Is there anything worse than a bed bug infestation?
How about an invasion of ‘super’ bed bugs?
Bed bug removal already feels difficult enough, and these new, ever-populating super bed bugs are incredibly more resilient than their inferior relatives. According to research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, these uber bed bugs have built a ‘dramatic’ resistance to the common pesticides used to eradicate them. This finding “further limits the options for chemical control of bedbugs,” according to the researchers, making them virtually impossible to kill.
Now, super bed bugs don’t have any supernatural abilities you need to worry about. They can’t fly, they don’t lift incredible amounts of weight, and don’t have X-ray vision. But their ability to deter destruction, and the ability to adapt against their destructors (people) is the reason they’ve been around so long, scientists call them ‘living fossils’. Natural selection at its finest.
The most popular insecticides used to purge bed bug infestations are neonicotinoids, which is a synthetic form of nicotine that attacks the pests’ nerves until they die. Of the seven pesticides commonly used for getting rid of bed bugs, neonicotinoids were the most effective until now.
How Much Stronger Are These Super Bed Bugs?
The specific stats from the study are staggering, but the general data is just as eye-opening. Bed bugs that had been stored in a laboratory – who have never been exposed to any form of neonicotinoids – suffered a 100% mortality rate when exposed to a miniscule amount of acetamiprids (a type of neonicotinoid). Bed bugs from Ohio and Michigan, which were the infestation samples taken for the study, faced acetamiprids 1,000 times stronger but the mortality rate was only around 27% in comparison. The researchers claim that equates to super bed bugs being 33,000 times more resilient to insecticides than your average bed bug.
Even bed bugs taken from New Jersey in 2008 showed minor resistance to neonicotinoids, though they were only exposed to alternative insecticides briefly eight years ago.
How Did Bed Bugs Evolve to Super Bed Bugs?
One of the obvious reasons super bed bugs are on the rise is because of repeated use of neonicotinoids, allowing them to quickly build up a resistance. They’re natural survivors (remember, they’ve been around since Prehistoric times), so they quickly adapt to destructive attempts on their populations.
Bed bugs are rapid reproducers as well, meaning they have more opportunities to adjust, mutate and evolve, so their population becomes rapidly resistant.
There’re other chemical methods that can get rid of bed bugs, but research is showing super bed bugs are increasingly resilient to other extermination solutions, including popular chemicals to kill indoor pests. In past bed bug studies, bed bug populations were found to hold multiple genetic means to resist pyrethroids, a family of insecticides.
The common human response is to go back to the drawing board and develop an even more potent chemical insecticide. But bed bugs – now super bed bugs – have proven they’ll adapt and become stronger as a result of any human ingenuity.
Is There a Way to Get Rid of Super Bed Bugs?
So if these super bed bugs counter their #1 villain, how do we get rid of a bed bug infestation with consistency?
The study’s experts say that since chemical solutions are playing to super bed bugs’ strengths, the natural answer could be turning to non-chemical methods of extermination. Vapor, heat technology, and diatomaceous earth were cited as non-chemical alternatives that could be proficient against the rising super bed bug populations.
Contacting a bed bug extermination company may be your best bet, especially if you live in an area known to be inhabited with super bed bugs. Taking on the battle solo, while noble, probably won’t do the trick considering how tough bed bugs are to remove to begin with, never mind their super-mutant kin. Leave it to the experts, especially ones that specialize heat treatment – arguably a bed bugs’ kryptonite – which eliminates a bed bug infestation in an economical, non-chemical way.
Let’s hope these super bed bugs don’t somehow develop a resistance to the elements.
Whether you have your standard bed bugs or super bed bugs causing a ruckus in your home, Magical Pest’s heat treatments are natural solutions that bed bugs haven’t developed a resistance to.
To determine whether a bed bug heat treatment is right for your home, schedule a free consultation with us by filling out our form or calling us directly.