Several years after Britons woke up to a bed bug problem, the pest control industry is rolling out an arsenal of methods that prom...
Bed bugs, which can be difficult to spot, are becoming even tougher to eradicate as they spread and their resistance to some pesticides grows. In response, pest control companies are adopting new tactics:
Professional treatments, including many of the conventional methods still being used, can start at three-figures and reach into the thousands.
A simple solution to rid a home of the common bed bug, or Cimex lectularius, has proven elusive since the brown, wingless creatures made a resurgence in the UK about five years ago.
Bed bugs are slightly smaller than an apple seed and hide in the folds and seams of mattresses and other furniture, emerging at night to feed on a warm-blooded host. Part of what makes bed bugs so tricky to eradicate is that the insects aren't confined to the bed. They live in drapes, behind wall hangings, in the cracks of wall plaster – and even in light fixtures and electronics.
Further complicating matters, a female can deposit the tiny eggs around a room. The bugs are transported from one location to another in luggage or clothing; pest experts say the bugs likely accompany travellers home from hotels or enter a house on secondhand furniture.
Entomologists says it is unclear why the pests have made a comeback, but theories include a more restrained use of other pesticides that in the past might have helped to nab bed bugs, and an upswing in international travel.
Bed bug bites can produce itching welts, but the bugs aren't known to carry disease. Still, they can be quite a nuisance and take a powerful psychological toll. Some people don't sleep well for months, worrying that every itch is a bug on them, and many feel ashamed to tell their relatives or neighbours about the problem.
Bed bugs typically have been treated with a class of chemicals known as pyrethroids. Yet entomologists who study bed bug control say the insects have developed some resistance to these chemicals. Other chemicals are more effective but can take longer to work. Mattress encasements may be successful in eliminating bugs – but only from the mattresses.
Companies pitching the latest eradication methods – such as heat or icy sprays – say they are more effective as well as more palatable for people worried about using pesticides. Yet entomologists caution there still are drawbacks: The cold spray might not reach every bug; dogs can miss hiding places high up in a room; and heating might cause bugs to flee to a cooler place in the home.
Except for heating a room to between 120 and 140°F for several hours, the latest methods usually require the homeowner to go through the onerous process of clearing out rooms, drawers and closets, and washing or dry cleaning all clothing and linens.
Unfortunately, there is still no easy method of elimination. We are still looking for the silver bullet.
Article provided by Dynamic Pest Control