Bed Bug Incest Not Taboo

Dr. Coby Schal, an entomologist with North Carolina State University, has proposed uncontrolled incest among bed bugs may be the biggest cue how a single pregnant female can transform into a platoon of bed bugs and over-run townhouses, apartments or hotels.

Building Populations Closely Related

Dr. Schal is presenting his research to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene for peer review this morning in Philadelphia. Dr. Schal’s team tested the genetic trail of 21 bed bug infestations in North Carolina and New Jersey. Within each complex or building, the study reveals the bed bug populations were closely related, over several generations.

Trace Infestations Back to Single Room

Flat rubber molding pulled back to reveal bed bugs hiding. Notice that bugs are at top of molding in corner where there is no adhesive. Photo:  Lou Sorkin

Flat rubber molding pulled back to reveal bed bugs hiding. Notice that bugs are at top of molding in corner where there is no adhesive. Photo:  Lou Sorkin

Underside of rubber molding provides bed bug harbourage. Photo courtesy of Lou Sorkin.Most insects would suffer a population collapse from successive in-breeding. Bed bugs, like cockroaches, are able to produce healthy offspring through several generations giving sufficient time to disperse throughout a building. In each of the 21 case studies, the research team was able to trace the wide-spread bed bug infestation back to a single point of origin within the complex.

The Globe and Mail reports:

“According to Dr. Schal’s research, it’s more likely a few bed bugs brought in by a single tenant are to blame for a building-wide infestation rather than multiple carriers and credits Dr. Schal for saying treating the infestation at its initial site at its early stages can go a long way to prevent spread.”

Impact - Bed Bug Liability Issues

Should Dr. Schal’s proposal pan out, the implications could be felt in bed bug liability concerns. If genetic tracing proves economical against the financial impact of liability costs, it could provide significant weight in court cases to influence a decision.

Impact - Early Detection Is Essential

It would also add significant weight to the belief that early detection is the number one method to avoid a wide-spread infestation and associated remediation costs, inconvenience and stigma associated with bed bug infestations.  Pro-active or targeted bed bug inspections by a certified bed bug dog and handler are the fastest and most reliable method for early detection of bed bugs. Check out the availability of bed bug dogs in your area.  For services in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, contact Bed Bug Mutts 604-460-0124 or request a quote below.

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