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  • The bed bugs bite back

    Press Association
    Wednesday April 14, 2004
    The Guardian

    Twenty years after they were thought to have been driven out of the bedrooms of the developed world, bed bugs are staging a comeback.
    Experts in Britain and the US have noticed an unexpected increase in reports of the bloodsuckers since 1995, according to research published this month by the Institute of Biology.

    The authorities cannot explain the upturn, but one theory is that the tiny creatures may have developed resistance to pesticides. The growth in international travel and the booming second-hand furniture market have also been cited as factors.

    Clive Bose, a pest management consultant, said the prevalence had been increasing for decades, adding that the bugs found in London recently were of the domestic, not tropical, variety.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/st...191172,00.html
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  • #2
    Modern lifestyles blamed for rise in bedbug infestations in UK

    By Helen Johnstone
    14 April 2004

    An outbreak of pesticide-resistant bedbugs has confounded experts who believed the blood-sucking insect had been eradicated from Britain in the 1980s.

    Research published by the Institute of Biology has revealed a rise in bedbug infestations in hotels and hostels throughout London.

    However, Clive Boase, an international expert, said the problem is much more widespread. Mr Boase, from the Haverhill-based Pest Management Consultancy, who carried out the research, said: "The problem is prevalent in most parts of the UK to a greater or lesser extent."

    He blames modern lifestyles for the rise in infestations. "Every time we move on, there is a chance we are taking a few bedbugs with us."

    Increased sales of second-hand furniture, in which the bugs may be hiding, was another explanation although that was unlikely to account for the growth of infestations in up-market hotels.

    Mr Boase added: "The problem exists in many homes as well as hotels. We can't just blame tourists because the bugs are spread by business people as well. We are looking at the possibility that bedbugs have become resistant to insecticides used to control them in the past."

    Bedbugs take more blood in a single feed than any other insect and can cause allergic reactions and anaemia. Experts believe a single pregnant female can become a colony of several thousand within a year and infestations can spread from room to room within weeks. When deprived of blood, individual bugs can survive for a year or more, allowing infestations to persist in empty properties or stored furniture.

    Writing in the institute's magazine Biologist , Mr Boase added: "They spend almost all their lives hidden in the seams of mattresses, behind headboards, skirting boards, in curtains and even underneath fitted carpets. They are seldom found living on clothing or people."

    By the 1980s bedbugs had been eradicated in many developed countries, including the UK. However, Mr Boase said: "Since 1995 there has been an unexpected upturn in reports of bug infestations in the UK, USA and other countries. He said reports from pest-control companies, local authorities and hotel chains alerted experts to the problem.

    http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/env...p?story=511245
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    • #3
      Bedbugs bounce back from oblivion

      Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 April, 2004, 00:41 GMT 01:41 UK

      Bedbugs are on the increase in many developed countries, including the UK, research has found.

      The tiny blood-sucking insects were thought to have been virtually eradicated two decades ago.

      But an expert writing for the Institute of Biology believes they may have developed resistance to pesticides.

      Since 1995 there has been an unexpected increase in reports of infestation in Britain, the US and other developed countries.

      Writing in the Institute magazine, biologist Clive Boase, of the UK company Pest Management Consultancy, said that since the mid-1990s reports of infestations had almost doubled annually.

      However, he said numbers were still nowhere near those of pre-war levels.

      Bedbugs, which measure up to 5mm across, thrive in warm surroundings.

      They make their homes around mattress seams, in bed frames, behind headboards or skirting boards, and within furniture and electrical fittings.

      Even when deprived of blood, individual bugs can survive a year or more - allowing infestations to persist in empty properties or stored furniture.

      When conditions are right, and food is in plentiful supply, numbers can rapidly spiral.

      Mystery

      Mr Boase said it was unclear exactly why the insects had made such a successful comeback.

      Some people think the growth in international travel may be a factor.

      But Mr Boase said the bugs identified in recent reports from London were the domestic rather than tropical variety.

      Sales of second-hand furniture, in which the bugs may be hiding, were another possibility. But this was unlikely to account for the growth of infestations in up-market hotels.

      It has also been suggested that the re-emergence is in some way linked to a change in insecticide sprays.

      Previously, sprays often killed many types of insect, regardless of whether they were the primary target.

      But sophisticated modern forms are more highly targeted, only killing the insects they are designed to be deployed against.

      Thus, the theory has it, bedbugs are less likely to suffer "collateral" damage from sprays designed to kill off other pests such as cockroaches and ants.

      However, Mr Boase said it was unlikely that kitchen-focused spray treatments would have ever held bedbugs in check.

      He favours the idea that the bugs are becoming resistant to pesticides.

      Research from East Africa has shown an association between the use of pesticide-treated mosquito nets and the growth of resistance in bedbugs.

      The pesticide involved, pyrethroid, was a type widely used in bedbug sprays in developed countries.

      Mr Boase said: "Such a process, perhaps coupled with some of the other factors above, may explain why bedbug infestations are often difficult to control, and as a result are increasing.

      "However, until detailed resistance tests are conducted on temperate bedbugs, this must remain speculation.

      "Hopefully, the current upswing in bed bug infestations is no more than a transient event in our erratic move towards a largely pest-free urban environment.

      "Insecticides with alternative modes of action, improved detection techniques and increased vigilance should help to turn this upswing around.

      "However, it does provide us with a salutary lesson about the resilience of urban pests."
      • The degree of reaction to the bite varies greatly
      • For some people it has no effect
      • Many develop an itchy swelling which may last for weeks
      • Exceptionally heavy levels of bug feeding have been associated with anaemia

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3622833.stm
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      • #4
        Bedbugs are coming back and thrivinghttp://www.medicalnewstoday.com/index.php?newsid=7250
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