Editor’s note: Suppliers and PMPs, if you have a bed bug control product or service you’d like to have highlighted in an upcoming issue, please send a press release and a high-resolution photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Study: Bed Bug Infestation Reports are Higher in Summer
A new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology titled “Spatial and Temporal Patterns in Cimex lectularius (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) Reporting in Philadelphia, PA” looked at four years of bed bug reports to the city of Philadelphia, and found that infestations have been increasing and were at their highest in August and lowest in February. The findings point to two possible peak times to strike and eliminate the bugs.
“There is surprisingly very little known about seasonal trends among bed bug populations,” said Michael Z. Levy, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, who mapped the bed bug hotspots in Philadelphia in an effort to find more effective ways to control them. “We found a steep and significant seasonal cycle in bed bug reporting, and suspect that bed bugs have different levels of mobility depending on the season, and that their population size may fluctuate throughout the year.”
“Warm weather could be a driver for migration to other homes and breeding,” he said. “We may be able to exploit this cycle. These seasonal trends could guide control programs to help reduce a city’s growing bug population,” he added.
To track the spatial and temporal patterns of the bugs, Levy and colleagues, including first author Tarub S. Mabud, analyzed calls to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Vector Control Services between 2008 and 2012. They then mapped the phone calls to get a clearer picture of the problem — when and where it was happening.
Reports came from all across the city, though south Philadelphia was most affected by the bugs.
Overall, bed bug reports in the city steadily increased by 4.5 percent per month from 2008 to 2012, an almost 70 percent increase year to year. Nearly half of all pest infestations reported to the city over that time period were for bed bugs, a total of 382. From September 2011 to June 2012, Philadelphia residents made 236 reports of bed bug infestations, according to the study.
Infestations peaked in August and reached a low in February, the team found.
They most likely move more frequently during warmer months, with increased development and reproduction happening as well, the team surmises. The next question is to determine if people should strike when the iron is hot or cold.
“We know the bug reports fluctuate over the year — what we need to figure out now is whether to treat when they are at their worst, in the summer months, or whether to wait until their numbers are down in the winter,” Levy said. “Seasonality, we noticed, is just one attribute that can eventually aid control measures, but it is one of many attributes we hope to uncover.”
“While bed bugs likely migrate actively over short distances, perhaps between adjacent rooms or houses, we think they are starting new infestation hotspots throughout the city by riding on people or personal effects over longer distances,” said Mabud.
The study is part of a larger, ongoing pilot study in Philadelphia aimed at coming up with safer, cheaper and more effective ways to control bed bugs in an urban setting. These findings have led Levy and his team to south Philadelphia, where surveillance, tracking and treatment methods have begun.
The Journal of Medical Entomology is published by the Entomological Society of America. For more information about ESA and about this study visit http://www.entsoc.org.
Chicago Tops Orkin’s List of 50 Bed Bug Cities
Chicago tops the 2013 Bed Bug Cities List, released recently by Orkin. The Windy City’s bed bug problem was serious enough that the city council passed an ordinance in July 2013 requiring condo associations to have a formal management plan in place for the detection, inspection and treatment of these pests.
In the South, two major cities had the biggest jumps on the list from 2012 to 2013 — Nashville moved up 17 spots while Charlotte climbed 18 spots. Other cities that made notable leaps up the list include Champaign/Springfield, Ill., Pittsburgh and Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, S.C. On the other end of the spectrum, Omaha, Neb., Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo., Lexington, Ky. and Buffalo, N.Y. settled into significantly lower spots on the list than last year. Of the five new cities on the list, three are in the Midwest — Toledo, Ohio, Peoria, Ill., and Davenport, Iowa/Moline, Ill. New Orleans and Kansas City took the final two spots on the list as new entries. On the East Coast, six cities took positions lower on the list, including three cities in New York — Albany, Buffalo and New York City.
The list released by Orkin ranks the cities by the number of bed bug treatments Orkin performed from January to December 2013, along with any shift in ranking compared to January to December 2012.
- Los Angeles (+1)
- Columbus, Ohio (+3)
- Detroit (-2)
- Cleveland/Akron/Canton (+2)
- Dayton (+4)
- Washington, D.C. (-1)
- Denver (-5)
- Indianapolis (+6)
- Richmond/Petersburg, Va. (+1)
- Raleigh/Durham/ Fayetteville, N.C. (+3)
- Dallas/Ft. Worth (-4)
- Syracuse, N.Y. (+7)
- Atlanta (+14)
- Houston (+2)
- New York (-7)
- Seattle/Tacoma (-5)
- San Francisco/Oakland/ San Jose (-5)
- Boston (+2)
- Milwaukee (-2)
- Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (+3)
- Nashville (+17)
- Pittsburgh (+12)
- Charlotte (+18)
- San Diego (+6)
- Baltimore (-7)
- Phoenix (+7)
- Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa (+4)
- Charleston/Huntington, W.Va. (+1)
- Knoxville, Tenn. (-4)
- Louisville, Ky. (-2)
- Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, Mich. (+5)
- Hartford/New Haven, Conn. (-8)
- Champaign/Springfield, Ill. (+13)
- Greenville/Spartanburg/ Asheville, S.C. (+11)
- Omaha, Neb. (-20)
- Buffalo, N.Y. (-10)
- Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, Neb. (+2)
- Lexington, Ky. (-16)
- Sacramento/Stockton/ Modesto, Calif. (+4)
- Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo. (-19)
- Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y. (-1)
- Minneapolis/St. Paul (-10)
- Honolulu (-8)
- Toledo, Ohio
- Peoria/Bloomington, Ill.
- Davenport, Iowa/Moline, Ill.
- New Orleans
- Kansas City
Allergy Technologies Highlights 2013 Achievements
ActiveGuard Mattress Liners, from Allergy Technologies, are mattress and box spring products that kill bed bugs and dust mites generally within 72 hours, the firm says. Used as a complement to any present treatment program and as the centerpiece of a preventive program, ActiveGuard is the only pro-active tool labeled to provide control and prevention for up to two years, Allergy Technologies reports.
Recently, Allergy Technologies announced several significant achievements from 2013, including:
- EPA-registered labeling changes highlighted ActiveGuard Mattress Liners’ and Fabric’s ability to control and prevent bed bug infestations before they establish when used as part of an IPM control program. Further, these products no longer bear any cautionary signal words or require any hazard to humans and domestic animals statements, consistent with a Category IV product by all routes of exposure.
- ActiveGuard and ActiveGuard Inside are now both registered marks in the U.S. and selected regions throughout the world.
- Dr. Susan Jones et al. (The Ohio State University) published “Behavioral Responses of the Bed Bug to Permethrin-Impregnated ActiveGuard Fabric” in Insects (June 2013). This research demonstrated that ActiveGuard adversely affected bed bugs from diverse populations and degrees of resistance; the fabric was deemed to be non-repellent to bed bugs; and, with a limited 30-minute exposure to ActiveGuard, bed bugs from every strain studied demonstrated impairment in their ability to feed to repletion. This research is the result of Allergy Technologies continued grant support of Jones and her team of urban entomologists to develop best management practices in bed bug control and prevention.
- Refinement of the company’s marketing position with a focus on clear sector-specific messaging was spearheaded through the engagement of Michael McDermott, most recently global business leader (Professional Products) for DuPont, as a strategic corporate development consultant. Allergy Technologies’ six-person sales team is headed by David Buzzelli, who has more than 30 years of experience leading sales teams in the launch, expansion and market share control of pesticide-related products.
- Non-disruptive, knowledge-rich and user-friendly were key precepts that drove the launch of the company’s new website; www.allergytechnologies.com.
BASF Introduces a Preemptive Approach
The BASF preemptive bed bug approach can prevent beg bug infestations from occurring, the firm says. BASF’s Phantom and Alpine offer a suite of products that, when used in conjunction with one another, are effective at killing bed bugs — including pyrethroid resistant and non-resistant — as well as their eggs, BASF reports. These solutions are nonrepellent, meaning they won’t drive infestations away to nest in other areas or “lock in” pests by allowing them to live within the spray boundary until they find transport elsewhere. According to BASF, the treatments are designed to kill bed bugs for an extended period of time.
The preemptive method is applied like other treatments where bed bugs tend to infest — around box springs, behind headboards, in bed frames, under carpets and inside walls. Additionally, and BASF says most critically, this secure approach uses three chemical-class mechanisms — with no repellency — to combat any development of resistance. A best practice for applying this proactive-control approach involves five steps:
1. Inspect. A thorough investigation of a room should include dismantling and/or inverting furniture, removing fixtures, pulling back carpet and inspecting potential hiding spots in wall areas (outlets, wallpaper seams, switch plates and any other openings).
2. Prescribe. The goal shouldn’t be limited to short-term removal of bed bugs but rather long-term protection; choose the right solution that meets this goal.
3. Communicate. The PMP and property manager should have a clear and shared understanding of the situation, the treatment, necessary actions for both parties and the end goal; bed bug management is a team effort, and it’s important that both parties understand their roles and responsibilities.
4. Treat. The right insecticide must be applied in the necessary harborage areas; these can include cracks, crevices, voids, bed frames, fixtures, curtain rods, baseboards and carpets.
5. Follow up. Deploying a treatment will eliminate present and future infestations, but bed bugs are highly difficult pests to manage. Regular check-ins and inspections, combined with any necessary follow-up treatments, will ensure the solution is working and allow PMPs to assess any further needs.
For more information, visit www.pestcontrol.basf.us.
PMPs Donate Free Bed Bug Services to Families in Need
Reinforcing its commitment to giving back to those in need, Parkway Pest Services, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Hassman Termite & Pest Control, Salina, Kan.; and American Pest Management, Manhattan, Kan., provided charitable bed bug services for families and organizations during the 2013 holiday season. The services were provided as part of the annual bed bug charity “Taking the Bite Out of the Holidays,” sponsored by BedBug Central. The nationwide charitable effort offers relief to families whose dwellings are bed bug-infested and that do not have the means to improve their situations. Since 2009 nearly $500,000 in services has been donated.
The “Taking the Bite Out of the Holidays” charity program was developed by Jeffrey White, research entomologist at BedBug Central, after seeing firsthand how difficult and expensive bed bugs can be to eliminate. BedBug Central partners with pest management firms across the country to provide free bed bug services to those in need. The charity helps those suffering from bed bug infestations who do not have the means to improve their situation, to find comfort and relief from their problem during the holiday season.
“We believe in the charity work we do and were thrilled to help the St. Francis Community Organization and the family in need,” said American Pest Management Vice President of Operations/Entomologist Travis Aggson. “On a personal level as a local company it is heartening to be able to see our efforts make a positive impact in the lives of residents in our service area.”
Parkway Pest Services was honored and excited to participate, said President Peter Scala. “As specialists in the industry, Parkway Pest Services knows how difficult, stressful and costly a bed bug infestation can be,” he said. “We also understand that there are many people out there that simply can’t afford effective treatment. Thus, we were thrilled to offer our services to the community and provide relief to those in need this holiday season.”
Added Mark Hassman, vice president of Hassman Termite & Pest Control, “We have been so excited to once again be able to help out families suffering from bed bug infestations. This year we helped three families and one of them wrote to us saying, ‘I don’t have the words to express to you how much this means to my family… you have given us our lives back.’ The BedBug Central team has created a wonderful way to give back to those in need.”
AmCan Products Supplies Mattress, Box Spring Covers, More
AmCan Products is a North American supplier of commercial bed bug products, including mattress and box spring covers, laundry bags and bed bug Defender interceptors.
Bugstop Hot House heat chambers, come in two types — the Hot House Heat Tent and the Hot House Furniture Bag.
The portable Bugstop Hot House chambers can be set up in less than 10 minutes, and has its own heating system that re-circulates its own hot air. Pest management professionals can heat-treat several items at one time such as mattresses; box springs; electronics; books; sofa beds; and more. It’s ideal for use in hotels, shelters, government housing and more.
The Hot House is frameless and easy to use. It utilizes an electric heating system [120V] along with an R-rated fabric that keeps the heat in. The Hot House can be used to treat mattresses, furniture, bedding, clothing and other items without the use of chemicals or pesticides.
The Hot House has been tested in the lab and in the field.
For more information visit www.amcanproducts.com.
Bed Bug Gutter Offers Pitfall Trap System
The Bed Bug Gutter System is a pitfall trap “system” comprised of a straight channel, a corner piece and an end cap. Together, they provide a low-profile “moat” that surrounds the perimeter of rooms, protecting residents from bed bugs in adjacent rooms and units. It also traps the bed bugs leaving the affected room. The Bed Bug Gutter System continues to work 24 hours a day even after the pest control technician has left, the firm says.
For more information, visit www.bedbuggutter.com.
Syngenta Professional Pest Management
Syngenta Professional Pest Management in February announced its Altriset termiticide is now registered for use in New York. This registration excludes Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Syngenta says through its unique mode of action and non-repellent active ingredient, Altriset stops termites from feeding within hours of application, preventing further structural damage, and spreads the product throughout the colony. Altriset continues working for an extended period of time to provide long-term termite protection, the firm reports.
Syngenta says Altriset controls termites with a low use rate and has an excellent environmental profile when used according to the label.
Select #200 at www.pctonline.com/readerservice
A new 28-inch extension Tech-Reach Bait Pro from Technicide provides more length for technicians to reach into areas where pests are a concern. The Tech-Reach allows for deeper baiting behind customer equipment, and higher and lower reach for difficult spots, making it easier for technicians to do their jobs and save on labor time, the company said. The bait syringe is at the end of the tool, so bait is not wasted and stuck in an extension tube, Technicide added. For more information, watch the video at http://bit.ly/1boYosE.
Select #201 at www.pctonline.com/readerservice
B&G Equipment Company
B&G Equipment Co. has introduced a new “cleanable” Bait Gun Holster with a host of user-friendly features, including a removable plastic tube that catches loose bait drips inside the holster, making it easy to clean, the firm says. Other features include a Velcro strap to secure the bait gun in the holster, two expandable straps that carry two extra bait syringes, a pocket for spare tips and a new look. The bait gun holster is compatible with most bait guns currently available to PMPs, B&G reports.
Select #202 at www.pctonline.com/readerservice
Editor’s Note: The following article appeared on Mike Merchant’s blog, “Insects in the City,” which can be found at http://insectsinthecity.blogspot.com. The blog offers readers news and commentary about the urban pest management industry and is excerpted here with permission of the author.
I’ve always appreciated the creativity that goes into vanity plates — even if they are sometimes, well, a little vain. But you have to love the entomologists’ license plates submitted to the first-ever BugMobile contest sponsored by the Entomological Society of America late last year.
Members of ESA were asked to submit photos of creative, insect-themed cars or license plates. Most sent in insect-related license plates that they own or see around town. People visiting the Facebook site were then invited to “like” their favorites, and the plate with the most “likes” wins.
The winner was a cool-looking, University of Arizona-themed license plate with the not-so-original (in my opinion) text, DRBUG. Much more original (in my opinion) was the plate that must have belonged to a pest management professional, DBUG4U. Also way cool was the yellow-with-black-racing-stripes Chevy Camaro, with the Iowa plates reading BMBULBE.
One entomologist advertised his or her enthusiasm about entomology with the plate N2BUGS. I liked that.
Some plates only an entomologist would love, or understand, such as the Colorado plate reading SCARAB2, suggesting an enthusiasm for beetles in the family Scarabeidae (and implying that she is not alone, assuming SCARAB1 had already been taken). Even more of an insider plate read BUP DR, which I might not have recognized as an entomologist’s plate in another context — BUP referring to the beetle family Buprestidae. And BTLEMAN. And HISTERS and SCARABS (beetle families Histeridae and Scarabeidae) in the same driveway no less. I’ll bet I can guess what dinner table talk is like at that home is like. What is it about beetle guys and their vanity plates?
Some of the references were too obscure for me. CANTHON turns out to be another dung beetle. CY BUGS...cyborg bugs? SP NOV is entomologist code for “new species” in Latin...representing a dream of every entomologist to name a new bug species.
I got BUG DOOD, TSETSE (for the African Tsetse fly — carrier of sleeping sickness) and BUG ACE (which I suppose is proudly displayed by an Associate Certified Entomologist).
As for my car, I do have two bumper stickers that I’ve never displayed publicly. They read “Have You Hugged Your Exterminator Today?” And, “Entomologists are Good for What Bugs You.” Maybe someday I’ll be bold enough, or vain enough, to advertise my inner bug nerd.
If any of you have a photo that you’re especially proud of, I’d like to see it. Just email me a copy at email@example.com. Or post it to PCT’s Facebook page (search for “PCT magazine”).
How many times were you asked this winter, “So, is this cold weather going to kill all my bugs?” (And how many times did you roll your eyes?)
Don’t blame your customers. Just like they have — and I’m sure you have — I’ve seen this discussion everywhere the past couple of months. (In fact, I received a letter at home the other day from a lawn care company telling me, “Your lawn is trying to recover from cold weather injuries.”)
One reason this has been such a hot (ha-ha!) topic is because of a widely distributed report out of Virginia Tech in which researchers found that stink bugs have a freezing point — and this winter we hit it.
According to an article in the Washington Post, the Virginia Tech project found about 95 percent of the stink bugs the researchers were watching were killed in the cold weather in January. “As a result of the high kill rate, (Entomology Professor Thomas Kuhar) concluded, ‘There should be significant mortality of BMSB (brown marmorated stink bugs) and many other overwinter insects this year,’” the Post article said.
And although they’re pests that most PMPs don’t deal with, Emerald Ash Borers were in the news frequently too. A report titled “The Upside of the Bitter Cold: It Kills Bugs That Kill Trees,” ran on National Public Radio’s Jan. 10 episode of All Things Considered.
But, just like with many other things in life, if you ask someone else, you get a different answer. According to some entomology experts, the cold weather could actually help certain insect pests (and barely affect others).
Richard Levine, communications program manager at the Entomological Society of America and editor of the Entomology Today Blog, wrote on Jan. 13, “Ironically, the recent cold spell could actually end up helping the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in certain areas because the freezing temperatures might harm EAB predators.”
And a news report in Texas quoted Wizzie Brown, an entomologist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, as saying fire ants and mosquitoes will certainly survive this winter’s cold stretch. “There are insects that can actually withstand freezing temperatures for short periods of time,” Brown said in the report. “And then we have other ones that actually have kind of an antifreeze in their body that allow their bodies to completely freeze and then they will thaw out when the temperatures get warmer.”
This month’s cover story, “On the Move,” (page 32) discusses how increases in temperature — no matter how subtle — can affect insects’ range. “Insects are sort of like a canary in a coal mine,” says Mike Potter, professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky. “They sometimes reveal subtle changes in the environment through their abundance and distribution.”
And in an article about this year’s Polar Vortex (page 46), Jan Nyrop, a professor of entomology and senior associate dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said, “The weather will give insects a temporary setback, but as soon as the weather warms up, they will take off again.”
So what does all of this mean for your business?
I think the takeaway message from this month’s cover story is this: Climate change is a long-term factor that may affect insect populations. But, nothing matters more to pest populations than annual weather trends, i.e., what’s happening right here, right now. It means depending on how quickly spring warms up your area of the country, and how much rain your area gets, insects could be a little slow making an appearance. But does it mean they’re gone forever? Not a chance.
In this month’s Polar Vortex article, we write, “As for 2014, you could see delays in the emergence of termites but other than that, pest management businesses should feel minimal impact.
‘We are not going to win the war against insects no matter the temperature,’” said Texas A&M’s Dr. Roger Gold.
Truer words have never been spoken.
The author is editor of PCT magazine.