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July 30, 2016

Thread below the Gardening Thread: Little Bloodsuckers [KT]

Serving your mid-day open thread needs

Sometimes, little irritants can seem pretty big.

bedbug.jpg


Above, a scanning electron micrograph of a bed bug with digitally colorized mouthparts,

Bed bugs have been known as human parasites for thousands of years. At a point in the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have increased in prevalence since 1995, likely due to pesticide resistance, governmental bans on effective pesticides, and international travel. . .

A friend of ours has moved into an apartment a while ago and recently discovered that he has bedbugs. Anybody have some advice or war stories for him? I promised I would ask The Horde.

If you are having bed bug problems of your own, the Colorado State University Extension has a nice, concise summary on bed bugs by an entomologist from the University of Kentucky Department of Agriculture. "Unlike cockroaches that feed on filth, the level of cleanliness has little to do with most bed bug infestations."

The University of Minnesota has declared war with extensive information and a long-ish video in several languages. I don't see a simple solution offered.

This week, Popular Science presesnted news of a possible sweet-smelling control option based on bed bug pheromones. I'm a little surprised that they seem to be just past the "gathering exoskeletons" stage. I had a supervisor years ago whose husband custom-synthesized pheromones in his own little lab. I don't think he got paid for preparing human attractants.

Pheromones seemed like an obvious approach to me when the bed bug problem started to make news. If you are used to thinking about pheromones only in connection with attracting the opposite sex, the bit on nymph pheromones might seem a little creepy. But bedbugs are creepy in general. And I guess biology is sometimes more complicated than I would expect.

Bonus counter-irritant to this week's irritating news, from WebMD: Things that burrow under your skin.

Have a great weekend. Don't let the bed bugs bite.

And remember to read CBD's gun thread below this one.

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posted by Open Blogger at 12:30 PM

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