New ways to detect and kill bedbugs

March 3, 2010 10:47:54 AM PST
They can be the size of a poppy seed, and they could be hiding in your bed, chair, or even your wall socket!

The National Pest Management Association has reported a 71-percent increase in bedbug infestations in the U.S. since 2001. There are new ways to get rid of these pests.

This isn't obedience class. With these dogs, the nose knows where tiny bedbugs are hiding.

"A lot of our dogs are rescue dogs," said Jose "Pepe" Peruyero, CEO, J&K Canine Academy, High Springs, FL. They search an entire hotel room in one to two minutes.

"We want to, ideally, have a dog detect as few as one egg or one bedbug in a room," said Peruyero.

The canine nose is just one weapon in the fight against a growing problem -- bedbug infestations in homes, hotels, nursing homes and even movie theaters.

"Bedbugs have evolved resistance to many of the insecticides that we're allowed to use to kill them," said Peruyero. Doctor Phil Koehler and his team developed a pesticide-free system to kill an infestation. It works like a bedbug oven.

"The idea is that it only takes about 113 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bedbugs," said Dr. Koehler.

He builds a styrofoam box around infested furniture, heats the enclosed area to about 140 degrees with a space heater and waits.

"So, it's kind of like, we say, cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving," said Dr. Koehler. "And the fan is going to blow heat all through this box." The entire process takes two to five hours, with no damage to furniture. In nine of eleven tests, the system killed 100-percent of the bedbugs. The cost of the entire re-usable system -- 300 dollars. Science that saves money and leaves no room for unwanted guests. Commercial treatment for a typical hotel room costs 300 to 800 dollars and takes about 12 hours. Doctor Koehler says using oil-based space heaters eliminates the risk of fire. Standard ways to get rid of bedbugs involve replacing furniture or using pesticides.

Background on Bedbugs

Although bedbugs were virtually eradicated in the United States by the 1960s, increased international travel and restrictions on pesticides have caused a resurgence in places ranging from nursing homes to dormitories to movie theaters.

In fact, travelers who carry the insects in their luggage and clothing are the most common recipients of bites. The National Pest Management Association has reported a 71-percent increase in bedbug infestation in the U.S. since 2001.

Bedbugs leave a bite similar in appearance to that from a mosquito, which takes 10 to 14 days to surface. Once the itching starts, the bite normally lasts for about a month. While bothersome, a recent U.S. study found bedbugs rarely, if ever, transmit disease. Systemic reactions have been reported but are rare.

According to researchers, the name "bedbug" can actually be misleading. "They don't stay in the bed," Phil Koehler, Ph.D., an entomologist and bedbug expert at the University of Florida in Gainesville, told Ivanhoe. "They can be found just about everywhere in the room, and they can be found in sofas. They can be found even in wall sockets, and even inside wall voids ... Probably, about 30 percent are going to be found in other areas of the room you wouldn't even think of."

GETTING RID OF THE BUGS: Standard treatment for the removal of bedbugs involves replacing furniture or using insecticides. Researchers at the University of Florida have pioneered a removal system that costs about $300 to put together and keeps furniture intact. "The idea is that it only takes about 113 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bedbugs," Dr. Koehler said. The treatment involves building a Styrofoam box around a cluster of the infected furniture and heating up the area using an oil-based space heater. The air is heated to about 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit so the furniture reaches at least 113 degrees. Dr. Koehler says it usually takes about two and half hours to reach the necessary temperature. The walls of the room are treated with insecticides to ensure all bugs are eliminated.

For More Information, Contact:

Jose "Pepe" Peruyero, CEO
J & K Canine Academy
High Springs, FL
(386) 454-3647