A few of the observations coming out of this study:
- In this study, conventional (pesticide-based) pest control monthly treatments for bed bugs was mostly ineffective, though the approach used by the contractor was not explicitly described in this paper.
- 45% of the 223 high rise apartment units experienced documented bed bug infestations within 3+ years of the initial reported infestation, showing how fast a bed bug infestation can spread in multi-floor housing.
- Adult bedbugs were 9 times more likely to disperse out an apartment doorway than nymphs. Although migration through apartment walls was not monitored, the authors noted that there was no reason to assume that dispersal behavior would be different via that route.
- 53% of infested apartments were adjacent to another infested apartment, suggesting that direct apartment-to-apartment dispersal is likely, either through walls or hallways. Surprisingly to me, hallways appeared to be a relatively common highway for dispersal. The researchers noted an average of six bed bug immigrants leaving infested apartments via the front door per month. How many of these actually survived to make it to a neighboring apartment was not determined.
- I think one of the most interesting and significant findings was that 50% of the interviewed residents who had infestations were unaware of the bed bugs in their apartments. Many people, apparently, either show no reaction to bed bug bites, or attribute the welts to some other cause. This could explain how bed bug infestations can develop before being noted or reported.
- The Climbup® Insect Interceptor proved to be a useful tool for monitoring bed bugs, even in rooms with relatively low bed bug populations. Significantly, the study also mentions use of the monitors with a new bed bug-attractant lure manufactured by Bedoukian Research Inc., a manufacturer of flavor and fragrance chemicals in Danbury, Connecticut. Wang et al. report that in their unpublished laboratory studies the lure was effective at attracting bed bugs from a 30 cm (1 foot) distance. Although there are several lures that may be effective at attracting bed bugs from longer distances, an effective solid lure with slow release technology would be a real breakthrough for the bed bug control industry. According to Izzy Heller, Sales Manager at Bedoukian, commercial availability of their product is at least a year away, as they continue to collect data and explore EPA registration. Keep posted.
- Interceptors in the study were used under bed posts and next to entry doors of study apartments. These interceptors appeared to provide some control of bed bugs in addition to providing residents with peace of mind during the extermination period.