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Will they all be dead in 18 months?

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  1. Amy731

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Tue Aug 30 2011 8:48:04
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    After second treatment by PCO and other precautions (DE, cleaning, bagging mattress, etc) I haven't been bitten for a couple of weeks. I'm not going to get overly optimistic at this point however. But a lot of my things are still in bags/plastic bins. I'm willing to go without many of these items for quite some time as a lot were just items already in storage. So I plan to make sure they're fully sealed (duct tape around the crack where lid meets tub) and just leave them be for 18 months. My question is, will this do it? Is this a way to ensure any lurking BBs in the items will be dead? (Heat treatment for many of these items isn't an options, lots of photos plus Packtites aren't available in Canada). Should I make it 2 years?

  2. Amy731

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Aug 31 2011 20:54:52
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    Anyone? Thoughts?

  3. Saturn

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Aug 31 2011 23:30:31
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    As I understand it, bed bugs might in some circumstances be able to live for about a year without a blood meal. Thus, many people around here use 18 months as the guideline for how long items must be stored. This already factors in a 6 month margin for error, so I don't think a full 2 years is necessary unless it makes you feel safer.

    If you'd like to be able to use some of the items in less than 18 months, then you may want to consider using something like "No Pest" strips - try reading some of the previous discussions on this board about them here.

  4. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Wed Aug 31 2011 23:45:16
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    What is the temperature range in the storage area over that time period?

    Bed bugs have survived a maximum of 18 months at 10 degrees C in a study that was conducted in the late 30s... If the temperature in the storage area is higher... then the lifespan of the bugs will be less than 18 months... More recent studies have noted shorter lifespans for wild caught bugs under the same conditions... At 37 degrees C they will be dead in 3 - 4 months.

    Temperature is the primary determinant of a bed bugs lifespan... Higher temps = Shorter lifespan.

    Hope that helps.

  5. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 1 2011 10:26:44
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    It's biology so nothing is guaranteed, not even the 18 months although 18 months "should" normally be sufficient.

    See...

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/wait-bedbugs-can-live-longer-than-18-months-now

    ...and in general...

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/tags/lifespan .

    (Thanks to spideyjg who has led much of the bedbugger.com discussion on this topic in the past.)

  6. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Sep 1 2011 13:36:56
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    A study conducted at Virginia Tech that was published in May of 2011 found much shorter lifespans under starvation conditions compared to the older studies that are the basis of the widely reported 18 month plus survival times that were reported in Usinger's Monograph.

    This study also examined differences in survival times between different strains of laboratory bed bugs with known levels of pesticide resistance.

    Here is a quote from the discussion section of the article entitled,
    "Survivorship During Starvation for Cimex lectularius L.
    Andrea M. Polanco, Dini M. Miller * and Carlyle C. Brewster

    The Kemper [33] study was conducted at 22 °C and 40–45% RH, and reported first and second instars surviving for 83.7 days and adults surviving for 130.6–142.6 days during starvation. Bacot [35] reported keeping starved bed bugs from all developmental stages in an outhouse for 18 months. Gunn [36] reported adult bed bugs living for more than three years with sporadic feedings (approximately 23 feedings over that period of time). However, the temperature and relative humidity for this experiment were not stated. Johnson [37] also reported a female bed bug living for more than 580 days after the last blood meal. The results of the current study were quite different from those reported prior to 1950. In fact, susceptible bed bug strains, which are rarely found in the field, had the longest survival times, and yet did not live as long as 130 days (on average). The maximum life span observed in this study was recorded for a single fifth instar bed bug from the BS strain, which lived ~143 days without a blood meal. The field strains of bed bugs did not live beyond 80 days.

    Currently, it is very common to find bed bug information sites stating that bed bug populations can live for a year or more without a blood meal. For instance, the BadBedBug.com states ―bed bug adults can survive more than 12 months without feeding‖ [41]. BedBugs.org states: ―adult bed bugs can survive for up to 7 months without a blood meal and have been known to live in empty buildings for up to one year‖ [42]. Even fact sheets from universities report long periods of bed bugs survival: ―immature bed bugs may live for several months without feeding while adults may survive as long as one year‖ [43]. However, these sites give no references as to the origin of the information. No doubt these references to long periods of survivorship during starvation in bed bugs originated from the older studies conducted by Johnson [37], Omori [3] and Busvine [34]. However, these websites neglect to mention that the data were from studies where insecticide resistance was either not quantified or unknown, and that the long survival times were most likely recorded for bed bugs held at temperatures below at 11 °C [3]. The results of this study indicate that the bed bugs strains currently infesting homes and apartments within the United States do not survive starvation nearly as long as previously reported.
    Insects 2011, 2, 232-242; doi:10.3390/insects2020232

  7. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 9:43:41
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    The key variables that determines a bed bug's lifespan are temperature and feeding opportunities.

    Here is a quote from the first page of the Ecology chapter in Usinger's Monograph.

    TEMPERATURE
    Like other organisms, bed bugs are part of a complex ecosystem and
    are affected by diverse elements in their environment. Of the various
    factors, temperature is by far the most important, since it influences all
    aspects of the bugs' activities.

    The ambient temperature for the VT study was 79 degrees F

    Bed bugs were fed once a week on the chicken blood. Between feedings, bed bugs were stored in an environmental chamber at 26.1–26.5 °C, 68.9% RH, and photoperiod of 12:12 h, L:D. These conditions closely approximated the conditions at which Johnson evaluated bed bug populations for maximum average fecundity and longevity.

    Any statement about bed bug longevity that does not specify a temperature range is meaningless.

    If someone is going to make the claim that bed bugs can survive unfed for 18 months... It is critical to point out that these 60 - 70 year old studies were run at 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) and that higher temperature will produce different results that are significantly shorter than 18 months.

    Paying a commercial climate controlled storage facility rent for 18 months is an incredible waste of money... If the facility was maintained at a temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26.5 d C), for example... All of the isolated bed bugs would be dead in less than 5 months at 79 degrees F... We would be paying rent to store dead bed bugs for the next thirteen months.

    If we spend the same money to fumigate the contents of a truck with Vikane... We would have dead bed bug in 24 hours.

    Spreading the myth that bed bugs can live unfed for 18 months at typical room temperatures of 70 - 80 degrees F is a huge disservice to the readers of this forum

  8. spideyjg

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 10:08:24
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    The study Doug quoted is the first I know of that directly tried to replicate the old study conditions and see if modern BBs had changed.

    The hypothesis is that pesticide resistance taxes their systems and burns more energy so they die faster than non resistant.

    The best scientific data had been that quoted in Usinger's book and that is what we have always quoted because other confirmation tests on modern bugs had not been done. The 18 month was not a "myth" per se since it was valid old data under some conditions. Anecdotal evidence was that the old times did not apply but hadn't been tested.

    Andrea tried to validate if those old times held up and they don't on modern bugs. The bugs of the 40's, which is the longest times found by Omori, had no resistances since they predated the DDT resistance.

    I've not read the paper but talked to Andrea about her testing at ESA.

    Since you cannot know if your bugs are resistant if trying to starve them, go long.

    Temp is crucial and even the old studies the long times were at cold temps. Nobody lives at 50F so the 18 month is not realistic. Bottom line is the warmer it is, the faster they starve.

    Jim

  9. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 10:32:31
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    Jim,

    When I used the term myth... I was referring to statements claiming 18 months of unfed survival without specifying the temperature range or other important disclaimers... which are commonly made on many websites and in stories repeated by the media.

    I wasn't referring to anything that you have posted... The materials that you have provided were always accompanied with appropriate disclaimers about temperatures and the source of your information.

    The information that you provide for readers of this forum is highly reliable... You do a great job assisting people on this forum with accurate info and identifications.

    I am a big fan of the concept of "double tap"... It is always bet to be sure.

    Go long, but don't waste your money on 18 months of rent... if the ambient temps are well over 50 degrees F.

  10. jrbtnyc

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 11:14:28
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    Okay so now this discussion has become useful. A couple of hundred bed bugs I've personally been aware of in jars at various times have mostly died of starvation (or is that dehydration?, i.e. can low humidity speed up their demise too, at least a bit, holding temperature constant?) in only a month or two at room temperature but there were a couple of outliers that lived longer, up to three and a half months at room temperature but that was the *longest*. So if you had *ten million* bb's held consistently at room temperature without feeding then five months, make it six months, does sound about right to me as the longest lifespan you'll see, because of how such statistical curves work. And in practice with far smaller numbers the *last* one will die somewhat sooner so long as you maintain the temperature without any dips.

    * * * *

    Key question in my view is whether another factor comes into play: holding the temperature constant at, say, 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26.5 d C) as Doug suggests, will bugs die of starvation sooner if they're in open proximity to humans and can sense the humans' CO2 and pheromones and aromas than if the bugs are sequestered in an airtight container? In other words, is the airtight container itself counterproductive, encouraging bugs' metabolisms to go into some kind of suspension which won't happen if the bugs are out in the open near a food source they can abundantly sense?

    I think there's a strong possibility that's the case. It's why I put forward the "plastic moat" proposal earlier this year, for which I still need to post a 30-second video as soon as I acquire a handheld video device, so people can easily visualize what it's about. See...

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/plastic-moat-proposal-for-electronics-and-similar .

  11. DougSummersMS

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Sep 2 2011 11:56:47
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    JRBTNYC

    The presence of host cues will affect foraging behavior, but I don't believe that it will have any effect on longevity in terms of starvation.... The key variable after temperature is feeding opportunities.

    I believe that unfed bed bugs die of dehydration... when they are starved.

    Usinger's Monograph states that adult bed bugs are not significantly affected by humidity changes... Low humidity is not an effective control strategy.

    Air tight containers will also cause asphyxiation, but it can take a long time for this to occur depending on the size of the container.

    I used 79 degrees F as an example because it was the temperature that was utilized for the VT study ... Most of the studies were performed at a constant temperature... It is important to note that the survival times would be different, if the temperature fluctuated on a 24 hour cycle.

    Egg hatch times can vary by over a week, if the temperature is raised and lowered to simulate day and night cycles around a mean temp vs a constant temp, for example.

  12. aledm

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Jun 27 2015 6:33:03
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    DougSummersMS - 3 years ago  » 
    Jim,
    When I used the term myth... I was referring to statements claiming 18 months of unfed survival without specifying the temperature range or other important disclaimers... which are commonly made on many websites and in stories repeated by the media.
    I wasn't referring to anything that you have posted... The materials that you have provided were always accompanied with appropriate disclaimers about temperatures and the source of your information.
    The information that you provide for readers of this forum is highly reliable... You do a great job assisting people on this forum with accurate info and identifications.
    I am a big fan of the concept of "double tap"... It is always bet to be sure.
    Go long, but don't waste your money on 18 months of rent... if the ambient temps are well over 50 degrees F.

    but what about this post: http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/bed-bugs-living-longer-than-18-months-in-sealed-containers?replies=4#post-226799

    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/bed-bugs-really-live-18-months-without-feeding

  13. P Bello

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    Posted 3 years ago
    Sat Jun 27 2015 7:32:18
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    dear ale,

    There are variables to consider. For example, if we place ten similar aged bed bugs in two of the same jars yet jar A has fan folded paper for them to crawl on and jar B is empty, the bugs in jar A will live longer than in jar B. This may not seem to be a factor but it is. Of course, environmental factors such as temperature and humidity will have an effect as well.

    For YOUR purposes 18 months will be a conservatively effective time period.

    Additionally, you may find that clear packing tape will be a more practical and cost effective option for you.

    Good luck ! pjb


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