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Newly Released: Fourth Edition of ‘A Code of Practice for the Control of Bed Bug Infestation in Australia’

Bed bugs

A Fourth Edition of ‘A Code of Practice for the Control of Bed Bug Infestation in Australia’ (CoP) is now available in draft for public comment. Before the fourth edition is finalized, all submissions will be considered.

| September 19, 2011

Bed bugs continue to be a major problem in the developed world including Australia, and management technology has evolved at a rapid pace, hence the need for a Fourth Edition of ‘A Code of Practice for the Control of Bed Bug Infestation in Australia’ (CoP). The Public Comment Draft of this Edition now can be freely downloaded from www.bedbug.org.au and feedback on the document is now being accepted (see details below).

What’s new in this Edition
Up until recently in the modern bed bug resurgence, encounters with the insect were mainly in areas where people slept. However, bed bugs now have had a broader societal impact with infestations occurring in shops, offices, hospitals, physician waiting rooms, public transport systems such as planes, trains and buses, and cinemas. You no longer need to sleep in an infested bed to pick up bed bugs.

One of the major factors in the degree of the bed bug resurgence has been poor pest control and the failure of industry associations around the world to provide guidance to their members on ‘best practice’ in the management of modern insecticide resistant strains of bed bugs. Thus it is encouraging to see the release of two major industry standards this year.

The ‘European Code of Practice Bed Bug Management’ was initially developed from the third edition of the Australian CoP and has been adapted for the European market. This has become a quality document such that the current edition of the Australian CoP has (with permission) cherry-picked the best from the European version. Bed bugs are an international problem and infestations can only be reduced in number worldwide if best practice management options are undertaken globally. The organisation behind the European CoP, the Bed Bug Foundation (BBF), has joined forces with the Working Party for the Australian CoP in an information-sharing arrangement to better improve standards on bed bug management. The chair of the BBF, Oliver Madge, is especially acknowledged for his collaboration.  

From the US, the ‘NPMA BMP Bed Bugs Best Management Practices’ was released this year. While more limited in detail and scope then the European Code, it is a welcome edition to the fight against bed bugs and contains valuable information that was used to enhance the Australian CoP.

Many of the updates within this the fourth edition represent knowledge refinements and there are few major amendments or additions. A list of modifications can be downloaded from: http://medent.usyd.edu.au/bedbug/cop_4ed_draft_modifications.pdf

One of the big trends in the US is the use of ‘thermal heating’ to control bed bugs, and this is now included in the Australian CoP. If done properly ‘thermal heat’ can result in the very quick eradication of infestations. Unfortunately however, there has been a recent series of fires resulting in the complete destruction of buildings during heat treatments and so such technology should only be employed by appropriately trained, experienced people.

To help assist those in the accommodation industry and to minimise the impacts of bed bugs, the development of Proactive Management Plans are now encouraged. These plans should be part of an overall Bed Bug Management Policy and Procedural Guide, and such a guide has recently been developed in Australia based on the CoP and is freely available from www.bedbug.org.au.

Pest Managers are encouraged to produce an ’Eradication Declaration’ report at the end of the treatment process and to list any impediments to a successful treatment.

There is also an update on new insecticides registered in Australia for bed bug control. Of these only amorphous silica, better known as Diatomaceous Earth Dust (DED), is likely to offer any significant new benefit to the Pest Manager.

Despite the market being flooded with bed bug management devices and products since the last edition of the CoP, other than DED, not one has been verified as efficacious by an independent scientific body. Accordingly such devices and products are not mentioned nor recommended within the CoP.  The use of any management device not specifically mentioned in this CoP is at your own and your client’s risk.

Feedback sought
This version of the CoP is presently a draft made available for public comment. Before the fourth edition is finalised, all submissions will be considered. Submissions should be emailed to: Stephen.Doggett@swahs.health.nsw.gov.au, by Friday 28th October.

The CoP is the culmination of the hard work of many and sincere thanks must be given to the CoP Working Party, those who provide feedback, and to the individuals listed in the acknowledgements.

On behalf of the Bed Bug CoP Working Party

Stephen Doggett                               Dr Chris Orton
BBCoP Co-ordinator                        Chair, Working Party

 

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