Bed bugs have been crawling the earth for the past 2 million years. To help pest management professionals (PMPs) learn more about why they persist and how to better manage them, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) hosted the Global Bed Bug Summit Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 in Indianapolis.
More than 450 PMPs attended the event, which featured an expo comprised of about 37 exhibitors. On day one, seven speakers — predominantly from academia — addressed the crowd.
BedBug Central’s Jeff White kicked off the Summit with a refresher on bed bugs and bed bug management. The company’s director of innovation and technical content advised against telling customers the cause of their bites because everyone reacts differently. Some don’t react to bed bug bites at all.
White explained that the focal point of an inspection should be the area in which customers sleep, including the couch — the place customers will sleep once they realize they have bed bugs. The spread of an infestation can get complicated, so be sure to check books, stuffed animals, electrical outlets and baseboards, he advised.
White discussed detection options, and said he does not require customers to prep a room prior to treatment because emptying drawers and stripping beds may move the bed bugs elsewhere.
“You are losing control of the infestation if you do this,” he said. Besides, he added, preparation can be emotional for customers.
Heat, fumigation, pesticides and integrated pest management (IPM) were among the treatment options White discussed.
“When it comes to bed bugs, it’s not what you’re using, it’s how you’re using it,” he said.
The research of Dr. Michael Siva-Jothy, University of Sheffield, focuses on bed bug behavior, the effects of heat and how females cope during procreation to help understand how infestations spread.
Dr. Mark Feldlaufer, U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Bed bugs do not know socioeconomics, but getting rid of them is a socioeconomic problem.”
Dr. Warren Booth, University of Tulsa, said his research might change the way we think about bed bugs and asked PMPs to send samples to study. For a sampling kit, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Ameya Gondhalekar, Purdue University, discussed heat treatments, saying “Achieving and holding the temperature in the room and in the harborage site are critical. Otherwise, the bed bugs will survive.”
Dr. Gerhard Gries, Simon Fraser University: “Early detection is the key to preventing and eradicating bed bug infestations.”
Dr. Susan Jones, The Ohio State University: “We have a major problem with bed bugs, and we are not doing a very good job at prevention.” Education is key, she said, and we have to make sure we are informing the public about how to prevent bed bugs. She recommended using a printable identification card PMPs can distribute to customers (downloadable at http://u.osu.edu/bedbugs/).
Russ Ives, president, Rose Pest Solutions, shared his experience during a session titled “Bed Bug Business Models, Then and Now.”
“Overall, quality is important for managing your risk and is a long-term strategy,” he said. His company’s bed bug business is tied to its brand, not advertising related to bed bugs: “Bed bugs have disrupted our business more than any other pest.”
Managing Editor Diane Sofranec can be reached at email@example.com or 216-706-3793.