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Can Mice transfer Bed Bugs?

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  1. BugsInTO

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 16 2008 16:08:27
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    Hi - I have been trying to find information on whether or not mice can be a way of moving bed bugs around. I read that bed bugs feed on mice in the absence of humans, but not much more info.

    We don't know how we got our bed bugs. The house next door, completely separated from our house by a shared driveway (approx 7 feet wide) had a bad infestation. It is a rooming house. It sounds like they were everywhere in one tenant's room (he skipped in the middle of the night) and spreading once he left. They have treated it aggressively, and report no bites for month!

    But they keep apologizing to us because they think we must have gotten our bed bugs from them. The only thing we share is a mouse population. Nothing I have read indicates that bed bugs would actually leave a house and crawl across a driveway and then climb up to our bedroom on the 2nd floor.

    They are working hard on catching their mice at their house, and we are stepping up our efforts here, but so far with less success. [We put down traps and poison. They avoid the traps and the poison turns their droppings pink but doesn't seem to kill them.]

    Does anyone have any information to share? If the mice are spreading bed bugs.... then it is going to be important to know this, and make sure that both pests are treated at the same time.

    Thanks
    BugsInTO

  2. busy with my kids

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 16 2008 16:24:00
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    A lady gave me an article about bed bugs that was written in 1962. (I thought they were gone then.) But anyway it has these lines, "[the bed bug] is not a bit fussy how he travels. Anything is faster and better than crawling. In fact, he will even ride a rat or a mouse or enjoy a bouncing ride on the back of a rabbit or take to the air on the wing of a bird. We might say that the bed bug's motto is: If it moves, ride it. Little wonder then that it enjoys the distinction of being nature's most experienced hitchhiker, and who is there to deny it?" I have no idea where that info for the article came from, but there you have it.

    That being said, my pest control operator put out these bait stations that supposedly catch 10 mice at a time. He said our mice problem would be over with these. (He was equally optimistic about the bed bug solution, however.) But we haven't seen any mice with these stations around. Maybe they are pretty good.

    Good luck.

  3. BugsInTO

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sat Aug 16 2008 16:55:36
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    Hi BWMKids:

    Very interesting information indeed.

    I am glad you held on to it - it reads like a children's story. 1962! This pest is back and we need to recover all the information we once had and thought we wouldn't need again.

    thank you. BugsInTO

  4. KillerQueen

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 17 2008 2:04:39
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    AND THEY ALSO THOUGHT DDT WAS SAFE FOR US!

  5. busy with my kids

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 17 2008 9:49:22
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    Yea, the same article (from 1962) says that to treat them you use "DDT, lindane, malathion spray, or pyrethrum-DDT spray." And that "these insecticides can be purchased at drug, hardware and department stores and at large food markets." But interestingly it does mention that "[i]n many areas bedbugs have become resistant to DDT,..."

    I found malathion in an outdoor spray, but it sounds like it's very bad for you if you use it indoors.

  6. BugsInTO

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 17 2008 11:10:52
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    In 1962, the pesticide information in the article may have been pretty accurate. Coincidentally, it is same year "Silent Spring" was published.

    I am still very interested in any information regarding bed bug transfer especially mice.

    The info I have found so far lists clothes, furniture, bedding, mattresses, passing through wall cavities, conduits for wires and plumbing pipes.

    Coincidentally, all the caulking and sealing recommended to combat bed bugs might also incidentally be blocking rodent access.

    The info supports bed bugs feeding on rodents in the absence of humans, but it doesn't mention transmission via rodents.

    I am not pursuing the idea of rodents and bed bugs because of any vendetta with the neighbours. They are victims as much as us, and their landlord reacted with full commitment the same day he found out about the problem. It is just suspicious that we got bed bugs at the same time they did and that our house doesn't touch theirs in any way. We certainly didn't share any furniture or clothing or items either.

    We are concerned to make sure that we are doing everything possible to stop the spread of bed bugs, and we are going to go and speak to our neighbours on the other side of our semi-detached house. They said they didn't have bed bugs, and they may not. Our infestation was "light" [doesn't feel light as I scratch, but it certainly wasn't like the descriptions we got from the rooming house] and we want to keep it that way.

    We think addressing the mouse population is going to be part of this solution, but I certainly wish I had more information.

  7. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 17 2008 20:17:57
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    Don't rule out the possibility that they walked over to your building. Dr. Potter exhibited a picture at PestWorld showing bed bugs streaming from one building that was being torn down to another free standing building that was ocuppied.

  8. LPL

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Aug 18 2008 9:20:59
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    BugsinTO,

    I am in a somewhat similar situation, but without the mice. The building next to us has had a bed bug problem for some time (over a year). It is a four unit building, and to my knowledge they have treated only one unit at a time due to lack of cooperation from certain tenants or ignorance, thus never solving the problem. We are fully detatched, but in close proximity - 10 or 12 feet between us. They recently started renovations on one of the units, totally gutting it, taking it to the exposed brick.

    When we found the bugs in my daughter's room on the third floor of our house, we didn't think it was plausible that the bugs would have walked over and all the way up. She NEVER plays over there, so I doubt she would have picked one up on her that way. However, it is hard to overlook the fact that they had them right next door, and now we do too. All of our neighbors walk past that building, walk their dogs by that building, etc. I wonder if they are all at risk, or mainly us being right next door. We also have a fairly large feral cat population. I think they may be acting as carriers. I am also concerned that with over a year of ineffective treatment, the bugs we have may have built up resistance to the chemicals our pco is using.

    DougSummersMS, you are scaring me a little. Is there something we could to to keep them from walking over from one building to us? A weekly barrier of DE?

  9. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Aug 19 2008 17:12:06
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    Caulking and sealing any outdoor entry paths is a good choice. You could use DE or Delta Dust inside of crevices & walls along those paths that allow entry to insects from other locations.

    I have seen figures from 2 feet to one hundred feet cited as the distance that a bed bug will travel for food.

    I think Dr Potter's picture was depicting an unusual event. There was an audible murmur from the audience of PCOs as they appreciated what they were seeing on the screen. Still, I would not underestimate a bed bugs ability to travel without hitchhiking for short distances.

  10. LPL

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 24 2008 14:30:33
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    To add to this topic, my husband found a live adult bed bug outside on the sidewalk between our home and that building this morning. Not a good feeling.

  11. BugsInTO

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Sun Aug 24 2008 15:44:59
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    OH!!!! Since the last posting I have been trying not to think about how to caulk and seal the outside of the house. We have aluminum siding. I assume that climbing the concrete foundation is as easy for them as climbing a regular indoor wall.

    If the four unit building next to you is still having bed bugs and they are heading your way, could you call Public Health?

    I spoke to Public Health in our city, and they offered to send someone to the Rooming House next door. I declined, because at this point, the owners are really trying to address the issue, and it sounds like they have been pretty successful. [FYI - Because Bed Bugs are not defined as a health hazard, Public Health would only have been investigating and making suggestions to the neigbours - no fines or orders etc.]

    If they aren't working on the problem on your next door property properly....

  12. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Aug 25 2008 0:28:08
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    Here is a quote from page eleven of Usinger's Monograph about bed bugs traveling on a nonhuman host.

    "Cimicidae are only temporary ectoparasites, usually remaining in the nests or in cracks in rooms or roosts of their hosts between blood meals. They are not well adapted to cling to the fur or feathers of their hosts in flight but do so on rare occasions and are distributed in this way at least for short distances."

    Usinger seems to indicate that this type of event is rare, but possible. He was speaking primarily about bats & birds, but he also lists "other domesticated animals" in the same paragraph. Mice are not mentioned specifically in the text.

  13. BugsInTO

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Aug 25 2008 17:01:19
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    Thank you for the extra info. I am thinking it is more likely the BBs took the overland route across the driveway.

    My happy thought for the day is that I live in Toronto, Canada. If we have a winter like last year, than I can hope that by December/January it will be a frozen snow clogged desolate wasteland between our two houses. Might deter them a little.

  14. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Mon Aug 25 2008 18:59:15
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    Bed Bug activity is strongly influenced by temperature.

    Snow & extreme cold can function as a good deterrent to the overland route.


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