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Need Expert Input Regarding Bat Bugs Please

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  1. UsedToThinkIWasTough

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Mar 7 2013 13:08:40
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    The bugs I continue to find have been identified by an entomologist as bat bugs. There is a bat expert in our area that I am putting my landlord in touch with to handle the bat piece of the puzzle but I'm concerned that his website clearly states that any bat bugs that find their way inside dwellings will quickly die off in the absence of their preferred host. I've read that elsewhere as well. But I've also read that it's hogwash and that bat bugs adapt just fine to human hosts. Which is true?

    I'm asking primarily because it seems to impact treatment protocols. If bat bugs adapt to human hosts just fine, inspection and treatment should proceed in all units as it would for bed bugs. If the bat bugs can't effectively reproduce without bat hosts, maybe treating former roosting areas, sealing potential entry points inside the structure adjacent to those roosting areas, and doing visual inspections only in those rooms to see if treatment is necessary would be enough.

    What do you think? I'm afraid that my landlord might hire a company that doesn't know what it's doing to treat for the bugs. I want to make sure I know what the right approach is so I can advocate for it.

    As a potentially interesting aside to forum readers (I didn't search the forum for this so forgive me if it's repeat info) apparently the bat population in the Northeast US is being decimated by a fungal disease called white nose syndrome. This may be contributing to the rise in the incidence of bat bug infestations in buildings. Some colonies are dying in their hibernation spots and are not returning to their summer roosts. Hibernating bat bugs awaken with warmer weather and have no hosts. Alternately, some colonies do come back to their summer roosts but die there...again leaving their bat bugs with no hosts - or reduced numbers of hosts - to feed on. It may be that those of us living in areas where bat populations are being most impacted may need to get in the habit of routinely asking "bed or bat?" in order to accurately identify the source of the infestation.

  2. bed-bugscouk

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Mar 7 2013 13:58:41
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    Hi,

    I need to start this by explaining that bat bugs are extremely uncommon in the UK and I have only worked on a small number of cases and non in the last 18 months. However I can draw some logical similarities with swallow bugs which we see a little more frequently.

    Bat bugs only tend to ingress into a property when the original source of food is not available (i.e. the bats) and return to the original infestation site between meals. As they do not colonise the home in the same way that bedbugs do and therefore there tends to be a complete lack of secondary confirming signs such as cast skins and faecal traces. I have found faecal traces close to window sills and ingress points as the poop before squeezing through gaps habit appears to be delivered through sensible behaviour and is still common between the species.

    I would therefore suggest that treating for an infestation of bat bugs is much more about excluding the bats and ensuring they do not return followed immediately by treating that area thoroughly to ensure that any remaining bat bugs are eradicated.

    You may find that an alternate CO2 source closer to them such as provided by the bedbug beacon could even give you the peace until the job of exclusion and treatment is done. It would almost certainly be an essential post treatment QC to make sure that any surviving bat bugs were kept active but only in the loft area.

    I completely agree about the need for people to consider bat bugs as an option in certain regions, it may be worth you collating references and articles to create a bat bug green sticky so that others can look at is when needed as well. I was certainly not aware of the fungal disease issue in bat populations and it may just be another facet of the perfect storm that hit if this has caused an increase in bat bug ingresses at the same time as a global bedbug resurgence.

    I will nudge Mr James the inventor of the Beacon to see if he can chime in with additional information, I have certainly badgered him and others about testing the Beacon in this way but not all of us live in bat country.

    Hope that helps.

    David Cain
    Bed Bugs Limited

    I am happy to answer questions in public but will not reply to message sent directly or via my company / social media. I am here to help everyone and not just one case at a time.

    In accordance with the AUP and FTC I openly disclose my vested interest in Passive Monitors as the inventor and patent holder. Since 2009 they have become an integral part in how we resolve bed bug infestations. I also have a professional relationship with PackTite in that they distribute my product under their own branding. I do not however receive any financial remuneration for any comments I make about pro
  3. UsedToThinkIWasTough

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Thu Mar 7 2013 22:27:14
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    David,

    Yes, it does help. Thank you very much. And I'd be grateful for any ideas Mr. James might want to contribute. I'll gather some articles/references and make them available as you suggest. Thanks again.

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Mar 8 2013 0:50:50
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    Additional posts tagged "bat bugs" may yield additional resources:
    http://bedbugger.com/forum/tags/bat-bugs

    Note these are particularly interesting and include user's images:
    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/found-on-couchhelp-iding
    http://bedbugger.com/forum/topic/can-someone-id-this

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  5. P Bello

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    Posted 6 years ago
    Fri Mar 8 2013 9:48:25
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    Dear tough,

    We've handled a number of bat bug situations that were misidentified or mischaracterized as bed bugs.

    Firstly, know that the bugs don't read the books and, while their overall tendancies are suitably characterized in the reference materials, the bugs do what the bugs do. This said, I've seen bat bug infestations where these bugs acted and/or behaved in a similar fashion as we'd expect that bed bugs would. However, I've been to bat bug infested locations where they didn't. The variables we find when dealing with live animals is one of the factors that makes pest management work both challenging and interesting.

    This said, I offer the following comments/observations for your review and consideration:

    > Yes, definitely, you want your LL to hire someone that knows what they're doing.

    > You may wish to double check the pest ID just in case.

    > Never underestimate your target pest. While I've seen where bat bugs primarily hid/harbored in elevated locations associated with the ceiling/attic, i.e. where the bat nesting was located, I've also seen them harbor in beds & bed frames in a similar fashion as bed bugs.

    > It is common that the bat bugs may "venture out" seeking alternative hosts when their primary bat hosts are absent however, I've seen where they have fed upon humans in structures where there has been a long term bat nesting/roosting situation. (Perhaps this may be a result of: a) bug population increase over time or b) Human bed location in close proximity to bat roosting areas or c) Migratory or intermitent presence of bat population. While these reasons may seem a logical assumptions, we really don't know for sure.)

    > if possible it would be wise to coordinate the bat removal and proofing work such that it is conducted simultaneously with bat bug control work in the areas where the bat nesting/roosting is located as these are the areas where we'd expect to find the highest concentrations of bat bugs found within the structure.

    > If an attic with limited access and physical accessibility is a factor there are various methodologies that professionals may use to treat such areas effectively.

    Hope this helps, good luck ! paul b.


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