UC ANR & UC Riverside IPM Study

Excimex has been selected to partner with research teams from the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources (ANR) & UC Riverside to understand the current status of bed bug infestations and management tactics used in urban and suburban multiple-occupancy housing facilities.

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Widespread increases in bed bug infestations can be attributed to several factors:  increased international commerce and travel; growing urban population density; a growing pesticide resistance; changes in indoor pest management tactics; a lack of awareness by the general public.  Low-income, multiple-occupancy residential buildings in urban California are among the locations where chronic infestations of bed bugs are frequently encountered.  These infestations may be the source of “cross contamination” of bed bugs into other locations.  Management in these settings is extremely challenging due to a high rate of tenant turnover, ease of dispersal or “cross contamination”, inadequate resources, communication barriers and housekeeping issues.  Compounding the growing problem is that contracted services for bed bug treatment are often based on a low dollar acquisition, rather than the excellence of service delivery.

Pyrethrins are commonly used pesticides naturally derived from Chrysanthemum flowers.  Potent and toxic. Pyrethroids are their synthetic relatives. 

Pyrethrins are commonly used pesticides naturally derived from Chrysanthemum flowers.  Potent and toxic. Pyrethroids are their synthetic relatives. 

“Traditional” methods of bed bug control are based upon the repeated applications of pyrethroid* insecticides. (*pyrethroids are synthetic chemical insecticides, with properties similar to the natural pyrethrins, found in flowers, such as the chrysanthemum). These pyrethroid products are regulated by Federal and State agencies.  Even though the use of these products produces some beneficial results, there are serious concerns over the increasing presence of such products in our water supplies.  Simple applications of pyrethroid based insecticides may provide some “immediate” return, and quick revenue to the pest control company. However; the actual efficacy is declining rapidly, since bed bug’s resistance to such products has arisen rapidly.  Survivors of such treatments go on to multiply and re-establish infestations.
Frustration on the part of residents, property managers and property owners has resulted in decisions to take bed bug management into their own hands.  The Internet has provided an abundance of “how to” and “home methods”, many of which are highly dangerous.  As a result there has been an increase in pesticide-related poisonings, and deaths.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a combination of common sense and scientific principles based upon:  Education and Awareness;  General knowledge of the pest (behaviors, habits, life cycle); using the least toxic methods; monitoring and adjusting;  follow up.  It is a “new way” of thinking about pest management that values protection of people; property and our planet.  Emphasis is placed upon preparation, lifestyle, deep cleaning, situational awareness and an establishment of acceptable thresholds for action.  The efficacy of IPM has been demonstrated over the past two years in affordable housing situations in the Southern California area by ExCimex.  

The goals of this project are:

  1. Understand the current status of bed bug infestations and management tactics presently being used (The “Traditional” insecticide application method) in California  urban and suburban multiple-occupancy housing systems,
  2. Demonstrate the efficacy and efficiency of bed bug integrated pest management (IPM) strategies and tactics.

Ultimately, a policy for the effective and cost efficient management of bed bugs in urban and suburban multiple-occupancy housing systems will be developed.

Photography by Dr. Dong-Hwan Choe; Assistant Professor; Urban Entomology; University of CA Riverside

Photography by Dr. Dong-Hwan Choe; Assistant Professor; Urban Entomology; University of CA Riverside

ExCimex will conduct the IPM pest management strategies in selected test sites.  The project commenced in April 2014 and will conclude in April 2016.  The results and conclusions will be peer reviewed by some of the most respected academic and pest management professionals in the United States.

For more information about bed bugs and IPM, check out this Research Article published by our UC partners, et al.  And for additional information about bed bugs, FAQ's and other urban pests, please visit the UC ANR website


What do Bedbugs look like?

THE BASICS:

  • Reddish brown, flat and oval shaped.  
  • They’re about the size of a pencil lead (1/5”) as adults.  
  • They are blood feeders, so their reddish color comes from the blood that they feed on.  
  • Otherwise they are translucent, and yellow-white in color.  It’s easy to see their organs after they have fed.  

 

A female bed bug has just laid her eggs in the crease of a pillow along the stitching

A female bed bug has just laid her eggs in the crease of a pillow along the stitching

EGGS - are very hard to detect.  They’re like little grains of rice.  When the female lays them, they're covered with a very sticky substance, so they can hang on to clothing, fabric, leather, and human skin.  

1st instar bed bug feeding on a human finger.  (photo by: Sorkin and Mercurio, American Museum of Natural History)   

1st instar bed bug feeding on a human finger. 
(photo by: Sorkin and Mercurio, American Museum of Natural History)

 

NYMPHS - also very difficult to spot.  They feed so that they can grow, shed their skin, and begin to look for another meal.

A bed bug harborage (nest): adults, instars, castings (shed skins), eggs and fecal stains. 

A bed bug harborage (nest): adults, instars, castings (shed skins), eggs and fecal stains. 

ADULTS - are about the size and shape of an apple seed.  

They spend about 90% of their time in hiding and the other 10% feeding or searching for food (blood). 

It’s important to POSITIVELY identify your findings as BED BUGS.  At various stages of their lives, it is possible to confuse a bed bug with a cockroach or a flea.  

BED BUG treatment is UNLIKE any other pest treatment, so a positive identification is VITAL.  Don't fall victim to mass-media hype - Stick to the basics and for more information give us a call for a quick chat or submit an inquiry to Cam for a quick response.   

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SUMMER BREAK and URBAN PESTS

Summertime brings a break in the academic year, and a return to home and hearth.  It’s a period of adjustment for parents and students alike, and the routine is anything but routine.  It is also a time when unwanted hitch hikers, in the form of bed bugs or other urban pests relocate from the hallowed halls of dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and student housing.  Backpacks are the vehicle of choice for pests, along with duffel bags.  One pregnant female bedbug can result in a full blown infestation in an alarmingly short period of time.  Mitigating a serious infestation will match a semester’s tuition in cost.

HERE ARE SOME SIMPLE TIPS:
1.    The homeward bound student makes the garage his or her first stop.
2.    DO NOT take any article of clothing, bedding, luggage or even study materials into the home.  (see below).
3.    All articles of clothing, bedding, backpacks, and duffel bags are gathered, and run through the dryer at high heat for 30 minutes. Bed bugs are HEAT INTOLERANT
a.    If a clothes dryer is not available, then seek out a commercial laundry with industrial sized dryers.
4.    DO NOT spray down articles with commercial pest products (RAID or HOT SHOT).  These are ineffective and are highly flammable.
5.    Become aware of your student’s surroundings, and living standards. 
Should your student return home with a significant presence or infestation of bed bugs, advise the housing director, or landlord, or housing manager (where the student resides during the academic year) of the situation