We first reported on August 3 on a Future Bed Bug Cure? of a coming research paper on the use of Ivermectin (Mectizan in Canada), as a drug to combat bed bugs. Today, at the 2012 annual convention of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, John Sheele, emergency physician at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, released the preliminary findings.
Juveniles and Adults Killed
Notably, one experiment produced an 86 percent bed bug fatality rate among bed bugs which fed on mice injected with Ivermectin. Interestingly, the results changed when humans, who had received one dose of Ivermectin, replaced the mice as hosts. After three hours the fatality rate was 63 percent. The control group fatality rate was 8 percent. After 54 hours, bed bugs continued to die although a 100% kill rate was not achieved; the end result was 42 percent. The results were most deadly on the first day of treatment, affecting juveniles and adults.
Real-life Infestation Study Needed
Further study is required to move beyond the lab and into the field to replicate the effectiveness in a ‘real life infestation’. This apparently safe and cheap drug also interferes with the insect’s development from instar to adult.
One cannot help but wonder though, that anything less than 100% kill rate could lead to a culling of the susceptible bed bugs and allow stronger Ivermectin resistant pests to survive; the same phenomena which has been encountered with previous attempts to control this pest with pesticides.
"Ivermectin is not going to be a silver bullet for all cases," Sheele reports. "I envision it for people in small outbreaks in a small space, like a bedroom. It might not be effective for an outbreak involving 10 people in an entire house."