Entries in Bed Bugs (10)


Bread That Lasts Months?

Hemera/Thinkstock(LUBBOCK, Texas) -- The company Microzap says it has found a way to keep bread free of mold for two months, according to the BBC.

The company zaps the bread using a microwave array that kills the spores that create mold. While it all sounds a bit technical, the company also claims the patent-pending process can be completed without damaging the quality of the food.

The hope is that the technology, which can also be used on other foods and even pet treats, will dramatically reduce the amount of food that is wasted. Additionally, Microzap researchers say the technology can be used in food processing plants to reduce the occurrence of salmonella contamination.

As for the future, Microzap is currently working on developing a process to treat homes and hotels infested with bed bugs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Delta Plane Monkeypox Scare: Passenger Blames Bed Bugs

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- The rash that prompted a two-hour quarantine of a Delta plane in Chicago Thursday may have been the work of bed bugs, not the monkeypox virus health officials feared.

The itchy passenger was Lise Sievers of Red Wing, Minn., a 50-year-old woman returning home from Uganda, where she was working to adopt two children.  Sievers noticed the rash and told her mother, who got worried and called health officials in Indiana.

"It's just a case of bed bugs," Sievers told ABC News affiliate WLS after exiting the plane.  "I think I'm going to empty a jar of bed bugs on my mom's bed tonight."

Other passengers aboard Flight 3163 feared the worst as officers wearing Hazmat suits studied the rash, sending photos to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta.

"They didn't tell us very much at all," one passenger told WLS, describing a scene that could have come from the movie Contagion.  "When they come on in masks and gloves, you think the worst."

Monkeypox is a rare and sometimes fatal disease similar to smallpox that occurs mostly in central and western Africa.  It's contracted through contact with infected animals or their bodily fluids, and can spread among humans through fluids and contaminated clothes or bedding, according to the CDC.

The monkeypox rash consists of raised, fluid-filled bumps, and is usually accompanied by fever, headache and lymph node swelling.  Bed bug bites, on the other hand, cause a swollen and red area that may or may not be itchy, without the other symptoms.

Sievers, who was sitting near the bathroom on the plane, recalled the worried looks from other passengers when it became clear she was the cause of the quarantine.

"You could see them thinking, 'Is it safe to use the bathroom?'" she told WLS.

After studying the rash and searching for other signs of infectious disease, health officials released Sievers and her fellow passengers.

"Medical staff at CDC and the Chicago Department of Public Health reviewed the case and, based on the patient's symptoms and photographs of the rash, it does not appear that the signs and symptoms are consistent with a monkeypox infection," the CDC said in a statement.  "The ill passenger was advised to seek medical care and the rest of the passengers were released from the plane."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


High March Temps May Lead to Early Allergies, Bed Bugs

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While most people enjoyed the unseasonably warm March temperatures, the early-bird spring may contribute to a host of health problems, experts said.

More than 7,500 daily record-high temperatures were set last month, and that included more than 540 places that set all-time highs, according to Chris Dolce, a meteorologist at

"We had a lot of precipitation during the winter and now we have these unseasonably warm temperatures," said Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY.  "That really primes the pump for what we're seeing now."

Bassett said the phone has been "ringing off the hook" with patients suffering from allergies due to the unseasonably warm temperatures.  He said allergy season started about 14 days early because of the weather and will likely run about a month longer than usual this year.  Trees pollinate earlier after mild winters, and if spring fluctuates between warm and cold spells, there will be intense periods of pollen release during the warm times, and overall plants will grow and release more pollen than usual.

For those who live in bed bug-happy areas like New York, experts warned that the invasive critters may be in full effect a lot earlier this year.

Timothy Wong, technical director of M & M Pest Control in New York City, said business gets "out of control" in the summer because eggs hatch more quickly in warmer weather.  In colder temperatures, eggs take between seven and 14 days to hatch, but in the warmth, they hatch in six to 10 days, Wong said.

Once the temperature hits 65 degrees outdoors, everything changes, Wong said.

Bed bugs might not be the only insect terror to hit an early upswing.  Experts say there may be an early surge of ticks, and in turn, Lyme disease, because of the warm weather.

"Ticks ... are fussy, and high heat, high humidity or cold can dampen, but they are very local in that density of ticks can vary merely hundred yards apart in a given region," Dr. Paul Auwaerter, clinical director of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, wrote in an email.

As the weather continues to warm, Auwaerter suggested that people who spend time outdoors should be "on the watch for ticks at this time and do careful inspection, use DEET if in the bushes/woods, wear long pants/shirts."

"Warmer weather certainly means an earlier start to the tick season, and I have had patients bringing in ticks as early as the last week of February this year," Auwaerter said.  "Whether this translates into more cases of tick-borne infections is unclear."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


The Top 50 US Cities for ... Bed Bugs

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Cities enjoy being identified as safe and affordable. Being labeled as having a lot of bed bug treatments, not so much.

Rollins, the corporation that owns seven pest control companies, including Orkin, says it has seen a 33.6 percent increase in bed bug business compared to 2010.  The company has just released its rankings of U.S. cities in order of the number of bed bug treatments from January to December 2011.

And the winner … is Cincinnati.  Chicago is ranked second, followed by Detroit, Denver and Los Angeles.  The report says L.A. moved from 25th to fifth on the list.

Here are the top 50 U.S. cities, ranked in order of the number of bed bug treatments.  The number in parenthesis is the shift in ranking compared to January to December 2010:

1. Cincinnati
2. Chicago
3. Detroit (+1)
4. Denver (+2)
5. Los Angeles (+20)
6. Columbus, Ohio (-3)
7. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (+43)
8. Washington, D.C. (-3)
9. New York (-2)
10. Richmond/Petersburg, Va. (+6)
11. Houston (-1)
12. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Calif. (+35)
13. Cleveland/Akron/Canton, Ohio (+1)
14. Boston (+4)
15. Dayton, Ohio (-7)
16. Las Vegas (-1)
17. Honolulu (+55)
18. Baltimore (-6)
19. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, N.C. (+9)
20. Philadelphia (-9)
21. Atlanta (+24)
22. Lexington, Ky. (-13)
23. Syracuse, N.Y. (+25)
24. Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (+27)
25. Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colo. (+19)
26. San Diego (+13)
27. Seattle/Tacoma, Wash. (-3)
28. Omaha, Neb. (-11)
29. Buffalo, N.Y. (-16)
30. Pittsburgh (-3)
31. Indianapolis (-12)
32. Milwaukee (+6)
33. Charlotte, N.C. (+13)
34. Phoenix (+19)
35. Louisville, Ky. (-3)
36. Hartford/New Haven, Conn. (-16)
37. Grand Junction/Montrose, Colo. (+30)
38. Knoxville, Tenn. (+4)
39. Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Mich. (-17)
40. Nashville, Tenn. (+15)
41. Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, Calif. (+24)
42. Des Moines/Ames, Iowa (-13)
43. Salisbury, Md. (+46)
44. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y. (-23)
45. Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa (-22)
46. Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn. (-20)
47. Lincoln/Hastings/Kearney, Neb. (-17)
48. Salt Lake City (-8)
49. Charleston/Huntington, W.Va. (-13)
50. West Palm Beach/Ft. Pierce, Fla. (+6)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bedbugs Foiled By Hairy Limbs, Study Finds

Ben de la Cruz/The Washington Post via Getty Images(SHEFFIELD, England) -- Want to fight bedbugs? Try giving your razor a rest.

A group of British researchers have found that hairier humans may have the upper hand in fending off bedbugs compared to their shaved peers. In a new study, scientists suggest that the fine hairs on human skin slow bedbugs down and   help people better detect the bloodsuckers on their bodies.

Scientists at the University of Sheffield unleashed hungry bedbugs on the arms of 29 student volunteers, each with one shaved and one unshaved arm. The researchers watched the bedbugs, timing how long it took them to find a place to dig in for a meal. (None of the volunteers were actually bitten during the experiment; the researchers removed the bugs just as they were about to feed.) The volunteers kept a count of each time they felt a bug crawling on their skin.

They found that the volunteers detected the bugs more frequently on their hairy arms, and that the bedbugs on these hairy arms took longer to find a spot to bite.

The study was published in the journal Biology Letters.

Catherine Hill, a medical entomologist at Purdue University, said it made sense that more hair would slow down foraging bedbugs.

“But it’s a bit counterintuitive that the host has a greater number of bedbug detections when there’s more hair,” Hill told ABC News. “But in a way, it makes sense. Hair is like our antennae, and it initiates a response from us by sending signals to our nervous system.”

However, extreme hairiness could end up being a hindrance in the hunt for bedbugs, said the study’s author, Michael Siva-Jothy.

“If you have a heavy coat of long, thick hairs, it is easier for parasites to hide, even if you can detect them,” Siva-Jothy told BBC News.

Researchers said the study also gave interesting clues into how people evolved, with less hair on their  bodies, than their hairier mammalian brethren.  Previous research suggested that mosquitoes, bedbugs and other bloodsucking insects bit primarily on bare skin, such as wrists and ankles, of mammals and birds and navigated less frequently to the furry or feathery parts. It might be that humans with less hair were more able to find and remove unhealthy parasites, lowering their chances of catching diseases from the bugs.

Bedbug infestations have been on the rise around the world, and U.S. exterminators are treating more of them than ever before, according to a 2011 survey from the National Pest Management Association. The bugs are about the size and color of a flat apple seed, and are found not only on mattresses and upholstery, but in suitcases, boxes, shoes, wallpaper and headboards.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Fatality from Bed Bug Insecticide

Hemera Technologies/Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a report out showing some of the harmful effects of the war against bed bugs. The report shows 111 cases of acute illness stemming from the use of insecticides in seven states from 2003-2010.

New York took the lead with nearly 58 percent of the cases, and nearly all cases happened in a home. Some factors include excessive insecticide application and failure to wash pesticide-treated bedding.

Although most of the cases of illness were not severe, the report does detail one fatality.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Woman with Bed Bug Bites Denied Medical Treatment

Pixland/Thinkstock(AURORA, Colo.) -- Christine Lewis said she was just being honest with the nurse at Colorado's Aurora Medical Center when she showed her the festering bites on her arms just before she was to have a spinal injection for her back pain.

But when the doctor arrived, instead of showing compassion, Lewis alleges he refused to do the procedure, telling her, "It could be in your hair, it could be in your clothes and we can't have you bring that into our operating room," and then just "ran out the door."

"I was flabbergasted and mortified," Lewis told "He totally disregarded me. I told the hospital, now I know how AIDS patients felt 20 years ago. Everything he said implied I was a dirty person, not up to standard and that's not right."

Lewis, 43, has had three back surgeries since she was in a car accident in her teens and was all set to get a nerve-blocking procedure for her dislocated tail bone. A former pharmacy technician, she has been disabled for the last 10 years because of her condition.

Lewis said she had assumed the bites were bed bugs, but "the fact is, [the doctor] couldn't determine if they were bed bugs or bug bites."

"I had been bitten a lot and they were red and inflamed and weepy," said Lewis. "The doctor gave me a perfectly good medical explanation why he didn't want to do the procedure. But then he went on to show ignorance, telling me I could bring the bugs into the hospital on my hair and clothes. They could come in on a delivery truck or anyone who walks in to the hospital. I am not a dirty person. He went too far."

Aurora Medical Center South spokesman Joanna King said that when Lewis disclosed the bed bugs, "standard protocols" were put in place.

"The treatment team consulted our infection prevention nurse, who advised them on cleaning and containment procedures, and advised that from an infection control standpoint they may continue with the spinal injection," said King, who is vice president of human resources and strategic development.

But the doctor, assessing the patient just before the procedure, determined that the bites posed "an increased risk for infection" and decided to reschedule the elective procedure.

As for his behavior, said King, "The medical center and all staff are committed to treating all patients with compassion and dignity and I am confident we did so."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bed bugs are "experts at hiding." They can fit into small spaces and stay for long periods of time without eating. They are usually transported from place to place as people travel in luggage, folded clothes, bedding and furniture. Unlike other parasites such as ticks or lice, they do not travel on a person's body.

Lewis, who is married and lives with her husband, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and two of her children, said she doesn't intend to sue and isn't even demanding an apology, but just wanted to create public awareness over the way she had been treated. Lewis also refused to reveal the name of the doctor because he will continue to treat her.

Hospitals are not immune to bed bug infestations, which have plagued hotels, apartments and movie theaters throughout the country. And a recent study from Canada has suggested that despite previous studies, bed bugs can carry the dangerous staph infection MRSA, which is methicillin-resistant.

Just 10 days ago, the District of Columbia Department of Health confirmed the second case of bed bug infestation at United Medical Center. As a precaution, officials moved patients out of that area and treated at least six rooms with chemicals. Just two months earlier at the same hospital, a patient was discovered with bed bugs in the psychiatric area.

And last fall bed bugs were found at Central Maine Medical Center in New England. According to the Sun Journal newspaper, infestations were also reported at least three other facilities, including a nursing home.

In March, at least five cases of bed bugs were reported at hospitals in Milwaukee, even in examining rooms. "We're seeing cases of bedbugs on a weekly basis. In reality, the bed bugs are coming in on patients," Aurora Health Systems spokesman Adam Beeson told ABC's affiliate WISN-12.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New York City Leads the Nation in Bed Bug Infestations

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) -- The Big Apple apparently has a few bugs in it.

A study just released by Terminix reveals that New York City leads the country in bed bug infestations for the second straight year.  Experts aren't too surprised by the result, saying New York City is a heavily populated metropolis with well-publicized infestations everywhere, from apartment buildings to department stores to corporate offices.

Terminix reports there has been an increase in reported bed bug infestations in most states during the past year, mainly because consumers are more aware and on the lookout for the little buggers.

Here's the extermination company’s list of most bed bug-plagued cities, based on customer complaints validated by Terminix and infestations discovered during pest calls:

1. New York
2. Cincinnati
3. Detroit
4. Chicago
5. Philadelphia
6. Denver
7. Washington, D.C.
8. Los Angeles
9. Boston
10. San Francisco
11. Columbus, Ohio
12. Dayton, Ohio
13. Baltimore
14. Louisville, Kentucky
15. Dallas

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sharing Bed with Pets Can Bring Disease, Parasites

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DAVIS, Calif.) – If you think bed bugs are scary, health officials warn that what your pet may be bringing into your bed could be much worse.

A new study, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, notes that your pets could be bringing a variety of parasites into your bed.

"Sharing our resting hours with our pets may be a source of psychological comfort, but...sharing is also associated with risks," wrote authors Bruno B. Chomel of the University of California, Davis, and Ben Sun of the California Department of Health.

According to the report, around 56 percent of dog owners and 62 percent of cat owners regularly allow their animals to sleep in their bed. But as the reports points out, humans can contract such diseases as the bubonic plague and MRSA, the multi-drug resistant strain of strep. Pets can also carry hookworms and roundworms in their fur, which can be transferred to their owners through close contact.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


EPA Creates Pesticide Database To Aid Consumers In Bed Bug Control

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced its creation of a database that will assist consumers in choosing an "EPA-registered bed bug product that meets their needs and is safe if properly used according to label instructions."

Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, urged consumers to use the database to ensure a safer way of controlling bed bugs while also taking preventative measures such as "reducing clutter, covering mattresses, vacuuming and other methods."

Currently there are more than 300 different products for bed bug control registered by EPA.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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