Forrest St. Aubin

Forrest St. Aubin, a Board Certified Entomologist and nationally recognized pest management consultant, received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Missouri and Webster University.

He currently serves as an advisory board member of the IBBRA, a consultant to the urban pest management industry and legal profession, as well as Chair of the Associate Certified Entomologist program of the Entomological Society of America.

Prior to engaging in pest management consulting, St. Aubin was employed for 26 years in various research and marketing positions in the pesticide chemical industry. He was the first Technical Editor of “Chemical Times and Trends”, a journal devoted to the chemical specialty industry. He is an author of many articles concerning food plant and health care pest management, structural pest control and medical entomology. In those regards he has appeared on the programs of many state and national organizations. He is retired from the United States Army Reserve, Medical Service Corps, wherein he served as a medical entomologist, achieving the rank of Colonel. Prior to retirement, he commanded a disease vector management unit stationed in Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. St. Aubin’s industry affiliations, over more than 45 years, have been many and varied. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Chemical Specialties Manufacturers Association. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the National Pest Control Association, as well as Chairman of the Food Protection and Sanitation Committee and member of the Project Development Council of that Association. He was a President of the Kansas Pest Control Association and was a Vice President of the Missouri Pest Management Association. In those positions, he was active in promoting the revision and strengthening of the pesticide laws of the two states.

St. Aubin established and operated Summa Pest Management Services, Inc., of Overland Park, Kansas for many years, selling the company in 1993. From early 1993 until late 1997, he was Director of the Division of Plant Health of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, serving two Governors and three Secretaries of Agriculture. Among other regulatory issues, the Plant Health Division managed the licensing and certification of all pesticide applicators, urban and agricultural.

Richard Naylor

PhD in Evolutionary and Ecological Entomology Lab,
University of Sheffield

The IBBRA is blessed with Richard’s wisdom, professionalism and his amazing bed bug pictures. Richard has been working on the common bedbug (Cimex lectularius) as a model system for 10 years.

“I have used this system for studying aspects of sexual conflict and immunology. However, with the rise in prominence of bedbugs as a global pest species the focus of my current research is on understanding the ecology and dispersal of this species with a view to informing control strategies”.

The active dispersal of bedbugs between neighboring flats is an important factor in the spread of bedbugs through multiple occupancy dwellings. However, very little is known about when and why bedbugs disperse. For obvious reasons opportunities for field studies on bedbugs are limited. I have therefore developed setups for studying semi realistic bedbug infestations in the laboratory, which allow me to manipulate many factors likely to be important to understanding the ecology and dispersal of the species. This setup also allows me to address issues fundamental to dispersal ecology.

Bed Bug Mania is all over the internet and people that are untrained are trying to capitalize on the industry. Richard Naylor and a couple of others took a tremendous amount of time to do a little research and find some of these people. For those who actually know about bed bugs you will get a kick out of this!

Bed Bug Insider

Stay up to date with what’s going on in the industry.

Bookmark this page and come back often because the Bed Bug Insider© will give you up to date bed bug information and address bed bugs issues from introduction to proper professional elimination techniques.

Every day more and more innocent people will fall victim to bed bugs as they continue to multiply. Learn from the professionals, the secrets and tactics used to deal with bed bugs.

In this engaging and informative part of our web site you will learn:

  • Understand why bed bugs will become a way of life
  • Why bed bugs are something you need to learn about before you get them
  • What to do if you get them
  • Who’s at risk and why you got bed bugs in the first place
  • How to assess strategies for complete elimination
  • How to gain control and achieve success
  • Making educated decisions to avoid bed bugs
  • Bed bug bites and possible health implications
  • Staying out of the courts for property management
  • Travel tips – how not to fall victim
  • Who to hire, what to ask and why
  • And Much, Much, More!

If you have specific questions about bed bugs that you can’t find on our site or in the book, feel free to contact us with your inquiry. We may showcase your question on our Bed Bug Insider©

We are only an email away!


Louis N. Sorkin, BCE

Chief Entomologist, Louis N. Sorkin, BCE, shown with one of his jars of bed bugs, is greatly respected in the bed bug industry and is often contacted by printed and digital media, newspapers, magazines, publishers plus radio, television, and online digital content when news items involve insects.  We are privileged to have Louis on our IBBRA advisory board.

Online interviews can be found by general internet searching.  He is an advisor to some of the specialized online entomology blogs.

Lou is a Consulting Entomologist whose expertise provides you with a wide range of entomology and pest control consulting services. His clients include federal and state agencies, pest management companies, import/export surveyors, attorneys, and health care facilities. Licensed in New York State in Structural, Food Processing, Termite, Fumigation, and Public Health Pest Management and is a consultant in Forensic Entomology and Pest Management to the global community.

Lou undertakes forensic cases for import/export companies, manufacturers, buildings management, metropolitan police departments, healthcare facilities, attorneys, homeowners and the like in all aspects of the investigation and finally as an expert witness in entomology.  Litigation consulting is provided as required.

It’s extremely important to have a correct determination of the pest species.  Incorrect identification leads you to make incorrect recommendations.  Lou has 30 years’ experience in insect and arachnid taxonomy plus natural history knowledge of many pest arthropod species.

[Bed Bug Supplement] Battling Resistance

BED BUG SUPPLEMENT One manufacturer recommends chlorfenapyr as an effective tool for PMPs to use when working to control bed bug populations. JASON MEYERS | August 31, 2012 Pyrethroids have long been the go-to chemistry for quickly knocking down bed bug populations. But today, many bed bug strains are increasingly resistant to this conventional approach. In some cases, bed bugs’ exoskeletons can reduce the penetration of the insecticide. Other strains have more effective enzymes that break down the chemical once inside the insect’s body. Regardless of the source, this widespread resistance has made pyrethroid treatments unreliable as a stand-alone solution. PMPs need control methods with new modes of action. One option is products that contain the active ingredient chlorfenapyr, which disables an insect’s ability to produce energy. Chlorfenapyr is a non-pyrethroid chemistry that becomes active as the bed bug metabolizes it. As the bug’s body breaks down the insecticide chemical, the pest grows tired and dies. Until recently, insecticide treatments for bed bugs have mostly been curative (i.e., to control an existing infestation). This process often begins with an inspection and vacuuming and other mechanical means of quickly removing exposed bed bugs. Then a direct-contact insecticide treatment is applied, followed by spot treatments of a residual insecticide. But, according to research published by the University of Kentucky, bed bugs tend to avoid areas where pyrethroid insecticides have been used. Resistant bed bugs survive and move away from pyrethroid treated surfaces, which may eventually cause the infestation to spread to untreated harborages. If PMPs end up with three or more retreats when using pyrethroids as the primary treatment material, they should evaluate their application technique. Sometimes, the problem is a resistant population, which calls for a switch to a non-pyrethroid material or other adjustment to the control protocol.

Figure 1: Efficacy of Phantom SC termiticide-insecticide residual deposit on two surfaces on two pyrethroid-resistant bed bug strains during University of Kentucky study by Drs. Haynes and Potter. Masonite data not shown. Prevention is a new reality. Eliminating a significant population requires extended exposure to a dry pesticide residue in harborage areas and the smart approach is to be proactive and start with a nonrepellent foundation such as products containing chlorfenapyr. Utilization of multiple classes of chemistry is also important to avoid the problems associated with resistance.
Phantom termiticide-insecticide has demonstrated residual control of resistant bed bug strains on various substrates (mattress fabric, medium-density fiberboard and masonite) during a recent University of Kentucky study (see Figure 1 above). Additionally, University of Minnesota research showed a near exponential increase of chlorfenapyr uptake by bed bugs the longer the interval between application and exposure (see Figure 2 below) for Prescription Treatment brand Phantom Pressurized Insecticide. Other non-repellent solutions to consider are Prescription Treatment brand Alpine Dust Insecticide and Prescription Treatment brand Alpine Pressurized Insecticide, which contain dinotefuran. This active has been granted Reduced Risk status for public health use by EPA. (Author’s note: Prescription Treatment brand Alpine dust features the non-repellent active ingredient dinotefuran, which has been granted Reduced Risk status for public health use by the EPA.) This makes it a great product line for bed bug prone areas, even in sensitive accounts. Alpine Dust Insecticide and Alpine Pressurized Insecticide have both demonstrated excellent residual activity on a variety of surfaces for bed bug control. The BASF Proactive Bed Bug Treatment Protocol recommends splitting treatment areas into likely (primary) and less likely (secondary) areas of bed bug infestation. Primary areas include headboard, cleat, mattress, box spring, frame and luggage rack, while secondary areas are curtains, outlets, chairs, dressers and baseboards. Using chlorfenapyr- or dinotefuran-based products as foundational non-repellents — pest management professionals should treat primary areas every six months, while secondary areas should be treated once every 12 months.
Figure 2: Increase of chlorfenapyr uptake by bed bugs using Phantom Pressurized Insecticide residual deposits on filter paper during University of Minnesota study by Dr. Kells.
Benefits of Prevention. Incorporating the BASF Proactive Bed Bug Treatment Protocol of using non-pyrethroid chemistry like chlorfenapyr and dinotefuran can:  Reduce customer complaints, litigation and “down time” for hotel rooms.  Provide an effective and economical treatment option with two applications per year (fewer re-treats, etc.).  Limit human exposure compared to curative treatment methods (BASF protocol utilizes Crack & Crevice, spot and void treatments).  Help control other pests (ants, cockroaches). Long-lasting residues from the foundational non-repellents in the SmartSolution for bed bugs from BASF Pest Control Solutions effectively kills pyrethroid-resistant and nonresistant bed bugs. And because they are nonrepellents, they won’t cause bugs to disperse. Plus, the SmartSolution simultaneously employs multiple active ingredients, so PMPs avoid resistance problems. Chlorfenapyr Formulations Phantom termiticide-insecticide (Phantom SC) delivers long-lasting, nonrepellent control of pyrethroid-resistant and pyrethroid-susceptible bed bugs, and quickly kills newly hatched nymphs. Its long residual activity allows it to control recurring infestations, making it highly effective as a preventive treatment. Prescription Treatment brand Phantom Pressurized Insecticide (PI) dry formulation kills pyrethroid-resistant and non-resistant bed bugs significantly faster than many other nonrepellent formulations. Research conducted at Virginia Tech showed that bed bug eggs sprayed directly with Phantom Pressurized Insecticide didn’t hatch (100 percent mortality). Phantom SC or PI can be applied as a Crack & Crevice treatment to common bed bug harborages. Apply generally behind headboards and to box springs, bed frames and baseboards. Between carpet or floor coverings and walls also are good spots for treatment. Prescription Treatment brand Alpine Dust Insecticide can be applied in voids where bed bugs are likely to harbor, such as near beds and luggage stands. Also apply Alpine in voids that bed bugs may use as pathways to adjacent rooms. — Jason Meyers

Shedding Light on IGRs and Bed Bugs

BED BUG SUPPLEMENT Insect growth regulators are one of the most oft-used insecticides for bed bugs. Here’s what we found when we systematically put them to the test… MARK H. GOODMAN, MICHAEL F. POTTER AND KENNETH F. HAYNES |

August 31, 2012 Portions of this article were adapted from a technical paper titled, “Effects of Juvenile Hormone Analog Formulations on Development and Reproduction in the Bed Bug,” in the entomology research journal Pest Management Science. Insect growth regulators (IGRs) have a long history of effective use against urban pests, including fleas, cockroaches, termites, stored product invaders and mosquitoes. IGRs are attractive management tools because of their prolonged effect and low mammalian toxicity. They also have novel modes of action, making them useful when combatting resistant pest populations. Different types of IGRs have different modes of action. The class of compounds used to control termites disrupts molting by interfering with formation of chitin, a foundation of insect cuticle. IGRs the industry uses to fight fleas, cockroaches, mosquitoes (and bed bugs) on the other hand mimic insect juvenile hormone (JH). Naturally occurring levels of this hormone in insects regulate growth, development and reproduction. Juvenile hormone analogs (JHAs), such as hydroprene and methoprene, disrupt these processes by imitating abnormally high levels of JH in exposed individuals. Gentrol (Central Life Sciences) with (S)-hydroprene as the active ingredient, is often employed in bed bug management programs. In fact, when companies were asked in a series of annual surveys which bed bug insecticides they most often used, Gentrol was the second most mentioned product in 2007 and 2010, and fourth most mentioned in 2011 (Potter et al. 2008, 2010, 2011). Nonetheless, published research on the effects of IGRs on bed bugs is sparse. The only previously reported work with hydroprene (Gentrol) found no adverse effect on nymphal development, although the previously exposed nymphs succumbed as adults (Todd 2006, Miller 2009). Bed bugs utilized in each of these studies were from long-maintained laboratory colonies (more than 23 and more than 32 years, respectively), whose vulnerability to insecticides may have influenced the outcome. In other published trials, substantial mortality resulted when
bed bugs were exposed to methoprene — but only at application rates several times higher than on current product labels (Naylor et al. 2008, Shaarawi et al. 1981, 1982, Takahashi and Ohtaki 1975). This article presents our findings on the impact of IGRs on bed bugs. Be forewarned that the experiments were fairly complex — but necessary to measure effects on reproduction and development as relates to management. Evaluation Methods. Evaluating IGRs in bed bug-infested dwellings is problematic. Since the compounds are not intended to kill quickly, they’re usually applied in combination with other faster-acting materials. This makes it harder to segregate results attributable to the IGR alone. Consequently, experiments were designed to closely monitor effects under controlled conditions in the laboratory. Three different bed bug populations (strains) were utilized: the Harlan (FD) population, which is highly susceptible to most insecticides, and two populations collected from Cincinnati (CIN-1) and New York (NY-1), which are pyrethroid-resistant. Colonies and test insects were fed weekly using an artificial feeding system. When evaluating delayed-action insecticides, repetitive blood meals are needed since the nymphs must feed between molts. (Recall that bed bugs normally molt five times en route to becoming adults, progressing through five nymphal stages or “instars.”) Adult females must also blood feed in order to lay eggs. Bed bugs of different life stages (eggs, nymphs and adults) were exposed to various concentrations of Gentrol IGR Concentrate [(S)-hydroprene] and Precor IGR Concentrate [(S)-methoprene] diluted in water. Bugs and eggs from the respective strains were exposed to the IGRs as a direct spray, and by confinement on previously treated surfaces. All experiments were replicated (repeated) four times. Direct Spray Tests. Groups of 10 bed bug eggs from the NY-1 strain were sprayed directly with Precor at the labeled concentration (1x), or two times the label concentration (2x) for fleas; Gentrol at two times (2x) the labeled concentration for bed bugs (simulating two applications as mentioned on the label), three times (3x) the recommended concentration for bed bugs; or water alone. Each of the five treatments was applied to groups of eggs laid within the previous 24
During experiments bed bugs were maintained on an artificial feeding system. Adults and nymphs were fed warmed blood through a thinly stretched membrane to simulate human skin.
hours (one-day old eggs) or 48 to 72 hours (two- to three-day old eggs). Immediately after spraying, the eggs were transferred to a clean container and monitored daily for effects on hatching. The elevated (3x label) concentration of Gentrol compared to water alone was also sprayed directly onto groups of 20 third-instar NY-1 strain nymphs. The wetted third-instar nymphs were then transferred to new containers, fed weekly and observed for adverse effects. Those reaching adulthood were further examined for lethal or abnormal effects, re-fed and allowed to mate with an untreated adult of the opposite gender. Oviposition (egg production), hatching and mortality were then recorded for 20 days. Dry Residue Tests. In a second series of experiments, Masonite wood disks were treated with 1x or 2x label concentrations of Precor, 2x or 3x concentrations of Gentrol, or water alone, and allowed to air-dry for 24 hours. Groups of previously fed, unmated adult bed bugs (5 males, 10 females; NY-1 strain) were held continuously on the treated surfaces and mortality, oviposition and egg hatch were recorded daily for 20 days. Groups of 20 third-instar nymphs from insecticide susceptible (FD) and resistant (NY-1) bed bug colonies were also confined on disks treated in the aforementioned manner — plus a very high (10x) rate of Gentrol, i.e., 10 times the labeled concentration. Each group of continuously exposed nymphs was fed weekly and observed daily for molting and mortality. Upon reaching adulthood, each individual was paired with an untreated adult bed bug of the opposite gender to monitor any subsequent effects on oviposition, hatching and mortality. Each bug was also examined for deformities and females were dissected to count any eggs remaining in the abdomen. A final experiment involved confining bed bugs on IGR-treated surfaces for their entire development time. Masonite disks were treated with 3x the label concentration of Gentrol or water alone, allowed to air-dry for 24 hours, and placed in individual containers. Groups of 30 fed and mated adult females from three different colonies (FD, NY-1 and CIN-1) were placed on each treatment and allowed to lay eggs for 24 hours, after which the adults were removed. Upon hatching, 20 newly-emerged (first-instar) nymphs from each treatment were fed and returned to their respective containers (additional nymphs were discarded). The nymphs were then followed through development to adults, with weekly feedings and observations on molting and mortality. Upon reaching adulthood, they were again fed, paired and mated with untreated adult bed bugs and monitored for effects on oviposition, hatching, etc.
Figure 1. Average number of eggs laid by adult bed bugs of two different strains (FD, NY-1) reared from third-instar nymphs on surfaces treated with 2x, 3x or 10x label concentrations of Gentrol. Average number of eggs laid by adult bed bugs of three different strains (FD, CIN-1
and NY-1) reared from first-instar nymphs on surfaces treated with 3x label concentration of Gentrol. Results. What follows are the results for the different types of treatments. Direct Spray of Eggs and Nymphs. No adverse effects were observed when bed bug eggs were sprayed directly with Precor or Gentrol, regardless of concentration applied or whether eggs were treated at one or three days of development. Hatching rates for eggs ranged from 95 to 100 percent and were statistically no different from spraying only water. Similarly, no adverse effects were noted when third-instar nymphs were sprayed directly with an elevated (3x) concentration of Gentrol. The mean percentage of nymphs developing to adulthood was not significantly reduced compared to wetting the bugs with water alone (86.3 vs. 93.8 percent). There also were no significant differences in subsequent numbers of eggs laid per female after a blood meal (7.1 with water vs. 6.5 with Gentrol), nor hatching (97 vs. 94 percent). Furthermore, no structural abnormalities were noted in any of the adults when examined under a microscope. Adults Continuously Exposed to Dry Residues. No mortality or effects on egg production or hatching occurred from confining adult bugs on any IGR treatments. Average eggs laid per female (after one feeding) ranged from 5.6 to 6.5 for the various concentrations of Precor and Gentrol, vs. 6.1 eggs for water alone. Differences in hatch rate (89 to 94 percent for IGR treatments, 90 percent for water) were also non-significant. Nymphs Continuously Exposed to Dry Residues. Neither IGR adversely affected nymphal development despite prolonged exposure to treated surfaces. Nymphs continued to grow, molt and feed normally even when confined from hatch-ing to adulthood on Gentrol deposits 10 times higher than labeled concentration. The lack of effect on developing nymphs was consistent for each of the three bed bug strains we tested. No decline in production or viability of eggs resulted from adults exposed as nymphs to 1x or 2x concentrations of Precor, or 2x concentrations of Gentrol. In three related experiments, however, statistically fewer eggs were laid by adults previously exposed as nymphs to higher concentrations of Gentrol. (See Figure 1 above.) In experiments 1 and 2, adult (NY-1 strain) bed bugs confined since they were third-instar nymphs on 3x label concentrations of Gentrol laid 77 percent and 49 percent fewer eggs, respectively, than bugs exposed to water alone. Oviposition was 100 percent curtailed (zero eggs
Dissected bed bug female showing eggs retained in abdomen after being reared on elevated residues of Gentrol. The retained eggs did not hatch, but the embryos inside were partly developed. Tiny red eyespots can be seen on the two embryos to right of center, while the dark structure toward the bottom is the gut.
laid) when NY-1 strain bugs were reared on 10x label concentrations in experiment 2. Oddly, no decline in egg production occurred when third-instar nymphs of the long-maintained laboratory (FD) strain were confined on 3x Gentrol concentrations — although 38 percent fewer eggs were laid when FD strain bugs were reared on 10x label concentrations. In a third experiment, where insects from all three strains were confined from hatching to adulthood on 3x Gentrol deposits, NY-1, CIN-1 and FD bugs laid 40, 36 and 6 percent fewer eggs, respectively. The physiological basis for the greater inhibitory effect on the two field strains versus the laboratory (FD) strain is unclear. Subsequent dissections revealed that many non-laying females exposed to elevated concentrations of Gentrol had in fact formed eggs — but the eggs were retained in the abdomen. The retained eggs did not hatch, but showed partial development of the embryo, with eyes, legs and segmentation visible. (See photo above) Other abnormalities were also noted at elevated Gentrol levels, especially the 10x concentration. Irregularities in formation of cuticle, malformed wing pads, and in extreme cases, bursting of the gut through weakened areas of cuticle on the dorsal surface of the abdomen were observed, especially in the NY-1 strain. (See photos below.) Similar effects were reported previously by other investigators (Todd 2006, Miller 2009). The Bottom Line. Based on these studies, hydroprene and methoprene seemingly should have minimal effect on bed bug reproduction and development when used at label concentrations. Methoprene (the active ingredient in Precor) had no effect on bed bugs at 1x and 2x the label concentration for fleas. These results are in agreement with Naylor et al. (2008), who reported significant effects on bed bugs at about 8.4 times (but not 4.2 times) the Precor recommended concentration. It should be noted that Precor IGR Concentrate is not currently registered for bed bugs although industry surveys indicate use by some companies.
Adverse effects on bed bugs were seen with hydroprene (the IGR in Gentrol), although it’s questionable whether they would occur in commercial practice. Applications of Gentrol repeatedly had no acute (immediate) effect on eggs, nymphs or adults, even when the respective life stages were sprayed directly. Gentrol also did not affect nymphal development — nymphs continued to grow, molt and blood feed normally even when confined from hatching to adulthood on Gentrol deposits 10 times higher than label concentration. Moreover, the lack of effect on development was consistent for each of the three bed bug strains tested. Elevated (3x and 10x) label concentrations of Gentrol did reduce the number of eggs laid by two different bed bug field strains. Egg retention within IGR-treated females was unusual, and to our knowledge, has never been reported. Up to 36 partially developed eggs were found within a single treated female, whereas those treated only with water had two or fewer eggs. However, these effects occurred only from prolonged exposure to higher than labeled concentrations. Throughout the extended period, nymphs and adults also continued to blood feed normally. In commercial practice, Gentrol is often applied repeatedly in combination with other insecticides. While such usage might enhance the impact of this IGR, insecticides tend to perform their best in the confines of the laboratory. In infested dwellings, many more variables can impact performance, including non-continuous coverage, insect mobility and intermittent exposure to insecticide deposits. Nonetheless, given the scarcity of bed bug management tools with novel modes of action, further evaluation and review of label concentrations may be warranted. Mark H. Goodman, Michael F. Potter and Kenneth F. Haynes are a Ph.D. student, extension professor, and professor, respectively, at the University of Kentucky. Funding for the study was provided by Central Life Sciences. Photos © M. H.Goodman and M.F. Potter
Structural deformities were common in bugs reared on high (10x label) concentrations of Gentrol. Left: thin/weakened cuticle and bursting through of gut contents. Right: Inability to shed former skin (darkened area is ruptured gut contents).

Harmful Effects of Bed Bug Infestations and Humans

University of Florida Study Examines Potentially Harmful Effects a Bed Bug Infestation Can Have on Humans

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A University of Florida study released in the Journal of Medical Entomology suggests that uncontrolled populations of bed bugs can reach harmful levels for humans in three to eight months. The study demonstrated that bed bugs feeding on a 1 year-old child can have harmful effects when feeding daily in as short of a time as 11 weeks.

Even though many have stated bed bugs are not a health risk because they can’t transmit disease, this study raises questions as to whether or not those statements are accurate. In situations where a high level of bed bug infestation goes untreated, there is a greater risk for anemia. This study helps to reiterate the importance of identifying infestations and taking measures to reduce the impact bed bugs can have on humans.

These findings combined with the recent research that bed bugs can have a measurable psychological impact on humans, may cause certain people to think twice about labeling bed bugs as a non-health risk.

“One of the important things about our study was that we were able to prove that bed bug populations have a greater potential to grow than we originally thought,” said Dr. Roberto M. Pereira, Associate Research Scientist at the University of Florida. “Because we allowed them to feed on a daily basis, our research showed that bed bugs consumed about three times as much blood as we’re used to seeing. With this boost in feeding and consumption the bed bugs ended up producing three times as many eggs, therefore population growth was a lot faster than expected. This study proved to us that the potential of blood loss in humans is actually real and can get to harmful enough levels within 15 – 20 weeks.”

Required disclosure of bed-bug infestations?

Legislation would require disclosure of bed-bug infestations

By: Joshua Sabatini | 10/18/12 8:49 PM
SF Examiner Staff Writer

The full Board of Supervisors is expected to approve legislation that would require pest control companies to provide monthly reports of eradicated bedbug infestations.

In an effort to crack down on blood-sucking bedbugs, San Francisco may soon require pest control companies to provide monthly reports of their eradication efforts and make landlords give tenants a two-year record of any such infestations.

Tenants shared horrific tales of scars and blood-stained sheets, and issued complaints about a general lack of response in eliminating the pests during Thursday’s Board of Supervisors Rules Committee hearing on legislation aimed to curtail bedbug blight.

Bedbugs are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood, usually late at night. They are not considered carriers of disease, but their bites can cause redness, itching and swelling.

Supervisor Jane Kim, who has made tackling bedbugs a priority, authored legislation that would require the Department of Public Health to collect and disseminate monthly reports from pest control operators about the number of housing units they treated. It also would require landlords to disclose a two-year bedbug history upon request by prospective tenants, and it would force them to treat infestations in compliance with regulations drafted by the department, which would certify the treatments within 30 days.

The rules also would apply to hotels serving tourists, except for the disclosure provision.
Violators would face fines of up to $1,000 a day.

Richard May, who has worked as a renters’ counselor at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, said the legislation’s approval would put San Francisco “at the forefront of the fight against bedbugs.” May called bedbugs “a pervasive and ongoing problem” and noted that San Francisco is a major tourist attraction.
“We never want this place to be known as a bedbug haven,” May said.

The legislation grew out of more than two years of discussion by San Francisco’s bedbug working group, which includes representatives from the Mission, Tenderloin, Chinatown and South of Market neighborhoods.
Those involved in addressing the bedbug problem say there has been lack of clarity about how infestations should be addressed and who is responsible, which can create tension between landlords and tenants.
Karen Cohn, a department program manager, said her agency plans to advertise on Muni to alert tenants about ways to prevent bedbug infestations and how to report property owners who do not address the problem. The department would hire an additional worker to meet the certification requirement.

Kim, who called the parasites a “citywide epidemic that has been plaguing many of our different neighborhoods,” said the legislation was “just the first of many steps.”

“There is much more that we need to do,” she said.

The full board is expected to approve the legislation.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

Bedbugs can cause harmful blood loss in humans

UF/IFAS research: Typical populations of bedbugs can cause harmful blood loss in humans 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012.

 GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For years, bedbugs have been turning up in sometimes odd and random places, such as subways, movie theaters, dressing rooms and schools, but scientists believed that to flourish, the insects would need more frequent access to human blood meals.

Turns out they don’t.

 A new University of Florida study, published online this month by the journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology, shows the blood-sucking insects can do much more than survive — they can even thrive — with far less access to human blood than previously believed.

 And the news only gets creepier. The three-year study also found that it takes only about 11 weeks for one pair of bedbugs to spawn a large enough population to cause harmful blood loss in a baby, and just under 15 weeks for adult humans. Just 3,500 bedbugs feeding on a single baby or 25,000 on an adult can cause problems.

“By harmful, we mean it’s not killing you, but your body would be stressed,” said Roberto Pereira, a research associate scientist in entomology with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “And when your body is stressed, all sorts of things can go wrong. Your blood volume would be low, your iron levels might be too low, or you might become anemic.”

Pereira and Phil Koehler, a professor of entomology and UF/IFAS faculty member, fed bedbugs in 5- and 15-minute periods and once, three or seven times per week, to see how the populations fared under different feeding conditions. Andrew Taylor, a former UF entomology undergraduate, and Margie Lehnert, a former entomology graduate student, assisted with the project.

Under the researchers’ bedbug-feeding regimens, Koehler said, the populations grew under all conditions – even those bedbugs fed the least often and for the shortest duration, although that group’s numbers grew slowly.

“Basically what we found is that they can live on a diet of weekly snacks,” Pereira said.

The researchers also were surprised to discover that if not controlled, populations of bedbugs large enough to cause humans harm could grow four times more quickly than previously thought, in just an 11- to 15-week span.

After having been nearly eradicated in the U.S., the pests became resurgent in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

In 2011, the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky released a survey of U.S. pest control professionals that found 99 percent of respondents had encountered bedbug infestations in the past year. Before 2000, only 25 percent of the survey’s respondents had encountered the pests. Koehler and Pereira’s study also found that unless pest control efforts against bedbugs can kill at least 80 percent of a given population, they are not likely to have much success. Pest managers most often use pyrethrins against bedbugs, but bedbugs have grown increasingly resistant.

“Unfortunately, there are very few products that will do that,” Koehler said. “And there is plenty of evidence that many populations of bedbugs in the U.S. are resistant.” There are some heat treatments that have been successful, but they are labor intensive, time-consuming and expensive, he said. “One pair of bedbugs can become 35,000 in just 10 weeks if not controlled,” Koehler said. “It’s really a very difficult problem for people.”

How Reliable Are Sniffing Dogs?

A recent article about lie detectors brought up a related topic; drug/bomb sniffing dogs or the more general use of police service dogs.  Let me begin by acknowledging a bias; I love dogs.  There seems little doubt regarding the utility of these animals in search and rescue, body recovery, and even sniffing contraband and explosives.  I want to be clear that this is not an attempt to diminish the importance and the role of these dogs in many of the activities they engage in.  Regardless of their error rates or even false positives, the assistance provided by these animals can be invaluable.

So what’s the issue?

Read More Here