Messing with BedBugs’ Genes Could Carry Other Risks?

Bed Bugs Will Outlive All Of Us Unless We Screw With Their Genes

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photo:  Bluejake/Sara Bibi/Gothamist

Bed bugs, like cockroaches and new seasons of The Bachelor, seem impossible to eradicate from the face of the Earth, no matter how many exterminators our landlords call to spray that one time and then never, ever again. But Science says there’s some small hope for the extinction of a moviegoer’s biggest fear—screwing with their genome.

Scientists have managed to map the genome of the common bed bug, revealing some fun things about the little suckers. For instance, bed bugs are actually able to break down toxins, like the ones an exterminator might use, to render them harmless, allowing them to survive even when you try to whack them with bug killer. They’ve also been MUTATING, producing genes that make them resistant to certain insecticides and making it all the more difficult to eradicate an infestation. Another fun fact is that bugs’ genes vary from location to location—a Brooklyn bed bug will have a different genetic sequence from a Queens bed bug, though both are equally disgusting.

Bed bugs also inbreed, and their sex is quite violent. This violent sex has been well-documented, and for those of you who have not yet seen Isabella Rossellini’s bed bug porno, you’re welcome, and sorry:

The takeaway here is that bed bugs have been able to hold us hostage for a long time, but scientists might be able to murder them, provided they make a few genetic tweaks. First, though, let’s kill all the mosquitoes.

[A. Steiner:  So…..Messing with Genes Could Carry Other Risks – YES!]

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Bed Bugs show resistance to pesticides: What to do now? Build a wall!

Why chemicals used to fight bed bugs aren’t working any longer was revealed in a new study that compared today’s bed bugs with those that have been isolated in a lab for 30 years.

February 1, 2016 | by Lonnie Shekhtman  | The Christian Science Monitor

The chemicals used to fight bed bug infestations are no longer working, say scientists from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and New Mexico State University. The tiny pests have developed a resistance to the most commonly used type of insecticides, called neonicotinoids, or neonics, which is part of the reason there has been a resurgence of them in the last couple of decades.

“While we all want a powerful tool to fight bed bug infestations, what we are using as a chemical intervention is not working as effectively it was designed and, in turn, people are spending a lot of money on products that aren’t working,” Troy Anderson, an assistant professor of entomology in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said in an announcement last week.

In an experiment, researchers compared bed bugs from homes in Cincinnati and Michigan that had been previously exposed to neonics with those that a researcher has kept isolated in a lab for 30 years, dating back to a time before the insecticides were used commercially.

In results published Thursday in the Journal of Medical Entomology, Dr. Anderson and Alvaro Romero, an assistant professor of entomology at New Mexico State University, reported that the bed bugs that had been isolated in a lab for 30 years died when treated with a small amount of neonics. Those collected from homes in Cincinnati and Michigan showed much higher resistance to the chemical treatment.

The team also tested bedbugs from New Jersey that were already resistant to pyrethroids, another class of widely used insecticides often mixed with neonics, but had been isolated from neonics since 2008. Those bugs were more susceptible to the insecticides than the ones from Cincinnati and Michigan, but not as much as the isolated bedbugs.

“Companies need to be vigilant for hints of declining performance of products that contain neonicotinoids,” Dr. Romero said in a study announcement.

“For example, bed bugs persisting on previously treated surfaces might be an indication of resistance. In these cases, laboratory confirmation of resistance is advised, and if resistance is detected, products with different modes of action need to be considered, along with the use of non-chemical methods,” he said.

Bed bugs are particularly burdensome in apartment buildings, where they can spread to many units. They are also more problematic for low-income, elderly, and disabled people who can’t spot the tiny red bug and often don’t have the means to get rid of them, say researchers from Virginia Tech.

Bed bugs thrive in beds, couches, and around electrical outlets and cause hundreds of bites a night.

“When well-off people get bed bugs, it’s an inconvenience. But when low-income families get them, there aren’t many options,” said Molly Stedfast, who worked with bed bugs as a graduate entomology student at Virginia Tech in 2013.

“Those who can’t afford the treatments,” she says, often end up living with bed bugs for a long time.

Virginia Tech’s pest lab recommends a nontoxic, non-neonic treatment that can be applied to the inside perimeter of an apartment. The treatment is diatomaceous earth, a dust made from fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. Researchers said this dust has been used to control pests for more than a century. It clings to the bed bugs as they walk through it, absorbs moisture, and kills them via dehydration.

“We treat the perimeter of the apartment to isolate infestations in one unit and not allow them to spread. It is a lot less expensive to treat one apartment than every unit in the building,” said Dini Miller, a professor of entomology at Virginia Tech.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Trending today: #Bedbugs are developing a strong resistance to most common insecticides

February 2, 2016 | by Ryan Biek | Newsy

Bedbugs are reportedly building up a strong resistance to some of the most powerful insecticides due to overuse, which means we might need to turn to non-chemical solutions to get rid of them.

Researchers from Virginia Tech and New Mexico State University tested the most common class of insecticide called neonicotinoids, or neonics, which is often combined with pyrethroids in commercial treatments for bedbugs.

Bedbugs are developing a strong resistance to most common insecticides photo

They took a group of bedbugs that came from homes in Ohio and Michigan, which had previously been exposed to neonics, and compared those bedbugs to a population that has been kept in isolation for 30 years, before the insecticide was used.

A third group of bedbugs that was resistant to pyrethroids but never exposed to neonics was also included in the study.

Depending on the specific types of neonic tested, the Ohio and Michigan bedbugs were hundreds to tens of thousands of times more resistant than the isolated group.

The third group’s results were in the middle: more resistant than the isolated group but less resistant than the Ohio and Michigan bedbugs.

Because that third group had never been exposed to neonics, the researchers believe the bedbugs may have a pre-existing resistance mechanism.

The researchers said more non-chemical methods need to be used to combat bedbug infestations. However, they noted the most resistant bedbugs in the study only came from two areas, and not all of the U.S. may be facing this level of resistance.

Denver – Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

January 15, 2016 | by Nancy Melear | FOX 31

If you wake up in the middle of the night with the horrifying feeling of your skin (literally) crawling, you might want to break out the magnifying glass:  it was just announced that Denver is #11 on Terminix’s most bed bug-infested city list.  What’s even scarier though, is the fact that bed bugs aren’t just waiting for you in your bed: they’re in the dresser where you keep your clothes, the bag you take to work, the bus you ride downtown and the conference room of your first meeting.

It’s a complete myth that bed bugs only thrive in mattresses!

 #SayNOtoPesticides!

Bed bug issues in the East prompts some to stop reselling furniture

December 15, 2015 | by Josh Birch

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A bed bug problem that some exterminators said is growing in areas in the East has prompted some to ban selling furniture and mattresses for the time being.The Pitt County Online Yardsale posted a message to users on December 12th informing people they no longer could sell or buy couches or furniture. This message came just one day after WNCT’s original story reported a possible bed bug problem in some Greenville Housing Authority’s units.

Tom Davis with D and D Pest Control said the bed bug problem is spreading.

“Usually you’re seeing them in the low income areas, now it’s starting to spread out and getting into the university area and then some of the higher income people,” Davis said.

Getting rid of bed bugs once you have them is an expensive process, one that could end up costing you thousands of dollars. Davis said they generally either use a heat or chemical treatment.

Places that resell furniture like the Salvation Army are by law required to sanitize mattresses before selling them. Robert Frye with the Salvation Army in Greenville said they won’t take mattresses that appear to have bed bugs. As soon as mattresses arrive, they are taken to the sanitization room where they are exposed to high temperatures for several hours.

While state law requires this process to be followed for reselling mattresses, it doesn’t apply to other items bed bugs can travel on like couches and clothes. For those, Frye said it is just an eye test.

“We inspect them again, to make sure they’re in good condition,” he said. “We look at the surroundings where they come out of, and we do the best we can.”

Bargain prices for items are generally what drive people into stores like the Salvation Army. Bonita Tyson was there looking at a bed for sale.

“In the store it normally costs about $500 or $600, and they have it here for like $199,” she said.

However, she said she is always careful about what she brings in to her home. She said whenever she buys something, she always sanitizes it herself before it enters her house.

If you move into a unit or house and find there are bed bugs there, you have up until 60 days to notify your landlord. At that time, the landlord would be responsible for treating the bed bugs. If more than 60 days go by, state law says the tenant is then responsible.

Miami, Fort Lauderdale Among Orkin’s Top 50 Bed Bug Cities

  January 13, 2016 | NBC Miami

Chicago tops pest control leader Orkin’s list of Top 50 Bed Bug Cities for the fourth year in a row, while several Florida cities also appear on the list – including Miami/Fort Lauderdale.
The list ranks cities by the number of bed bug treatments Orkin serviced from January through December 2015 and after an Orkin inspection verified bed bugs were present. The list includes both residential and commercial treatments.

This is the first year Orlando has ranked on Orkin’s Bed Bug Cities List, and Philadelphia is on the list for the first time since 2011.

Fourteen cities in the Midwest – more than any other region – are included in the ranking, including multiple cities in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky.

Six cities made double-digit jumps on Orkin’s Bed Bug Cities List compared to 2014, including Washington, D.C., which jumped to third on the list. Several cities also dropped significantly in the past year, including Dayton, Ohio, Louisville, Ky. and Sacramento, Calif.

“one out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel”

Miami-Fort Lauderdale also dropped 10 spots when compared to 2014.

Orkin’s Complete List of Top 50 Bed Bug Cities:

1. Chicago 

2. Los Angeles (+2) 

3. Washington, D.C. (+11) 

4. New York (+14) 

5. Columbus, Ohio (-2) 

6. Philadelphia 

7. Detroit (-5) 

8. Cincinnati (-1) 

9. Richmond-Petersburg, Va. 

10. Baltimore (+21) 

11. Raleigh-Durham, N.C. (+6) 

12. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio (-7) 

13. Dallas-Ft. Worth (-7) 

14. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (+2) 

15. Indianapolis (-4) 

16. Charlotte, N.C. (+14) 

17. Houston (-5) 

18. Denver (-10) 

19. Atlanta (+6) 

20. Buffalo, N.Y. (+6) 

21. Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C. (+26) 

22. Nashville, Tenn. (+1) 

23. Phoenix (+9) 

24. Knoxville, Tenn. (+10) 

25. Boston-Manchester (+4) 

26. Milwaukee (-11)

27. Dayton, Ohio (-17)

28. Seattle (-15)

29. Pittsburgh

30. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Va.

31. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.

32. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Crk., Mich. (-12)

33. Lexington, Ky. (-9)

34. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (+3)

35. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va. (-16)

36. Omaha, Neb. (-15)

37. San Diego (+2)

38. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Fla.

39. Louisville, Ky. (-17)

40. St. Louis (+6)

41. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa (-6)

42. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Ill. (-4)

43. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (-10)

44. Kansas City, Mo. (-3)

45. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif. (-18)

46. Syracuse, N.Y. (-18)

47. Colorado Springs-Pueblo, Colo. (-3)

48. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (-5)

49. Honolulu (-7)

50. Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C. (-5) 

Bed bugs are not necessarily a sign of uncleanliness. They have been found in upscale homes and hotels, movie theaters, schools and in public transit.

Homeowners, tenants and travelers all over the world should take the precautions to help prevent bed bugs:

At Home:

Inspect your home for signs of bed bugs regularly. Check locations where bed bugs hide during the day, including furniture, mattress seams and bed sheets, as well as behind baseboards, electrical outlets and picture frames.

Decrease clutter around your home to make bed bug inspections and detection much easier.

Inspect and quarantine all secondhand furniture before bringing it inside your home.

Dry potentially infested bed linens, curtains and stuffed animals on the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric.

During travel, remember the acronym S.L.E.E.P to inspect for bed bugs:

Survey the hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for red or brown spots on sheets.

Lift and look in bed bug hiding spots: the mattress, box spring, sheets and furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.

Elevate luggage on a rack away from the bed and wall. The safest places are in the bathroom or on counters.

Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home from a trip.

Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting after you return home.

While bed bugs are not known to spread human diseases like many other pests and some people have no reaction to bed bug bites, others may experience itchy red welts and swelling.

Since a resurgence in the late 1990s, bed bugs persist as a problem across the United States. According to recent surveys by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), 99.6 percent of pest professionals surveyed treated for bed bugs in 2015 and one out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel.

#SayNOtoPesticides!

Bed Bugs Have Heat Sensors – Heat CAN Spread Bed Bugs and Pesticides Linked to CANcer

Bed Bug Outbreak at Retirement Center for Seniors in Spokane – Legal Action Next

By Grace Ditzler | Oct 02 2015  

SPOKANE, Wash. – They’re creepy and crawly and the last thing you’d want to find in your home.  Some residents in a Spokane senior housing complex say their building is infested with bed bugs, and that their property managers aren’t handling the situation correctly.  The residents at Clare View South believe the property managers should be doing more to check and treat for bed bugs, but the property manager explains they are doing what they can.

“After I started having problems four months ago with active bites and welts, I found out it was introduced into the complex about a year ago,” said resident Marty Hicks.

“I started getting bit up,” said resident Toni Mastronarde. “My whole left arm was covered in bites.”

Clare View South property manager Patricia Webster said there has been an increase of bed bugs at the complex.

“To date, we’ve treated seven units for bed bugs here at Clare House,” she explained.

But Webster says they are doing what they can to pro-actively and responsibly address the situation.

“When we first started to receive the complaints, we sent those out to a professional pest control extermination company, and since then, we’ve purchased about $10,000 worth of heat treating equipment,” she said.

Webster said if they find bed bugs in an apartment, Clare View maintenance staff will use the heating equipment to treat the apartment.

“They don’t have official training in exterminating, but they do have training in the heat treat equipment,” she said.

If there is still a problem, property managers will bring in a professional exterminator, but the residents believe the problem won’t go away until Clare View brings in professional exterminators to treat the entire building, not just individual rooms.

“[Maintenance staff doesn’t] look for them in a proper way,” Mastronarde said. “They don’t know what they’re doing, and everybody is inconvenienced and miserable.”

Pointe Pest Control says trying to get rid of these bugs on your own can be very difficult.

“In an apartment complex you have common walls, common plumbing, common electricity,” said Raymond Vanderlouw with Pointe Pest Control. “So if you do a treatment in one apartment there’s a chance you can get them in other apartments.”

These residents hope the bed bugs will move out soon, so they can stop feeling like they have to.

Some of the residents are now considering legal action against Clare View because of the bed bug problem. They also say Clare View has charged residents for the bed bug treatments, but property manager Patricia Webster says to date, only one person has been charged.

Clare View management explained it will have professional exterminators come assess the bed bug situation on Monday, October 5.

WE MUST STOP SAYING THAT BED BUGS ARE NOT DANGEROUS WHEN IN FACT, BED BUGS CAUSE DEADLY DISEASES

npr-home

Your Roommate In The Nursing Home Might Be A Bedbug

Hospitals seem to be doing a better job than nursing homes of keeping bedbugs at bay.

Hospitals seem to be doing a better job than nursing homes of keeping bedbugs at bay.

If you’re in the hospital or a nursing home, the last thing you want to be dealing with is bedbugs. But exterminators saying they’re getting more and more calls for bedbug infestations in nursing homes, hospitals and doctor’s offices.

Nearly 60 percent of pest control professionals have found bedbugs in nursing homes in the past year, according to an industry survey, up from 46 percent in 2013. Bedbug reports in other medical facilities have gone up slightly. Thirty-six percent of exterminators reported seeing them in hospitals, up from 33 percent. Infestations seen in doctors’ offices rose from 26 percent to 33 percent in the past two years.

“Nursing homes would be difficult to treat for the simple reason you don’t use any pesticides there,” says Billy Swan, an exterminator who runs a pest-control company in New York City. That and the fact that there’s a lot more stuff. “Somebody’s gotta wash and dry all the linens, you know, and all their personal artifacts and picture frames.”

Those personal belongings might help account for the big disparity in infestations between nursing homes and hospitals, according to Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price, an epidemiologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin who studies infection control in health care facilities. “The more things you bring with you, the more likely you’re bringing bedbugs, if you have a bedbug problem… and you live in a nursing home, so all your things are there.”

By contrast, “When bedbugs are located in a hospital, they’re usually confined to a couple of hospital rooms,” Munoz-Price says.

And it may be easier for hospital staff to spot bedbugs.

“Hospital cleaning staff, nurses, doctors are extremely vigilant,” says Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, which conducted the survey along with the University of Kentucky. “[Bedbugs] don’t go unnoticed for long.”

And hospitals are typically brightly lit, routinely cleaned places. It’s just much easier to find pests in this setting than in a dark movie theater, where only 16 percent of pest professionals report seeing bedbugs, according to the survey.

Fredericks says the recent multiplication of bedbug reports in medical facilities is just a part of a larger trend. Exterminators have been finding more of the bugs everywhere the parasites are most commonly found like hotels, offices, and homes, where virtually 100 percent of pest control professionals have treated bedbugs in the past year. And they’ve been popping up in a few unexpected places, too, like a prosthetic leg and in an occupied casket.

“There are a lot of theories as to why they’ve made a comeback,” Fredericks says. It could be differences in pest management practices, insecticide resistance, or just increased travel. “Bottom line is nobody knows what caused it, but bedbugs are back.” He falters for a moment. “And they’re most likely here to stay.”

The good news is bedbugs aren’t known to transmit any diseases, and a quick inspection under mattresses or in the odd nook or cranny while traveling can lower the risk of picking the hitchhiking bugs up. Swan says a simple wash or freezing will kill any bedbug. “If you came home, took off all your clothes, put ’em in a bag – you’d never bring a bedbug home,” he says. “But who does that?”

At least one reporter might start.

May 22, 2015 | Angus Chen

Bed Bugs in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities — A Serious Problem

Bed bugs are a growing problem in nursing homes and elderly care – assisted living centers across the Country.

Why Bed Bugs in Nursing Homes are Dangerous

Nursing Home Elderly Neglect InformationWhen a nursing home patient gets bed bugs they are more likely to suffer from a subsequent infection. Infections can rapidly spread at nursing homes if left improperly treated. Bed bug bites can develop into rashes and chaff causing bleeding and swelling, which can become infected. These infections can develop into serious issues if not properly cared for.

Nursing homes are required to properly inspect and treat for bed bugs found at a facility which they own or operate. Since a number of patients can come in and out of their facilities, it is not uncommon for bed bugs to be found on the property. However, some nursing homes are negligent in the care of their patients and fail to properly safeguard against these conditions. When a nursing homes fail to put into place safeguards and safety measures to correct or remedy these issues they will be considered liable for injuries sustained as a result.

Liability for Injuries – Can I sue Nursing Home for Bed Bug Bite Infestations

Who is liable for injuries when bed bugs are contracted at a nursing home? A nursing home will be liable when bed bugs are contracted by a patient. Courts will determine whether they had knowledge and whether they took proper precautions when dealing with the issue. “Many facilities will ignore the problem”, says Farid Yaghoubtil attorney with Downtown L.A. Law Group. “They rely on lack of knowledge as a tool. Since many people may not know that the swelling is a bed bug bite, it is easy to get around the issue. In other cases we have seen facilities flat out deny or lie about having any knowledge only to find out they did.”

In many cases nursing homes know of this issue since patients are regularly checked on by trained staff, particularly at skilled nursing facilities. These issues are reported by nurses to management, who either abruptly discharges the patient or fails to do anything to correct the issue. In such cases the nursing home will be considered liable for the injuries caused by their negligence.

Steps to Take if Your Loved One has Suffered Bed Bug Bites in a Nursing Home or Elderly Assisted Living Center

If you or your loved one were bit by bed bugs in a nursing home you need to take the following steps to secure your case.

1. Take photos of your body and where the bites took place;
2. Do not make any statements to the insurance company representing the nursing home;
3. Document all of your losses;
4. Seek immediate medical attention to prevent the spread of infection;
5. Speak to a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss your case.

Downtown L.A. Law Group

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Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

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