Monthly Archives: July 2011

Bed Bug Complainer Beware!

While many guests are trying to take their bed bug fight to the internet – voicing their opinion on the bed bug status of a hotel or how it was handled – now the tables are turning.

One hotel is fighting back with their own lawsuit. The Carleton Hotel is suing  a Michael Gladstone and Liora Braun who recently stayed in the hotel. The couple complained of bedbugs to the hotel manager and then posted a bad review about the hotel in tripadvisor.com including complaints of bedbugs.

The hotel is adamant  that there is no bed bug problem and is suing the couple for $30,000.00.  The case is yet to be decided.

So the lesson here is to make sure you have your facts straight and your “evidence in hand” before you start throwing darts.  And frankly if you have bites on your body and evidence in hand, who needs a random negative internet post.

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

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Pesticide Resistance in Bed Bugs now “A Given” among Scientist

The first research documenting bed bug resistance to pesticides occurred in 2006 and 2007.  The products studied were pyrethroid insecticides including Deltamethrin (Suspend SC, Delta Dust) and Lambda-cyhalothrin (Demand CS).  This was ground breaking news in the fight against bed bugs and still not well known/publicized today.  Best seen by the continued promotion and sale of products that are ineffective at best.

Then the research moved to answering why are they resistant.  In 2008 and 2011 the physiological resistance has been attributed to a kdr-type gene mutation (nerve insensitivity)  and an increase in detoxification enzymes in the bed bug.

Recently a published article by Dr. Miller attributed the significant increase in bed bug population due – “most importantly” – to bed bug resistance to the repeated application of pyrethroid insecticides.  This information was presented as fact and a precursor to the research presented.  What amazes me is the scientific community’s understanding that this resistance has occurred when there are so many professional pest control companies still utilizing these products.  It goes to show that with bed bugs, you need a bed bug specialist!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

(a great list of cited research can be found at the end of Miller’s article)

Survivor – Bed Bug Style

I regularly receive the question: “How long will bed bugs live without food?”  The answer is: it depends!

Ancillary (non- research) field experience has shown situations where bed bugs have lived for 16-18 months after a treatment, to come back and feed again.  The bugs I keep to train my dogs with (sourced in the field)  die within a few weeks as they are starved and stressed (experiencing lots of movement compared to their desired lifestyle).  My bugs that I purchased from a laboratory live several months without food.  Bugs in a vial will cannibalize each other, so it is hard to say if they are feeding or not feeding.

In 1941 a scientist by the name Omori published research on starved adult female survival reporting  277 days at 64 degrees Fahrenheit and 425 days at 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  There are some unanswered questions about his research but the net/net is that his starving bugs lived  from 9 to 14 months.

But now, Dr. Miller has actually published a research article on the subject.  She tested insecticide resistant strains as well as non-resistant strains.  She tested instars (non-reproducing youth) and adults.  Her results are very interesting:

  • 1st stage instars who never were given the opportunity to feed lived 13-36 days
  • Starved 5th stage instars and adults lived 41-143 days
  • Bugs that were resistant to insecticides had shorter survival, indicating that resistance to pesticide protected them but that being resistant is taxing to the bug

As I said above, bugs in a vial do behave differently than what you would see in the real world, so it is hard to say how Dr. Miller’s results would differ outside of the lab.  But the take away should be…these bed bugs are resilient and have proved time and time again that they will out survive us.  Prevention is the best method.

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist