One of the reasons that people fear bed bug infestations is because the little pests are so hard to eliminate. Researchers from North Carolina State University may have discovered a new clue in the battle against bed bugs: they are able to successfully inbreed. This is important because it means that bed bugs can replicate quickly, even when there are just a few bugs living in a given space.
What is the Research Based On?
The study examined a total of three apartment buildings on the east coast, both in the north and south of the country. Researchers determined that the bed bug infestations in all of the apartments were similar in one important way: the bed bugs were all closely related to one another.
What Does it Mean?
The research helps experts understand why it is so hard to get rid of a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are hitchhikers; if an individual brings home a pregnant female, an infestation can quickly take hold. Once that female gives birth, the babies will begin to mate, both with their siblings and with their mother. Treatment for bed bugs is expensive, and because the pests like to hide in cracks and crevices, it is hard to get rid of the entire infestation even when a professional is involved. And, because of inbreeding, one or two survivors could mean a fresh infestation not too far down the road.
Why are Bed Bugs a Problem?
While they do not carry disease, which is a relief, there is a negative stigma attached to bed bugs. In addition, the treatment is very expensive compared to traditional pest control, due in part to how much work goes into eradicating the bugs. Finally, bed bugs do bite. The bites can be quite itchy and may even resemble a rash on some people, leading to discomfort and agitation in the affected individual.
What Can be Done to Prevent Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs can be transported from one place to another via the human body. However, that actually does not happen as often as people think. If a bed bug attaches to you, it generally can’t stay on for longer than ten minutes. Instead, most people carry the bugs home either through secondhand furniture or through their luggage after traveling.
To avoid bed bugs, make sure you carefully examine any furniture that you bring into the house. Put bed bug covers on your bed, and when you return from a trip, make sure that your dirty laundry and bedding goes directly into the washing machine and the dryer. While there are no guarantees, taking these steps should help.
Bed bugs are tricky pests to eliminate. Although new research is helping us understand these bugs a little better, it is still very difficult to treat an infestation when one occurs. Keep in mind, however, that while bed bugs may bite, they will not harm you or your family members in any other way. Try and prevent an infestation as much as possible, but make sure to keep a cool head if one occurs.
Morgan is a blogger for Excel Termite & Pest Control, an extermination company located in New Jersey. When Morgan isn’t writing, she enjoys reading and traveling with her family.