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Science question for experts: bed bugs and oxygen

(14 posts)
  1. battlinbugz

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 18 2015 12:09:22
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    I remember reading here that bed bugs need very little oxygen to survive.

    I caught one, and placed it in a 6.5 x 3.25 inch Ziploc bag, and sealed it. The bug was dead in 24 hours (or less).

    Assuming this was a HEALTHY bug that hadn't crossed any poison of any kind, is this what you would expect, given the amount of air in a bag that size? Or does this sound like he was dying anyway?

    Not a pro. I have some knowledge and a success story, both thanks to this site.
  2. NoIfsNoBugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 18 2015 17:26:57
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    And, if I may (no intention to hijack your thread, battlinbugz), I'd like to add to this by asking the related question if is true, as sources such as the following maintain, that talcum powder or even corn starch can suffocate bed bugs inside a vacuum cleaner bag:

    https://aging.ohio.gov/resources/publications/HWtoolkit_Bedbugs_Removal.pdf

    Vacuum mattresses, bed frames, furniture, floors and carpets, especially in
    cracks and open spaces. When finished, vacuum ΒΌ cup of cornstarch or talcum
    powder to suffocate any bugs in the vacuum, empty it into a plastic bag, seal it
    and dispose of it in the outdoor trash.

    If they can survive multiple wash cycles and deep freeze for days, can some talcum powder in the vacuum bag really do them in?

    .
  3. P Bello

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 18 2015 18:26:07
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    Hmmm . . .

    While such questions may seem simple enough, there are many complexities which need to be considered including but not limited to the following.

    One bug in a bag:
    > What this critter was subject to previously?
    > Age of the critter?
    > Health of the critter?
    > Other factors.

    Vacuum question:
    > The recommendation is intended to provide a desiccant/abrasive type killing action, not suffocation.

    pjb

  4. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 18 2015 18:32:09
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    Noifs: And, if I may (no intention to hijack your thread, battlinbugz),
    ---------------------------
    Better to start your own thread. You pose an interesting question, but it's quite different from the one posed by OP.

    Richard

  5. NoIfsNoBugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 18 2015 18:41:33
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    Better to start your own thread. You pose an interesting question, but it's quite different from the one posed by OP.
    Richard

    I had, in fact, been intending to do so, but then saw this thread and thought my own question fell within the ambit of the "oxygen starvation" theme and so went ahead and posed it here. I shall create a new thread, and hopefully Paul and others with knowledge in this area will enlighten us further there.

  6. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Apr 18 2015 18:45:04
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    noif's: I had, in fact, been intending to do so, but then saw this thread and thought my own question fell within the ambit of the "oxygen starvation" theme and so went ahead and posed it here.
    ----------
    Yeah. Hate for your question to get lost in another thread. I did the same thing myself (talcum in vacuum cleaner bag) when I thought I had bed bugs, and am curious if it the concept has merit.

    Richard

  7. battlinbugz

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Apr 19 2015 8:22:14
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    Good info. Back to my original question, though.

    Let's say critter was an otherwise healthy adult that hadn't fed in a few days and was NOT poisoned. If critter was placed in a sealed baggie of the size mentioned (6.5 x 3.25 inches), and stored in a dark place at room temperature: how long would critter survive?

  8. WhatBugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Apr 19 2015 8:34:49
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    battlin, I was saving them in small zip lock bags (about 2" x 3"; 51mm x 76mm), and most would survive for a few weeks. Some would even lay eggs that many of have hatched with the nymphs then running around inside of the bag.

    There were ones that died shortly after being caught, but they could also have been damaged while being captured.

    WhatBugs?

  9. battlinbugz

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Apr 19 2015 8:50:03
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    You said "damaged." That is a good point. I used a piece of sticky tape and caught him on the back so that critter's legs were just running amok. His back was stuck only. Then he was placed in the bag. But maybe the tape is enough to injure them (?).

  10. Winston O. Buggy

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Apr 19 2015 9:08:18
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    You have seemingly started with two assumptions 1 that it was a male and two that it was healthy. While the first question can be answered easily the second unless you have reared the little cimex for at least second generation remains an unknown. When oxygen reduction/elimination has been tested as a means to control bed bugs in real life scenarios in plastic fume bubbles using oxygen scrubber tablets mortality took over a week to achieve. Not too mention having this large bubble in your living space. This is why you never saw this method marketed.

    BTW: NoIfsNoBugs thanks for the prime example for others on what it means to hijack a thread.

  11. Richard56

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Apr 19 2015 9:23:09
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    WOB: BTW: NoIfsNoBugs thanks for the prime example for others on what it means to hijack a thread.
    --------------
    Respectfully disagree. "NoifsNoBugs" made an honest mistake thinking talc might fall within the confines of "oxygen starvation" the topic of this thread. He was later corrected by Paul, that talc worked on a different mechanism ("abrasive type killing action"). After that he started his own thread.

    Richard

  12. battlinbugz

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sun Apr 19 2015 20:39:25
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    True. Just for the record, I am IN NO WAY saying this is a means of bed bug control.

    I was just looking to see if this could be used to tell the efficacy (love that word, lol) of my "perimeter" while landlord and PCO deal with affected neighbors.

    I do understand now more and more that I may be looking at this too simply. Said critter may have been running scared from another treated unit and could have crossed something that I know nothing about.

    Thanks to you all!

  13. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Apr 20 2015 7:50:52
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    Hi,

    As a more extreme version of this I have placed bedbugs in sealed bags with chemical reactions (exothermic oxidisation ones) which run until there is less than 1% of oxygen in the bags. After 5 days of exposure to these conditions as many as 80% of the bedbugs "woke up" within 24 hours of return to "normal" atmosphere.

    This is atmospheric replacement does not work as a method of control regardless of how you do it.

    One of the survival mechanisms of bedbugs seems to be their ability to enter a dormant / resting state where they appear dead and can / do recover later.

    As such trying to calculate how long it will take for a bug in a bag to die is not a logic you should engage in as without thorough studies to asses the actual metabolic rate of bedbugs you will never get an accurate answer.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

  14. loubugs

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Apr 20 2015 12:31:27
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    I caught one, and placed it in a 6.5 x 3.25 inch Ziploc bag, and sealed it. The bug was dead in 24 hours (or less). ..... You said "damaged." That is a good point. I used a piece of sticky tape and caught him on the back so that critter's legs were just running amok. His back was stuck only. Then he was placed in the bag. But maybe the tape is enough to injure them (?).
    I keep bed bugs in vials in plastic bags for months and they remain fine. Even not feeding for months. The key is temperature which lowers their metabolism. As cool as possible, to 65-70F, especially in fall and winter is easy to maintain. Keeping an insect on its back makes the insect think it isn't on a substrate. Think flea circus with fleas glued with legs up and them crawling. Crawling rotates the ball that is on their tarsi (feet) because they are crawling. The insects will "crawl" until they reach a resting position, something that can't happen to an insect stuck on its back. Crawling more or less forever gets them to run out of energy and die. So the bed bug could have been hurt during capture or only made to crawl because its legs weren't planted on a firm surface. 2 bugs by themselves and only holding onto one another does happen if left in a vial or bag.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.

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