Why Bed Bugs Are Hard to Kill
“Every living thing on Earth has a unique set of strategies to adapt to life-threatening situations in the environment,” says Fang Zhu, Ph.D., a leader of an international research at the American Chemical Society (ACS). Bed bugs are no different. In 2015, a University of Kentucky survey found that 68% of pest management professionals agreed that bed bugs are the most difficult pest to eliminate. Why are they so difficult to kill? Bed bugs, like all living beings, have adapted and developed a resistance to common pesticides and chemical treatments.
Chemical treatments used by pest control companies, also known as the dusting method, is widely known for being the easiest and cheapest method for bed bug extermination. Everyone desires the easiest and cheapest option; however, recent studies are showing that when taking the cheap and easy way out of pest elimination, you are not always utilizing the most effective treatment – thus, causing the pests to linger and continue to cause problems. Purdue University conducted a research study from ten different bed bug populations over six different states and exposed the bed bugs to chemicals for seven days. Eight out of the ten populations showed a developed resistance amongst the bed bugs to the chemicals, and five of those eight had more than 25% of bed bugs survive the entire treatment. Zhu cited evidence that bed bugs in laboratory colonies exposed to lethal doses of chemicals can begin to develop resistance in less than one year.
Why are bed bugs developing resistance? One of the most common insecticide chemicals, bifenthrin, is also used in over-the-counter pest control products. The continued use of this chemical will only decrease its effectiveness. People should be aware of this and be sure to only use over-the-counter products sparingly. Non-chemical methods should be considered either in place of or in addition to chemical treatments in order to ensure a complete kill of the pests.
One non-chemical method to consider for bed bug extermination is heat treatments. The use of electric or propane heaters is an effective way of completely eliminating a bed bug infestation. Alliance Environmental Group’s Team Heat utilizes the ThermaPureHeat system to treat small and large bed bug problems and provides free estimates. There is less prep involved with the heat treatment process. No clothes need to be bagged. Large heaters are brought into the affected areas and are generated directly from our Team Heat truck. Small probes are drilled into the walls to monitor the temperatures and make sure we are reaching the correct temperatures for an effective kill. Our Team Heat staff enters the area and moves couch cushions, pillows, clothes, to deliver the necessary heat to hidden places the bed bugs might try to escape to. The heat kills bed bugs of all living stages- including the eggs. Bed bugs will never be able to adapt to heat; they will never be able to withstand the high temperatures used during the ThermaPurHeat process.
About Alliance Environmental
With more than 75 years of experience, Alliance Environmental Group, Inc. is one of the leading environmental contractors in California. Alliance Environmental provides innovative solutions in the areas of asbestos, lead, and mold abatement; air and HVAC duct cleaning; heat treatment for pest control; structural pasteurization; demolition and emergency response. The company has successfully completed more than 120,000 remediation projects in California and surrounding areas. For more information, go to www.alliance-enviro.com.