Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Bed bug science, "experiments," etc.

Any smokers out there?

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  • Started 6 years ago by onemadrssn
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  1. onemadrssn

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Sep 9 2008 12:50:38
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    My guess is no.

    I had my PCO come in last night for a 3rd treatment of my room (in a frat house, wooden loft, not good).

    I was telling him of all the guys who had lived in this room prior to me. The one prior to me first got signs of the bugs, about a month or two before he moved out. The guy before that did not have any signs of bed bug problems. He also smokes close to a pack-a-day.

    The PCO told me that tabacco is a natural insecticide; it contains thousands of chemicals (nicotine, tar, etc are some of the more widely discussed ones) and some of them repel bugs. He said that he has never observed it, but that it could be true that people who smoke in their rooms will repel the bugs. And maybe some of those tobacco chemicals running through their blood will discourage the bugs from going after them.

    i'm not saying we should all go and get a carton of cigarettes and begin smoking for the rest of our lives. this is just something interesting that I have not heard or read on here before. I do not smoke much, but my gf does; I plan on asking her smoke a few before bed tonight. Wish us luck.

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Sep 9 2008 13:13:19
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    Hmmm interesting theories.

    To add an observation I recently screened a long term hostel. In about 90% of the infested rooms there were signs of being being smokers but not necessarily of legal substances. I guess that the Bed Bugs may have wanted to stay in such rooms because of the THC content of the victims blood.

    One to think about.

    David

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC (legal requirements) I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bedbug infestations in domestic and commercial settings. The patent numbers are GB2463953 and GB2470307.

    "Astral Entomologist - because so many people say my ideas are out of this world"
  3. wirehead

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Sep 9 2008 14:56:11
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    My father, a long-time smoker, never (or almost never) gets bitten by mosquitos. He asserts that this is because "they don't like smokers", and has speculated that it has something to do with masking his breath, or making it somehow less appealing to them. Given that BB are also attracted to CO2, it might carry over. I'm skeptical though... it's certainly true that he gets bitten a lot less than other members of my family, but it also seems like certain people are just innately less appealing to such insects (or don't react to the bites?). My BF is hardly getting bitten by the bed bugs, and doesn't really react to the bites he is getting, but he's never smoked (cigarettes or anything else) in his life. It seems like there must be something else going on -- maybe something dietary, or related to pheromones, hormones, body temperature? Or even sleeping patterns?

    At any rate, smoking seems like the greater evil to me. There are ways to win this battle that don't involve getting lung cancer.

  4. tisIsaidthefly

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Sep 9 2008 18:04:36
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    oh great - so then those people on medical Marijuana who are already sick and disabled are going to be the ones mostly attacked.

  5. tabi

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Sep 9 2008 18:58:44
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    Oh I wish that idea were true. I smoke over a pack a day, in my bedroom while on the computer. My daughter also smokes and sleeps in the living room on a second couch. (I discovered 6 well made nests during the initial treatment period on the original couch)

    She only was bitten on the legs while she slept on the recliner section of the couch (this is where the nests were also found). I sleep on my left side with my hand tucked under my head (I don't move during the night) and all of my bites were on my left arm and hand.

    So that idea didn't work for us.

  6. bait

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Sep 9 2008 19:42:24
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    We really need some expert advice on this subject. It isn't really known why mosquitos bite some and not all - in fact the whole theory behind DEET was recently debunked. There is no doubt, however, that some people are bitten while others are not. Still, I don't think the mosquito analogy is applicable. I don thnk hormoses, operhaps estrogen, plays a role as bed bugs prefer women.

    Which brings me to a question that I've asked before and have gotten no answer. Why do I keep reading that all people are bit, but 40% don't react? Where is the proof of this? I have reason to believe that some people just don't get bit, and mostly that's men.

    Also, I wonder about sugar. I like sweets. Glucose gets in the bloodstream.

    I read in this forum that taking iron pills might slow them down, or at least discourage them from feasting. I don't want to take iron, but oftentimes men have more iron in their blood than women - especially menstruating women.

  7. BBcoukHome

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Sep 9 2008 19:44:04
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    Hi,

    I think its safe to conclude that nicotine is not an effective bed bug treatment in the form of smoking it.

    My observation earlier was more about movement of people in a building than the possibility that bed bugs were becoming addicted to Marijuana. To date my only knowledge of a drug addicted pest is the crack addict squirrels in London, see link below:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/oct/08/drugsandalcohol.patrickbarkham

    Normal service may now resume.

    David

  8. BBcoukHome

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Sep 9 2008 19:51:52
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    Hi Bait,

    I have fed bed bugs on numerous occasions and not had a reaction at all. I know they have fed because you could see them engorge with blood, it’s a shame I did not YouTube it.

    Some people do not respond with a bite response, there is no itch, no swelling no indication of a problem at all. Some seem to stay that way while others react with time and increase in bites. I have even met those that did not respond until they changed something in their life such as changing a job.

    The only thing we can be certain about bites is that we need to research the area a lot more and that they are not a good indication of an infestation of bed bugs although they are often the most obvious to those who do respond.

    If you take a hotel room that may have been infested for 4 to 6 months before being detected there have to have been numerous parties staying at the room who did not respond and many that did not think it was an issue.

    David

  9. Anonymous

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2008 0:46:54
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    Bait,

    I have an interest in this subject and can tell you that I've searched for the information. The figure that I first came across for people who don't respond to bedbug bites was 70% and the source was an interview of Dr. Jerome Goddard. He was describing the finding of a study but did not identify it.

    First, keep in mind that a lot of bedbug research is really very old, from the early 20th century sometimes. When looked at today, my guess is that people develop opinions as to what the research showed, especially because some of it was contradictory.

    In a recent review of the research, Klaus Reinhardt and Michael T. Siva-Jothy (Univ. of Sheffield), had this to say about host selection:

    "One population of C. lectularius preferred the smell of humans to that of dogs and guinea pigs (2), while another showed a preference for rabbits (185). Which cues determine these differences are unclear, but other hematophagous insects use heat, CO2 in the breath, blood group, sex, age, a habit of cigarette smoking, physical health, and even hormone levels as cues (104)."

    and this about immune response:

    "Few people are insensitive to bed bug bites (185); the frequently cited value of 20% insensitivity in humans is based on one study (91) that did not consider the effect of previous exposure on the onset of the allergic reaction."

    The referenced study is from 1929 by one H. Kemper and even if I should find it, it's in German... but clearly theirs is a different interpretation than Goddard's (if we're even talking about the same source, and although that would be my bet, we don't really know what Goddard was referring to). It's a really different number, almost the opposite, i.e., 80% of people according to this reading do react, and they think the whole thing is a bit flawed anyway...

    The researcher who noted in an interview that bedbugs stick to their chosen hosts, so to speak, was Dini Miller. This is that article:

    "Bed bugs don’t switch back and forth from one host to another so if they find you first, you may be the only one bitten."

    I haven't found the ultimate source of that but there are references I've seen elsewhere to the versatility of host-stimuli responses in blood-sucking insects. Another area that deserves the attention of researchers.

    So, very little is known and a great deal of research is necessary.

    --
    PS: Another interesting source is this review (PDF) of the communication cues research (Siljander, 2006)

  10. spideyjg

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2008 0:59:34
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    A phrase you will only read in an entomology journal, "I thank Harold Harlan for supplying me with bed bugs."

    Then resurgence of BBs has certainly raised more questions than there are answers available. Most research is 1966 or prior it seems and lots in the 1910's-50's.

    Jim

  11. bait

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2008 13:54:56
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    David, I appreciate your input. You said you experimented with bed bugs by allowing them to feed on you. The problem with that experiment is that you don't have a control. To be valid, you would have to have more than one host available and allow the
    insect(s) to choose one's blood over another's. Am I making sense? Don't mosquitos choose who they'll bite?

    Did the bugs at least leave a telltale pinprick in your skin?

    Also, if c. lectularius is not a tick, to what family does it belong?

  12. Marixpress

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2008 14:29:37
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    I believe people get bit equally but not everyone reacts the same.

  13. BBcoukHome

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2008 17:59:39
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    Hi Bait,

    I see your point with regards choice of person to feed on but not in terms of if some people respond to bites while others do not. If they feed from me and I don't respond that surely that proves that some people do not respond.

    I did have a small pinprick to the skin. Interestingly enough I get more of a reaction from a medical stapler or a 22 gauge needle than I do from bed bugs. I suspect that is because I am responding to the physical damage to the skin being greater than a bed bug would cause.

    I suspect that bed bugs choice of people when there are multiple occupants of the bed may have more to do with the physical parameters of the occupants, such as one being hotter and thus more visible to the bed bug than the other or one producing CO2 or having an active skin marker that the bed bugs detect. The fact is again we need more research into the taxis responses of bed bugs so that we better understand how they interact with the environment that they find themselves in.

    I am trying to document some of this with my photo library which is up to about 2,000 high resolution images. There are certainly patterns to where they are likely to appear in an undisturbed room given the lay out and the furniture type but that is mainly based on personal observation of about 8,000 cases. I am working on a way to categorise that into a detection guide at present which I am hoping to self publish at the start of 2009 having started to recruit a commercial writer to work with.

    With regards the taxonomic classification of bed bugs the tree is as follows:

    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
    Order: Hemiptera
    Suborder: Heteroptera
    Family: Cimicidae

    I would not know about mosquitoes though my entomology qualifications are not that extensive, its life and work that have brought me into contact with the beast we all battle.

    I believe Maxipress may be along the right lines. Its bite response not wethere you are bitten that is the variable.

    David

  14. bait

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2008 19:13:12
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    Thanks David. The reason this is important is because we were discussing a way to deter or harm the insect, e.g., smoking, eating garlic, taking iron. I was thinking that if some people don't get bitten, then we have a huge experiment in the works and by comparing the groups, bitten versus not bitten, we might discover what deters them. You mention "being hotter... producing CO2, or having an active skin marker".

    By way of taxonomic classification, c. lectularius is not at all comparable to mosquitos or ticks or any other blood thirsty insect. Does anyone disagree with that?

    Thanks nobugs. How can we get the scientific community to weigh in?

  15. livinginahorrorfilm

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Sep 10 2008 22:58:51
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    I don't even care why they bite me more than my husband, or perhaps just why my skin reacts more. I need them gone gone gone! That is all I care about. Even if I took a majic pill and the bites never bothered me again....I need to know they are fully gone. But perhaps the more we know about them, the easier it may be to come up with what kills them.

  16. Adele

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 11 2008 0:19:50
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    livinginahorrorfilm

    I think all of us share your sentiments - but just understand that everyone has different ways of coping with the horror of these creatures. it does not mean that they are suffering any more or less than the rest of us

    But for some folks it is research on these horrible creatures that provides comfort - so they can understand them better. for others it is group therapy and for others it is isolation.

    By asking questions and learning about them - sometimes knowledge is indeed power and can also provide some comfort

  17. spideyjg

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 11 2008 0:32:28
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    Adele - 8 minutes ago  » 
    livinginahorrorfilm
    I think all of us share your sentiments - but just understand that everyone has different ways of coping with the horror of these creatures. it does not mean that they are suffering any more or less than the rest of us
    But for some folks it is research on these horrible creatures that provides comfort - so they can understand them better. for others it is group therapy and for others it is isolation.
    By asking questions and learning about them - sometimes knowledge is indeed power and can also provide some comfort

    Very well put Adele. It seems overwhelming at first but the more you learn the less helpless you feel. Still overwhelmed and skeeved but not helpless or hopeless.

    Jim

  18. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 11 2008 5:13:16
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    bait - 9 hours ago  » 
    Thanks nobugs. How can we get the scientific community to weigh in?

    I think you mean nomo (aka hopelessnomo)?

    livinginahorrorfilm,

    I hear you.

    Though, there is a good reason for research on who is bit more, who reacts, etc.

    People have actually had relationships break down because one person is bit (but can't initially see the source) and the other person is not bit and does not believe there are bed bugs.

    (It happened to me.)

    And PCOs have corroborated this has happened to many others too. People have had break-ups, divorces, and just really unpleasant experiences. And it hasn't just strained the relationships of couples, but also parents and kids, friends, etc.

    Most people do not know it is even possible for someone to be bitten and not react, and I am sure it keeps many from getting prompt help.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  19. BedBugBopGun

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 11 2008 7:09:24
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    I am also a smoker, and I roll my own cigarettes... so that adds a little extra stress to the entire ordeal, since from time to time I'll see a decent sized stray spec of tobacco on the floor/table/chair and have to examine it up close each time to ensure that it isn't in fact a BB. I know that the real bugs are watching me and laughing each time.

  20. bait

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 11 2008 12:43:33
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    hopelessnomo, your link to Dr. Goddard doesn't work.

    I have to pay to access the Reinhardt/Siva-Jothy review. It sounds like this duo is on the right track.

    Thanks for the excerpts you provided.

  21. Adele

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 11 2008 13:41:48
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    thank you Jim:) at least there is 1 person who appreciates my postings!!!

    But I still try to help

  22. Anonymous

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 11 2008 13:54:17
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    Sorry about that, the Goddard interview is here.

    The survey of the biology of the bed bug is a good one but the source cited therein about the host cues used by blood-sucking insects is actually: Lehane MJ. 2005. Biology of Blood-Sucking Insects. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press. 2nded. You can see a limited preview on google books here.

    As far as getting the scientific community to "weigh in" we have made every effort to bring scientific knowledge to bedbugger by constant search of what is available and I'd say the information here is rather rich in that regard. I have tried to get an interview with someone re tropisms but it hasn't worked out so far. One of my dreams had also been to get someone to talk to us about the immune response. The bottom line is that a lot of these questions simply don't have answers yet and we all await further research. As you know, researchers design projects around their own interests and expertise (and, critically, sources of funding). Those Univ. of Sheffield researchers, their subject is bedbug sex... There is more and more research underway but it will take a long while before these gaps in knowledge are addressed.

    In the meantime, here's an idea. You can start a thread on the questions you would like researchers to address for people to contribute ideas to. If there are answers already, I'm sure someone will post them. If the list is good, perhaps you can persuade Nobugs to make it into a blog post, something like top 10 burning questions for bedbug researchers from bedbuggers. That may generate a conversation and, failing that, will be read by those who are engaged in scientific inquiry.

    Just a thought.

  23. spideyjg

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 11 2008 15:39:35
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    hopelessnomo - 1 hour ago  » 

    In the meantime, here's an idea. You can start a thread on the questions you would like researchers to address for people to contribute ideas to. If there are answers already, I'm sure someone will post them. If the list is good, perhaps you can persuade Nobugs to make it into a blog post, something like top 10 burning questions for bedbug researchers from bedbuggers. That may generate a conversation and, failing that, will be read by those who are engaged in scientific inquiry.
    Just a thought.

    How about a clarification of the Murphy's contact kill ability. With the various products and dilutions 5 BB samples and a little time it can be answered.

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/murphys-oil-soap-non-spray-and-normal-packing-tape-fail

    Jim

  24. bait

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Sep 12 2008 17:53:57
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    Will do so, HNM. Meanwhile, I discovered a section on this website:

    Bed bug science, "experiments," etc. – The place to share links to scientific articles, details of your amateur bed bug experiments, and so on.

    I like the idea of your interview. Who better to ask questions than you?

    Today I am a little more hopeful that solutions are on the way, taking into account how little is known and that an up-to-date body of knowledge must surely be on the horizon.


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