Food for Thought…
The news is full of reports stating failure rates using pesticides are increasing across the nation. Resistance issues are growing past pyrethroids and have recently shown up with two other commonly used pesticide products (Bifenthrin and Chlorfenapyr).
So what’s going to happen when we run out of chemical options? I’m no biochemist, but we have to ask more intelligent questions.
NEWS flash! These are quotes from a recent news article:
Biopesticide (naturally occurring substances) developed by Penn State scientists has the potential to turn the bedbug control market on its ear! From recent news, this fungus (Beauveria bassiana), is proposed to be the end all for bed bugs. Quoting a natural and indigenous fungus that causes disease in insects but is harmless to humans.
And that my friend is all we hear. How many will delve a bit deeper to hear past the marketing hype?
Beauveria bassiana is a common soil borne fungus that occurs worldwide. Fungal spores must contact the insect for infection to occur. It has even been found infecting the lungs of wild rodents, and the nasal passages of humans (http://www.entomology.wisc.edu/mbcn/kyf410.html)
Although reported to be non-toxic to vertebrates, the potential allergenicity of Beauveria species has not been widely studied. Beauveria bassiana possesses numerous IgE reactive proteins, some of which are cross-reactive among allergens from other fungi. A strongly reactive potential B. bassiana specific allergen (35 kDa) was identified. Intradermal skin testing confirmed the allergenic potential of B. bassiana. (https://clinicalmolecularallergy.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-7961-3-1)
End All? And…is it really safe for humans?
In one case, human infection by Beauveria bassiana has been reported in a person with a suppressed immune system having dyspnea (difficulty breathing). Additionally, can these fungus spores exacerbate breathing difficulties in others? Can it cause keratitis?
Have studies been done to see what this particular fungus can do in “concentration forms” to humans. It is generally considered safe as an insecticide in nature, but reports state it should not be applied to flowers visited by pollinating insects. Makes you wonder why huh?
Thinking critically on the value proposition of this product…
I believe it is time to think a bit more critically about this product and figure out the value proposition in this untapped market for bed bug prevention. In affordable housing, most people naturally go about their lives and when they find an insect or bug in excess or out of the ordinary, they call their exterminator.
However, the majority of the United States is not going to be spraying a fungus throughout their homes in anticipation or for preventing bed bugs any more than they would be spraying to “prevent” fleas, flies or cockroaches.
Sure, there are many natural insecticides in our soils and environments, but not in converged forms. I believe the next test that should be done is developing these concentrated forms and testing them with humans, before placing them on the market for sale for the prevention of bed bugs. (Especially, those living with respiratory issues, COPD, allergies, elderly and young children, who may have suppressed immune systems) Can it cause fungal meningitis and or a bloodstream infection?
Who wants fungus in their homes? The word alone triggers the thought of athlete’s foot or worse. Most people don’t understand that although there may be some beneficial funguses, to the average person, the word fungus alone has the same effect as the words bed bugs do.
So, as a pest control technician can we go in and tell the person that you are using Aprehend a new biopesticide preventative for bed bugs. BUT the truth is you are not telling them what Aprehend is and that clinical studies have not been done on humans to reveal the possible health implications and end result.
The researchers found that exposure to the biopesticide caused the bedbugs to become infected and die within four to seven days. So what’s the big deal here when we have other dusts like CimeXa that can be applied and cause a kill within six days, and if used according to directions is non-toxic and can be applied as a spray.
We’ve got to ask questions like – How will this affect scent detection dogs?
Better yet and furthermore – how about the expensive scent detection dogs that spend their lives with their delicate noses and olfactory flat up against the very areas that may be intoxicated with these new funguses. How does that affect them? Will they develop a fungal disease or have breathing problems because of it?
What are we humans thinking? Is it all about the money or is it about really getting rid of bed bugs and keeping the public safe at the same time? Are there liability issues here?
With around twenty thousand-pest control firms in the US and only a little over ten percent or so actually doing completely non-toxic heat treatments for bed bugs; I guess we will all see an increase in bed bugs for the next few decades.
Preventing bed bugs…
How could you “prevent” fleas when you can easily walk across grass and have one jump on you, which is then brought into your home and start an infestation without you knowing. Maybe you don’t even own a cat or dog. How would you “prevent” a fly from flying into your home when you open the door? OR a cockroach hitching a ride on a food product you bought? Or a lice attaching to your hair from the back of a chair, in a movie or airplane?
Most of these are simply unpreventable and are just plain bad luck just as bed bugs are. Prevention is a word loosely used when it comes to bed bugs. The only thing you can prevent when it comes to bed bugs is “infestations” and that is accomplished only through vigilance. Be on the lookout, check often; be careful of your surroundings, what you buy, where you lay your personal items and get out the steamer the first sign of a bed bug.