Controlling bed bugs using an IPM approach
By Chris Keefer, Ph.D., technical services manager for Syngenta
Bed bugs are more than just nuisance pests. Their bites can leave unsightly welts and cause itching to human skin, and without proper prevention, they can be a major threat to public health.
To provide your customers with peace of mind from bed bugs, it is important to understand their biology and the best way to control them. This starts with having a firm knowledge of integrated pest management (IPM) and how to implement a proper protocol to control bed bugs.
Bed bugs undergo a gradual metamorphosis, which consists of the following life stages: egg, five nymphal stages and adult. Depending on the temperature and availability of a blood meal, it can take a bed bug between one to six months to develop from an egg to an adult. However, adult bed bugs can live for six to 12 months, and female beg bugs can lay up to 500 eggs throughout their lifetimes.
Before beginning a bed bug chemical treatment, consider the following tips to help ensure you are using an IPM approach:
Apply a residual contact insecticide for the best results when controlling bed bugs, as it will help control adults and nymphs at the time of treatment. Tandem® insecticide, featuring a unique ZC formulation and the power of two active ingredients and two modes of action, is a residual contact insecticide that is highly effective against beg bugs.
- Interview the occupants of the structure
- Keep in mind that research indicates that approximately 80% of bed bugs are found in, near or around a bed, and that remaining bed bugs are usually associated with upholstered furniture in other areas of the structure*
- See if there is an unusual smell within the structure – heavy infestations may emit a foul, rotting meat odor
- Use bed bug monitors to help detect the location and density of bed bug populations
- Search for fecal spots, blood spots, eggs cases and exuviae in addition to live and dead bed bugs
- Inspect all rooms within the structure
- Remove bed bug adults, nymphs and eggs with a heavy-duty commercial vacuum
- Explore heat treatment options and determine if this service is suitable for your company and the customers’ needs
- Inform occupants about bed mattress encasements and other ways to prevent future bed bug infestations
With proper education and knowledge of control efforts, you can provide your customers extended control of bed bugs. For more information about effective bed bug control with Tandem, visit SyngentaPMP.com/Tandem or contact your local Syngenta territory manager.
Bennett, G. W., J. M. Owens, and R. M. Corrigan. 1997. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Control Operations. Advanstar Communications Inc., Cleveland, OH.
Koehler, P.G., W. H. Kern Jr. and R. M. Pereira. 2008. General Household Pest Control. Univ. of Florida, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Ganiesville, FL.
Mallis, A. 1990. Handbook of Pest Control. Franzak and Foster Co., Cleveland, OH.
Potter, M. F. 2020. Bed Bugs. University of Kentucky ENTFACT-636.
* Sutherland, A.M., D.-H. Choe, and V. R. Lewis. 2013. Bed Bugs. University of California Statewide IPM Program.
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