Twenty-five years ago, only 25% of pest control professionals were treating bed bugs. Today, that number has soared to 99.6%. Bed bugs continue to evolve and adapt to their surroundings, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. As a result of this vast presence of bed bugs, entomologists have invested a large amount of time and money into researching these elusive creatures, and the best ways to combat their existence. Three recent discoveries could soon aid Connecticut pest control companies in their treatments, allowing them to be more innovative (and successful) than ever.
At UC Riverside, researchers have found that the shed skins of bed bugs provide key information in fighting the insects. Bed bugs continuously shed their skins as they mature. These skins are left behind, but contain four pheromone compounds, called aldehydes. These aldehydes remain in the shed skins and are regularly dispersed into the air long after the bugs have left them behind. What is so great about this discovery is that researchers have noticed that the living bed bugs are attracted to these compounds and will inhabit the areas close to the shed skins. Therefore, pest control companies will soon be able to create traps and monitor systems with the same compounds to attract the bed bugs and ultimately eliminate them in large groups.
Michael Fisher, an entomologist with the US Navy Medical Service Corps at NC State University, has been conducting research on the microbes, the bacteria present inside the body of a bed bug. The bed bug has essential bacteria in its body, one being Wolbachia, which produces B vitamins that the insect cannot get from its blood-only consumption. By studying these microorganisms, Fisher is able to identify if bed bugs are able to harbor outside bacteria in their bodies as well, which may be helping them create and maintain resistance against insecticides. This research will support the efforts of Connecticut pest control companies in finding the ideal chemicals to target the beneficial microbes in the bed bug.
An entomologist at UC Irvine created a study that could significantly reduce the risk of contracting bed bugs during travel. International travel has heavily contributed to the uptick in bed bug cases throughout the country. Bed bugs can cling on to the outside of your luggage and make their way back into Connecticut homes from across the world! Catherine Loudon has found that a 6-minute blast of heat to the outside of suitcases could kill bed bugs trying to extend their vacations at your expense. Imagine airports around the globe implementing this quick treatment behind the scenes before you grab your luggage?
These innovative discoveries prove that the pest control industry is ever changing and treatments need to be updated and transformed as the pests continue to adapt.
All from Pest Control Technology Magazine September 2016 issue
“Scents from Shed Skins Affect Behavior” University of California, Riverside
“Microbes: It’s the Little Things that Matter” Michael L. Fisher
“Bed Bug News & Notes”