[L]ife in the city has its disadvantages: traffic, crime, and the chance that you will be the next bed bug victim. Already there have been eight confirmed cases in Pitman Hall, with students having to relocate to ILLC until their dorms are rid of the pests.
Bed bugs don’t pose any health threats, but they are irksome and their work is quite revolting. Suddenly, the old “don’t let the bed bugs bite” saying takes a whole new meaning when, literally, you are praying they don’t bite you. But a new discovery might be the key to riding us of the critters.
New research suggests that our raging battle with the crawling nightmares might be coming to an end, with our side the victor. However, the method is no less terrifying. Ladies and gentlemen, fungus might be our saviour.
A team of Penn State University entomologists believes the fungus Beauveria bassiana, which causes disease in insects, can potentially kill bed bugs. Their study used the biopesticide against bed bugs under a controlled environment, and within five days most of them were dead.
But the critter venom’s biggest promise is that it is not just a temporary solution. These specimens have a tendency to live in hard-to-reach spots, but because poisoned bed bugs carry the spores back to their breeding grounds, this method would be a double threat, infecting their fellow citizens and causing their imminent death.
Published in the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, the study needs to be thoroughly tested before the practice enters the market. But before that happens, there are steps you can follow if you are suffering an infestation:
1. Clean up the clutter
A clean dorm or apartment does not warrant you safety – bedbugs can make it in to the most luxurious, sanitary hotel room without a stitch. Nonetheless, a cluttered home just gives bed bugs more places to hide.
2. Regularly wash and heat-dry your bed sheets.
This reduces the number of bed bugs. You can also buy a special bed bug cover for your mattress. These covers are specially made to contain bed bugs. Make sure the material is strong enough, lest it tear!
3. Don’t panic!
Having a bed bug problem can be frustrating and frightening. They are invisible enemies, but by taking the proper steps, the problem can be fixed. Above all, don’t throw your belongings away. Not only will you regret the expense later on, but this could also propagate a spread of the infestation.
4. Let professionals do the dirty work.
Though there are over-the-counter bed bug treatments out there, your best bet is to contact the professionals. Remember that bed bugs are small and very difficult to detect – they can also live for up to a year without feeding.
Perhaps one day in the near future Beauveria bassiana will save the day. But until then, be extra careful not to bring the fiends into your home. They do not take kindly to evictions.