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.”