Bed bug infestation cases have been increasing rapidly all around the world, especially in the United States. Bed bugs were nearly eradicated during the middle part of the last century, but the pests reemerged around the turn of the millenium. Bed bug infestations are notorious for being difficult to eradicate, and infestations have forced people to discard valuable infested items, such as mattresses, bedding, clothing and furniture. Furthermore, bed bug infestations are often harrowing for those who experience them, and lasting psychological trauma can result from living with infestations. While bed bug infestations continue to be a challenge to eradicate today, recently developed integrated pest management strategies have proven effective at ridding homes of bed bug pests.
The bed bugs that exist today are very different from the bed bugs that your elders may have encountered several decades ago, as modern bed bugs have evolved physical features that make them particularly difficult to exterminate. An overreliance on insecticides for bed bug extermination in the past has made bed bugs resistant to most traditional insecticides. Bed bugs are resilient creatures, and much like how cockroaches evolved to withstand insecticides, modern bed bugs possess bodily features that protect the pests from the toxins in insecticide solutions. For example, genetic researchers have discovered 14 genetic mutations in modern bed bugs that all allow them to survive insecticides. These mutated genes are associated with the bed bug exoskeletons. Specifically, these mutations made bed bug exoskeletons thicker, thereby preventing insecticides from reaching nerve cells.
Amazingly, rapid adaptations of this sort have never been documented as occurring in any other insect pest species. Today, however, a number of different methods are undertaken to eradicate bed bugs from homes. These methods include vacuuming, washing bedding at a high temperature and using steam or heat treatments. Over-the-counter bed bug control products exist, but research has found them to be ineffective, but pest control professionals are licensed to use specialized chemicals that successfully kill bed bug pests. For serious bed bug infestations, a combination of non-chemical treatments, like heat, and a minimal use of insecticide effectively and permanently eradicates active bed bug infestations from homes.
Have you ever attempted to eradicate bed bugs on your own with over-the-counter insecticide?