain the «obnoxious sweetness» smell often associated with the pests, a finding that could potentially be used to combat infestations of the insects.

Bedbugs shed their skins, known as exuviae, as they grow. Four pheromone compounds known as aldehydes are consistently found in the shed skins.

The UC Riverside researchers found that the shed skins retain those compounds in the glands and gradually dispense them over time. They also found that living bedbugs are likely to settle down in the vicinity of the shed skins by sensing these compounds.

The findings could have significant implications for pest management industries, which can use some of the chemical / mechanical characteristics of the bedbugs’ shed skin to develop small, inexpensive monitor traps to catch living bedbugs at their early stages of infestation.

«This could be a key development in the search to find new methods to detect bedbugs,» said Dong-Hwan Choe, an assistant professor of entomology and an assistant cooperative extension specialist.

‘Aging’ bedbug skins

Choe is the lead author of a paper, «Chemically Mediated Arrestment of the Bed Bug, Cimex lectularius, by Volatiles Associated with Exuviae of Conspecifics,» published Tuesday (July 19) in the journal PLOS ONE.

Co-authors are Hoeun Park, a former undergraduate student who worked in Choe’s lab; Claudia Vo, a current undergraduate student working in Choe’s lab; and Alexander Knyshov, a graduate working with Christiane Weirauch, a UC Riverside professor of entomology.

The experimental work outlined in the paper had two stages.

First, the researchers placed shed skins obtained from bedbugs at different points of their development in small vials. They then analyzed the airborne compounds in the vials and found that the four aldehydes of interest were consistently detected regardless of the developmental stage.

Second, they collected shed skins from bedbugs kept in the lab, divided them into three groups and «aged» them in the open air for either seven days, 45 days or 99 days.

Then they crushed the shed skins and analyzed them for the presence of the four aldehyde compounds. They found that the amounts of the aldehyde pheromones dropped as the aging period increased, but that even after 99 days the compounds were still present in the shed skins.

Bedbugs difficult to handle, even in the lab

The work had an interesting wrinkle in that researchers could not use carbon dioxide to temporarily knock out the bedbugs when they were handling them. Carbon dioxide gas, which is common in insect research, would have the bedbugs release the large amount of the aldehyde pheromones unnaturally, thus potentially skewing the findings, Choe said.

Instead, they handled active bedbugs.

«That created a level of anxiety,» Choe said. «We didn’t want to accidentally release any bedbugs in the laboratory. But our students handled it well.»

phys.org

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?

Bed Bug Identification Guide

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on blood, thus attracting them to humans. Bed bugs can bite and cause rashes. They like to hide in warm spaces, including the cracks and crevices of mattresses, furniture, and bedding.

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It is important to identify what bed bugs look like before you begin treating for the pests, as there are other insects that can be mistaken for bed bugs that require a different treatment plan. The good thing is that bed bugs are visible to the human eye.

Read our guide to identifying bed bugs below, then continue reading our guide to learn how to find, get rid of, and prevent bed bug infestations in your home.

Bed bugs are tiny and vary in size based on their stage in the life cycle. Immature, or nymph, bed bugs range from 2-5 millimeters in length while fully grown adult bed bugs are a quarter of an inch long or larger, generally the size of an apple seed.

Adult bed bugs have a flat, oval-shaped body, six legs each, two antennae, and do not have wings.

Nymph (immature) bed bugs are translucent in color. After feeding, a nymph will have a bright red translucent abdomen that will fade to brown and eventually black as it digests its meal. As nymphs mature into adults, they molt and become a darker brown. Adult bed bugs are a rusty red/brown color.

Bed bug eggs are a light cream color.

Bed bugs can be found across the United States and are most prevalent in cities and large travel hubs, hence the need for bed bug control. However, bed bugs can still be found in small towns and remote locations.

www.domyown.com

Bedbugs

How do bed bugs spread – a short video explains everything!

If you wonder what bed bugs are, how do they spread, just how fast they can infest your home and what you can do about it watch this quick video: If you.

How to Deal with Bed Bugs in Computers and Other Electronic Devices

Bed bugs are highly adaptable and resilient creatures, making them difficult to eradicate once they gain a foothold in your home. If you’ve ever experienced a bed bug infestation, then you’ll know.

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Syrian Refugee Families in Canada Face New Battle with Bed Bugs

After fleeing bombs, bullets and chemical weapons in their war-torn homeland, Syrian refugees are facing a new enemy as they attempt to rebuild their shattered lives in Canada. Bed bugs are uncommon.

Bed Bug News Roundup – Top Bed Bug Stories for April-May 2018

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Bed Bug News Roundup – Top Bed Bug Stories for March-April 2018

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American Family Awarded $1.6M Settlement After 3-Year-Old Child Scarred by Bed Bugs

A Californian family whose young son was permanently scarred by bed bug bites was awarded almost $1.6 million by a civil jury. According to the family’s legal representative, this was the largest.

Space Age Technology Can Now Sniff Out Bed Bugs

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About BedBugGuide.com

BedBugGuide.com is designed to educate and inform the general population about the risks of bed bugs, in addition to offering advice and tips on preventing them from spreading. We use real case studies from bed bug sufferers combined with helpful tips to help you and your family eliminate the bugs and and stay bed bug free.

We’ve been operating in the bed bug industry for 4 years. In that time we’ve developed an incredibly effective, safe solution to completely eradicate bed bugs from your home.

As anyone who has suffered from them will tell you — bed bugs are no joke.

They’re more than a harmless phrase that you say to your kids at bedtime.

More than folklore, or a problem that only affects the lower classes.

Bed Bugs are now present in all 50 states and the epidemic is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. According to a study by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky, bed bug numbers increased by over 500% between 2004 and 2009. Certain states such as Ohio, went from zero bed bug related issues, to hundreds of calls to pest management companies in just a few years.

13% of Americans have either experienced bed bugs personally, or know someone who has. Alarmingly, this figure has actually increased from 10 years ago, with families in urban areas (80% of the US population) being more at risk than rural ones. There have even been reports of bugs appearing in laundromats, on public transportation, and in movie theatres.

It’s not just the average US home either — in 2010 clothing giant Hollister had to temporarily close it’s flagship store in New York City after a reported bed bug outbreak.

The adult male bed bug can live for up to one year without eating. And, the adult female lays up to 250 eggs, with these eggs being near invisible to the naked eye.

Even though the physical effects of beg bugs are harmless to humans, you’d be a fool to discount a bed bug invasion as anything less than serious.

If you’ve never had bed bugs before it can be a terrifying experience to say the least. The paranoia alone is something that keeps you up at night in a state of worry and anxiety. The emotional pain and distress that comes with them is a traumatic experience. It’s a position that no one wants to be in, especially no one with a family.

BedBugGuide.com aims to separate fact from fiction when it comes to dealing with bed bugs. Helping you, the consumer, make informed decisions if you do happen to find yourself in a situation where you are forced to deal with them.

Bed Bug Myths

We still need to dispel a number of myths surrounding bed bugs. Myths that continue to cost American families hundreds of dollars if they approach a bed bug problem the wrong way.

Myth 1: If your home is clean, you can’t get bed bugs
The biggest bed bug myth in America is that these evil critters only seek out dirty homes. This couldn’t further from the truth. Bed bugs don’t know your income or social status, and are equally likely to exist in clean homes as dirty ones. Whether it’s a homeless shelter or a multi million dollar palatial estate — everyone is at risk. They can be easily transported from outside locations such as the subway, movie theatres or hotels. Check out this first person experience from a bedbugguide.com reader that proves that clean homes are just as vulnerable.

Myth 2: Your family dog or cat is responsible for bringing bed bugs into your home
If you discover bed bugs, it’s a natural inclination to point the finger at Buddy or Oscar the cat. After all, their fur is prime breeding ground for ticks and fleas. However, bed bugs do not live in the skin of dogs or cats. Bed bugs have been known to bite pets, but humans are their primary food source. You are far more likely to transport bed bugs in yourself via your clothing or luggage.

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Myth 3: You need to dispose of your furniture, mattress and clothes after a bed bug infestation
With proper treatment, you don’t need to throw out that expensive shirt or $500 memory foam mattress. Once the bugs and their eggs are removed, you can continue to use these as normal. No need to resort to extreme measures like covering your furniture with unsightly plastic wrap either.

Myth 4: You can destroy bed bugs by putting clothing and bedsheets in the freezer or outside overnight
This one can cost you down the line. Bed bugs must be exposed to temperatures of 0F (not 0C) for over 4 days before they will die. Simply leaving your bedsheets outside on a cold winter night will not do the trick. Even a few degrees above 0F will cause bed bugs to enter a state of hibernation which can prolong their life.

The only way to truly eliminate bed bugs is by using a professional exterminator

While a good exterminator is guaranteed to remove your infestation, there is a cheaper solution that is just as effective. There are special spray formulas that you can apply yourself that kill both bugs and their eggs. One proven solution is SayByeBugs, a family-safe, University tested spray that eliminates bugs on contact without staining surfaces.

It’s much cheaper to prevent a bed bug infestation than it is to treat one. With professional exterminators costing upwards of $500 in larger cities, it’s worth taking the time to carry out a few easy preventative measures.

Here’s Six Super Simple Bed Bug Prevention Techniques That You Can Apply Today

  • Check any second hand furniture that you may buy for signs of bugs — BEFORE bringing them into your home
  • Vacuum carpets and rugs regularly — you should vacuum at least once a week to prevent bugs embedding themselves in your carpet
  • Reduce clutter in your home, as bugs love hiding out in dark places. Having toys, old furniture and knick knacks laying around only increases the amount of small, dark crevices which make the perfect bed bug breeding ground. Bed bugs thrive in temperatures of 70-80F, which makes the American household the perfect place for them to exist
  • Spray essential oil (6-10 drops diluted in 1/4 cup of water) onto your furniture. Essential oils that repel bugs include cinnamon, lavender, tea tree and thyme so just pick your favorite and give your house a good spraying
  • If you are staying in a hotel, inspect your room before sleeping in, or putting any items on the bed. If you want to be extra careful, keep some bug bed spray in your travel bag or suitcase, spray down any bedsheets when you check into your room
  • Have a small flashlight ready to inspect your bed if you think bugs may be present

How To Identify Bed Bugs

Identifying bed bugs as soon as possible is incredibly important in stopping the spread of the infestation. Remember, females can lay up to five eggs every single day so any delays will result in the number of bugs multiplying at an alarming rate.

Unfortunately with bed bugs, even if you can’t see the bugs themselves, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. It’s true that the adult sized bugs are visible to the naked eye, but their eggs are near invisible.

If you wake up with bites, but can’t see any evidence of bugs, they’re probably just hiding. In fact it’s rare to see a live bug during the day if you operate on a normal sleep schedule. Most bed bugs are nocturnal and prefer to come out and do their business during the night.

One tell tale sign you have bugs is if you have small brown spots on your bedsheets, this comes from bugs excreting during the night. You may also see red spots which could be from inadvertently crushing bugs during your sleep.

The target areas for bugs tend to be the areas beneath fitted sheets, the lines along the edge of your mattress seam, and the corners of your mattress itself. They can also be present in couches and curtains, depending on the layout of your room. Keep an eye out for pale yellow shells as these are evidence of bed bug nymphs (the same way as snakes shed their skin as they grow). Bed bugs also have a musty odor to them that can smell almost sweet to some people. Disturbing them forces the bugs to excrete this odor, known as an alarm pheromone.

Why You SHOULDN’T Use Regular Store Bought Pesticides to Treat a Bed Bug Infestation

Even if a pesticide is EPA registered, that doesn’t mean it’s necessary designed for, or safe to use, for a bed bug problem. You see, the majority of store bought pesticides are not formulated for use in enclosed areas where people sleep.

Many of these pesticides are general insecticides, meaning they are not specifically for bed bugs, and as such can be harmful to non-target species including household pets. Many of these pesticides contain Pyrethroids and Pyrethins. Not only are certain species of bed bug immune to these chemicals, they’re also potentially dangerous to both humans and domestic pets.

Spotting The Difference Between a Bed Bug Bite and a Mosquito Bite

Bed bug bites are often mistaken for mosquito bites. During the first few days of an infestation it’s important to know if your bites are bed bug bites, or bites from mosquitos or other insects. After all, you don’t want bed bugs to spread without you knowing. The number one tell tale sign is the quantity of them. Bed bug bites look like mosquito bites, but usually come in clusters of at least three. They tend to affect exposed areas while you sleep, like arms, neck, face, and shoulders, and they tend to come in rows along the line of the comforter or sheet.

If you see a line of bites down your arm or leg, it’s likely to be a bed bug problem. The size of the bites themselves depends on your reaction to them, only around half the population suffer from large welts after bites. Others will only experience smaller red bumps. In fact, one in three people have no reaction to beg bug bites at all.

Once you are certain you have bed bugs, it’s important to act quickly. Knowing what to do in an infection scenario is vital if you want to get the problem under control.

How to Kill Bed Bugs — Once and For All

  1. Do not move your furniture. You may be tempted to move couches, tables and beds around in a frantic search for bugs, but doing this is counterproductive and will spread the infection instead.
  2. Wash all your bedsheets and potential infected clothing at a minimum of 118F for 90 minutes (caution: this may damage certain materials). If possible use a special bed bug detergent.
  3. Spray all infected areas with a family safe, bed bug spray and any areas in a 5 foot radius of them — including bedsheets, bed frames, sofas, curtains and upholstery. Be thorough and remember to target any cracks and crevices around the infected area such as wall outlets or under your bed
  4. Vacuum your carpet and rugs daily for the next 7 days — throw out any vacuum bags immediately after use, bed bugs may crawl out if you don’t
  5. Spray again 48 hours later to ensure that any hiding bugs have been eliminated as well

Remember to check your home periodically afterwards, bed bugs are transients and anyone can unwittingly bring them into your home. Once you are equipped to spot and destroy bed bugs, it’s much easier to deal with the problem. With bed bugs — you can never be underprepared.

www.bedbugguide.com

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