May/June Newsletter:

BEDBUGS: Please don’t spray!

By Laurel Hopwood, Human Health & Environment Chair

Bedbugs. The odds are that these unwelcome guests will visit you during your lifetime. I am reminded of the Hitchcock movie called “The Birds.” Once they appear, they don’t want to leave.

Bedbugs are smarter than us. Their genes detoxify pesticides and stop them from penetrating. The bugs tuck themselves away, surviving without a meal for more than a year. As you read this article, they are hitchhiking across the country. They stow away in suitcases, hide out in crevasses in hotel rooms and student dorms. One bedbug can lay 500 eggs, which means a single stowaway can cause lots of trouble. They can catch rides with migrating birds and bats to all sorts of places, including schools, theaters and stores. According to a recent article in the Columbus Dispatch, the poultry industry has also become a mass-transit system for the insect.

Please save yourself a trip to the hardware store to buy insecticides. Pesticide applicators tell me that despite frequent pesticide applications, bedbugs don’t get annihilated.

There is good news. There is a way to get rid of these unwanted guests. When the infested building is heated to 113 degrees F for 90 minutes, they will die. At 118 degrees, it takes only 20 minutes. Please, remove your beloved four-leggeds before you try this approach.