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New hope in the fight against bed bugs
Published Wednesday, November 21, 2012
TORONTO – Areas across Canada are facing a growing problem with bed bugs, with reports of infestations increasing year over year.
But new research from a team of Penn State scientists may offer hope in the increasingly difficult fight against the insects.
In cities including Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton local governments are grappling with controlling bed bugs, no easy feat considering how quickly bed bugs multiply and how easily they travel.
Bed bugs feed on human blood and can survive up to six months without feeding.
Chemical pesticides alone are not enough to eradicate the small biting insects and the use of over-the-counter pest control products are discouraged by public health groups due to possible dangerous side effects.
Researchers at Penn State studying the effects naturally occurring microorganisms have on the pests are reporting encouraging results.
Preliminary studies on the effects of Beauveria bassian, a natural fungus that causes diseases in insect populations, shows bed bugs exposed to the fungus became infected and died within five days.
Nina Jenkins, senior research associate in entomology at Penn State, and her team published the findings in the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology.
Jenkins noted an important part of their findings was that the infected insects carried the fungus back to other unexposed bed bugs, something which chemical pesticides cannot do.
“Bed bugs tend to be cryptic, and they’ll hide in the tiniest crevices,” said Jenkins. “They don’t just live in your bed. They hide behind light switches and power sockets and in between the cracks of the baseboard and underneath your carpet.”
Jenkins and her team will continue with their research and begin field work.
“It’s exciting, and it definitely works,” said Jenkins. “We’re working on the next step, and we have more funding to support these studies.”
More on bed bugs…
Bed bug infestations can cause a great deal of stress, financial burden and anxiety to those dealing with the problem.
The insects can enter a home on furniture or clothing. They feed at night and spend 90% of their time in hiding.
Bed bugs don’t only afflict low-income neighbourhoods, said Toronto-area exterminator Avery Hunsberger.
“People associate bed bug infestations with unclean, low-income housing, all the things that go along with that. But that is very inaccurate. We treat all walks of life. We’ve treated million-dollar condos and low-income housing and everything in between.”?
With files from Globalnews.ca’s Patrick Cain and Toronto Public Health
© Global News. A division of Shaw Media Inc., 2012.
Cranbrook Pest Control goes high-tech
Published November 2011
Cornelius Murphy, owner and operator of Cranbrook Pest Control in Cranbrook, B.C., has added a new tool in the fight against pests-in the form of a diagnostic thermal-imaging device that is used to assess buldings.
“We are the first ones in Canada to use this tool for pest control,” Murphy said.
Cranbrook Pest Control goes high-tech
This is a new, environmentally friendly approach to crawling and flying critters and little, furry, four-legged ones. Instead of a person spraying pesticides or chemicals year after year, this tool will help to solve the problem by detecting moisture, air leakage and other problems that may attract the unwanted insects and rodents, said Murphy.
The infrared thermal-imaging camera can see through walls and other areas that are hidden or difficult to see with the naked eye. In the past, a pest problem would be temporarily controlled with pesticides sprayed and spread over a large area; this resulted in a short-term solution without tackling the source. This new device allows Murphy and his team to pinpoint exactly where the problem is and offer solutions to permanently solve the infestation.
Changing the industry, changing attitudes
Cranbrook Pest Control has served the East and West Kootenay regions for the last 12 years; the company is registered with the Better Business Bureau and is also QualityPro approved.
“The industry is changing . . . everyone is concerned about pesticides,” Murphy said. “I can see the temperature of an ant inside the wall-so I’m finding the nest. I’m not spraying way over on the other side of a house to get the problem here (inside the wall).”
Murphy said that his staff are not exterminators.
“We do integrated pest management – we find out why (the pests) are there,” he said.
Learn more about our infrared thermal technology.
Bed bugs on the rise, around the world and in Cranbrook
BARRY COULTER, Cranbrook Townsman
Published September 15, 2010
Once upon a time they were gone, but now they are back, all over the world, including Cranbrook. Bed bugs (Cimex Lectularius) are booming, thanks in large part to the increase in human travel.
Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that prefer to feed on human blood. Their preferred habitat, in particular, are areas where people sleep. Bed bugs are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts.
The pests were largely eradicated throughout the developed world in the 1940’s – largely through the use of the now banned pesticide DDT. In recent years, however, there has been a sharp increase around the world, particularly in big cities.
Con Murphy of Cranbrook Pest Control, recently returned from an industry conference in Toronto, which is undergoing a particularly severe infestation. “It’s been on the front page of the Toronto Star almost daily,” Murphy said.
And like everywhere, it seems, Cranbrook is facing its own rise in the bed bug population.
“There has been a large increase in Cranbrook over the past year,” Murphy said, adding that the rise in travel is largely responsible. “A lot of people have traveled somewhere else – that’s how (the bed bugs) are getting here,” Murphy said.
Murphy stresses that the bugs can occupy anyone’s home, that there should be no stigma attached to finding them.
“It’s not a matter of economy, or the home – whether it’s a clean home or a dirty home – it can happen anywhere.”
But should you have gone traveling, and returned with Cimex Lectularius clinging to your luggage, action can be taken.
There’ve been some great new products allowed out, Murphy said, both for eradication and for ensuring they’re gone for good.
There are great ways of proving that the bugs have been thoroughly eradicated. ClimbUps, for example, or trays that go under the bed to see if anything is going up or down, contain just talcum powder – “so they’re non-poisonous.”
Murphy also stresses that bed bugs don’t spread disease or germs. But they are still annoying, obviously.
“If you do see them, be proactive and deal with it right away.”
Murphy says all staff at Cranbrook Pest Control are licensed professionals, trained and certified. They attend courses every year to get up to date on new products, and to know what to look for.
The degree of difficulty in getting rid of bed bugs varies. “It’s case specific,” Murphy said, “but the dryer and the vacuum cleaner are great tools. Heat is their Achilles heel.
“And we’ve found that by communicating with the customer and by getting it soon – the sooner the better – you can solve it.”