Simparica (sarolaner) Chewables for Animal Use

Simparica (sarolaner) Chewables

Simparica (sarolaner) Chewables


Simparica (sarolaner) Chewables Caution

Federal (USA) law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.


SIMPARICA is a flavored, chewable tablet for administration to dogs over 6 months of age according to their weight. Each tablet is formulated to provide a minimum sarolaner dosage of 0.91 mg/lb (2 mg/kg) body weight.

Sarolaner is a member of the isoxazoline class of parasiticides and the chemical name is 1 — (5’ — ((5S) — 5 — (3,5 — Dichloro — 4 — fluorophenyl) — 5 — (trifluoromethyl) — 4,5 — dihydroisoxazol — 3 — yl) — 3’ — H — spiro(azetidine — 3,1’ — (2)benzofuran) — 1 — yl) — 2 — (methylsulfonyl)ethanone. SIMPARICA contains the S-enantiomer of sarolaner.

Simparica (sarolaner) Chewables Indications

SIMPARICA kills adult fleas, and is indicated for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations (Ctenocephalides felis), and the treatment and control of tick infestations [Amblyomma americanum (lone star tick), Amblyomma maculatum (Gulf Coast tick), Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick), Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick), and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick)] for one month in dogs 6 months of age or older and weighing 2.8 pounds or greater.

Dosage and Administration

SIMPARICA is given orally once a month at the recommended minimum dosage of 0.91 mg/lb (2 mg/kg).

SAROLANER per Tablet (mg)

Number of Tablets Administered

88.1 to 132.0 lbs

Administer the appropriate combination of tablets

SIMPARICA can be offered by hand, in the food, or administered like other tablet medications.

Care should be taken that the dog consumes the complete dose, and treated animals should be observed for a few minutes to ensure that part of the dose is not lost or refused. If a dose is missed, administer SIMPARICA and resume a monthly dosing schedule.

SIMPARICA should be administered at monthly intervals.

Flea Treatment and Prevention:

Treatment with SIMPARICA may begin at any time of the year. In areas where fleas are common year-round, monthly treatment with SIMPARICA can continue the entire year without interruption.

To minimize the likelihood of flea re-infestation, it is important to treat all dogs and cats within a household with an approved flea control product.

Tick Treatment and Control:

Treatment with SIMPARICA can begin at any time of the year (see Effectiveness).


There are no known contraindications for the use of SIMPARICA.


Not for use in humans. Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children. For use in dogs only. Do not use SIMPARICA in cats.

SIMPARICA should not be used in dogs less than 6 months of age (see Animal Safety).

Keep SIMPARICA in a secure location out of reach of dogs, cats and other animals to prevent accidental ingestion or overdose.


Sarolaner is a member of the isoxazoline class. This class has been associated with neurologic adverse reactions including tremors, ataxia, and seizures. Seizures have been reported in dogs receiving isoxazoline class drugs, even in dogs without a history of seizures. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or neurologic disorders.

The safe use of SIMPARICA has not been evaluated in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs.

Adverse Reactions

SIMPARICA was administered in a well-controlled US field study, which included a total of 479 dogs (315 dogs treated with SIMPARICA and 164 dogs treated with active control once monthly for three treatments).

Over the 90-day study period, all observations of potential adverse reactions were recorded.

Table 1. Dogs with adverse reactions

Additionally, one female dog aged 8.6 years exhibited lethargy, ataxia while posturing to eliminate, elevated third eyelids, and inappetence one day after receiving SIMPARICA concurrently with a heartworm preventative (ivermectin/pyrantel pamoate). The signs resolved one day later. After the day 14 visit, the owner elected to withdraw the dog from the study.

Abnormal neurologic signs such as tremors, decreased conscious proprioception, ataxia, decreased or absent menace, and/or seizures were reported in dogs receiving SIMPARICA (see Animal Safety).

Post Approval Experience (2019):

The following adverse events are based on post-approval adverse drug experience reporting for SIMPARICA. Not all adverse events are reported to FDA CVM. It is not always possible to reliably estimate the adverse event frequency or establish a causal relationship to product exposure using these data.

The following adverse events reported for dogs are listed in decreasing order of reporting frequency:

Vomiting, tremors, lethargy, seizure, diarrhea (with and without blood), anorexia, ataxia, pruritus, hypersalivation and hyperactivity.

For a copy of the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) or to report adverse reactions call Zoetis Inc. at 1-888-963-8471. Additional information can be found at For additional information about adverse drug experience reporting for animal drugs, contact FDA at 1-888-FDA-VETS or

Clinical Pharmacology

Sarolaner is rapidly and well absorbed following oral administration of SIMPARICA. In a study of 12 Beagle dogs the mean maximum plasma concentration (C max) was 1100 ng/mL and the mean time to maximum concentration (T max) occurred at 3 hours following a single oral dose of 2 mg/kg to fasted animals. The mean oral bioavailability was 86% and 107% in fasted and fed dogs, respectively. The mean oral T 1/2 values for fasted and fed animals was 10 and 12 days respectively.

Sarolaner is distributed widely; the mean volume of distribution (Vdss) was 2.81 L/kg bodyweight following a 2 mg/kg intravenous dose of sarolaner. Sarolaner is highly bound (≥99.9%) to plasma proteins. The metabolism of sarolaner appears to be minimal in the dog. The primary route of sarolaner elimination from dogs is biliary excretion with elimination via the feces.

Following repeat administration of SIMPARICA once every 28 days for 10 doses to Beagle dogs at 1X, 3X, and 5X the maximum intended clinical dose of 4 mg/kg, steady-state plasma concentrations were reached after the 6th dose. Following treatment at 1X, 3X, and 5X the maximum intended clinical dose of 4 mg/kg, sarolaner systemic exposure was dose proportional over the range 1X to 5X.

The active substance of SIMPARICA, sarolaner, is an acquiesced and insecticide belonging to the isoxazoline group. Sarolaner inhibits the function of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor and glutamate receptor, and works at the neuromuscular junction in insects. This results in uncontrolled neuromuscular activity leading to death in insects or acarines.


In a well-controlled laboratory study, SIMPARICA began to kill fleas 3 hours after initial administration and reduced the number of live fleas by ≥96.2% within 8 hours after flea infestation through Day 35.

In a separate well-controlled laboratory study, SIMPARICA demonstrated 100% effectiveness against adult fleas within 24 hours following treatment and maintained 100% effectiveness against weekly re-infestations for 35 days.

In a study to explore flea egg production and viability, SIMPARICA killed fleas before they could lay eggs for 35 days. In a study to simulate a flea-infested home environment, with flea infestations established prior to the start of treatment and re-infestations on Days 7, 37 and 67, SIMPARICA administered monthly for three months demonstrated >95.6% reduction in adult fleas within 14 days after treatment and reached 100% on Day 60.

In well-controlled laboratory studies, SIMPARICA demonstrated ≥99% effectiveness against an initial infestation of Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Dermacentor variabilis, Ixodes scapularis, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus 48 hours post-administration and maintained >96% effectiveness 48 hours post re-infestation for 30 days.

In a well-controlled 90-day US field study conducted in households with existing flea infestations of varying severity, the effectiveness of SIMPARICA against fleas on Day 30, 60 and 90 visits compared to baseline was 99.4%, 99.8%, and 100%, respectively. Dogs with signs of flea allergy dermatitis showed improvement in erythema, papules, scaling, alopecia, dermatitis/pyodermatitis and pruritus as a direct result of eliminating fleas.

In a margin of safety study, SIMPARICA was administered orally to 8-week-old Beagle puppies at doses of 0, 1X, 3X, and 5X the maximum recommended dose (4 mg/kg) at 28-day intervals for 10 doses (8 dogs per group). The control group received placebo tablets. No neurologic signs were observed in the 1X group. In the 3X group, one male dog exhibited tremors and ataxia post-dose on Day 0; one female dog exhibited tremors on Days 1, 2, 3, and 5; and one female dog exhibited tremors on Day 1. In the 5X group, one female dog had a seizure on Day 61 (5 days after third dose); one female dog had tremors post-dose on Day 0 and abnormal head coordination after dosing on Day 140; and one female dog exhibited seizures associated with the second and fourth doses and tremors associated with the second and third doses. All dogs recovered without treatment. Except for the observation of abnormal head coordination in one dog in the 5X group two hours after dosing on Day 140 (dose 6). There were no treatment-related neurological signs observed once the dogs reached the age of 6 months.

In a separate exploratory pharmacokinetic study, one female dog dosed at 12 mg/kg (3X the maximum recommended dose) exhibited lethargy, anorexia, and multiple neurological signs including ataxia, tremors, disorientation, hypersalivation, diminished proprioception, and absent menace, approximately 2 days after a third monthly dose. The dog was not treated, and was ultimately euthanized. The first two doses resulted in plasma concentrations that were consistent with those of the other dogs in the treatment group. Starting at 7 hours after the third dose, there was a rapid 2.5 fold increase in plasma concentrations within 41 hours, resulting in a C max more than 7-fold higher than the mean C max at the maximum recommended use dose. No cause for the sudden increase in sarolaner plasma concentrations was identified.

Store at or below 30°C (86°F) with excursions permitted up to 40°C (104°F).

How Supplied

SIMPARICA (sarolaner) Chewables are available in six flavored tablet sizes: 5, 10, 20, 40, 80, and 120 mg. Each tablet size is available in color-coded packages of one, three, or six tablets.

Approved by FDA under NADA # 141-452

Distributed by: Zoetis Inc., Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Revised: June 2019

Telephone: 269-359-4414
Customer Service: 888-963-8471
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the Simparica (sarolaner) Chewables information published above. However, it remains the responsibility of the readers to familiarize themselves with the product information contained on the US product label or package insert.

Copyright © 2020 Animalytix LLC. Updated: 2020-04-01

Being Effective at Work

Essential Traits and Skills

Are you as effective, efficient and productive as you could be?

Do you consider yourself to be effective at work? Although many of us like to think that we’re 100 percent effective, the truth is that most of us have strengths and weaknesses that impact our effectiveness.

Many of us could benefit from tweaking at least a few of our skills, in order to become even more effective. For instance, perhaps you’ve always excelled at time management. But how much time do you put into learning new skills, or staying on top of industry trends?

Or, maybe you’re adept at managing the considerable demands you face day-to-day. But, when things get really hectic, your communication skills start to suffer as stress levels begin to rise.

Being truly effective at work can pay off now and throughout our careers. Effective workers get exciting projects, win important clients, and are well respected by their colleagues and bosses. But how can you become more effective, and make sure that you don’t miss out on these great opportunities? And what should you focus on?

This is what we’ll be exploring in this article. We’ll look at the skills you can develop in order to become more effective at work, and we’ll review strategies and resources that you can use to increase your effectiveness.

Step 1: Identify Priorities

If someone asked you what your job was truly about, would you have a good answer?

One of the most crucial steps in becoming fully effective is to know your purpose at work. After all, if you don’t know what your job is there to achieve, how can you set appropriate priorities? (If you don’t set priorities, you’ll be forever buried under a mountain of work, unable to tell the difference between what’s important, and what isn’t.)

To identify your job’s true purpose and define what you need to achieve in your current position, perform a job analysis . This will help you uncover your most important objectives, so that you can start prioritizing tasks effectively.

Step 2: Adopt a Good Attitude

Effective workers have a «good attitude.» But what does this really mean?

People with a good attitude take the initiative whenever they can. They willingly help a colleague in need, they pick up the slack when someone is off sick, and they make sure that their work is done to the highest standards. «Good enough» is never quite good enough for them!

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A good attitude at work will do more than just earn you respect: setting standards for your work and your behavior means that you’re taking responsibility for yourself. This admirable trait is hard to find in many organizations. But demonstrating ethical decision-making and integrity could open many doors for you in the future.

So, focus on adopting a good attitude at work, and make decisions that intuitively «ring true.» At the very least, you’ll sleep easier at night!

Step 3: Build Essential Skills

Chances are that you have a lot of competing demands on your time. One of the best ways of becoming more effective at work is to learn how to manage your time more efficiently. Other key areas include learning how to manage stress, improving your communication skills, and taking action on career development. All of these can have a major impact on your effectiveness at work.

Let’s look at each skill in greater detail.

Time Management/Productivity

Probably the most crucial thing that you can do to become more effective at work is to learn how to manage your time. Without this skill, your days will feel like a frantic race, with every project, email, and phone call competing for your attention.

Start by looking at your daily schedule. Do you know how you spend your time every day? If not, the answer might surprise you! Use an Activity Log to analyze how much time you’re devoting to your various tasks, like meetings, checking email, and making phone calls. It can be an eye-opening experience to look at this objectively, especially if you discover that you’re spending lots of time on tasks that don’t help you meet your objectives.

Once you know how much time you’re devoting to different tasks, you need to learn how to prioritize them. If you know which jobs are important, and which can be rescheduled or delegated, you’ll be able to focus on the work that brings the most value. To keep track of it all, use an organizing tool like a To-Do List or (better still) an Action Program , to make sure you don’t forget vital tasks and commitments.

Being effective at work means you use time to your advantage. Schedule your highest value work for the times of day when you’re feeling the most energetic. This increases the likelihood that you’ll resist distractions and enter a state of flow when working. Our article, Is This a Morning Task? , helps you identify your peak energy time, so that you can schedule work accordingly; and our Are you a Procrastinator? self-test will help you deal with a serious, effectiveness-killing habit.

Goal setting is another important element in working productively. Once you’ve done a Job Analysis (see step 1), you should have a clear sense of what your role is all about. Use this information to set short and long-term goals. The advantage of doing this is that your goals act as a roadmap – after all, you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going!

Good organization is also important for working effectively and productively. If you’re disorganized, you can waste a huge amount of time just looking for lost items. So learn how to file properly, and find out how to create an effective schedule .

Communication Skills

Think about just how often we communicate every day. We make phone calls, attend meetings, write emails, give presentations, talk to customers, and so on. We can seem to spend all day communicating with the people around us. This is why good communication skills are essential, especially when your goal is to work more effectively.

Start by developing your active listening skills. This means that you’re making a concerted effort to really hear and understand what other people are saying to you.

Don’t let yourself become distracted by what’s going on around you, and don’t plan out what you’re going to say next, while the other person is talking. Instead, just listen to what they’re saying. You may well be surprised at how much miscommunication can be avoided simply by listening actively.

See also:  4 Best Flea Collars for Cats in 2020, Reviews

Next, look at your writing skills . How well do you communicate in writing? Start with your emails. Most of us write dozens of emails every day. But there are many techniques that we can use to make sure we write effective emails – ones that actually get read!

For instance, always keep to one main topic when writing an email. Putting several important topics in one message will make it difficult for your colleague to prioritize and sort the information. If you do need to bring up several different points, then number them sequentially, or split them into separate messages, with relevant subject headings.

Of course, we do a lot more writing than just email. We write through IM , we write reports , and we create presentations . You’ll be more effective in your role if you learn how to communicate better across all these media, and your boss and colleagues are bound to appreciate your skills, since they’ll be the main beneficiaries!

If you’d like to learn more about how to become a better writer, our Bite-Sized Training session on Written Communications will help.


A little bit of pressure can be a good thing. But when pressure exceeds your ability to cope with it effectively, your productivity goes down, and your mood suffers. You also lose your ability to make solid, rational decisions; and excessive stress can cause health problems, both in the short and long term.

No matter what you do, you’ll likely experience stress numerous times throughout your career, perhaps even on a regular basis. This is why learning how to manage stress is a key factor in becoming more effective at work.

Try to get a good night’s sleep every night, and do your best to avoid taking work home with you. It’s also important to relax when you get home in the evening.

If you’re not sure what triggers your stress, keep a stress diary for a week or two. This helps you to identify the events that cause you stress, and understand the degree to which you experience it. When you’re feeling calm, you can then analyze these triggers and come up with effective strategies for managing them.

Career Development/Learning

No matter what your field is, it’s important that you keep learning and developing your skills. To begin with, carry out a Personal SWOT Analysis to identify the areas that you need to work on.

In addition to the technical skills required to do your job, you also need to focus on soft skills . These include areas such as leadership skills, problem solving techniques, emotional intelligence skills , and creative thinking . Anything you can do to enhance these skills will pay off in the workplace.

Also, consider if there are any qualifications that you don’t have that a reasonable person would consider appropriate for your field. If so, could this be holding you back from an advancement or promotion? For instance, would it be useful to have a particular degree or other certification if you want to apply for a management position? Are you lacking any specific skills?

In some roles, keeping up-to-date with developments in your industry helps you stay relevant. It will help you do your job better, especially as you climb the ranks.

Key Points

When we’re truly effective at work, we manage our time well, we communicate clearly, and we have a good attitude.

Effective workers are often the most respected and the most productive in their workplaces, and they’re often the first to be considered for a promotion. So it’s definitely worth the effort to enhance your skills here!

Start by doing a job analysis to discover what your role is really about. Next, learn how to manage your time better, communicate more effectively, and control any stress.

Also, make sure that you devote time towards further learning and career development. You never know how or when those new skills will pay off!

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you’ll find here at Mind Tools. Subscribe to our free newsletter, or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career!

[Annual Rodent Control Issue] Fatal Attraction

Which types of rodent attractants work best? Industry professionals weigh in.

Several months ago, PCT surveyed pest management professionals from throughout the country to learn what they considered to be the best rodent attractants for mechanical traps and glueboards. A majority of the approximately 300 responses that came in pointed to peanut butter as their attractant of choice. For them, it’s always part of their service kit; it’s readily available; it’s inexpensive; and it’s easy to transport. Plus, it’s easy to apply.

But others like to utilize such varied lures as dried fruit, corn chips, walnuts, dried shrimp, strawberry jam, chocolate, marshmallows, maple candy, Gummy Bears, and cotton balls saturated with vanilla extract. Some even reported success using dried apricots, Snickers candy bars, spearmint gum, and horse feed (barley) mixed with peanut butter. Cooking grease, nesting materials, sandwich bread rolled into a dough ball, beef jerky, hamburger, and dog food were also used. A number of industry products were also mentioned were Bell Laboratories’ Provoke Professional Mouse and Rat Attractants, Liphatech’s Maki Mini Blocks and Trapper Jack’s Professional Macadamia Nut Lure.

According to Bobby Corrigan, president of RMC Pest Management Consulting and renowned rodent control expert, if you could ask rodents themselves what they like the best, were they able to talk, their answers, too, would vary across the board.

“There have been serious Ph.D. studies on this exact subject and they have concluded that rodents have no specific preference. They are what we call opportunistic foragers,” Corrigan said. “Rats and mice eat just about anything they see because they don’t know when they’ll next encounter food. They like what we humans like — peanut butter, fruits, sweets, chocolate, etc. That makes perfect sense because they have similar energy, muscle growth, and reproduction systems to what we humans have. That’s why they are used for medical research. ”

Corrigan said that peanut butter seems to be a universal attractant. “If you smeared peanut butter on boats, I think whales would lick it off.” But, he recommends a mixture of attractants to his rodent control clients, including oatmeal, peanut butter, meat or chicken, and dental floss. The latter is included because rodents like to gather string for their nests. “I’ve found that mix to be quite effective.”

BEWARE OF PEANUT ALLERGIES. Long-time pest control industry consultant Larry Pinto advises pest management professionals to ask customers about peanut allergies before using peanut butter as an attractant. Writing in his publication, Techletter , he said about 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from a severe allergy to the proteins found in peanuts. “A certain percentage of them, even with slight exposure to peanuts, can experience a life-threatening reaction. Pets can also have peanut allergies. So make it a habit to always ask your customer whether anyone, including pets, has peanut allergies.”

One of the reasons Bell Laboratories launched the Provoke products was to provide pest management professionals with a hypoallergenic product that could be used in sensitive accounts where food allergies are a concern, according to Peter Martin, technical director, Bell Labs.

Ted Bruesch, national technical support manager for Milwaukee, Wis.-based Lipha-tech, said that pest management professionals are always trying to find the most effective attractant. “Peanut butter works well and it’s easy to carry around. But it spoils easily,” he said. Like Pinto, Bruesch suggested being aware of your customers’ peanut allergies.

Other lures that Bruesch has seen work well include orange marmalade, cherry preserves, goldfish crackers and milder yellow cheeses like Colby. “Strongly flavored cheeses with active mold aren’t too effective,” he said. “Hot dogs and sausages seem to do a good job of attracting rats, and bacon works well on mice.”

PEANUT BUTTER AS A FAILSAFE. Richard Silvani, president and owner of Environmental Pest Systems, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., feels the same about peanut butter as many of his fellow pest professionals. “It’s a failsafe for me. I use it over and over again with success. But it must be fresh. Rats are discerning creatures. They will ignore stale peanut butter,” he said.

Silvani also has been alternating peanut butter with Bell Labs’ Provoke, depending on the situation.

In Louisville, Ky., Randy Bright, operations manager for Bright Pest Control, reports that he doesn’t usually use attractants on his traps. Instead, he advocates proper trap placement and believes “you can catch almost anything with the correct trap placement.”

Bell Laboratories’ Martin stressed this same point. “There is a misconception with attractants. People think that whatever they put on the trap will bring the animals in from across the room, and that’s not really the case,” he said. “Attractants are useful for getting rodents to more fully commit to the trap or device once they are in the vicinity of it.”

MOLASSES AND BIRDSEED. Jack Brans, owner of Brans Pest Control, New Orleans, La., has tried several attractants for rodent control. One of his five-year-old company’s first accounts was an apartment complex with drop ceilings. “They had an active infestation of Norway rats that were heard scurrying across the ceiling. When some ceiling tiles fell off in the complex’s community center, down came the rats,” he said. After a thorough inspection, he determined where the entry points were and sealed them. “Using snap traps we caught about 120 critters. I created my own lure — molasses and birdseed. The molasses [is] a sticking agent for the birdseed, which seems to be a favorite food of rodents. We did all our servicing at night, when the rats were most active.”

Brans also said he found success using Provoke to attract mice. Bell Labs launched Provoke Professional Mouse Attractant in 2006, followed one year later by Provoke Professional Rat Attractant. “The challenge we had for rats was the same type of materials that were attractive to mice did not appeal to rats,” said Bell Labs’ Peter Martin. “Rats are much pickier than are mice, so we took a little longer developing the one for rats.”

In Buford, Ga., some 30 miles away from Atlanta, Bill Haynes, president of the exterminating company bearing his name, tries to minimize the use of pesticides in his pest control work. For rodent control he primarily uses peanut butter as a lure, “but if we see that rats or mice appear to be eating some other type of food, we’ll use it instead.”

According to Haynes, he has encountered several difficult rodent infestations in some churches and warehouses and has used Provoke there with success.

DOG FOOD. David Castro, president of Merlin Pest Control, Dover, N.J., recently serviced an account where a customer complained of mice consistently getting into Eukanuba dog food. “I realized that product had potential for being a good attractant and have used it with success ever since,” he said.

“I’ve also had success using blue cheese tied onto snap traps.”

A PIECE OF THE PUZZLE. Silvani, Castro, Haynes and Brans each agree that rodent attractants play a role in controlling this significant threat to public health. But it’s important to remember that the use of attractants is only part of the solution. As Bright explained, “The first thing to be done on a rodent control job is a thorough inspection of the problem area. Then, after assessing the situation, you’ve got to remove conducive conditions, seal entry points, and use effective baits and rodenticides.”

The author is a Milwaukee-based writer.

PCO as Attractant

On the subject of rodent attractants, Randy Bright, operations manager for Bright Pest Control, Louisville, Ky., said (tongue in cheek) that he felt himself to be an attractant. Why? “At one service call,” he recalled, “I opened the wooden door to the crawlspace and immediately saw a big rat on the other side staring at me. I was startled but didn’t want to make a sudden move. We looked at each other for a half-minute or so and then the rat slowly turned around and crawled away from me. I think I moved from an attractant in that rat’s eyes to a repellent. I took that personally.”

[Annual Rodent Control Issue] Year of the Rat

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2008 is the Year of the Rat, so the staff of PCT magazine thought it would be appropriate to honor this much-maligned mammal that has played such a key role in the growth and development of the pest management industry over the years.

Did you know the rat is the first of the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac? The corresponding sign in western culture is Sagittarius. Those born in the Year of the Rat (2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912) include such well-known figures as Al Gore, Sean Penn, Eminem, Scarlett Johansson, Lauren Bacall, LeBron James, Lee Iacocca, Charlie Daniels, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Cameron Diaz and Fred Grandy (aka “Gopher” of Love Boat fame). Those born under this sign are believed to have a number of specific personality traits and are described as charming, passionate, charismatic, quick-witted, practical, honest and hardworking. By the same token, they can be cunning, power driven, critical, bossy, calculating, obstinate and controlling. Sound like anyone you know?

Needless to say, those born in the Year of the Rat make better bosses than employees. Creative by nature and fair in their dealings with others, the best career choices for those born in the Year of the Rat are writers, actors, lawyers, politicians, detectives, psychologists, musicians, stand-up comedians and last but not least entrepreneurs — meaning there must be a fair number of them running pest control businesses throughout the United States. How appropriate!

  • A rat produces between 20 and 50 droppings a day.
  • Rats spend approximately 2 percent of their daily activities gnawing on various natural and man-made objects.
  • Rats will eat just about anything, including decaying material.
  • A rat can swim for three days before it drowns.
  • Rats can exert biting pressure up to 7,000 pounds per square inch and can bite repeatedly up to six bites per second.
  • Rats can squeeze through a space as small as a half dollar.
  • Conservative estimates say as many as 14,000 people are bitten by rats each year in the U.S.
  • While the plague often is thought to be a historical disease, about 10 to 15 people in the U.S. contract this rodent-borne disease each year.
  • Wild and domestic rodents have been reported to harbor and spread as many as 200 human pathogens.
  • The peak foraging and feeding periods for rats occur at dusk and prior to dawn.
  • The “average” home range of an established Norway rat in urban areas is 25 to 100 feet from its nest.
  • In captivity, rats may live for three or more years, but wild rats in urban areas normally live for only five to 12 months.
  • Rats are wary of new objects or sudden changes in their environment. This behavior is known as “neophobia.”

Sources: PPMA , Mallis Handbook of Pest Control and Rodent Control: A Practical Guide for Pest Management Professionals

[Bed Bug Supplement] Lessons from the Past

The history of bed bug management

“A Strenuous Struggle, a vigorous campaign, is before any housewife who is called upon to dispute the occupancy of her home with that persistent pest unfavorably known as the bedbug, who, gorged with the blood of his victim, lieth up in his lair from daylight to candlelight, only to swoop down upon his helpless sleeping prey during the midnight watches.” — C. L. Marlatt, The Bedbug, 1916.

For centuries the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius L., was the most hated of household pests. Infestations were rampant, extermination was difficult, and treatments were sometimes as risky to people as to pests. In battling today’s global resurgence of bed bugs, much can be learned from the past. If history repeats itself, the bed bug could again become the stuff of nightmares.

ANCIENT ORIGINS. Bed bugs have been biting people since the beginning of recorded time. Studies suggest the bugs first parasitized bats and then humans inhabiting the same caves in the Mediterranean region where civilization began. Most likely, relations between bugs and people were intermittent back then since hunters and herdsmen moved around a lot, making it harder for bed bugs to become established. Life became easier for the bed dwellers with the formation of villages and cities. Fossilized bed bugs have been unearthed from archeological sites dating back more than 3,500 years — a time when they were considered both pest and potion. The Egyptians, for example, drank a bed bug cocktail as a cure for snakebite (asps). The Greeks and Romans burned them to make leeches loosen their hold. The ancients also believed that bed bugs cured many diseases when ingested with wine, beans or an egg.

To deter bed bugs, early Greek philosophers (400 B.C.) advised hanging the feet of a hare or stag at the foot of the bed. Others suggested hanging a bear skin or setting a vessel of cold water under one’s bed while traveling.

DISTRIBUTION & SPREAD. As civilization expanded, bed bugs spread throughout Europe and Asia, reaching Italy by 100 A.D., China by 600 A.D., and Germany and France in the 1200s and 1400s. Heat generated from sleeping and cooking fires allowed the bugs to live comfortably both in castles of the wealthy and huts of the working class. The poor, however, suffered the most; an observation made in the 15th century and attributed to a lack of vigilant cleaning: “For they do not breed in beds of which the linen and straw is frequently changed, as in the houses of the rich” (De Animalibus Insectes, 1603). Bed bugs were first reported in England in 1583, but were probably there earlier. Soon after, they hitchhiked their way to the Americas with European explorers and settlers. Aided by commerce, infestations initially arose in bustling seaport towns, appearing farther inland later on.

The bed bug resurgence in recent years followed a similar pattern, with infestations in the late 1990s first appearing in such “gateway” cities as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

The global lineage of bed bugs can also be traced to their naming. In ancient Rome, bed bugs were called Cimex (meaning “bug”), while the species designation lectularius referred to a bed or couch. The early Greek term for bed bug was Coris, meaning “to bite,” from which the word coriander comes. Coriander (cilantro) is one of the world’s oldest spices. They probably named it so because when the leaves were crushed the pungent smell resembled that of bed bugs. In England, bed bugs were simply referred to as “Bugs.” (See footnote 1 below.) The early Spanish word for bed bug — “chinche” is especially relevant today since Spanish-speaking customers often refer to bed bugs as chinches or chinche de cama — bug of the bed. Other names once used for bed bugs include wall louse, bed louse, wallpaper flounder, night riders, red coats and crimson ramblers. Bed bugs did not occur in North America before the arrival of European settlers, thus there is no word for them in the language of Native Americans.

EARLY DESTROYERS. Methods of managing bed bugs today can be traced to the first European exterminators. Among the most famous were Tiffin and Son of London, who formed a business back in 1690 to exterminate bed bugs for the wealthy. The gas-lit sign over their shop read:

“May The Destroyers Of Peace Be Destroyed By Us.
Bug-Destroyers To Her Majesty.”

Recognizing the constant threat of infestation, Tiffin noted: “We do the work by contract, examining the house every year. It’s a precaution to keep the place comfortable as servants are apt to bring bugs in their boxes and clothes.” Tiffin reported finding the most bugs in beds, but cautioned “if left alone they get numerous, climb about the corners of the ceiling, and colonize anywhere they can.” Centuries later the pest management industry is again advocating routine preventive bed bug inspections. Catching infestations early reduces spread into other areas and can lessen liability for some clients. Considering the limitations of current insecticides, pre-emptive inspections of bed bug-prone accounts seems a prudent strategy.

Another of England’s earliest bed bug destroyers was John Southall, who published a 44-page treatise on bed bugs in 1730. The manual contained information on bed bug habits, prevention and control based on his experiences. Southall cautioned against bringing in infested furnishings and also recommended that belongings of servants be inspected as well. To limit harborage and simplify treatment, he also suggested that beds be “plain and as free from woodwork as possible” — a far cry from many beds in use today.

Southall also gained notoriety for his “Nonpareil Liquor,” a supposedly terrific bed bug killer which he obtained from a native while traveling in Jamaica. The formula for the liquid has been lost, but may have been derived from quassia wood, a tropical tree with insecticidal properties (Busvine 1976). Many other “secret” bed bug formulas have been marketed over the millennia, a trend continuing to this day. Mr. Tiffin had a pragmatic view of such remedies, noting “secret bug poisons ain’t worth much, for all depends upon the application of them.” Some of the worst advice for killing bed bugs was published in The Compleat Vermin-Killer (1777), instructing readers to fill the cracks of the bed with gunpowder and light it on fire.

THE 1800s. As noted earlier, bed bugs became plentiful in North America with the coming of European settlers. As a deterrent, beds were often made from sassafras wood and the crevices doused with boiling water, arsenic and sulfur. This provided only temporary relief. As villages became cities, life became crowded with people and bed bugs from around the globe. Ships and railroads afforded ideal accommodation for the bugs, and rapid transit to where they had not been before. Hotels and boarding houses were especially buggy, and smitten travelers unwittingly carried them from place to place in their trunks and satchels. Vigilant travelers learned to pull beds away from walls and immerse the legs in pans of oil. Others relied on pyrethrum powder: “Dusted between the sheets of a bed, it will protect the sleeper from the most voracious hotel bug.” (USDA Division of Entomology Bulletin, 1896). Although such methods may have helped, they could result in incarceration today.

By the mid-1800s, bed bugs had become a particular problem in poor, overcrowded areas with low standards of cleanliness. Wealthy households with an abundance of domestic help discovered that bed bugs could be kept in check with vigorous housecleaning, especially with respect to beds. Washing bedding, breaking down beds, and dousing the slats, springs and crevices with boiling water or grease from salt pork or bacon proved helpful — but the bigger benefit from such efforts was early detection of infestations in their more vulnerable initial stages: “The greatest remedy is cleanliness, and a constant care and vigilance every few days to examine all the crevices and joints, to make sure that none of the pests are hidden away” (USDA Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture, 1875). As bed bugs again become plentiful, it will be interesting to see if hotels, apartments, and other stakeholders commit the resources required for such preventative measures.

THE 1900s. Bed bugs received a big reproductive boost in the early 1900s, when central heating of buildings became common. By the turn of the century, cast iron radiators were delivering warm air to every room in the house, a process made even easier in the 1930s by electricity, fans and forced air heating. This enabled the bugs to thrive year-round, whereas before that, populations followed a more seasonal trend, increasing as the weather warmed.

During the 1930s and ’40s, bed bugs became a community-wide problem like rats and mosquitoes. Infestation was worse in poorer, overcrowded neighborhoods, although wealthy households had problems as well. Besides being introduced on infested items, the bugs sometimes moved from house to house, escaping through exterior windows and doors and traveling along walls, pipes and gutters. A similar observation of bed bugs traveling outdoors between infested adjacent buildings was recently made by a pest control firm (Permakil) in Cincinnati.

In Europe, an estimated one-third of dwellings in major cities had bed bugs and similar ratios were reported in this country. Prior to move-in, mandatory fumigation of tenant furniture was proposed. Some Swedish cities even provided sleeping tents for citizens while their premises and belongings were being fumigated and they also contemplated building hotels for this same purpose. In Germany some landlords required a “clearance letter” of sorts from an exterminator, stating that the apartment being vacated showed no signs of infestation. Today in similar fashion, some property managers have begun asking about bed bugs during pre-screening of prospective renters.

During the war years, bed bugs were transported on bedding into many public air-raid shelters. They also feasted on sleeping soldiers in barracks and battlefront trenches, and were spread on belts, backpacks, canteens and helmets. One interesting account from World War I states, “In the East African campaign the bugs invaded the cork lining of the sun helmets of the soldiers. As the helmets were piled together at night, all soon became infested and the soldiers complained of bugs attacking their heads.” (Medical Entomology, 1932). Bed bugs also occupied warships and the nooks and crannies of submarines. Besides the usual places, bed bugs were common years ago in laundries, dressing rooms, factories and furniture upholstery shops. Theaters had big problems and sometimes had to tear out entire rows of seats and install new ones. Coat rooms and lockers in schools were commonly infested, as is happening again today. All modes of transport including trains, buses, taxicabs and airplanes were spreaders of bed bugs. A 1930s survey of 3,000 moving vans in Sweden found bed bugs on 47 percent, foretelling big concerns for moving and storage companies today. Perhaps most unnerving was that bed bugs used to be common in hospitals — another pattern from the past which has resurfaced in recent years (see “The Business of Bed Bugs,” Pest Management Professional, 2008). Heavy infestations of bed bugs likewise once occurred in poultry houses and were spread via the crates in which birds were shipped or held at market. A similar pattern in poultry production is reappearing today.

Efforts were made back then to make habitations less favorable to bed bugs. Heavy, wooden bed frames laden with cracks and crevices were replaced with metal beds that were less preferred by the bugs and easier to inspect. Attention was also paid to bed bug-proof construction (see subsequent section on “Miscellaneous Methods”). Most importantly, homemakers took steps to prevent bed bugs from entering the home. This involved constant watchfulness and attention to clothes sent to the laundress, and to blankets brought home from summer camps, cottages and suitcases after traveling. Frequent and careful examination of beds was advised to aid in finding the first bed bug. Interestingly there was little mention of preparing for the exterminator — surprising considering how much emphasis is placed on client preparation today. Perhaps this was because most households back then had fewer furnishings, knickknacks, clothing, toys and clutter. Concern about spraying people’s belongings with pesticides was also less of an issue.

The bed bug epidemic during the first half of the 20th century prompted a great deal of research by universities and government agencies. Studies were conducted on bed bug biology and habits, risk of disease transmission, and management. Much of what we know about bed bugs was discovered during this period (1900-1950). Notably, no simple solution was discovered other than “eternal vigilance” (C. L. Marlatt, USDA publication, 1916).

BED BUG INSECTICIDES. Insecticides used for bed bug control have a long and interesting history. All sorts of concoctions were employed, both liquid and gaseous, and some were as toxic to people as to pests.

Sprays. Typical bed bug remedies during the 1800s and early 1900s included arsenic and mercury compounds prepared by the druggist. The poisons were mixed with water, alcohol or spirits of turpentine and applied with a brush, feather, syringe, eyedropper or oil can wherever bed bugs were found. Mercury chloride, better known as corrosive sublimate or “Bed Bug Poison,” was a common remedy used by both exterminators and householders. One way to apply it was with the whites of an egg, beaten together and laid with a feather (Good Housekeeping, 1888). Unfortunately, Bed Bug Poison also killed some people, accidentally or by intent.

A much safer material used since the mid-1800s was pyrethrum, prepared from dry Chrysanthemum flowers. The insecticidal effect was first discovered in Iran; an early brand was known as Persian Insect Powder. Pyrethrum was included in many early bed bug preparations formulated as sprays and powders. During wartime when quantities were in short supply due to military requirements, other compounds were used such as rotenone, phenol, cresol, naphthalene and Lethane 384, an organic thiocyanate which also had activity against bed bug eggs.

Turpentine, gasoline, kerosene, benzene and alcohol (an ingredient in Sterifab) were also widely used against bed bugs until the mid-1940s. Applied alone or with pyrethrum, the effects were short-lived, seldom lasting longer than a day. Because the sprays lacked residual action and toxicity to eggs, treatments had to be thorough and the wet deposit had to come in actual contact with the bugs to be effective. Consequently, the materials performed better when problems were discovered and treated early, before infestations had spread beyond beds to other areas of concealment.

Experts of the day cautioned against “putting too much reliance on the very numerous preparations on the market which claimed to get rid of bed bugs” — sage advice that is also applicable today. Follow-up spraying 10 days to two weeks later, regardless of whether bugs were seen or not, was recommended to kill emerging eggs and any adults or nymphs that were missed. Additional treatments were made thereafter until no more insects were found. Fogging of rooms as was sometimes done for fly control did little more than “activate” the bugs — another lesson to consider before revving up our fogging equipment versus bed bugs.

As can be imagined, many of these early bed bug preparations were smelly. Thus, “perfuming” the spray was recommended in such places as hotels, theaters, coaches and for “discriminating housewives,” whereas ill-smelling preparations were suitable for use in “jails, cheap lodging houses and various other free, public institutions” (Bed Bugs And Their Practical Control, 1943). Since many of the petroleum-based products also were highly flammable, buildings sometimes caught on fire if a match was struck too soon after treatment. As noted previously, the above-mentioned sprays were most effective against light infestations discovered in the early stages. Spraying was more tedious and unreliable against heavy infestations that had dispersed beyond beds into other inaccessible areas. In these instances (and before DDT), fumigation was recommended.

Fumigants. Early bed bug fumigation often involved burning sulfur, sometimes called the “fire and brimstone” method (brimstone being the ancient word for sulfur). A dish of powdered sulfur was placed in the center of the room, surrounded by a larger pan to keep the molten mass from spattering and setting fire to the floor. Ready-made sulfur candles could also be used but were more expensive. Metal fixtures prone to tarnishing and corrosion were removed or coated with lard or Vaseline.® The sulfur fumes also bleached and damaged wallpaper and fabrics, especially in the presence of moisture. Nonetheless, the procedure was simple, affordable and relatively safe to humans, making it a viable control option for both householders and professionals. The sulfur fumes were lethal to all bed bug life stages including eggs, but had poorer penetration than some other gases and sometimes had to be repeated.

The gold standard for bed bug fumigation during the first half of the 20th century was hydrocyanic acid (cyanide) gas. Fumigating with cyanide was highly effective, but costlier and far more dangerous than previously mentioned methods. As with modern-day fumigations, the entire building had to be vacated, which was not always necessary when burning sulfur. Due to the danger, cyanide fumigations were best performed by professionals — but this was not always the case. In the 1930s and ’40s, state agricultural experiment stations often provided instructions for using cyanide in their publications. Some went on to say that local druggists could supply materials and further advice — a risky business considering that breathing the gas caused unconsciousness within seconds and death within minutes. Many people without the proper training and safety equipment were killed or seriously injured, and even professionals had mishaps using this effective but lethal material.

Various commercial preparations of hydrogen cyanide were available, including Zyklon B pellets and powder used in the gas chambers during the Holocaust. The most popular and convenient formulation used by pest control firms were “discoids,” consisting of fibrous absorbent discs saturated with liquid hydrocyanic acid. The discs were packed in gastight metal containers and opened with a special can opener. (Image 5, Cyanide Fumigation) When exposed to air, the liquid cyanide quickly volatilized into toxic gas, necessitating use of a gas mask. Applicators worked in teams with one person opening cans while the other scattered the discs onto layers of newspaper, cardboard or into dishpan-type wire containers.

Hydrocyanic acid gas could also be generated by sprinkling calcium cyanide dust onto strips of paper on the floor, or by placing water, sulfuric acid, and ounce-size sodium cyanide “eggs” into earthenware pots. These methods had their own inherent risks and were generally less convenient than using discoids.

Despite the drawbacks, fumigation was long considered the most effective and efficient means of eliminating serious bed bug infestations. Railroad cars and ships were also fumigated, and fumigation chambers and moving vans were widely used for de-bugging people’s belongings. But all that changed after the start of World War II when a new and more potent chemical spray became available — DDT.

DDT. The discovery and development of DDT for battling bed bugs and other pests is legendary. Dichloro-diphenyl trichloroethane (DDT — see footnote 2 below) was originally synthesized in 1874 by a young German chemistry student working on his thesis, but the compound stayed in obscurity until 1939 when Paul Müller, a Swiss scientist with the Geigy Company, discovered its remarkable insecticidal properties (Müller was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery in 1948). Initial quantities were allocated to protecting U.S. military forces from louse-borne typhus and disease-carrying flies and mosquitoes during World War II. Beginning in 1942, DDT was also evaluated against bed bugs in hopes of finding a more effective and economical method of control in military barracks. Preliminary results were deemed “phenomenal” and DDT soon became known as “the perfect answer to the bed bug problem” (USDA Bureau of Entomology, 1945). By late 1945, several suppliers were running ads in Pests and their Control (the precursor to Pest Control Magazine), announcing availability of DDT for civilian (non-military) uses.

What made DDT special was its long-lasting effectiveness as a dry deposit. No longer did sprays have to contact the bugs directly as was required with other materials. For the first time, bed bugs residing in hidden locations and nymphs hatching from eggs succumbed, by simply resting or crawling on previously treated surfaces. While some studies reported a residual effect lasting at least six months, Arnold Mallis in the second edition of his Handbook of Pest Control (1954) indicated that samples of wallpaper which he sprayed with DDT continued killing bed bugs three years later! Experiments further showed that DDT had no repellency and did not disperse bed bugs throughout a room or building like pyrethrum and some other materials. (Recent studies by University of Kentucky researchers confirm that some pyrethroids also can produce irritancy or repellency in bed bugs (Romero et al. 2008).

DDT applied as a 5-percent oil-based spray or 10-percent powder was so effective that all the bed bugs in a room could eventually be eliminated by thoroughly treating the bed and nowhere else, since the bugs eventually had to crawl onto the bed to feed. In practical use, other locations in the room were also thoroughly treated to hasten eradication. One application normally did the job — in contrast to the multiple treatments required previously — and what we are experiencing again today.

Another aspect that helped hasten the bed bug’s demise was that DDT was relatively inexpensive and could be bought and applied by anyone. Unlike fumigation, the material could be applied by householders and professionals alike. A few ounces of spray or an ounce of the powder was enough to treat a full size bed and prevent re-infestation for at least a year. For added convenience total-release DDT “bombs” were sold, the same ones used in wartime by the military.

According to Dr. John Osmun, professor emeritus at Purdue University and one of the first to evaluate DDT against bed bugs — after three to five years of civilian usage it became hard to find populations of bed bugs on which to do further testing — another testament to the knockout punch of the material.

ENTER RESISTANCE. As bed bugs were disappearing, reports began surfacing that some populations had become DDT-resistant. Failures were first noted in barracks of the Naval Receiving Station at Pearl Harbor in 1947 — only a few years after the product was introduced. During the next 10 years, other cases of DDT resistance were confirmed, and by 1956, the National Pest Control Association was recommending malathion as an alternative. Malathion as a 1-percent spray proved effective when applied thoroughly to the mattress, frame, baseboards, cracks and other hiding places. To reduce odor, ventilation and masking agents were employed. Other products used during the 1950s to 1970s to control occasional infestations of bed bugs included diazinon (when the bugs became resistant to malathion), lindane, chlordane and dichlorvos (DDVP). Mattresses were sprayed and aired as part of the overall treatment. As with DDT, a single application often did the job, provided spraying was thorough. Sporadic recurrences of bed bugs during the 1980s were eliminated with organophosphate or carbamate insecticides, none of which are available today.

History has shown that bed bugs can develop immunity to insecticides at a rapid rate. High levels of resistance to our most potent pyrethroids was confirmed recently in field populations from around the United States (see “Insecticide-Resistant Bed Bugs: Implications for the Industry,” PCT, July 2007). What is more worrisome today is that we have few alternatives, underscoring what can happen when pests resurface after entire classes of insecticide are removed from the market.

MISCELLANEOUS METHODS. Insecticides have long been the principal means of controlling bed bug infestations. Other methods have been employed, however, and some of the same are being tried again today.

Bed bug-proof construction. Efforts were made in the past to make buildings less favorable to bed bugs. Wooden bed frames laden with cracks and crevices were replaced with metal frames which were less favored by bed bugs and easier to take apart and inspect. Another advantage of metal over wood was that “alcohol or kerosene could be poured over the joints and set fire with a lighted match” (American Journal of Nursing, 1922). Mattresses were also redesigned with fewer buttons, folds and creases. Eliminating hiding places in elements of construction was also recommended. Cracks and crevices were to be filled with soap or other sealants. In the 1930s and ’40s, hospitals and hotels in Europe were being constructed with metal windows and doors and little or no woodwork. Floors were of cement or other tight composition, often having no baseboards. Walls were smoothly painted in lieu of peeling-prone wallpaper — sage advice in modern-day hotel rooms where wallpaper borders are often installed at the ceiling-wall juncture. Such bed bug-proofing efforts have long been abandoned in favor of comfort. The coziness of the modern sleeping room is testament to how long it’s been since bed bugs were a state of mind.

Lethal temperatures. If bed bugs have one vulnerability — it’s elevated temperature. Heat has been used as a control tool for centuries. Boiling water was used to scald bugs residing in bedding, bed slats, springs and other locations. Candles and plumbers’ torches also were employed in the manner that some residents today are attempting to roast the bugs with cigarette lighters. In the 1920s and ’30s, a larger version of today’s portable steamer was used, as were heat-generating lamps plugged into electric outlets.
A more efficient way of using heat was adapted from methods developed in the early 1900s to de-infest granaries and flour mills. In a 1916 article titled “Eradication of the Bedbug by Superheating,” investigators showed it was possible to de-infest a two-story house in Canada by stoking up the furnace and other stoves during summer to a temperature of 160°F. Similar success was reported in another study where steam was used to heat a 350-room dormitory on a college campus in Mississippi (Harned and Allen, 1925). In this case, maximum temperatures in bed bug-infested rooms ranged from about 110°F to 125°F, over a heating period lasting a few days. The authors concluded that very high mortality can be achieved at temperatures as low as 110°F when maintained for two days, and from a few hours exposure to 120°F. In the first (1945) edition of The Handbook of Pest Control, Arnold Mallis also mentioned successfully using superheating to de-bug an animal rearing laboratory. He reported that after eight hours of heating, “the mortality was so terrific, that a carpet of bedbugs covered the floor, and a slight draft through the room piled up windrows of the bugs against several objects on the floor.”

Interest in using heat to control bed bugs all but vanished after the discovery of DDT. Today’s interest in the approach reflects the lack of effective management options and greater concerns over pesticides.

LITIGATION. Litigating over bed bugs is mainly a modern-day phenomenon — but not entirely. Bed bug bites have in fact triggered lawsuits for more than a century. In 1895, for example, a Chicago jury ruled that “no man shall be required to pay rent for a house infested with bedbugs.” Editorializing on the verdict, the news media noted that if the ruling held, “the great majority of Chicagoans would be relieved of their rent bills.” In another early case involving a hotel, the court ruled that the presence of bed bugs did not furnish grounds for the recovery of damages because the plaintiff must have known that the hotel was previously “buggy” (Bly vs. Sears, Daily Iowa State Press, 1902). Railroads were also defendants in bed bug litigation. In 1913, a Milwaukee man sued the St. Paul Railroad for $10,000 (a lot of money back then), claiming bed bug bites made him so ill that it interfered with his business trip. When the man returned home he stepped off the train carrying one arm in a sling.

THE FUTURE. History has shown what to expect from bed bugs in the future — and the forecast is concerning. All of society will be affected as infestations appear in the same places they had before. Besides homes and hotels, watch for them in such places as schools, theaters, and especially health care facilities. Small cities and towns will be spared for awhile but not for long. There will be new challenges this time around including an unprecedented mix and movement of people from across town and across the globe; more bug-friendly belongings and clutter in which to hide; fewer options and more restrictions in respect to fumigation; societal apprehensions about pesticides; and a pervasive feeling today that when someone is harmed they should sue.

Bed bug management will be handicapped until the chemical industry invents a safe, residually potent product with a permissive label. This will not be easy given the priorities and challenges facing our industry partners. In the meantime, we must utilize the tools available. The essence of bed bug management remains hard work and constant vigilance to prevent or detect infestations in the early stages. This cannot be achieved by the pest management industry without informed and cooperative customers. Thankfully, though, we’ve come a long way from hanging rabbits’ feet at the end of the bed.

Special thanks to all our senior industry leaders who taught us the ways of bed bugs — Arnold Mallis, Harry Katz, John Osmun, Val Smitter, Vern Walter and many others.

Michael F. Potter is a professor and urban extension entomologist at the University of Kentucky.

Benoit, J.B., N.A. Del Grosso, J.A. Yoder and D.L. Denlinger. 2007. Resistance to dehydration between bouts of blood feeding in the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, is enhanced by water conservation, aggregation, and quiescence. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 76(5): 987-993

Busvine, J.R. 1976. Insects, hygiene and history. The Athlone Press. University of London. London, GB

Cowan, F. 1865. Curious facts in the history of insects. J.B. Lippincott & Co. Philadelphia, PA

Doner, M.H. and E.G. Thomssen. 1943. Bedbugs…and their practical control. Pests. 11(7): 15-19.

Harned, R.W. 1925. Controlling bedbugs in steam-heated rooms. J. Econ. Entomol. 18: 320-330.

Hartnack, H. 1939. 202 Common Household Pests of North America. Hartnack Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Hockenyos, G.L. 1940. Bedbug spraying. Pests. 8(5): 12-16.

Hunter, L. 1938. Domestic Pests: What they are and how to remove them. John Bale, Sons & Curnow, Ltd. London.

Madden, A.H., A.W. Lindquist and E.F. Knipling. 1944. DDT as a residual spray for the control of bedbugs. 37(1): 127-128.

Mallis, A. 1945, 1954. Bed bugs and other bugs. Handbook of Pest Control. Mac Nair-Dorland Company, New York.

Marlatt, C.L. 1916. The bedbug. UDSA Farmers’ Bull. 754. Washington, D.C.

Matheson, R.M. 1932. Medical Entomology. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, IL

Ministry of Health. 1934. Report on the Bed-Bug. His Majesty’s Stationary Office, London.

Potter, M.F. 2008. The business of bed bugs. Pest Management Professional. 76(1): 24-40.

Romero, A., M.F. Potter and K.F. Haynes. 2007. Insecticide-resistant bed bugs: implications for the industry. Pest Control Technology. 35(7): 42-46.

Romero, M.F. Potter and K.F. Haynes. 2008. Sublethal effects of insecticides on bed bug behavior. PestWorld 2008.

Stenburg, R.L. 1947. The techniques of application and the control of roaches and bedbugs with DDT. Pests. 15(8): 16-22.

The Geigy Company, Inc. 1944. DDT “Now it can be told.” Pests. 12(7): 8-10.

Usinger, R.L. 1966. Monograph of Cimicidae (Hemiptera-Heteroptera). Thomas Say Foundation. College Park, MD.

Wright, W.H. 1944. The bedbug — its habits and life history and methods of control. U.S. Public Health Service Supplement No. 175. Washington, D.C.

1. In print we typically see bed bug spelled with either two words or one word (bedbug). The modern scientific designation is two words although older writings often used one word. The entomological rule of thumb in the common naming of insects is to use two words if the insect truly resides within that hierarchal order of classification, and one word if it does not (e.g. bed bugs and stink bugs are considered true bugs in the order Hemiptera, whereas neither a butterfly or dragonfly are true flies in the order Diptera).

2. The first insecticidal composition of DDT developed by J.R.Geigy, the Swiss parent company of modern-day Syngenta, carried the designation “Experiment No. G1750” later named “Gesarol” for the spraying of agricultural pests. “Neocid” was the early designation for DDT compositions used to control lice, bed bugs and other pests affecting man and animals. Much of the early testing was done by a team of 29 scientists working at the USDA Testing Station in Orlando, Fla.

Chasing Bed Bugs in March

Years ago people battled bed bugs as part of spring cleaning. An advantage of such timing was that in unheated homes, populations tended to be lower at the end of winter due to the effects of cold temperatures. The excerpt below is one family’s account of battling bed bugs in rural Arkansas in the early 1900s.

“To slow the bed bugs down and thin them out we took down and outside the beds and all the bedding, emptied the old straw ticks and burned the straw. We washed and boiled anything that was washable and scalded the bed slats and springs and poured boiling water in all the cracks and crevasses that the water would not ruin. We cleaned all other furniture and used a coal oil-soaked rag to get at places we could not pour water. We cleaned the walls as best we could, sometimes throwing boiling water on them then re-papering… We set the bedposts in cans of coal oil and kept beds and furniture away from the walls about two inches. We then could sleep in peace for a few weeks until another batch hatched out then we had the whole bit to do over. All this seems like such a lot of hard work (and it was) but having bed bugs was somewhat akin to having the itch or plague — embarrassing to have but impossible not to have, especially for people who moved a lot from house to house.” — Adele Meacham Wood’s Little Red River Journal

An oft-mentioned statistic about bed bugs is their ability to survive long periods without feeding. Longevity studies conducted in the early 1900s showed they can indeed survive more than a year without feeding. One investigator (Bacot 1914) starved bed bugs in an outhouse for 18 months and found that several survived to feed another day. It should be noted however that bed bug longevity is variable.

Their ability to survive long periods without a blood meal is influenced by such factors as temperature, humidity and life stage. Cooler temperature and higher humidity tend to prolong survival — at a constant temperature of 45° F and 90-percent relative humidity, starved adult bed bugs in one 1940s experiment survived a maximum of 550 days — but only 181 days at 73° F. Lacking a warm-blooded host, young nymphs die sooner than older nymphs and adults, often succumbing within a few months.

Studies have shown that the reason bed bugs can persist so long without feeding is their remarkable ability to retain water, comparable to arthropods adapted to dwelling in deserts. They retain moisture by having a water-impermeable cuticle (outer shell), and the capacity to become quiescent while living in moisture-conserving aggregations (Benoit et al. 2007). Desiccant dusts have been used against bed bugs and other pests for centuries. Targeting their ability to conserve moisture makes sense considering they possess little vulnerability.

For a Spanish-version educational resource about bed bugs, visit and click on “online extras.”

Thoroughness is Key

A common mantra of bed bug management today is that treatments must be thorough. The following excerpts show this same advice was given years ago…

“Thoroughness is the key word and only experience will teach a man how to best find every possible place bed bugs may be harbored. Most operators take the beds completely apart and remove the casters from the bed legs. Dresser drawers are removed, rugs rolled back and pictures taken from the walls. Floor lamps are upturned, moldings pried loose in some cases and books and papers carefully examined…” — Bed bug Spraying, Pests and Their Control, 1940

“It should be remembered that amateur efforts usually produce amateur results.” — “Bed Bugs and Other Bugs,” Mallis Handbook of Pest Control, First Edition, 1945

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