HIBERNATION / DORMANCY BED BUGS: WHY ? ... WHEN ? and HOW ?(22 posts)
This question has come up often. I am hoping some experts will pitch in here and answer this question (or at least some of it). Maybe we could have a special on it on the blog?
Here is the Question I would love some decent answers to--please:
What are some of the causes creating a bed bug to go into and or come out of Dormancy?
DORMANCY: Bed bugs possess the ability to go into a dormant like stage when food is not available. Essentially their metabolism slows and they become inactive. Nymphs are capable of going without food for several months (3-6) while the adults can last up to one year. In the event of a food shortage bed bugs may also migrate in search of a new host. These factors can pose difficulties when attempting to erradicate bed bugs (to be discussed in the treatment section).
I found this on Sean's Website....stands to reason that lack of food and cold weather would make them hibernate....also I have been reading a lot lately that their life span is only one year...not 18 months....I hope this is true....
Interesting. A lot of the "facts" about bed bugs have simply been repeated over and over, but I am sure this is in some of the fact sheets. More than one I am sure.
There's also the unrelated statistic about people being allergic to/reacting to bites. A "bed bug expert" told Parakeets as many as 70% of people don't react (or said it to an audience) at the Virginia conference last year. But where did he get the info?
I spoke with a reporter today who had another bed bug researcher tell him he found fewer than that 30% were allergic.
I'd like to get my hands on the results of actual research on that!I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
nobugs? are you saying you think many more people are allergic than the 30%? it's unclear.
Bugalina--Ialso read that once they reach adulthood they can live for about a yeat too!
Also! more people seem to favor exposing MORE of their "stuff" during treatments of ever y2 weeks. So I opened all my boxes over poison and I lucked out! I am still bed bug free. This is good news for your feather stuffed furniture I feel!
And I hope ... With the peheromone "traps" coming in the fall--i'm sure a whole host of ideas will be developed from that first step--to more effective entrapment of the Cimex
It's not that I don't believe any of these numbers (who knows?!), but that a lot of information (like "they can live unfed for 18 months" and "70% don't react to bites") is shared and re-shared, in fact sheets and elsewhere, and it's very hard to feast your eyes on the sources of such data.
I do trust data researchers like Lou and Dr. Potter share in their writing, because at least I know who it's coming from (and it is not just repeated and repeated from an unknown source).
Where did you see people favoring exposing more each week? Please link to sources if available.
Many people, here, are being told to leave stuff out during their PCO treatments (not clothing) or they are being told they can take stuff out after the first few treatments--so I heard that here from victims/sufferers.
There is no fact sheet on that, that I can quote, and I don't know if it is really appropriate--I had thought I would need to keep a lot of stuff wrapped up for 18 months, now I realize I do/did not.
I opened 12 boxes and it worked out for me after 2 and 1/2 months (But then again, I did not think there were any bed bug in those boxes anyway, at least no adults.) However, I opened them over poison and left them sit undisturbed for a few days, and in areas I did not traverse often.
I do not know how many people (statistically speaking) react or do not react to the bite of the Bed bug, however; I would like to get my hands on statistics related to dormancy. I do not recall ever seeing this in writing. Can anyone direct me to the appropriate fact sheet?
Bugalina--The info is scant: perhaps it is that they live for up to a year without becoming dormant--but can survive in a low metabolic state for up to 18 months. I recall seeing a record that was 505 or 550 days long that an adult lived without a food source: As I recall this was listed in the table on a page shown to us from S., in a thread called something like "New paperback book ltd edition Bed bugs 1905"
In general ... I was hoping we could have some sort of a blog posting on bed bug facts soon, to help unravel some of the info being passed around...
Some say DE kills instantly... others say it takes about 10 days.
I know I poured some DE with pyrethrum in it, (a half a teaspoon or so) onto a bed bug in a jar and it died in 8-10 minutes. But how it fairs "in the field" donno.
Interesting. Apparently dormancy is not unique to bedbugs. Here is a basic description from Ebeling:
"Common to all forms of life, and apparently as necessary as any other life function, is the phenomenon of rest or diapause, involving various forms of cessation of activity. It may take the form of a temporary cessation of development, or temporary cessation of activity, or both."
"In insects, diapause most often occurs in the [e]gg or pupal stages, although it may occur in other stages of development. It may be caused by [c]hanges in temperature, moisture, food, water, or oxygen. Diapause may be triggered by a [l]engthening (vernal) photoperiod or by a shortening (autumnal) photoperiod, or may be imposed by such internal factors as heredity, enzymes, or hormones. Some believe that diapause [m]ay be brought about by autointoxication or by[ t]he accumulation of some chemical, somewhat like muscular fatigue in higher animals. Diapause that enables an insect to resist cold is called hibernation; if it enables an insect to resist heat or drought, it is called aestivation."
Specific to bedbugs, this recent paper abstract suggests dormancy has to do with fending off dehydration.
Also, the ever reliable Frank has notes on dormancy in his most recent article:
"In addition, supercooling is often associated with diapause, a predictive dormancy during which metabolic rate is greatly reduced and development is suspended. Before entering diapause, an insect would empty its gut to remove any potential nucleation agents. The bedbug's ability to survive without feeding for more than a year and to withstand subzero temperatures for extended period of time largely owes to its dormancy mechanism. There are two types of dormancy: predictive and consequential. Consequential dormancy is usually an immediate response to harsh environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures and dehydration, whereas predictive dormancy is predetermined. For example, the shortening of the day length signals the arrival of winter and could trigger diapause. But due to the use of air conditioning and heating and consequently the relatively constant indoor temperature, personally I think the importance of diapause is not as significant as it was in the old days, and dormancy is most likely consequential and is caused by adverse conditions such as lack of food or pesticide application."
Thanks for this helpful info Nomo.
I find the idea of "five minutes in a hot drier" (info) "as enough time to kill all stages of bed bugs" to be misleading when presented without all the facts:
IT does not hold true at all, with clothing from a cool rinse cycle being tossed into a room temperature drier set on high.
A normal load could take an hour to achieve such heat throughout for five minutes.
I repeat what is often said here:
I opt for "'bone dry plus 20 minutes'"
I now, pre-heat the driers I use for laundry for about 8 minutes too: This is because of the recent research. My understanding is that quicker temperature changes makes the difference not more gradual temperature changes.
(Of course, to do this in a commercial Laundromat--I do need to toss at least one item in the drier so no one else will commandeer it!)
Hey Willow, the Potter experiment was specifically in heat higher that 175d F. How does one measure the heat in a drier? So, yes, '5 minutes in hot' is not the whole story. Although, the bedbugs and eggs in the Potter experiment also died when simply washed in hot water. (I don't think the article mentioned the water temperature but Fedup quoted Sheffield Univ. research that pointed to specific water temperatures. If she were around, we could ask her for the citation.) I think if you both wash in hot water and dry in high temperature, you are doing everything you can.
Anyway, back to your topic, here is the post from S quoting the Usinger text on the longevity of bedbugs at different stages.
Would closing up your house on a day that was say....95 degrees outside, and turning on the heat to max. for a few hours kill these critters? Just a thought I was entertaining since the weather is only going to get hotter here. I hate the thought of the gas bill, but it might be cheaper than a PCO. Any thoughts?
Hey Nomo thanks again:
This one page in particular,where S "translated it for us" was inside that link in the post agbove. I pulled this page out and placed it here as a copy. Seems it would make the whole thing less confusing.
"Willow, I'll try to translate. Here's the first line of the chart:
A first instar nymph, which is Life Stage 1, can live 274.6 days without a meal when the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The same first instar nymph can only live 113.6 days without a meal when it is 65 degrees. And only 27.8 days when it is 81 degrees. And only 16.8 days when it is 98 degrees.
A second instar nymph, which is Life Stage 2, can live 398.9 days without a meal when the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The same second instar nymph can only live 171.1 days without a meal when it is 65 degrees. And only 45.6 days when it is 81 degrees. And only 30.4 days when it is 98 degrees.
Does that make sense now? The hotter it gets, the sooner they die?"
(The entire page with all stages is listed in the link above) this is just the datum for the first and 2nd instar stages there was a problem with the way trhe page came out so S., broke it down this way for the first two stages to clarify the meanings of her original post).
But this is good scientific news, but not quite good enough to make heating the house in the hottest weather overly promising, as in--it would kill them all!
Could even be this would also make them mate faster at the higher temperatures. I'm not sure, but I think I heard something aobut that too!
Maybe your PCO will help you devise a shecdule for heating the house AFTER or even DURING the treatments to make his POISONS work eve nbetter!
Could be too, that some poisons loose best efficacy in higher heat--so we must always check.
This sounds promising! Tire and dry the buggers out--then wham! Poison. Too! On top of all of that!
Hello Nomo, I am around I just don't log in very often (lurker rather than poster I suppose) The research you mention was done by Richard Naylor from Sheffield University, and presented to Pestex 07. The research was on bed bug mortality in relation to washing, drying, and freezing temperatures. The findings are in the public domain but are still in the process of being written up for publication. However he kindly sent me a pdf copy of his findings as presented to Pestex and in his covering email said:
" All my trials with washing machines were based on a standard washing cycle which takes about 90 mins. However this is likely to be far longer than is necessary. The important factor is temperature. If you can get the laundry up to above 45C, even for a short time, this will be sufficient to kill all the adults, nymphs and eggs."
The pdf document shows the following graph related to washing temperatures:-
at 40C adult bb survival 0% nymph survival 0% egg survival 74.6%
at 60C adult bb survival 0% nymph survival 0% egg survival 0%
Note 40 deg Centigrade (C) = 104 deg Farenheit (F) 60 deg C = 140 deg F
Thanks so much, Fedup. I hope you are well?
I will start referencing this data more; however, I do think time of exposure is important. I have seen another test where 46C achieved 100% mortality after more than half an hour. My laundromat does not use hot water during the entire cycle; only during the wash cycle, which I'll have to time, but it's probably 15 to 20 minutes of the entire cycle. Often the water is scalding hot (I am so pleased by that!) but I've been in other laundromats were the water is tepid at best. (Potter and colleagues did not provide specifics as to temperature and cycle duration for their test.)
Perhaps, a tentative conclusion is that, if one has access to a dryer, the combination of wash and dry in hot is the ideal one. However, for others with only washers, this is reassuring, as well as for non-driable items too, but depending on the washer, might need two cycles to really feel good about your laundry. (In my laundromat, for example, they don't allow drying of sneakers. If I didn't want to throw a pair out, I would try to wash in hot water, in two cycles maybe.)
Thanks again, Fedup. It's good to see you here again.
Thanks Nomo, I agree that if you do have access to a washer and dryer then combination of wash and dry on hot is the best for security if nothing else. However I don't have access to a dryer (no laundrette within miles) which is why I researched this issue at length and with interest. Although it seems the crucial thing is the temperature - as long as the core temperature of the clothes gets to the right temperature and this applies to both washing and drying (ie wet or dry heat) then you will kill all life stages quite quickly (as also shown in Dr Potter's five minutes drying on hot findings) I agree the problem is being sure that your washer or dryer does get to the required temperature and ensuring that you don't overstuff the machine so the temperature penetrates right through. Research in the lab doesn't always easily translate to a home setting. My home washing machine had a cycle of 90 degrees centigrade and I washed all bedding on that and then dried it outside and I did feel quite secure with that. Luckily all my bedding is cotton so it could survive temperatures that hot. Everything else I washed (or drycleaned if it really couldn't be washed) on a 60 degree Centigrade cycle and I admit I did tend to use a fairly long cycle (and was known to stand there with my hand on the front of the machine - checking). Not everything survived - fading was a bit of a problem and underwear suffered badly but that was the least of my problems!
Faded and barely surviving undies! Uh-huh. Thanks again, Fedup!
Willow, the other thing with heating their homes people should realize, as it might help, is that there are studies showing the increased efficacy of DE + heat. DE alone is good; DE + heat is lethal, lethal, lethal. So, for those who live in really hot climates and want to try this (as always, in coordination with and asking the advice of their PCOs), it might help to do a thorough crack and crevice DE application before closing the doors and windows and leaving for a big tub of ice cream somewhere.
I have not read any studies on this kind of "natural" heating of a home, but someone did post a success story here, I think, that indicated it can work. I would definitely try it if I lived somewhere hot enough. I don't think NYC gets hot enough, although it seems like it does.
If I find the paper re DE + heat I'll post it.
If you let me know I will blog that paper, it sounds great!
Willow, we do have a FAQ that takes on the issue of taking stuff out. But its title may have meant it was overlooked:
How do I prepare for my Pest Control Operator's visit / for treatment? How do I deal with my stuff during treatment?
Obviously, the second part is relevant and was not clearly stated, so I clarified that--check it out.
When it comes to taking stuff out, I think anyone using a PCO has to talk to their PCO, period.
But someone like Willow, who self-treated, is in another boat.
Oncebitten and Willow,
I think it would be hard to heat your home to 98 degrees and ensure it stayed at that temperature for the long period required. first instars lived 16 days at that temp, second instars 30. But those temps must be maintained throughout the period. What's more, those stats imply that older bed bugs would live even longer in the same heat.
Professionals do apply thermal treatments at 140 for four hours. If you live outside NYC this may be an option for you (the fuel is illegal here right now).
If you live in a single-family home, you have another option: Vikane gas. Search the blog for more info on those.
Ok gang, one more question....what do I do with all of my daughter's toy??? She has tons of barbie and dora stuff (many small parts) and although she doesn't play with her toys that much, I know she's going to have a complete meltdown if I start bagging them up to throw away or store. She is REALLY into her stuffed animals and carries one around with her almost everywhere. We tried bagging them yesterday and she snuck in and tore the bag open to get the one she wanted. That part is going to be extremely difficult and heartbreaking. Since most of her toys can't be washed in the washing machine (battery operated toys), how do you clean them and store them properly? Any thought?
Do you have a single family home??? I know the kind of toy you speak of..something like Tickle me Elmo? I would take these things into a tub and spray them down with Kleen Free...then I might even leave them in the freezer for a time...anything to try and weaken any bugs.and or kill them...I think visual inspection on a routine basis is what you must do.. how about a high clear plastic bin...keep them in there..almost like a trash can...at least they would be stored apart from other stuff and you could see...inside...and you could smear some vaseline on the outside...a thin smearing..or apply some Frost King double sided carpet tape...its very good sticky tape...I used it to tape down a plastic tarp on the wooden floor and it worked very good....I purchased a small top loader freezer from Sears..I keep it in my garage...Its great for putting bags of my sons clothes in when he comes home...gives me time to inspect them..but I would say spraying with Kleen Free and vacuuming and visual inspection would be your best bet...Aside from trying to put some stuff away...your situation is not an easy one...db
You got it! and many more...the dancing Tigger, and others. She's pretty much grown out of most of them. She is more into, like I said, the stuffed animals (which luckily can be washed and dried) and puzzles. She's basically an outdoor kid which is good in this situation. Obviously I can't donate them now. And throwing them out...omg...the thought of the money that was spent is enough to make a person puke! But I too have a deep freeze in the garage that we shouldn't even have plugged in because we hardly use it. It isn't big enough to hold all her toys but it's a start. I've heard alot about his Kleen Free. What exactly does it kill? More specifically, will it kill eggs? And what does dunking things in the bathtub do to the bed bugs? We have been taking our bath and going straight from the tub to the bed in an attempt to keep them out of our bed. Is there any stock in that?
Many people, here, are being told to leave stuff out during their PCO treatments (not clothing) or
I've been fighting bbs for about 4 months. "Mild" infestation in my basement apt, from a second-hand dresser. I've been bite-free for 3 months - after 3 PCO treatments, clean Climb-Ups, getting a PackTite and encasing my mattresses. I was so exhausted from the ziplocking, and washing/drying protocols that all the stuff I have in Ziplocs was left piled in the center of the room. This also made it easier for my PCO to treat walls and corners. But there were things I never put into Ziplocs because they were too big or I ran out of time by the 1st PCO visit. These items remained in a pile of clutter in my bedroom (not touching the bed, but near me). I am now starting to deal with the mess that is my room... my question is: Is it likely I still have bugs dormant in the clutter? My original reasoning 3 months ago was that bugs not in bags would face poison and Climb-ups. Plus, I react. I think I'm in the clear but paranoia strikes deep.
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