The Odor You Smelled May Be Warning You Of Bed Bugs Infestation

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES | January 8, 2020 |By Snow Digon 

  • Bed bugs are a problem that  confronts thousands of homes all over the world
  • There are certain signs that will tell you of an ongoing infestation
  • You might have already “smelled” the distinct odor that denotes the existence of bed bugs

Sometimes, you can tell what room you are in just by its smell. Kitchens normally emit the scent of food, while bathrooms usually take on the smell of soap. Smelling a musty odor in your bedroom, however, is something else and should cause you to worry.

One of the biggest problems a home could have is the proliferation of bed bugs. While you may keep your rooms clean at all times, the parasites which may have stuck to your clothes as you sat on the train could spread in your house. In fact, bed bugs that can invade your house may come not only from train seats but also from planes, hotels, and many other places.

In general, bed bugs would take seven weeks to grow from an egg into an adult. This means that if you discover a bed bug infestation in one of the rooms in your house, it may have been there for over seven weeks.

To make matters worse, studies have shown that these tiny parasites have developed resistance to several chemical treatments. This makes their eradication or elimination a bit difficult.

Since the late 1990s, the spread of bed bugs has been increasing at a rapid pace. Today, there is practically no country on the planet that does not have a bed bug problem.bed bugs, signs, odorbed bugs, signs, odor Photo: danydory – Pixabay

Households in the UK report an unabated increase in bed bug infestation since the year 2006. Compounding the problem is the failure of many residents to report bed bug infestation in their homes because of shame.
What these residents do instead is to buy do-it-yourself chemical treatments and make an attempt to get rid of the parasites themselves. While there may have been a few that became successful at this effort, most have failed.

A Rapid Increase

Bed bug infestations start when a mated female managed to sneak inside your home. They then lay eggs at a pace of around three per day. If there is sufficient food available, that is, the blood on your body, they may be able to lay over 300 eggs in the female bug’s lifetime. According to Colonial Pest Control, their tiny white eggs oftentimes are stuck to isolated surfaces and usually near a host. They hatch within ten days.

They need approximately a month and a half to two months to transform from an egg to an adult bed bug that can mate. They then live for approximately ten months to more than a year, even without a host.

A Telltale Smell

You can always tell if there’s a bed bug infestation in one of the rooms in your house. Like many other bug species, these tiny parasites emit odors referred to as alarm pheromones. When they get disturbed, you may start noticing a sweet or musty odor; in some instances, it may smell like coriander. This odor may also be coming from the bugs’ fecal material. Bed bugs have been found to be very sociable, and oftentimes, male adults want to mate with females constantly.

Getting Rid Of the Parasites

It is highly recommended to regularly clean linens, beddings, curtains, clothing, and similar materials in hot water. You also need to set your dryer setting to maximum when drying the clothes and other materials.

For mattresses, you need to use a stiff brush to remove bed eggs and bugs off the seams before vacuuming them. You also need to vacuum the bed and its surrounding area frequently. If there are cracks in plaster around the bed, try to immediately repair them so they will not serve as hiding places for the parasites.

Bedbugs bite Wednesday night rush under Queens Boulevard

In this file photo, subway riders wait on the platform of the Forest Hills 71st Avenue station in Forest Hills.
In this file photo, subway riders wait on the platform of the Forest Hills 71st Avenue station in Forest Hills. (Xanthos Julia/Xanthos Julia)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | Jan 22, 2020 | by Clayton Guse and Bill Sanderson

A bedbug infestation in an underground subway workspace slowed the homeward commutes of thousands of straphangers Wednesday night on the Queens Boulevard line.

E, F, M and R service were affected by the delays that started around 4:30 p.m., the MTA said.

The problem arose in a subway control tower at the Forest Hills/71st St. station, said MTA NYC Transit president Andy Byford.

When an employee reported seeing bedbugs in the tower, “we immediately took action to fumigate the tower, which resulted in an evacuation until tower staff were able to safely return at approximately 7:30 p.m,” Byford said in a statement.

Towers are places where railroad staff control switches that route trains. The subways use the word tower to describe such control facilities even though they are underground.

Because the Forest Hills/71st St. tower was evacuated, there was no subway staff available to turn around trains on the M and R lines, which end their runs at the station.

That forced the trains to be rerouted, and turned around further east on Queens Boulevard.

NYCT Subway

@NYCTSubway

At approximately 4:30pm, our management team requested a fumigation of the Continental Master Control Tower, which we immediately commenced. All of our personnel were evacuated from the tower.

NYCT Subway

@NYCTSubway

Continental is where the track switches at 71 Av are controlled. Without human operators, our ability to turn trains around at the terminal was compromised. That caused severe disruptions along the E, F, M, and R lines.

“We apologize for the inconvenience to our customers as we worked to address the issue and ensure the safety of our employees,” Byford said.

The problem was finally cleared up at around 8:30 p.m.

Byford said the problem wasn’t expected to affect the morning commute.

Staten Island NYCHA residents file nearly 2,000 roach and bedbug complaints in first 9 months of 2019

Stapleton Houses

Stapleton houses shown on July 10, 2018. Data obtained from the New York City Housing Authority showed Stapleton had the highest number of bedbug and roach complaints of any development on Staten Island. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

SILIVE | January 14, 2020 | by Paul Liotta

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Staten Islanders residing in developments operated by the New York City Housing Authority filed nearly 2,000 bedbug and roach complaints in the first nine months of last year.

NYCHA data obtained by the Legal Aid Society shows nearly 60,000 such complaints across the city in the same time period. On average, those complaints were closed within 10 days — something the Legal Aid Society’s Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit Judith Goldiner pointed to as good news.

To continue addressing the issue and others facing NYCHA tenants, Goldiner called for more funding for the authority, particularly on the state level.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/South Brooklyn) has advocated for tenants with both city and federal officials. In March, she was accompanied by the regional director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Lynn Patton, for a tour of the New Lane Area and South Beach NYCHA developments.

“In the 2018-2019 State Budget, we invested $250 million to improve conditions at NYCHA including mold, lead, bug infestation,” Malliotakis wrote in an email Monday. “The real question is what is NYCHA doing with the money because we can’t keep throwing more money into a blackhole.”

Malliotakis, HUD head tour borough NYCHA buildings, call conditions a ‘national disaster’

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore-Staten Island) and Lynn Patton, regional head of Housing and Urban Development, visited the New Lane Senior Center in Rosebank on Friday, March 22, 2019. (Staten Island Advance/ Kristin Dalton)

State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) echoed Malliotakis’ concerns about NYCHA management. Neither elected official said whether they would heed the call for more state funding to the housing authority.

“My colleagues and I, year after year, led the charge for increased funding for NYCHA,” Savino said. “This is a continuous management problem — just like with mold and faulty pipes. NYCHA needs to take these quality of life and health issues more seriously.”

Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Mid-Island) said he believes the insect infestations are “emblematic of decades-old challenges facing the housing complexes.”

“While I am encouraged that NYCHA has decreased the time it takes to address these infestations, I will continue to support increased funding and accountability for NYCHA in Albany,” he said.

Up until Sept. 4, Staten Islanders residing in NYCHA developments filed 1,839 complaints, and had average wait times of about eight days. Of those complaints, 143 were for bedbugs, according to the data.

Both the Cassidy-Lafayette and South Beach NYCHA developments had high levels of bedbug complaints. Of the 119 complaints at Cassidy-Lafayette, 40 were for bedbugs. Of the 188 complaints at South Beach, 35 were for bedbugs.

The remainder of the borough’s NYCHA developments had the following numbers:

  • Berry — 169 complaints, 9 for bedbugs
  • Mariners Harbor — 176 complaints, 11 for bedbugs
  • New Lane Area — 102 complaints, 11 for bedbugs
  • Richmond Terrace — 187 complaints, one for bedbugs
  • Todt Hill — 189 complaints, 10 for bedbugs
  • West Brighton I & II — 205 complaints, 11 for bedbugs

State Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) said he would consider increased state funding, but that NYCHA would first need to prove that management of its facilities is “on the right track.”

A NYCHA spokeswoman said their internal numbers show improvements to closed bedbug and roach work orders, and the time it takes to close bedbug orders, something she attributed to its new Integrated Pest Management system.

However, that system has also contributed to the increased wait time for roach complaints. Visits take longer, but result in fewer complaints due to increased prevention efforts, according to NYCHA.

Instead of simply spraying for roaches, exterminators are taking more care at developments by looking for holes, caulking and vacuuming. Bedbug wait times were not affected by these changes, because NYCHA treats them and rats as emergencies.

“NYCHA is working closely with the Federal Monitor on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques and a Pest Action Plan, as per the January 2019 agreement,” NYCHA spokeswoman Rochel Leah Goldblatt said.

In January 2019, the city reached a deal with HUD that allowed the department to install a monitor overseeing NYCHA’s management and required the city to make an additional investment of $2 billion over five years.

City estimates have put NYCHA’s capital need just over $30 billion.

Assemblyman Charles Fall (D-North Shore) said financial support is needed from all levels of government.

“No one wants their mother, brother, or child living in the horrendous conditions that are described by NYCHA residents; nor should we as elected officials want this for our constituents,” Fall said.

“Furthermore, we must ensure that NYCHA is held accountable; meaning all funds must be allocated sensibly and utilized to dramatically transform the shameful living conditions residents continue to describe.”

NYC public housing residents log 60,000 complaints for bedbugs and roaches

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS JAN 12, 2020  by Michael Gartland

The Grant Houses in Harlem had the most overall creepy crawler complaints with 981 — 877 of which were for roaches.

The Grant Houses in Harlem had the most overall creepy crawler complaints with 981 — 877 of which were for roaches. (New York Daily News Illustration)

Welcome to Bed Bug City.

Over the last two years, New York City Housing Authority residents filed approximately 200,000 complaints pleading for relief from bedbug and roach infestations, NYCHA data shows.

The Grant Houses in Harlem had the most overall creepy complaints over the first nine months of 2019 with 1,000 — 894 of which were for roaches.

The Pomonok Houses in Queens had the highest number of bedbug work orders during that period at 156. The Wagner Houses and Grant Houses didn’t trail far behind with 129 and 106 bedbug jobs for each complex respectively.

The Pomonok Houses in Queens had 156 bedbug cases - the most in the first first nine months of 2019.

The Pomonok Houses in Queens had 156 bedbug cases – the most in the first first nine months of 2019. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News) 

The statistics on roach and bedbug complaints between Jan. and Sept. 2019 came through a Freedom of Information request filed with NYCHA by the Legal Aid Society, which shared the data with the Daily News. The agency also shared data on insect complaints from 2018.

Tyrone Bell, tenant association president at the St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem, said people haven’t complained to him about bedbugs, but he wasn’t surprised that his complex had the 5th highest number of gripes, given other issues there like rats, mold and faulty elevators.

“There are plenty of problems,” he said. “This development needs a lot of work.”

Judith Goldiner, Legal Aid’s attorney-in-charge of civil law reform, described the number of infestation work orders as “troubling,” and cited it as just another reason she and others are calling on Albany to put $2 billion in additional funding toward NYCHA.

The Wagner Houses on First Ave. in Manhattan had 129 bedbug cases in the first nine months of last year.

The Wagner Houses on First Ave. in Manhattan had 129 bedbug cases in the first nine months of last year. (Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News)

The bug numbers were not all bad news though, according to Goldiner.

On average it took NYCHA about nine days to fully address the complaints — a detail she views as a good sign.

“This is a clear byproduct of more staff on the ground and resources,” she explained. “With the legislature now in session, we again call for increased funding for public housing authorities to address these problems and others facing tenants.”

A NYCHA spokeswoman pointed to a downward trend over the last two years when it comes to critter complaints, noting that the authority has hired 20 new exterminators over the last year.

Bedbug beefs dipped from 12,220 in 2018 to 10,343 in 2019; and closed work orders for roaches dipped from 87,400 in 2018 to 84,516 last year. The time it took, on average, to address bedbugs also went down from 13.3 days in 2018 to 9.7 days in 2019, but roach complaints took slightly longer in 2019, about a day more on average.

“Our trends show an improvement in closed bedbug and roach work orders,” said NYCHA spokeswoman Rochel Goldblatt. She noted that the longer times for roach remediation stem from NYCHA’s new Integrated Pest Management system, which places an emphasis on more than band-aid solutions.

Instead of spraying for roaches, exterminators are looking for holes, caulking and vacuuming,” she said. “The bedbugs weren’t affected by the above trend because we treat them like an emergency and try to schedule them as soon as possible. This was updated in our system in July 2019, making rats and bedbugs a higher priority.”

The advocates’ ask for more state cash — at the beginning of this Albany legislative session — is part of a broader push to increase NYCHA funding. Tenant advocates are also demanding a $1 billion increase in NYCHA funding in the city budget and a $6 billion increase on the federal level.

Fiscal hawks describe such outlays as ill-advised given NYCHA’s track record of wasteful spending.

“NYCHA hasn’t been fundamentally reformed,” said E.J. McMahon, research director for the Empire Center for Public Policy.

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D- Brooklyn) agreed, but only so much. He said NYCHA deserves blame for past fiscal mismanagement, but added that it doesn’t mean government should continue to underfund it.

He pointed out that $2 billion is just a fraction of the more than $30 billion NYCHA now needs.

“It would not meet the entire deficit,” he said.

Bedbug infestation wreaking havoc at Paris hotels

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS JAN 10, 2020  by Storm Gifford

Bedbugs are ruining business for many Parisian hoteliers.

Bedbugs are ruining business for many Parisian hoteliers. (animatedfunk/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Quelle horreur!

Bedbugs, usually thought of as an American nuisance, are driving Parisians crazy with their appearance in hotels.

The pests, known as punaises de lit in France, are causing financial losses upwards of millions of euros for business owners in the French capital.

One Paris hotel group conceded that even ritzy hotels are falling victim to the pests — and the problem is worsening.

“It’s traumatizing hotel managers. We talk about it among ourselves, but timidly,” Jean-Marc D’Orx, the general president of a French hotel union, told Le Parisien. “The hotelier is a victim in this kind of case. It’s not that the hotel is dirty, but it has welcomed people who have brought the bedbugs with them.”

The number of reported bedbug cases in the nation has ballooned from 180,000 to 4000,000 in two short years, reported The Local.

And in 2018, there were 100,000 bedbug infestations just in Paris alone, according to the French Union for Pest Control.

Fearing massive financial losses and bad reputations, hotel managers also must shutter their establishments until the arrival of new beds and pest controls carry out inspections.

Bedbugs, usually only just 7 millimeters long, crave human blood. Bites can result in allergic reactions, skin rashes, and in some cases, psychological trauma.

One TripAdvisor commenter, who allegedly stayed at a Paris hotel in November, stated, “Bedbugs, no handling of the matter and no treatment. You’re better off sleeping in your car.”

 

Pill bottles full of bedbugs found in Walmart jacket, men’s department prompt investigation

USA TODAY | by Jordan Culver | January 7, 2019

It’s not uncommon to have an occasional influx of bedbugs at a motel. But at a Walmart?

That’s exactly what police in northwestern Pennsylvania are investigating after several of the creepy critters were found crawling around a Walmart men’s fitting room. Pill bottles containing the bugs were also found in the store.

Law enforcement officers believe the bugs were deliberately released into the Walmart near Erie. The motive isn’t known.

An employee at the Walmart in Edinboro, Pennsylvania, first found a closed pill bottle containing live bed bugs on Thursday, police said. The bottle was found inside a boy’s jacket, which was for sale.

The jacket was “disposed of” according to police, and Ecolab, a company focused on “clean water, safe food and healthy environments,” according to its website, came to the Walmart the next day. An Ecolab employee found and identified the bed begs in the men’s fitting room.

Police were alerted after a second closed pill bottle was found on Saturday. The second bottle contained several dead bed bugs and was found in the men’s department, near the belts, according to police.

“Our third-party pest management service has visited the store, and after conducting a thorough review found no evidence of an infestation,” a Walmart spokesperson said in an email to USA TODAY.

“We believe this to be an isolated incident and are taking all the necessary steps to help ensure a safe environment for customers and associates. We will continue working with law enforcement as they conduct their investigation.”

The second bottle found at the store has been submitted for forensic analysis, according to police. Surveillance video from the store is also under review. Police said Walmart verified the incident was “isolated” after reaching out to other stores in the area.

Bed bugs can be found worldwide, according to the CDC. They don’t spread disease, can live for “several months” without feeding and aren’t considered dangerous, but can infest areas where people sleep and their bites can trigger serious allergic reactions, the CDC says.

Family sues Disney, says BED BUGS bit them at resort, then went home with them.

disney-s-all-star-movies-800x400Stock Daily Dish – December 3, 2019

A Louisiana couple is suing Disney, claiming they took home some unwanted souvenirs — bedbugs — that infested their home and traumatized their autistic son during their stay at the All-Star Movies Resort last year.

Ashley and Robert LaCombe filed the lawsuit that was transferred into Orlando federal court this week. The suit seeks more than $75,000 in damages.

A Disney spokeswoman did not comment specifically on the allegations other than the company would respond appropriately in court.

Ashley LaCombe, a commercial Realtor, and her husband, who runs a welding business, said they were on a five-day vacation in April 2018 when they began feeling itchy and red.

After they returned to their home in a parish north of New Orleans, they realized they had been bitten by “numerous” bedbugs, the lawsuit said.

The bedbugs bit them hundreds of times, leaving scars, said their New Orleans attorney Jennifer Greene.

The lawsuit says they ed Disney, and employees confirmed there were bedbugs in their hotel, a value resort near the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.

“The bedbugs from the Disney Hotel traveled with the LaCombes on their luggage, clothing, and personal belongings, infesting their home in Louisiana,” the lawsuit said.

The LaCombes accused Disney of not disclosing there was a problem with bedbugs and not keeping the hotel free of infestations, according to the lawsuit first filed last year in U.S. District Court’s eastern Louisiana division.

The couple said they hired an exterminator to kill the bugs at their home, which forced them to find another place to stay. They threw away infected furniture and belongings and the couple also had to take time off work to deal with the situation. The stress also hurt their 5-year-old child, who has autism, the lawsuit said.

“The LaCombes experienced and continue to experience additional mental anguish and stress as they cannot enjoy their home,” according to the lawsuit. “Family members and friends cannot visit due to the risk of acquiring the bedbug infestation.”

The bugs are still a problem and returned even after the home has been fumigated, Greene said.

“It’s unfortunate for a family to deal with after going to the happiest place on Earth,” Greene said

Bedbugs a problem at OKC building that houses important state agencies

NEWS4 | by Chase Horn | November 21, 2019

OKC

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For the past two months, the Oliver Hodge building, which houses the Oklahoma Department of Education, Office of Management and Enterprise Services, Oklahoma Teacher Retirement and the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, has been fighting off bedbugs.

An email detailing the situation to employees was shared with News 4.

The email was sent on September 25, letting employees know they were planning a broad-spectrum pest spray treatment for the entire building.

“You`re going to first go in and inspect and determine what kind of pest do I have here,” ABC Home & Commercial Operations Manager Clayton Schiegg told News 4. “Broad-spectrum will kill anything, be it bedbugs, roaches, ants.”

Two weeks later another email was sent to employees confirming that there were bed bugs in the building. Fighting bedbugs are routine for exterminators, but fighting them in a building that large is never easy.

“It’s difficult because you don`t know where they are coming from at that point,” Schiegg said. “Anyone visiting the building could be bringing re-infesting the building.”

Another concern when dealing with a building like the Oliver Hodge building, is the amount of people that come in and out of there on a daily basis.

“They are definitely hitchhikers. So they come in on a person’s beanie, a purse – just like I stated – backpacks,” Schiegg said. “You name it, they can hitchhike on those items.”

The Department did not want to go on camera, but did send News 4 this statement.

The State Department of Education has taken all appropriate precautions to address this situation. The Hodge building has been treated for pests multiple times in recent weeks, and an area of the building will be resprayed on Friday.

We have had visual confirmation of five bugs over the past several weeks, and recently two individuals have reported bites that may or may not be consistent with bedbugs. There is no evidence of an actual infestation.

We have been in constant contact with our landlord, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services Facilities Management Division, which is in charge of pest control management and other building management issues.

Union demands action as bedbug problem spreads to new federal building

These are not isolated cases,’ says PSAC after bugs found at Tunney’s Pasture

Jeanne

As a Tunney’s Pasture tower becomes the latest government building in the National Capital Region flagged for bedbugs, Canada’s largest federal workers’ union is demanding a more proactive strategy to deal with the pests.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) says bedbugs have now been identified in buildings in Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal, Hamilton, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Milton, Ont.

  • Signs of bed bugs spotted at 2 more federal buildings

CBC has learned that one office tower at Tunney’s Pasture — the Jeanne Mance Building, whose primary tenant is Health Canada — is the latest to be monitored.

“I would like to inform you of the activities that are taking place in the building in order to respond to an incident where one bedbug was found on the 12th floor,” wrote Stefania Trombetti of the Responsible Building Authority Thursday, in an email to workers obtained by CBC.

“We are making arrangements for high-heat steaming of the immediate area where the bedbug was found and we are considering additional measures.”

The insect was “eliminated,” Trombetti added.

This email sent by Stefania Trombetti on Oct. 24 outlines the steps being taken to stave off a potential bedbug problem at the Jeanne Mance Building. (Supplied)

Growing problem

It’s been a bad month for bedbugs in federal buildings.

Trombetti’s note came the same week Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), which manages government properties, told some Employment and Social Development Canada employees to work from home Friday.

That request was made so that a pest control company could deal with a bedbug problem at 22 Eddy St. in Gatineau.

PSPC also revealed bedbugs had been spotted on the 16th floor of the Jean Edmonds Tower at 300 Slater St. in Ottawa.

Hundreds of federal public servants also had to work from home earlier this month to allow for bedbug treatments at 70 Crémazie Street in Gatineau — an infestation that had gone on for more than a year.

Magali Picard, national executive vice-president of PSAC, wants the federal government to proactively fight bedbugs in their buildings by, among other things, letting sniffer dogs track them down. (CBC)

‘Not isolated cases’

“These are not isolated cases,” said Magali Picard, PSAC’s national executive vice-president.

  • Bed bugs found inside immigration offices at Guy-Favreau
  • Gatineau office building treated for bedbugs

“Employees have a right to feel safe at work, and they’re rightfully worried about bringing bedbugs home with them and affecting their families, which is having an impact on their mental health,” said Picard in a statement to CBC.

The union would like the federal government to start proactively inspecting its buildings with sniffer dogs, while also creating a registry of buildings contaminated by pests.

They’re also asking them to:

  • Cover fumigation expenses for workers in infested buildings who bring bugs home.
  • Give them the technological ability to work from home if pests become a problem at their buildings.
  • Allow workers stay home after fumigation until a follow-up inspection has been made.
  • Teach them how to identify and report a bedbug problem.

Finally, PSAC said it wants to see the government stop attacking the problem one floor at a time, and fumigate entire buildings when problems persist.

‘It’s worrying’

Some employees who read the note told CBC their biggest fear is bringing bedbugs home.

“It’s worrying,” said one woman as she left the building Friday.

“It’s hard to know if you’ve got some on you or [if] you’re bringing them home. I have small children — I don’t want my kids to be subject to bedbugs in my own home.”

Trombetti wrote in her email that the building’s property management team and the workplace health and safety committees were both “taking this issue seriously.”

“As a precaution, we have installed pheromone glue traps on the floor to monitor the situation,” she wrote.

Penn State Developing Poultry Bedbug Control

595fae945773a.image

Lancaster Farming | by Courtney Love, Philip Gruber |Oct 25, 2019

Penn State researchers are reformulating an exterminator spray to combat bedbugs in chicken houses.

Entomology professor Nina Jenkins started developing the biopesticide Aprehend in 2011 and, with her team, commercialized the product in 2017.

The product was originally meant for places like homes and hotels, where bedbugs can be a hard-to-kill nuisance.

Jenkins spoke about the project in an Oct. 8 call with PennAg Industries Association.

When they hitchhike into poultry houses, bedbugs bite the chickens to drink their blood. In heavy infestations, the birds may experience feather loss, lesions and anemia.

Bedbugs are tricky to manage because they can feed on many animals, including rodents, and they are developing resistance to common pyrethroid insecticides.

“You only need one to survive to re-establish,” Jenkins said.

Aprehend is not a pyrethroid. It is an oil-based spray that contains Beauveria bassiana, a fungus that infects the bedbug’s blood system and kills it. The fungus spreads readily among bedbugs but does not infect humans.

The product, available only to licensed pest control operators, works in dark, undisturbed household settings for up to three months.

Poultry buildings don’t provide such ideal conditions.

“It’s going to be an issue with feather dust and dander,” Jenkins said.

Before Aprehend can get to poultry houses, Machtinger and Jenkins need to secure funding. The product must also go through the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval process, which could take 18 months.

Aprehend would be just one part of a broader integrated pest management approach to bedbugs.

Poultry houses should have dedicated worker clothing that is run through a dryer, washed in hot water and then dried again.

Workers should also have designated shoes for poultry house use and practice good biosecurity, said Gregory Martin, a Penn State Extension educator.

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