Bed Bugs Es­ca­lat­ing - In­sec­ti­cides part of prob­lem

Montreal Times - - News - By Bon­nie Wurst For more in­for­ma­tion on bed bugs you can con­sult or down­load the Que­bec Gov­ern­ment 'Bed Bug Con­trol Guide': http://mtl­times.ca/bed-bugsesca­lat­ing-even-air­planese­mer­gency-rooms/ mtl­times.ca

Al­though they haven't made the head­lines as of­ten over the past cou­ple of years, bed bugs have been on the rise again and they may be grow­ing thicker skins, lit­er­ally. Just the men­tion of those creepy, bit­ing crea­tures can make one's skin crawl, es­pe­cially if you ever had to deal with them.

Re­cently, a woman with her seven year-old daugh­ter and fi­ancé on a Bri­tish Air­ways flight from Van­cou­ver to Lon­don, found them­selves with un­wanted trav­el­ling com­pan­ions bed bugs. They were lit­er­ally pour­ing out from be­hind the TV screen of the seat in front of them. She asked to be moved, but there were no other seats avail­able and so had to en­dure the rest of the flight try­ing to fight off the bugs. By the time they landed, they were cov­ered in bites. She has since been in con­tact with Bri­tish Air­ways and they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing it fur­ther.

Al­though it is ex­tremely rare to find them on air­planes, and it re­ally not be­ing a bed bug's choice of res­i­dence - there has been more than one re­port about the bugs be­ing found on Bri­tish Air­ways flights. In fact, the more we be­come glob­ally ac­tive and travel, those nasty lit­tle crea­tures will be hitch­ing rides in our suit­cases and shipping con­tain­ers. But even more dis­turb­ing, the in­sec­ti­cides be­ing used to kill them are what re­searchers now have rea­son to believe is con­tribut­ing to the spread of bed bugs.

A study last year by the Uni­ver­sity of Syd­ney (USYD) and pub­lished in the Pub­lic Li­brary of Sci­ence jour­nal, highly sug­gests bed bugs are be­com­ing more re­sis­tant to com­monly used in­sec­ti­cides. Ac­cord­ing to David Lilly of USYD, whose PHD re­search fo­cuses in this area, new find­ings re­vealed that one way they are beat­ing in­sec­ti­cides is by de­vel­op­ing a 'thicker skin’.

“Bed bugs, like all in­sects, are cov­ered by an ex­oskele­ton called a cu­ti­cle. Us­ing scan­ning elec­tron mi­croscopy, we were able to com­pare the thick­ness of cu­ti­cle taken from spec­i­mens of bed bugs re­sis­tant to in­sec­ti­cides and from those more eas­ily killed by those same in­sec­ti­cides,” he was cited as say­ing on their web­site. "The new find­ings could ex­plain why fail­ures in the con­trol of bed bug in­fes­ta­tions are so com­mon. They may also un­lock new path­ways to de­vel­op­ing more ef­fec­tive in­sec­ti­cides for bed bug con­trol."

By 'com­par­ing the cu­ti­cle thick­ness of the bed bugs, it re­vealed a stun­ning dif­fer­ence; the thicker the cu­ti­cle, the more likely the bed bugs were to sur­vive ex­po­sure to the in­sec­ti­cides'.

Here on the is­land of Mon­treal, bed bugs are be­com­ing a quiet, but grow­ing con­cern again. "Af­ter two years of sta­bil­ity, there's an in­crease in bed bugs… it's still a very big prob­lem in Mon­treal," Math­ieu Va­chon, a spokesper­son for Mon­treal's Pub­lic Housing Author­ity was cited in a CBC news re­port just this past June.

Bed bugs are hard to spot at first as they are small, have flat bod­ies and can hide in the tini­est gaps, nooks and cran­nies - and eas­ily brought into your home from some­one else's place or an­other apart­ment in your build­ing. Then can also come from a used cloth­ing store or dis­carded fur­ni­ture from out­side. One in­di­ca­tion you might have bed bugs are the bites, which can ap­pear like those from other in­sects, such as mos­qui­toes.The bites ap­pear as raised, red welts, some­times in straight lines of mul­ti­ple bites - and they burn and itch.

They are of­ten found close to where peo­ple sleep - like on mat­tresses, box springs, head­boards, foot­boards, bed frames and other fur­ni­ture close to the bed. They can also be found in gaps be­hind elec­tri­cal wall out­lets, win­dow and door mold­ings and even at the edges of car­pets against a wall.

An­other in­di­ca­tion of an in­fes­ta­tion could be groups of dark brown or black spots of dried ex­cre­ment on in­fested sur­faces. So what to do, other than scream 'ewww'?

The first line of de­fense is to never pick up fur­ni­ture left out­side by some­one - es­pe­cially mat­tresses, chairs and so­fas, as they could be in­fested. Care­fully in­spect items you are con­sid­er­ing buy­ing at garage sales. When mov­ing and hir­ing pro­fes­sion­als, check the blan­kets they use to pro­tect your items - as they have prob­a­bly been used many times over. It is highly sug­gested to cover and seal things in plas­tic your­self first. Do not hes­i­tate to ask them if they are aware of bed bug prob­lems and tak­ing pre­cau­tions - or even ask if you can in­spect the truck.

Items from a used-cloth­ing store should be washed in hot wa­ter as soon as pos­si­ble, or put in the dryer for an hour at the high­est tem­per­a­ture. Lug­gage from a trip can also be a trans­port hub for bed bugs. It is rec­om­mended you re­move all the cloth­ing and run them through the dryer as well. The lug­gage it­self can be vac­u­umed af­ter­wards but re­mem­ber to put the vac­uum bag in plas­tic af­ter it's done and into a garbage bin out­side.

But if you do find bed bugs have some­how man­aged to get into your home, it would be wise to con­tact a pest con­trol pro­fes­sional and ar­range a treat­ment.

Or you can scream 'ewww'… and do the fan­dango.

Bed Bug bites

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