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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Bedbugs' Category


Paris’s Worrying Bed Bug Surge Linked to Insecticide-Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2023) In the past month, Paris, France has witnessed a surge in bed bug populations. From public transportation to hotels, hostels, and movie theatres, bed bugs are posing a threat to the city’s two million residents and potentially a broader global population as the infestation spreads.   This resurgence of bed bugs in Paris is not unique. For centuries, these pests have been both adaptable and persistent, presenting an enduring challenge to pest control. However, the current surge in bed bug infestations is not merely a revival of a longstanding problem; it is a complex issue intertwined with the development of resistance to insecticides, mainly through a mechanism known as knockdown resistance. This mechanism, along with three other main resistance mechanisms, has enabled these insects to defy chemical-intensive control methods  Knockdown resistance is a significant factor contributing to the resistance exhibited by bed bugs to insecticides, especially pyrethroids. The mechanism plays a central role in countering the action of these insecticides, which target the nervous system of bed bugs, causing paralysis and eventual death. Knockdown resistance provides the genetic adaptation that provides bed bug populations with resistance to insecticides. It inhibits the effectiveness of certain insecticides. Bed […]



Study Finds Bed Bugs Highly Resistant to Neonic Insecticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2016) According to a study published in Oxford University Press, entitled High Levels of Resistance in the Common Bed Bug, bed bugs have developed resistance to neonicotinoids (neonics). Neonics have become one of the most widely used active ingredients to control bed bugs since the insects’ have exhibited  resistance to other chemicals, including synthetic pyrethroids.  Troy Anderson, Ph.D., entomologist at Virginia Tech and Alvaro Romero, Ph.D., entomologist at New Mexico State, studies found higher neonic  efficacy for neonics used on lab bed bugs as compared with bed bugs found in domestic settings. With the resurgence of bed bugs across the U.S., exterminators have relied heavily on insecticides to manage the pesky pests, despite questions about efficacy due to resistance, and viability of alternative, non-toxic solutions. To test the tolerance and ineffectiveness of pesticides used on bed bugs, Drs. Anderson and Romero used four popular neonics (imidacloprid, acetamiprid, dinotefuran, thiamethoxam) to compare their effectiveness in wild and isolated bed bug populations. Bed bugs isolated in a lab died quickly from a small amount of neonics, however, those same chemical treatments used on bed bugs found in Cincinnati and Michigan were ineffective. The isolated group of bed bugs […]



Despite Known Hazards, EPA Waits Decades for Manufacturers to Withdraw Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2015)  Last week, after decades of review and known toxic hazards, especially to children, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accepted a proposed cancellation for  a number of indoor uses (including food establishments) and tolerances of propoxur, a carbamate insecticide known for its toxic effects to  children. EPA has received a Section 6(f) request under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) from the registrant of propoxur to voluntarily cancel certain uses of the carbamate insecticide. The request from the manufacturer, Wellmark International, requests cancellation of  indoor aerosol, spray and liquid formulations of propoxur, indoor crack and crevice use, and all use in food-handling establishments.  EPA previously agreed to an April 1, 2016 phase out of propoxur in pet collars, but has continued to leave open these other avenues of exposure. The agency will begin accepting comments on its  proposal once it has been published in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur within 10 days of the prepublication signature date. It should be noted that EPA engages in lengthy negotiations with pesticide manufacturers, as is the case with propoxur (see recent announcement on chlorpyrifos), rather than pursuing rigorous regulatory standards through its cancellation or […]



Bed Bugs Display Multiple Layers of Resistance to Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2013) Scientists are learning more about the mechanisms bed bugs have developed to increase their resistance to the increasingly common class of pyrethriod pesticides. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports in early March, adds further weight to calls from consumer health and environmental groups to adopt proven, non-toxic strategies to manage bed bugs and other household pest problems. After all, if alternatives exist, why put your family at risk with unsustainable, ineffective control methods? This latest research reveals something scientists had not suspected. Bed bugs are developing most of their resistance-associated genes on the outer layer of their shell. These genes either neutralize the insecticides before they can take effect, or slow down the toxins’ move towards the insects’ nerve cells. In addition, bed bugs in the study also show resistance developing within their nerve cells, the target site for the pesticides. This multilayered resistance is unique, scientists say, but, as Beyond Pesticides has long documented, pest resistance to pesticides is not. A 2011 study from Ohio State University reveals bed bugs’ ability to evolve hereditary changes in their production of certain enzymes, allowing them to excrete the toxins without being harmed. A study […]



Bedbugs May Be Controlled by Natural Fungus

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2012) Preliminary research from Penn State finds that a natural fungus, Beauveria bassiana, may be used to control bedbugs. The study, entitled “A preliminary evaluation of the potential of Beauveria bassiana for bed bug control,” finds that all of the bedbugs exposed to the biopesticide became infected and died within five days. The research found no differences in insect’s susceptibility to the fungus due to feeding status, sex, strain, or life stage. Most importantly, the infected bedbugs carried the biopesticide back to their hiding places, infecting those that did not go out in search of blood. “We exposed half of a population of bedbugs to a spray residue for one hour and then allowed them to go into a harborage with unexposed individuals,” said Nina Jenkins, senior research associate in entomology. “The fungal spores were transferred from the exposed bug to their unexposed companions, and we observed almost a hundred percent infection. So they don’t even need to be directly exposed, and that’s something chemicals cannot do.” This result is important because bedbugs live in hard-to-reach places. “Bedbugs tend to be cryptic, and they’ll hide in the tiniest crevices,” said Ms. Jenkins. “They don’t just live […]



Drug Will Turn Your Blood into a Pesticide Toxic to Bed Bugs

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2012) New research suggests that the drug Stromectal (manufactured by Merck & Co.), which is typically used to treat parasitic worms, may also kill bed bugs. The active ingredient in the drug is ivermectin, which has also been getting publicity recently for its efficacy in killing head lice. Unfortunately, ivermectin, a member of the avermectin family of compounds, appears risky, and even unnecessary given that there are safe non-toxic methods to control and prevent bed bug and head lice infestations. John Sheele, M.D., an emergency physician at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk who led the bed bug study, tested ivermectin on himself and three colleagues over the course of five different blood meals using three adult and three juvenile bed bugs. They allowed the bed bugs to feed on them before taking the drug and 3, 8, 22 and 54 hours after consuming the same combinations of different insecticides. Within three hours of feeding on blood containing ivermectin, the bed bugs began to die. David Pariser, M.D., also of Eastern Virginia Medical School, led a different study that looked at the efficacy of using ivermectin applied topically to control head lice. Researchers found that after […]



Yet Again, Researchers Prove Bed Bugs Resistant to Common Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7th, 2012) A new study confirms several other recent study findings on the inability of commonly used pyrethroid based pesticide products to control bed bug infestations. The results reinforce the voices of concerned citizens and environmental groups calling for a wider adoption of proven, non-toxic methods to manage bed bugs and other household pest problems. The study, entitled “Ineffectiveness of Over-the-Counter Total-Release Foggers Against the Bed Bug,“ was published in the June issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology. Researchers from Ohio State University focused on the efficacy of three over-the-counter ”˜foggers,’ or ”˜bug bombs,’ including Hotshot Bedbug and Flea Fogger, Spectracide Bug Stop Indoor Fogger, and Eliminator Indoor Fogger. Results from the study reveal that bed bugs are not affected by direct exposure to the pyrethriods present in these products. Even long-term laboratory populations of bed bugs, known to be susceptible to pyrethroids, were unaffected by the pesticide when given a thin cloth as cover. This means that even if the current strain of bed bugs in the U.S. were not resistant to pyrethriods, the chemical still would not be an effective method of control because of bed bugs’ propensity to hide in small cracks and […]



Insecticidal Nets May Be Source for Bed Bug Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2011) New research suggests that the recent re-emergence of bed bug infestations may originate from insecticide use in the tropics. According to the results, which were presented at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s 60th annual meeting, exposure to treated bed nets and linens caused populations of bed-bugs to build resistance to those chemicals. The findings presented at the gathering showed that 90% of 66 populations sampled from 21 U.S. states were resistant to a group of insecticides, known as pyrethroids, commonly used to kill unwanted bugs and flies. Other research has already shown that an over-reliance on chemical controls over the years has helped bed bugs evolve to be resistant to these chemicals. One of the co-authors, evolutionary biologist Warren Booth, Ph.D. from North Caroline State University in Raleigh, told the BBC news that the genetic evidence he and his colleagues had collected show that the bed-bugs infecting households in the U.S. and Canada in the last decade are not domestic bed bugs, but imports. The team collected samples from across the eastern U.S. and discovered populations of bed-bugs that are genetically very diverse. “If bed-bugs emerged from local refugia, such as poultry […]



New Research Links Propoxur to Abnormal Neurodevelopment in Children

(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2011) A recent study published in the journal NeuroToxicology has found a positive link between exposure to the pesticide propoxur and poor motor development in infants. At the age of two, children exposed to propoxur in the womb experience poor development of motor skills, according to a test of mental development. The study joins numerous others that consistently show birth defects and developmental problems when fetuses and infants are exposed to pesticides. The study, undertaken by researchers at Wayne State University in Michigan, the University of the Philippines, and Davao Regional Hospital in the Philippines, is entitled “Fetal exposure to propoxur and abnormal child neurodevelopment at 2 years of age.” It examines levels of exposure to multiple pesticides in pregnant women living in areas of high pesticide use in the Philippines. Pesticide exposure was monitored by measuring the pesticide content of hair and blood for both mothers and children. The researchers then compare these exposure levels to adverse outcomes regarding the health of the infants once they were born. To accomplish this, the team used a method called path analysis modeling in order to determine what effects the pesticides might have on fetal development. The striking […]



Centers for Disease Control Reports Illness and Death Linked to Bed Bug Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, September 26, 2011) On September 23, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report linking pesticides sprayed in attempts to control bed bugs to poisoning incidents and death. Because bed bugs do not transmit disease and can be controlled without pesticides, this risk is completely unnecessary. The study, “Acute Illnesses Associated with Insecticides Used to Control Bed Bugs,” utilized data from California, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Texas, and Washington. In those seven states, over 100 poisonings, including one fatality, were associated with bed bug-related insecticide use. The CDC researchers used data from states participating in the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR)-Pesticides program and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). The authors defined “acute illness” associated with an insecticide used to control bed bugs as two or more acute adverse health effects resulting from exposure to an insecticide used for bed bug control. The study reports: A total of 111 illnesses associated with bed bug–related insecticide use were identified; although 90 (81%) were low severity, one fatality occurred. Pyrethroids, pyrethrins, or both were implicated in 99 (89%) […]



Ohio Passes Bed Bug Resolution on Propoxur

(Beyond Pesticides, April 19, 2011) On Saturday, April 16, the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously (97-0) approved a resolution sponsored by State Representative Dale Mallory (D-Cincinnati) regarding bedbugs and propoxur, asking Congress to help convince the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve the emergency use of the toxic pesticide. Propoxur, a neurotoxin and probable human carcinogen, has been canceled for indoor residential uses due to the unacceptable risks posed to children’s health and should not be used for indoor treatment. Resolution HR 31, however, urges the use of an emergency exemption under federal law to control bedbugs, a follow-up to an earlier request in 2010. The resolution seeks to invoke a so-called Section 18 emergency use permit , a controversial loophole in the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) that allows for unregistered uses of a pesticide, and in many cases unregistered pesticides, under “emergency circumstances.” In a letter to Administrator Lisa Jackson, dated April 19, 2010, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland supported the state’s request for the exemption claiming, “Without the use of propoxur, there is very little that can be done to meaningfully stop the spread of bed bug infestations.” Environmental and public health groups, including Beyond […]



Republican Bill Increases Taxpayer Costs To Bring Pesticides to Market

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2011) Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio, a Republican member of Congress and the House Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over pesticide registration law, wants taxpayers to pay for the research of new chemicals to manage bedbugs and has introduced an earmarked bill to establish a government panel and grants for chemical product research. Rep Schmidt’s bill, H.R. 967, the Bed Bug Management, Prevention and Research Act of 2011 is hailed by the pest control industry because it will push for expedited use of chemicals in the fight against bedbugs just as many in the industry are shifting to integrated pest management (IPM) practices that focus on non-chemical methods utilizing pest exclusion techniques, steam treatment, and other non-toxic methods. Using funds appropriated to carry out this Act, three grants will be awarded to State agencies to conduct a pilot program under which political subdivisions of the State and housing authorities in the State use the grant funds to supplement on-going bed bug prevention and mitigation activities. Though the bill does not specify Ohio by name, it states that “At least one of the three grants shall be awarded to one such State agency that, before November 1, […]



Study Proves Resistance in Bed Bugs, Showcases Need for Alternatives

(Beyond Pesticides, January 21, 2011) Further proof of the ineffectiveness of chemical pest control has emerged in the form of a study from The Ohio State University documenting the growing resistance of bed bugs to pesticide treatments. The study shows that modern bed bugs have developed the ability to defend themselves against pyrethroid pesticides, due in part to the widespread use of such treatment methods. These findings highlight the need for widespread adoption of alternative, non-chemical methods for controlling bed bugs and other insect pests. The study, which was published in the journal PLoS ONE, is entitled “Transcriptomics of the Bed Bug (Cimex lectularius).” The researchers found that the bugs developed the ability to produce certain enzymes, which can break down toxic chemicals, at higher levels of than previous generations. These enzymes allow the chemicals to be easily excreted by the insects without being harmed. When comparing modern bugs to a colony that has existed in isolation for several decades — without any exposure to pesticides — the team found strong evidence of resistance. Bugs from the isolated colony were readily killed when exposed to even small amounts of pyrethroids. However, the modern bugs, which have been exposed to pesticide […]



EPA Announces Bed Bug Summit, Seeks Public Participation

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that a national summit on bed bugs will be held by the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup on February 1-2, 2011 in Washington, DC. The public is invited to the summit to learn and discuss ways to solve the bed bug problem that is sweeping the country. It is the second such summit organized by the EPA, the last having been held in April 2009 (see summit recommendations), seeking input from scientists, regulators, and professionals in addition to the public as to how best to confront the issue. One of the recommendations from the first summit, that an interagency federal task force be created, led to the formation of the Federal Bed Bug Workgroup as a collaboration between the EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and National Institutes of Health. Bed bugs have recently begun to spread rapidly throughout the country, due in part to global travel and increased resistance to pesticides, and have reached levels not seen since the end of World War II. This resurgence, coupled with the bugs’ adapted resistance to common treatments such […]



Negligent Bed Bug Extermination Contaminates Elementary School

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2010) In an effort to combat a bedbug problem in a Brooklyn, New York elementary school, the Department of Education (DOE) paid a private contractor almost $100,000 to exterminate and, according to teachers, left the classrooms “soaked with a liquid bed bug killing chemical.” An odorous fluid was left behind on children’s and teacher’s desks, books and on the floors. ABC 7 Online reports the unknown pesticide substance is being tested, but teachers and parents will not know the results and what they were exposed to for another two weeks. The teacher’s union estimates that cleaning up the classroom will cost over twice what was paid, and the DOE plans to bill the contractor and stop the company from future business in the city, according to the news report. This story showcases the importance of a comprehensive school and community pesticide and pest management policy in response to the mass hysteria that bedbugs are causing and as a general public health protection measure. The bedbug outbreak prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue warnings against improper treatments and misuses of pesticides. Despite the fact that bed bugs do not transmit diseases and are not […]



U.S. Grapples with Bedbugs, Misuse of Pesticides, As Non-Toxic Alternatives Are Not Widely Discussed

(Beyond Pesticides, September 1, 2010) A resurgence of bedbugs across the U.S. has homeowners and apartment dwellers taking desperate measures to eradicate the tenacious bloodsuckers, with some relying on dangerous outdoor pesticides and fly-by-night exterminators. However, these measures pose more dangers than any perceived short-term benefit, as non-toxic alternatives are not widely discussed. Bed bugs can be effectively controlled without the use of dangerous chemical pesticides. Heat treating infected spaces or items such as furniture and laundering linens in hot water will kill bed bugs. Habitat modification, such as sealing cracks, and removing clutter, can prevent an infestation from occurring. Some steps you can take to treat for bed bugs include: Ӣ Eliminate clutter —clutter provides places for bed bugs to hide! Getting rid of as much clutter as possible will help you locate and get rid of infestations. Ӣ Caulk and Seal Crevices to prevent bed bugs from entering your home. Ӣ Encase mattresses and box springs —make sure the encasement has been tested for bed bugs and will not rip and does not contain synthetic pesticides impregnated in the material. If left on, it will eventually kill all bed bugs inside, and will make finding bed bugs on […]



Under Pressure EPA Denies Ohio’s Request to Use Restricted Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticide, June 11, 2010) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has refused the state of Ohio’s request for an emergency exemption to use the restricted pesticide propoxur in residential settings for control of bed bugs, stating that the chemical “presents unreasonable risk.” Propoxur is a highly toxic, broad spectrum insecticide. All indoor residential uses of this known neurotoxic chemical and possible carcinogen were voluntarily canceled in 2007. The Ohio Department of Agriculture, deeming the increases in bed bug infestations an emergency, requested an exemption to use propoxur in residential areas and in May the Ohio Senate’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee adopted a unanimous resolution urging the EPA to grant it. Beyond Pesticides, with coalition of environmental and public health groups, opposed the request and asked EPA to deny the exemption, citing the serious public health threat associated with the chemical, as well as the availability of alternatives. EPA determined “the requested use presents an unacceptable risk,” according to Administrator Lisa Jackson, in a letter to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland dated June 2, 2010. “Although EPA recognizes the severe and urgent challenges that Ohio is facing from bed bugs, the results of the risk assessment do not support the necessary […]



Ohio Asks EPA to Allow Unregistered Pesticide Use for Bedbugs

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2009) The Ohio Department of Agriculture is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow an unregistered use of the neurotoxic and cancer causing insecticide propoxur in homes to fight bedbugs in what state officials are describing as an ”˜emergency’ situation. The chemical, o-isopropoxyphenyl methylcarbamate, is in the carbamate family and classified as a probable human carcinogen (Group B2) by EPA, and listed as a known human carcinogen by the state of California. Though EPA allows emergency exemptions for unregistered pesticide uses in agriculture and for public health reasons under a controversial waiver program (Section 18, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, 40 CFR Part 166), it rarely issues such an exemption for an indoor pesticide use. Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati are all experiencing a surge of bed bug infestations. According to Richard Pollack, a Harvard University public health entomologist, this is probably due to the fact that bedbugs are becoming resistant to many pesticide products that are used today. The use of broad spectrum insecticides, which kill common household insects such as cockroaches, ants and other insects including bed bugs, has resulted in insect resistance to these chemicals. Many of the chemicals used against […]



Call For Action Against Bed Bug Resurgence

(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) convened the first ever National Bed Bug Summit (April 14-15, 2009) to solicit recommendations from scientists, state and local officials, pest control operators and the general public on how to tackle the resurgence of the blood sucking insects. Bed bugs have rebounded in significant numbers for the first time since World War II, partly due to increased global travel and their increasing resistance to commonly used pesticides. Bed bug outbreaks have tripled since 2005, according to a survey of 800 pest control firms across the country, infesting apartment buildings, college dormitories, hospital wings, homeless shelters and top-rated hotels. Bedbugs outbreaks have been reported in at least 27 states, including Honolulu, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Chicago, Houston and Miami. In 2006, a Chicago woman sued a New York hotel for $20 million after suffering more than 500 bed bug bites. Persistent outbreaks are normally concentrated in low-income neighborhoods, where people cannot afford to replace or professionally clean bedding and soft furnishing. Both New York and San Francisco have passed city legislation to help control the spread of the bugs. In San Francisco, the legislation centers on landlord and tenant rights while […]