Monthly Archives: September 2011

CDC Recommends Heat to Kill Bed Bugs

The CDC released their weekly report on Friday September 23rd with this title: Acute Illnesses Associated With Insecticides Used to Control Bed Bugs — Seven States, 2003–2010.  The report details a variety of problems that have occurred from the miss-use of pesticides to kill bed bugs.  The errors range from over application to untrained application to just plain old not following the instructions.  The stories are sad because I understand what these people are going through.  They just want the bugs gone and their life back.  But pesticides are not the answer.

The CDC actually states in their report that “CDC and EPA promote integrated pest management (IPM) for bed bug control. IPM is an effective pest control method that uses information on the life cycle of the pest and incorporates non-chemical and chemical methods. Non-chemical methods to effectively control bed bugs include heating infested rooms to 118°F (48°C) for 1 hour.”

Finally!  Validation for what I have been talking about! Heat is the best method to kill bed bugs.  Now I will say, I disagree on their temperature and time period, it is low on both accounts.  But that is addressed in a different blog.

May the heat be with you!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

What does “bed bug pesticide resistance” really mean?

When I first heard the term “resistance” to pesticides I thought of it as a mild immunity that permitted bed bugs to live through a chemical application.  I was sort of right and sort of wrong.  Here are the facts…

Resistance in the scientific world means something very specific.  It is the ultimate survival of the fittest story.  Resistance is the measurable lessening of the effectiveness of a pesticide as a result of previous exposure of a pest population to that pesticide or related types.  The pesticide is the agent of selection in the population.  Resistance develops most frequently and rapidly in insects with high rates of reproduction – like the bed bug.  So resistance is not an immunity where there is an internal adaptation by one individual, but the physical selection of the strongest by our methods.

This has been acutely reflected in the bed bug’s cross-resistance to pyrethroids.  Once they became resistant to DDT, it gave them an ability to resist the pyrethroids available today.

So what should we do today?  Stop spraying bed bugs! We are only creating stronger more hardy populations.  Heat is the most effective tool in bed bug elimination – and they cannot develop a resistance to it.

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Content courtesy of Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Management Operations, 2010.

New Research on Kill Temps for Bed Bugs

Newly published research has revealed a bit of a different range of kill temperatures for live bed bugs and their eggs.  As previously thought, heat is still the kryptonite for the bed bug, but those performing heat treatments need to be a bit more diligent on making sure the heat is “just right”.

The new research concludes that eggs are more heat resistant than adults and the following should be observed:

  1. Lethal Temps for 100% population kill was 119 degrees F for adults and 131 degrees F for eggs with immediate exposure
  2. If these temps are not achieved, exposure time is critical for killing eggs:  118 degrees F for at least 71.5 minutes

May the Heat Be With You!

Ashley, Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist

Are these bed bug bites?!?

The honest answer is …there is no way to know for sure (so please don’t show them to me).  A doctor cannot look at skin reactions and diagnose bed bugs.  Some people react immediately (me – canary in the cave) while others don’t see any visible signs for weeks. The degree of the reaction is different too.  When I get bit they itch like the devil, when others get bit, it may be very mild or have no reaction at all.  I have met husband and wives where they are both getting bit and one reacts and one does not. However, it is important to note that the reaction can be as bad as anaphylactic shock.

Bed bug bite victims do see “trends” in their bites – often in groups of three (breakfast, lunch & dinner) or along a vein – but other than that you are going to need good old fashion reasoning.

Questions to ask yourself…

These are bed bug bite reactions

  1. Have I traveled recently? Out of the country? Stayed in a hotel? Been on an airplane?
  2. Have I been outdoors recently?  Could anything else have bitten me?
  3. Are all my pets on flea medication?  If only some, you may have fleas in your home and they will bite you too.
  4. Have I had guests  recently? Could they have brought something in?
  5. Do I have any other evidence of bed bugs (black feces stains, shed skins, etc)?

If you can’t work it out on your own, call me.  We have a great “Peace of Mind” bed bug detection dog that helps many people determine if they do or do not have bed bugs in their home.

May the heat be with you!

Best, Ashley Atlanta Bed Bug Control Specialist