Has anyone here ever considered whether irradiation of clothes, belongings, carpet, etc would be safe and/or effective in killing bed bugs and their eggs? It's been used by the US post office since the anthrax was sent through the mail a few years ago.
Mutant BBs! Argghhhhhhhhh...
That's an interesting question.
I once put a book heavily infected with bed bugs into a 900W microwave for 2 minutes, they were still alive so I put it in for another 3 minutes, they were still alive but this time the book was too hot to hold and I did not think it would survive another trip around.
It obviously goes without saying I would hope that metal and microwaves is not a good idea so check for staples and any metal leaf work on the covers.
There are obviously different form of radiation but the other types are a lot less socially acceptable and harder to work with in a safe way.
I have also tried high voltage low current electricity with them and the only response seemed to be a mild irritation from the ozone that it produced when you generate high voltage of this type.
I see a company that advertises the use of high concentration ozone to eradicate bed bugs. Do you have any opinions about utilizing high levels of ozone for bed bug control? Here is a link for the website: http://www.ozoneco.com/services.asp
What do you think about the use of ionizing radiation to kill bed bugs?
We have a facility in my area that is designed to irradiate commodities & food. I am very curious about whether their treatment process might be a reasonable alternative to Vikane chamber treatment.
Thanks for the link. I have had a look and would like to see a lot more science behind it before I jumped into that market. I have had an interest in high voltage electricity for longer than I have been a pest controller and the side effect of which is ozone production . I also used to use UV light for surface sterilization when I was a molecular biologist doing genetic screening.
My gut feeling is that its another me-too new product application, a bit like the electronic repellors and I am sure a few people will vouch for how effective they are. I will confess that part of my reasoning for this is the statement "Bed bugs are on the rise, and we're seeing a 500% increase from three years ago." With these bed bug problems and poor air-quality rapidly increasing....." I know its certainly not a statement that good PCO's would make, for a start there is no known link between bed bugs and anything to do with air quality.
I would also suggest that they have not realised how dangerous ozone is for humans, there was a medical science in the 1930's to 1950's which advocated the medicinal use of ozone which is now recognised by everyone as a fine example of quackery.
Ionising radiation as an idea maybe but again its not a path I want to walk down, I would rather go back to the 1950's cyanide chambers that they used to use for BB control.
I think a lot of these magic bed bug bullet companies are just shooting themselves in the foot.
First, I want to thank Mr Bill for asking the question that started this thread. The idea of using Gamma radiation to kill bed bugs had not occurred to me until I saw your post.
I just had a fascinating conversation with the CEO of an irradiation facility that has a plant near Tampa.
He confirms that Gamma ray radiation can be used to successfully eradicate viable bed bugs from many household items like mattresses, clothing, documents or furnishings.
The process is much like a x-ray procedure. There is no danger of making any of the contents radioactive. Just like your luggage does not become radioactive after an x-ray examination at the airport.
The process is FDA approved for use with food. It could be utilized as a safe alternative to gas fumigation without leaving any residue.
He said that a low level of radiation would sterilize the bed bugs & kill any viable eggs. A higher dose would kill any viable specimens outright.
There are some size restrictions (needs to fit on a pallet) & some materials could be adversely affected.
Some plastics & textiles might become more brittle. Some glass items or items containing minerals might become darker. The key would be to determine the minimum effective dose of radiation to reduce these effects.
He wasn't sure if the process would be commercially viable & the pricing would be dependent on a number of factors that still have to be quantified, but irradiation could be used as an alternative to gas fumigation. The major downside appears to be that any contents would need to be transported to their plant for treatment.
Doug, has he actually tried it on bugs? Did you ask him about evidence or science or was that just his opinion as a radiation expert?
Irradiation is used to kill insect pests in commodities, but he did not refer specifically to having any data on bed bugs. He was speaking as an expert on the use of gamma rays to kill pests.
This would be a new market for a proven technology. He said that he would need to run some trials to determine the minimum effective dose that is required to sterilize or kill bed bugs. The nature of the contents & containers would also be factored into the dose range calculations.
OK, cool. I didn't know that it is used to kill bugs, I thought they just irradiated food to keep it fresh longer.
Gamma rays are used to sterilize food & are effective with micro-organisms like food borne bacteria.
Google knows all, Google sees all:
Use of Gamma Radiation for the Destruction of Wood-boring Insects. Forest Products Research Laboratory, Princes Risborough, Aylesbury, 1957. This one is for structural wood, not food and note the date.
But you better kill them or else, mutant Bed Bugz! </joke>
Induction of Skin Papillomas in the Rabbit, Oryctologus Cuniculus, by Bites of a Blood-sucking Insect, Cimex Lectularius, Irradiated by Gamma Rays. Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt. 1989
Note that the latter abstract says "Because bed bugs play a significant role in the transmission of virus, it is also speculated that there is a virus in the saliva of bugs; this virus may be activated by gamma radiation and causes the development of papillomas in the skin.". In spite of all the current Conventional Wisdom saying they don't convey pathogens. So when Health Authorities abdicate responsibility for dealing with this it's because of research or politics?
Do you have access to the full articles? The abstract & some of the reference articles about disease transmission look interesting.
Note that the latter abstract says "Because bed bugs play a significant role in the transmission of virus, it is also speculated that there is a virus in the saliva of bugs; this virus may be activated by gamma radiation and causes the development of papillomas in the skin."
Whoa! Am I reading this correctly? Does this mean if you DID use gamma radiation on the bed bugs but did not (somehow) kill them ALL, then the ones left would have a virus activated by this radiation?
ps-- you crack me up.
Doug: The Abstract page for the Gamma Rays Create Zombie Mutant BBs has a PDF link which is free for anyone: http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v93/n5/pdf/5613182a.pdf
The other article isn't available to me. I don't have access to any journals except through libraries.
Yup NoBugs: you got it. The researchers inferred that Gamma Rays activated the virus and led to papilloma lesions in rabbits. But it's an inference, not proven yet- needs more study. So technically the BBs aren't mutants. But still, it's the thought that counts.
Well, what have I started? I hope y'all get this all worked out.
Thanks, I found the abstract.
I am really curious about why they were irradiating the bed bugs in that study.
I thought an irradiated bug that could create tumors would be strictly science fiction until you pointed out the journal article. I am going to try to find some time to visit the local university library & track down a couple of those articles.
I got really excited about identifying a possible alternative to gas fumigation. The viability of the approach is still an open question for a number of reasons.
Using a dose that only produces sterilization may not be a wise option.
I salute your research skills & efforts.
I might be able to track down those articles, I am a student at a major science powerhouse university and I have access to lots of journals. Just have to reassemble my computer, mouse and keyboard got packed up when the PCO came.
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