Bed bugs: stronger, tougher, and harder to kill than ever

On May 17, science and tech magazine
Popular Science (aka
PopSci) reported on the bed bug comeback, why today's bugs are stronger and harder to kill than ever before, and what you can do to get rid of them.

The magazine cites the liberal use of DDT and other potent insecticides in the 1940s and '50s as a major contribution to the pesticide-resistant traits of today's bugs. Also the modern bed bug has a thicker, denser exoskeleton, which can repel chemicals in pesticides. What's more, bed bugs now have a faster metabolism, and can produce more P450 enzymes than its ancestors - the enzymes metabolize certain toxins found in pesticides.

With pesticides rendered virtually useless, removing bed bugs is your only option, cites PopSci. "Find the bed bugs' hiding spots with the help of a professional exterminator or trained dog," which can sniff out the bug's pheromones. "Kill the pests by vacuuming them up, along with their shed skins and droppings," states PopSci. "Throw all clothes, linens, and any other fabrics into the dryer."

For travelers, avoid hotels reported to be infested by using a website such as Bed Bug Registry, which lists reported cases, or all-round guide Bed Bugger (links listed below).  

On arrival, travelers should check out their rooms for signs of bed bugs, keeping an eye out for the brown spots left by their waste and places that they might hide during the stay, such as the headboard, wall, and mattress seams. It's also worth checking couches, drawers, and furniture near the bed, as bed bugs don't like to live far from their food source - sleeping humans.

To ensure you haven't picked up bed bugs from a contaminated place, keep suspect items in a plastic bag and wash them on the hottest temperature possible for the fabric. For items that can't be washed, have them professionally dry-cleaned or hand wash them, scrubbing the seams and folds and ensuring the temperature is above 45ºC.

A new electronic product coming soon aims to sniff out bed bugs similar to a trained canine, and claims to be able to differentiate between bed bugs, cockroaches, and termites. The gadget, the Bed Bug Detective, also reports being sensitive enough that it can detect a single bed bug and its eggs, according to a video promo for the product (see below for link). It’s not available yet, with no website posted, but a release earlier this year states it should retail for about $200 (€140).

See the article in PopSci: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-05/bedbugs-are-harder-ever-kill

Watch a video on how to get rid of bed bugs:
http://www.howcast.com/videos/198172-How-To-Get-Rid-Of-Bed-Bugs

Watch a promo for the Bed Bug Detective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0GCBp-LIQ4

 

 

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