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Bed bugs really live 18 months without feeding?

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  1. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 22 2010 12:36:12
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    Does anyone share my suspicion about possible inaccuracy of the oft-cited "18 months" life span for bed bugs when fasting?

    Over the last couple of years I've personally encountered about 20 bed bugs all of which I put into jars and all of which died within 3-6 weeks.

    As is frequently pointed out, bbs' life spans are closely related to temperature and food availability.

    That makes sense, all right.

    But has anyone done detailed, documented studies in the recent past with inclusion of a range of variables? For instance do early instars last less time without food than later ones?

    As the epidemic grows, isn't it going to be more and more important to have correct information about the life spans.

  2. spideyjg

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 22 2010 14:38:13
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    Follow the starvation tags.

    I've talked til I'm blue in the face about it.

    Until someone replicates the condition of the studies that established the long periods,and resets the time frames, they stand.

    I don't see a benefit in tossing scarce research dollars and time at itthough.

    Jim

  3. nancytd

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 22 2010 16:28:03
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    My box spring was encased for about 9 months before it ripped. I was bed bug free that entire time. This infestation is from it ripping, so these survived a long time. (I thought I was saving money by keeping and encasing it.)

  4. cilecto

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 22 2010 17:11:32
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    There is recent research that is suggesting that contemporary lifespans may be different from what was previously published. As I understand it, it's too soon to know definitively, but hopefully soon, we'll know.

    "Studies from early in the last century may not describe today’s bed-bugs well, says entomologist Andrea Polanco-Pinzón of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Older generations of bed bugs weren’t resistant to pesticides and lived in tougher environments: houses without central heating.

    On the bright side though, Polanco-Pinzón reported at the meeting that her survival tests found that a pesticide-resistant strain she collected from Richmond, Va., lived at most two months without feeding. That record, set by the fifth stage of the immature bugs, falls far short of the year and a half reported in the old literature."

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/51188/title/Do-it-yourself_bed-bug_detector

    Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night...
    - Psalms 91:5-7

    (Not an pro)
  5. DeedleBeetle

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 22 2010 17:36:53
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    maybe your bbs in the jar died when they ran out of air? i think that besides blood, they need air as well.

  6. Eve

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 22 2010 18:16:22
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    A jar has way more than a lifetime supply of air for something the size of a bedbug.

    Eve

  7. spideyjg

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 22 2010 18:27:26
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    nancytd - 1 hour ago  » 
    My box spring was encased for about 9 months before it ripped. I was bed bug free that entire time. This infestation is from it ripping, so these survived a long time. (I thought I was saving money by keeping and encasing it.)

    Nancy, Got a ball park guess on your room temperature the last 9 months?

    Jim

  8. DeedleBeetle

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 22 2010 18:42:52
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    Eve - 25 minutes ago  » 
    A jar has way more than a lifetime supply of air for something the size of a bedbug.
    Eve

    is that true?

    i wonder what size jar we're talkin'? Babyfood size or half gallon bottle? Something in between?

  9. nancytd

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Wed Sep 22 2010 18:58:43
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    spideyjg - 30 minutes ago  » 

    nancytd - 1 hour ago  » 
    My box spring was encased for about 9 months before it ripped. I was bed bug free that entire time. This infestation is from it ripping, so these survived a long time. (I thought I was saving money by keeping and encasing it.)

    Nancy, Got a ball park guess on your room temperature the last 9 months?
    Jim

    60s-90s.

  10. truthseeker

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Sep 23 2010 0:12:02
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    LOL, they live as long as their batteries work! I don't think they have developed ones which can charge themselves or use solar energy yet. LOL, green "bed bugs"!!

    {admin note: link to website deleted; truthseeker, please stop placing links to this website in your posts. It is also linked from your profile.}

  11. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Sep 23 2010 5:50:59
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    Another aspect I forgot to mention: has it been reported that bb's live longer, and perhaps much longer, when there are no hosts around emanating CO2 and perhaps also hormones etc. that the bugs can sense. That is to say, if bugs are in a room or house where you are but they can't get to you then they are unable to go into whatever the type of "dormant" stage is and die within a couple of months; whereas if they're in an unoccupied house, or maybe also inside a mattress with sealed encasement, then supposedly their endurance is amplified even if temperatures are comfortable.

    If that's true, should everyone who seals an encasement take a couple of minutes and breathe some CO2 into it just before closing the zipper!

    (But even though bb's can't get into and out of good encasements, maybe gases can so the CO2 would diffuse out before long and the atmosphere inside the encasement would revert to equilibrium with whatever is in the neighborhood? But if the mattress is in the room with you every night, there ought to be sufficient amounts of CO2 getting into it to shorten the bugs' lives, no?)

  12. spideyjg

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Sep 23 2010 9:32:04
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    It is about stored energy. In Doug's scenario, if you read the other threads, the bugs keep running about trying to get to the food and burn energy they can't replenish.

    Sitting still with no reason to move about they would live longer.

    Jim

  13. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Sep 23 2010 14:12:48
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    Thanks for that worthwhile illumination, spideyjg, helping to bring us recent arrivals up to speed. Are there any earlier threads on this you can point to. (I don't know what starvation tags are or who Doug is.)

    And speaking of illumination, we should not neglect light perception and other senses in hypothesizing what might affect bbs' life spans. So far we have...

    (1) food availability

    (2) temperature

    (3) presence of CO2 and maybe hormones, aromas, etc.

    ...but could it also be impacted by...

    (4) light - not just photoperiod which evidently the bb's have keyed on for eons, but also now artificial illumination the cues from which maybe they've evolved to exploit only in the last few decades - so they can tell whether their current premises have been abandoned or not

    (5) sound - maybe bb's do actually listen to us and rejoice when they hear the commotion near-at-hand as we turn in for the night - imagine their little beaks beginning to water...eww

    (6) touch, insofar as they may be able to feel tiny tremors in the floor or bed or furniture where they're lurking as we move about during the day and evening - might they even be able to feel microscopic puffs of air as well that's displaced by our movements

    (7) group dynamics - do Robinson Crusoe bugs, isolated solo individuals with none of their kind to hang out with (discounting Friday), tend to live longer than ones in dense colonies with busy social calendars.

    If these latter elements play a role, it could help explain something. For about half of my recent 20 bed bugs in jars I made a point of opening the top frequently and breathing in so they could sense the CO2 etc. and stay active. But for the other half, I made a point of not doing so. But all the bugs stayed active, and all died within the 3-6 weeks. Maybe the ones whose CO2 wasn't getting replenished nevertheless were noting the artificial light, the sounds of me coming and going, and the very small physical thumps, vibrations, etc. assuring them the place was occupied?

    But, this wouldn't explain nancytd's boxspring where the bugs lived 9 months without feeding, presumably with plenty of stimuli of all senses ongoing the whole time. See also airlift27's thread at http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/bed-bugs-living-longer-than-18-months-in-sealed-containers where bugs survived inside ziploc bags for 36 months. The only question not answered for sure is whether the bites which nancytd and airlift27 subsequently received may have been purely coincidental, coming from bugs other than the entombed ones? Since nancytd and airlift27, I gather, did not specifically observe any Lazari emerging? Respectfully I submit that conceivably could explain it?

    On this last point: could one or more people with access to organized bed bug collections put some known quantities of them into some ziploc bags and other containers right now, with additional contents inside the containers providing lots of places to hide in the usual fashion. Then, not in 9 or 18 or 36 months but in only, say, 3 months, open the containers and census the bugs. If there's a variety of different containers stored in a variety of different settings, some in a busy human environment and some in quiet deserted environments but all with favorable temperatures, and if it's confirmed that indeed all the bugs are dead within the 3 months, this will be very useful knowledge to have I think. If it turns out that in some of the containers *all or most* of the bugs are dead but in other containers *all or most* of the bugs survived, we'll know the latter containers had some element crucially helpful to the bugs and the former ones didn't, and further experiments can follow. This, it seems to me, could lead to powerful insights into ways to flip the odds from the bugs' favor to our favor. Aiming for only a 3-month trial would make this far less daunting than aiming for a 9-, 18-, or 36-month trial; plus the containers, and hiding-place objects to be placed inside of them, can be selected on the criteria of cheap and readily-available so the expense of the trial can be very modest; plus the containers and their bug-refuge contents can be chosen to lend themselves to easy bug-countability at the end of the 3 months. I.e. we don't *necessarily* have to use mattress encasements, with or without mattresses inside them, as one of the types of containers, though naturally it would be nice if that were feasible. (Also it's harder to open up a mattress encasement and count bugs, especially if there's a mattress in there as well, than it is to do so with jars, ziploc bags, etc..) The only difficulty would be acquiring a large enough number of bb's to put this into operation. I would volunteer to do such a trial with at least a few dozen such containers myself. But can anyone here in the NYC area bestow a few hundred bugs on me for the purpose? Right now I ain't got 'em...thankfully...talk about mixed emotions . When I get done with some current unrelated bookkeeping I'm catching up on, I might place a posting on craigslist under items "wanted" for anyone in NYC that knows where bb's are available and I'll go collect them in jars. (Will people respond, in view of the stigma worry? I'll promise strict confidentiality but will that be adequate. If it's not adequate then I'll try reposting and waving modest numbers of greenbacks at potential suppliers.)

  14. spideyjg

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Sep 23 2010 14:54:14
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    Above and to the right of the original post are the tags. Hit the starvation one and read the other threads.

    Jim

  15. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Sep 23 2010 16:04:04
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    Oops, thanks (duh), I'm still getting used to the features of this site after less than a week and the tags are a great asset.

  16. bugnut

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Sep 23 2010 18:17:34
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    jrbtnyc -

    Whoa Nellie! airlift27 surmised that his bites were in fact bedbugs and that they came from the bag he opened. I read his post and from it I could not determine whether he found a bug at all or if perhaps he got them from another source in a terrible coincidence. He only reported that he had bites.

    This does not mean that they live in ziploc bags for 36 months. There is no evidence that I know of, anecdotal or otherwise that would support that. In fact, there are some entomologists that believe a year is the longest they live (see "the bedbug resource" site)

  17. mam1974

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Sep 23 2010 19:30:59
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    Does anyone else get the vision of bedbugs acting like little "rage-infected zombies" from 28 Days Later when picturing them encased in a mattress trying desperately to get out?

    *picture hand-gestures and zombie-like sound effects here*

  18. SearchandDestroy

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    Posted 4 years ago
    Thu Sep 23 2010 20:07:13
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    Lol..good visual.

    It also warms my heart to know that my daughter's dancing in our TV room with all the CO2 involved in that just drives them crazy...if they come out of hiding, zap they get killed by poison and if they stay..they starve. I like both scenerios! I tell my daughter..keep dancing!


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