Study Suggests What We Already Feared: Bedbugs May Be Getting Stronger

Goodnight.jpg

April 15, 2016 | Steven Hoffer Senior Editor | The Huffington Post

In case your phobia of bedbugs wasn’t torturous enough, here comes a new study that suggests the pesky insects are getting stronger.

Researchers in Australia found the bedbugs with a thicker “skin” are more resistant to common pesticides. The pests are becoming more prevalent, and the scientists hypothesized that these thicker exoskeletons could be one reason why.

The study, published in the journal Plos One on Wednesday, found that the thicker the exoskeleton, or cuticle, of a bedbug, the more time it took to “knock down” the insect — which was defined as the bugs not being able to get back up when they were stunned or knocked out by pesticides.

“The new findings reveal that one way bed bugs beat insecticides is by developing a thicker ‘skin,’” David Lily, a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney and a co-author of the study, said in a statement.

Be it pesticides or insults, this BED BUG couldn’t care less!  Photo: AP

The scientists studied the bedbugs using a pyrethroid insecticide, a class of chemicals that bedbugs have become increasingly resistant to, Lilly told Newsweek.

The researchers found that the mean cuticle thickness of a bedbug positively correlated to the time it took to “knockdown,” with significant differences between bugs knocked down within two hours, four hours, and those that were still unaffected at 24 hours, according to the study.

And in case you’re thinking “Didn’t I already know this?” that’s because you did. In January, another study conducted in the U.S. found that the bugs are becoming resistant to other pesticides.

Deep breaths. Sleep tight and Be afraid…be very afraid.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Back in 2011 we had alarming find: Bedbugs with ‘superbug’ germs MRSA and VRE

BBB

May 14, 2011 | by Christian Nordqvist | MNT, Medical News Today

Not only are there more bed bugs about in North America in Europe, but more of them appear to be carrying two types of superbugs – methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) – bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and very hard to treat when there is an infection.

Staph infection caused by MRSA is extremely difficult to treat because it is resistant to most antibiotics, including oxacillin, peicillin, methicillin, amoxicillin, and even methicillin.

VRE bacteria are resistant to vancomycin, an antibiotic. They are strains of the genus Enterococcus.

Bed bugs, also known as Cimex lectularius (Cimicidae) are tiny wingless insects that feed exclusively on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. During their evolution they have become common nest parasites, infesting bird nests and bat roosts. Some bed bugs have learnt how to thrive in our nests, meaning our homes, and especially our beds. A baby bed bug is called a nymph and is about the size of a poppy seed. Adults reach about ¼ of an inch in length. They have an oval, flattened shape. Both adults and young are visible to the naked eye.

Bed bugs feed on us when we are asleep. As they feed we feel nothing, the process is painless. They inject a small amount of saliva into human skin while they feed. If they keep feeding on the same human night after night, that person can eventually develop a mild to intense allergic response to their saliva.

The study’s Canadian researchers wrote:

“Further studies are needed to characterize the association between S. aureus and bedbugs. Bed bug carriage of MRSA, and the portal of entry provided through feeding, suggests a plausible potential mechanism for passive transmission of bacteria during a blood meal. Because of the insect’s ability to compromise the skin integrity of its host, and the propensity for S. aureus to invade damaged skin, bed bugs may serve to amplify MRSA infections in impoverished urban communities.”
This latest report informs that the MRSA phenotype found in bed bugs is the same as those identified in many Eastside (Vancouver) patients infected with MRSA.

The scientists believe that the bed bugs probably promote the spread of MRSA in impoverished and overcrowded communities. The study took place in a poor part of Vancouver.

The researchers examined five bed bugs that had been taken from three patients staying at St. Paul’s Hospital – they all lived in Downtown Eastside, a poor part of Vancouver. In that part of Vancouver, MRSA infection incidence and cases of bed bugs had been rising steadily over the last few years. The scientists wanted to determine whether the two were linked.

They examined the bed bugs and found that three samples carried MRSA, while another two had VRE.

We still do not know whether the humans infected the bed bugs or the other way round. Further research is needed to determine where exactly on/in the bed bug the bacteria were – inside them or on their backs.

If bed bugs are able to carry and spread MRSA like the anopheles mosquito spreads malaria, we could be looking at a completely new vector of human disease.

Study author, Marc Romney, said:

“Even though this is a small study, it suggests that bedbugs may be playing a role in the transmission of MRSA in inner-city populations where bedbug infestations are a problem.”

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

How much evidence is needed ? Study released on effects of low dose pesticide poisoning…NYC

 

April 5, 2016 | by Michael Howell | Bitterroot Star

Local wildlife rehabilitator Judy Hoy is one of the authors cited in a study recently published in the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine which claims to demonstrate that even low doses of glyphosates, a chemical ingredient in many pesticides, can be considered a serious health problem. Lead author of the study is Nancy Swanson, PhD from Abacus Enterprises in Washington state, and Stephanie Seneff, from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. The article is entitled: “Evidence that glyphosate is a causative agent in chronic sub-clinical metabolic acidosis and mitochondrial dysfunction.”

The article claims that it is a well-established fact that ingesting large amounts of glyphosate causes metabolic acidosis and other pathophysiologic changes. Clinical signs of acute glyphosate poisoning include severe acidosis determined by low blood pH, hyperkalemia, hypernatremia, raised creatinine and blood urea levels, hypotension, hypoxemia and reduced serum bicarbonate. Severe poisoning causes dehydration, pneumonitis, oliguria, altered level of consciousness, hepatic dysfunction, pulmonary edema and dysrhythmias 1, 2, 3.

The authors go on to claim, however, that available scientific reports and records from the CDC examined and compared in their study provide overwhelming “circumstantial evidence” that ingestion of glyphosates in low doses also has serious health effects which are being overlooked in toxicology evaluations and public policy.

“How much evidence is needed?” they ask in the article.

“Taken together, this evidence suggests that glyphosate, in the doses equivalent to allowed residues in food ingested over a long period of time, causes a low-grade, chronic acidosis as well as mitochondrial dysfunction,” states the study.

They also provide evidence from the literature supporting the biochemical pathways whereby this occurs by extracting the reports for symptoms and diseases associated with glyphosate from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System database. These are compared to the symptoms and diseases reported in the database for drugs that are known to cause mitochondrial dysfunction. They call the results “startlingly consistent.”

Finally, they hypothesize that many modern diseases are primarily acquired mitochondrial disorders caused by chemical pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, food additives and industrial chemicals.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

If Yale can’t stop them nobody can! The Ivy League, Yale School of Medicine, has another BEDBUG infestation in dorm.

Sixth bedbug infestation hits grad dorm

April 5, 2016 | by David Yaffe-Belany and Victor Wang | Yale Daily News

A brewing controversy over the management of a series of bedbug infestations in a medical student dorm has forced the Yale School of Medicine to relocate dozens of visitors scheduled to arrive on campus this Thursday for an admitted-students event.

Around 30 admitted students were slated to spend the medical school’s Second Look Weekend, a three-day charm offensive designed to showcase the University’s appeal, in an on-campus housing facility that has suffered numerous bedbug infestations since October. The Medical Student Council met last week with administrators to ask that students be relocated to a nearby hotel after a new infestation was discovered Thursday on the eighth floor of Harkness Hall, a 172-bedroom complex located on Cedar Street directly across from Yale-New Haven Hospital. And in a Monday night email to the residents of Harkness Hall, MSC President Carrie Flynn MED ’23 confirmed that the students would stay at a local hotel at the expense of the medical school.

“Given the developing nature of this situation, we have decided that it is best to provide our accepted students with lodging in a hotel rather than Harkness,” Flynn wrote in the email.

She added in the email that the MSC plans to meet with Yale Housing and the Office of Facilities to iron out a more effective strategy for dealing with future bedbug infestations.

The infestation reported last week — the sixth since October — prompted the MSC to meet on Friday with the medical school’s Director of Admissions Richard Silverman and Admissions Administrative Assistant Barbara Watts to make the case for moving the visitors to a hotel. According to one MSC representative, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the topic, Silverman and Watts initially decided it would be safe to house the visiting students in Harkness, after receiving assurances from the building’s facilities superintendent, Robert Young, that the infestation was under control. Young declined to comment for this article.

But on Monday night, the admissions officers seemed to change their minds. The timing of the announcement coincided with the discovery of live bedbugs in the newly infested eighth-floor room during a follow-up inspection conducted on Monday.

“Although a careful examination of the room did not turn up any bugs, the exterminator decided to go a step further, and broke apart a plywood board that was under the mattress,” wrote Director of Graduate and Professional Student Housing George Longyear in a private email to a Harkness resident obtained by the News. “Inside the plywood board, bedbugs were found.”

In the same email, Longyear apologized for the stress the bedbug infestations have created for building residents and promised to do “everything possible to fix this situation.” Longyear did not respond to a phone call requesting comment on Monday.

The decision to relocate the visiting students to a hotel also came less than a day after News reporters contacted the medical school’s admissions department with questions about the admitted students slated to sleep in Harkness Hall.

“Admissions seemed to vacillate back and forth between taking Facilities’ word that everything was under control, versus our concerns that it isn’t,” said Kayla Isaacs MED ’19, a building resident who has closely followed the bedbug issue. “I don’t know if the impending Yale Daily News article was ultimately the reason they made this decision, but it certainly provided the situation with an extra tinge of urgency. It raised the stakes.”

Silverman and Watts did not return numerous emails and phone calls requesting comment.

Isaacs added that it would have been a public-relations “disaster” for the University to house admitted medical students in a building with a history of bedbug infestations.

“It makes no sense to take even a slight chance of having an admitted student bring bedbugs home from Yale’s Second Look,” Isaacs said. “Or to have admitted students discussing on [the online forum] Student Doctor Network the administration’s failure to protect them from unwittingly staying in a building with an ongoing bedbug problem that Admissions knew about.”

According to Harkness residents, the housing and facilities administrators’ inadequate response to previous bedbug infestations in the building raised significant doubts over whether the problem had been sufficiently contained. One resident, who said her room on the eighth floor became infested in October, complained that administrators have done a poor job communicating with residents about best practices for catching infestations.

The resident, who asked to remain anonymous because of the stigma attached to bedbugs, added that many students living in Harkness Hall feel the housing and facilities team has handled the problem with “mismanagement or even negligence.”

The resident described an incident in February in which administrators allowed a student whose room was infested to move to a different floor along with all her possessions, many of which were teeming with bedbugs. The decision to transport the belongings, which the resident described as “gross incompetence,” caused a new infestation on a different floor of the building. The student, who declined to comment on the broader bedbug issue, confirmed that her belongings carried the bedbugs to a previously uninfested floor.

“I believe Facilities is trying, but everything I’ve observed over the past few months suggests to me that they are in over their head,” the resident said. “We have been told multiple times that the problem has been resolved, only to have reports of a new room that has been affected. As far as I am concerned, if the problem is spreading, it is not under control.”

The first bedbug infestation in Harkness Hall was discovered on the eighth floor in early October. Two other rooms in the same hallway reported infestations a few days later, and a fourth was discovered in February. The fifth eighth-floor infestation was reported late last week in a different part of the same hallway that housed the first four infestations.

None of the visiting admitted students were slated to sleep on either the eighth or 10th floor of Harkness Hall. But the prospect of housing admitted students in any part of a building infested by bedbugs was apparently enough to convince the admissions office to move the visiting students.

It can be tremendously difficult to exterminate bedbugs, parasitic insects that feed on human blood and whose bites produce uncomfortable rashes. The insects, which reproduce quickly and can easily spread to adjacent rooms, thrive in bedspreads, clothing and the tiny nooks and crannies between floor and wall.

CT Pest, the pest-control company paid by the University to exterminate the bedbugs, used a heating treatment to combat the first round of infestations in October, in line with official University protocol. But the company switched to a different method to eliminate the later infestations, using the nontoxic silica dust pesticide to clear each room. Longyear confirmed in a March 2 email to a building resident that the Office of Facilities had revised its bedbug protocol after meeting with a prominent insect expert who recommended the silica dust approach.

Longyear told the same resident in an Oct. 15 email that bedbug outbreaks are generally “few and far between” at Yale.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Woman warns – her dog was given ‘kiss of death’ from Kissing Bug bite

April 3, 2016 | by Nestor Mato | CBS 4 News

Many triatomine bugs carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease.

San Benito woman warns about potentially deadly Chagas disease spread by ‘kissing bug’

For Lisa Leal’s dog, a bug bite became the kiss of death.

A triatomine bug — commonly called a kissing bug — bit her 8-month-old dog.”I feel bad because she’s been given, literally, a death sentence,” said Leal, who lives in San Benito.

Many triatomine bugs carry the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease.

“The bugs are found in houses made from materials such as mud, adobe, straw, and palm thatch. During the day, the bugs hide in crevices in the walls and roofs,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. “During the night, when the inhabitants are sleeping, the bugs emerge. Because they tend to feed on people’s faces, triatomine bugs are also known as ‘kissing bugs.'”

Chagas disease may later cause intestinal and cardiac complications, including sudden death.

Leal’s dog is already suffering heart problems.

Veterinarian Noel Ramirez said there’s no sure way to avoid Chagas disease.

“It happens within city limits. It happens out in the country,” Ramirez said. “There’s not a whole lot of prevention that we can do.”

In humans, Chagas disease can be diagnosed with a blood test. Treatment varies depending on the symptoms.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

What happened to the bees? If other countries around the world (and now some states in the U.S.) are banning these pesticides WHY is Massachusetts not doing their due diligence/finding the truth?

March 30, 2016 | by Cherise Hoak | Wicked Local Westport News

It seems as though the divide between the beekeepers and the state is still growing and the big elephant in the room is the use of pesticide poisoning.

Although the beekeepers have seen firsthand the effects of the pesticides on their hives, it seems the state is still in denial when it comes to the truth.

Currently, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is attempting to adopt a “Pollinator Protection Plan” and is holding “listening” sessions in various locations in order to get input from the various beekeepers and farmers that this plan would impact.

The beekeepers, on one hand, have written up their own “Pollinator Protection Plan” and are asking the state to adopt their plan instead of what the state is trying to implement. Each plan has its own merits and each group thinks their plan is for the best practice. It does not seem, in the long run, that either side will get anywhere in the near future.

On March 21, MDAR held one of its “listening” sessions at Bristol Aggie and invited those interested to come and talk so that MDAR could listen and take notes on their concerns regarding the draft plan by the state.

Several beekeepers came to this meeting along with the superintendent-director of Bristol Aggie, and many of the beekeepers voiced their concerns regarding the lack of regulation regarding pesticide usage, which is one of the main problems facing the beekeepers to date.  Without concrete proof that pesticides, namely neonicotinoids, are the cause of bee die-offs, the state’s regulations fall short in protecting the bees and beekeepers from hive losses.

The beekeepers have tried and continue to try to get the state’s attention on this matter, especially when they have perfect hives one day only to find thousands upon thousands of dead and dying bees in front of their hives the next day.

The beekeepers have done what is expected of them by calling in the state’s apiary inspector when this occurs.

But according to some of the beekeepers, nothing has come out of this reporting to their satisfaction.

From what I gathered at this “listening” session, the state has not provided or cannot provide concrete proof that the bee die-offs are directly related to pesticide poisoning. One way or the other, the burden of proof should lie on the state and should be mandated by the state to prove that pesticides are harmful to our pollinators.

The beekeepers, as I have seen firsthand, have already seen the destruction of these poisons on their beehives. And you have to ask yourself, if other countries around the world are banning these pesticides from being used and now some of the states in the United States, most recent being Maryland, are banning these pesticides, then why is Massachusetts not doing their due diligence in helping both the farmers and beekeepers alike in finding the truth.

My only concern in this matter came unexpectedly in the “listening” session on March 21 when the superintendent of Bristol Aggie spoke up and was the only person in this meeting to have doubts on the validity of the pesticide damage to the bees. But then again, if your school is partnering with Monsanto on the “AG and STEM” Symposium (http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/pages/education.aspx), I guess you have no choice in the matter with regards to the educational value that you might be getting from one of the biggest chemical companies.

As for the farmers, I have great respect for them and I firmly believe that they are not intentionally harming the bees. They, of all people involved, have more to lose than anyone else in this game of chemicals and money.

My biggest concern is that the chemicals provided to the general public are one of the most dangerous things that could ever have happened. This is like boxing up hand grenades and selling them as gopher removal and telling the public it’s safe to use!

Until the state puts regulations on these chemicals that are so readily available to the public, in my opinion, I think the farmers are going to continue to get blamed for the bee kills instead of handing the blame directly to those that sell the pesticides to the public and to the independent contractors who have no knowledge on how to use them let alone when the proper time is to use them.  Until such time as all parties can come to an agreement on the danger of pesticides, efforts first and foremost should be toward educating our public on the dangers of pesticides and the proper use of them.

 

 

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Wide Range of Diseases Linked to Pesticides

Vol. 30, No. 2, Summer 2010 | Pesticides and You | by Kagan Owens, Jay Feldman
and John Kepner

Beyond Agricultural Pesticide Exposure – Asthma, Autism, ADHD, ADD, Birth Defects, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Brain Cancer, Breast Cancer, Leukemia, Learning Disorders, Parkinson’s and on and …

While agriculture has traditionally been tied to pesticide-related illnesses, of the 40 most commonly used pesticides in schools, 28 can cause cancer, 14 are linked to endocrine disruption, 26 can adversely affect reproduction, 26 are nervous system poisons and 13
can cause birth defects. Of of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 can cause cancer, 13 are linked to birth defects, 21 can affect reproduction and 15 are nervous system toxicants. A number of published studies using animal toxicity data and human cells/tissue laboratory data also show that pesticides are linked to several major public health problems.

Epidemiology: The Challenge of Finding Patterns of Harm

Despite evidence to the contrary, chemical industry critics of epidemiologic studies linking pesticides to major diseases argue that they are of limited value because of their reliance on records and study participants’ memory, among other issues. In fact, the correlation
of patterns of chemical use with an effect is difficult to establish in epidemiology and therefore may underestimate hazard effects.  When a correlation is established it raises serious concern.  The epidemiologic studies in the Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database show an overall pattern that links pesticide exposure to major diseases.

Endocrine Disruption

Common household products –detergents, disinfectants, plastics, and pesticides– contain chemical ingredients that enter the body, disrupt hormones and cause adverse developmental, disease, and reproductive problems. Known as endocrine disruptors, these
chemicals, which interact with the endocrine system, wreak havoc in humans and wildlife.
Endocrine System
The endocrine system consists of a set of glands (thyroid, gonads, adrenal and pituitary) and the hormones they produce (thyroxine, estrogen, testosterone and adrenaline),
which help guide the development, growth, reproduction, and behavior of animals, including humans. Hormones are signaling molecules, which travel through the bloodstream and elicit responses in other parts of the body. Endocrine disruptors function by: (i) Mimicking the action of a naturally-produced hormone, such as estrogen or testosterone, thereby setting off similar chemical reactions in the body; (ii) Blocking hormone receptors in cells, thereby preventing the action of normal hormones; or (iii) Affecting the synthesis, transport, metabolism and excretion of hormones, thus altering the concentrations of natural hormones. Endocrine disruptors havebeen linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, early puberty, infertility and other reproductive disorders, and childhood and adult cancers.
More than 50 pesticide active ingredients have been identified as endocrine disruptors by the European Union and endocrine disruptor expert Theo Colborn, PhD. Endocrine disruption is the mechanism for several health effect endpoints.
To view this article in its entirety see Beyond Pesticides – Pesticides and You.
Database can be viewed here at Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

11 things parents need to know about kissing bugs, aka ‘love bugs’ but are NOT, both ARE cousins to BedBug and deadly Chagas Disease

Baby_Chagas.jpg

December 4, 2015 | by Dr. Peter Hotez, President of Sabin Vaccine Institute

Experts at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine have been studying Chagas disease and working on a therapeutic vaccine for it. Here are the important things to know about the kissing bug and about Chagas disease:

1.  Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a serious infection caused by a parasitic microorganism, Trypanosoma cruzi, and is transmitted by kissing bugs.

2.  Chagas disease is a leading cause of heart disease resulting in a debilitating and often fatal condition known as Chagasic cardiomyopathy. One in six people with Chagasic cardiomyopathy will die within five years.

3.  An estimated 9 million people are infected in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in impoverished areas. According to the World Health Organization, the largest number of people living with Chagas disease are in poor areas of Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, while Bolivia has the highest percentage of people infected.

4.  The infection can be passed from mother to baby. There are an estimated 40,000 pregnant women in North America alone who have Chagas, and they will transmit the infection to their babies around 5 percent of the time.

5.  The CDC estimates that 300,000 cases occur in the United States, mostly imported from Latin America.

6.  Scientists at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor, including Drs. Kristy Murray and Melissa Nolan Garcia, have uncovered a previously unrecognized level of transmission in the state of Texas.

7.  A high percentage of the kissing bugs in Texas are infected with the trypanosome parasite and show evidence of feeding on human blood.

8.  Dogs, cats and horses also can be infected.

9.  Researchers are finding cases among hunters and campers, as well as people who live in poverty in Texas. Those with extended outdoor exposure appear to have the greatest risk of acquiring the disease.

10.  Repeat exposures are likely necessary to acquire infection.

11.  Drug treatments are available, but they do not always work and are highly toxic. In collaboration with the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, the National School of Tropical Medicine is developing a new therapeutic vaccine for Chagas disease.

About Dr. Peter Hotez, president of Sabin Vaccine Institute: The US Science Envoy, Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital Chair in Tropical Pediatrics and President-Sabin Vaccine Institute.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Deadly Chagas Disease – Transmitted from Mother to Baby – Listen as Dr. Peter Hotez answers questions about neglected parasitic infections including deadly Chagas Disease

With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention naming five neglected parasitic infections as a priority for public health action, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said he is excited about the “renewed commitment to control and prevent them.

“Houston and Texas in many respects represent ‘ground zero’ for many of America’s neglected tropical diseases, including parasitic infections,” said Hotez.  “We’re at the confluence of poverty and a subtropical climate – two of the major factors that promote these infections, which in reality are major health disparities in the United States. Unfortunately, these diseases have been overshadowed by better known infections, even though parasitic infections are much more common.”

The five infections include Chagas disease, cysticercosis, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis and trichmoniasis. These diseases disproportionately affect Americans who live in extreme poverty and can cause serious illnesses including heart failure, pregnancy complications, seizures and even death.

Dr. Hotez responded to some questions about neglected parasitic infections and what is being done about them.
Hotez co-authored the opening editorial in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, part of a series of articles that coincide with the CDC’s announcement to put focus on these neglected parasitic infections.

The National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine was established in 2011 to address neglected tropical diseases and other infections through education, research and clinical care.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

BedBugs show resistance to pesticides: What now?

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!

SleepingSimple

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Bed Bug Blog Report

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Bed Bug Blog

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety