LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Rutgers University and BedBug Central a partnership grant in the amount of $20,000 to develop educational materials aimed at increasing public awareness of bed bugs and effective strategies for community-centered integrated pest management (IPM).
The grant was awarded to Rutgers University entomologist Dr. Changlu Wang and Richard Cooper, renowned research entomologist and vice president of BedBug Central, an authoritative online resource for information about bed bugs.
Upon receiving news of the grant’s approval April 22, Cooper indicated that an initiative to increase the public awareness of bed bugs is a project that is long overdue.
“The body of research available has shown that bed bug populations are increasing at a troubling rate,” said Cooper “Public awareness initiatives such as these are absolutely essential for curbing the spread of bed bug infestations. Public education and community participation are often essential in meeting the goals of greater bed bug control.”
The objective of the grant will be to develop multimedia material to educate the public on bed bug information and IPM methods. BedBug Central will work in collaboration with the Rutgers University Entomology Department to create educational video material and a website content detailing a step-by-step approach to community-wide bed bug management and IPM programs.
The video material is designed to be easily understandable by viewers of varied social-economic backgrounds and will cover several key aspects of bed bug management including: bed bug biology, prevention, inspection and monitoring, proper use of non-chemical and chemical control tools. The website compliment will also provide greater access to the educational video materials and additional information.
In addition to educating the public, step-by-step instructional videos will be readily available to the pest management industry, as an educational tool that demonstrates how to control bed bugs using IPM strategies.
Cooper and Wang anticipate that the educational video will be an important resource for the public, businesses, pest management professionals and governmental agencies. The key benefits of the project have been identified in the grant proposal as:
1. Safeguarding the heath of humans and the environment by addressing alternatives to chemical methods and the proper usage of pesticides and chemical applications.
2. Reducing the probability of spreading infestation by increasing the public knowledge base and awareness of bed bugs.
3. Reducing economic loss and the cost of pest control treatment through education of the pest management industry in effective integrated pest management practices.
Production of the multimedia public awareness materials is tentatively scheduled to begin July, 2010.