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Buying used furniture? Beware of bed bugs hidden inside – Alabama’s News Leader

Posted: March 29, 2017 at 10:45 pm

HOOVER, AL

A Hoover woman says a local company delivered more than a couch and love seat to her home. Kathy Henderson says bed bugs came with them. She blames Rent-A-Center in Hoover for the infestation. “I don’t want that furniture back in my house,” says Henderson.

Henderson says she thought she was getting a great deal on the furniture. But she claims soon after she made her last payment they found bed bugs. She only had the furniture a few months.

She says a pest control company examined the sofa and reported the infestation would have started months before it was delivered to her. “I just want them to do something about it,” remarked Henderson. She called Fighting For You for help. We reached out to Rent-A-Center.

In a written statement, the company said: “The matter is being addressed directly with Ms. Henderson. …our policy is to investigate and resolve complaints ..” And they did just that according to Henderson. She was offered a refund on the furniture and exterminators will be sent to her home.

Don Ancelet with Stark Exterminators, who is not connected to this case, says it really takes a pro to get the job done right. “It’s very hard to get rid of them. They’re outstanding hitchhikers,” says Ancelet.

He says its an extensive process even for experienced professionals. The earlier you get on it, the better. “Female bed bugs lay 8-10 eggs every single day” warns Ancelet. The entire home needs to be treated. All clothes have to be laundered. And the furniture may need to be thrown out.

Remember any used furniture you buy whether from a business, a garage sale or a trading site needs to be carefully examined for bed bugs, lice, roaches and fleas. Grab a flashlight and look around stitching, tags, seams and underneath.

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Bed Bugs (Cimex Lectularius) – Profile – thoughtco.com

Posted: at 8:42 am

A pest of the past? Not anymore. Bed bugs are making a comeback. People associate this biting pest with filthy living conditions, but bed bugs are just as likely to live in clean, uncluttered homes. Get to know the habits and traits of the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius, so you will recognize this nuisance insect.

Description:

The adult bed bug is oval and flat, and only about a 1/4-inch long. They lack wings, so you won’t see them flying around your bedroom.

Under cover of darkness, they crawl in search of blood, preferably from a human. Bed bugs use a piercing, sucking proboscis to penetrate the skin of their host. Adults are brown, but appear reddish-brown when engorged with blood.

Bed bug young look like smaller versions of their parents. First stage nymphs are colorless; with each molt, the nymph darkens. White eggs measure less than 1 mm in length, and may be laid singly or in clusters of up to 50 eggs.

Although you won’t usually see bed bug activity during daylight hours, but you may see other signs of bed bugs. As nymphs molt, they leave behind their shedded skins, which accumulate as the population rises. Bed bug excrement appears as dark spots, and crushed bed bugs will leave bloody marks on bed linens.

Classification:

Kingdom – Animalia Phylum – Arthropoda Class Insecta Order Hemiptera Family – Cimicidae Genus – Cimex Species – lectularius

Diet:

Bed bugs feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, including humans. They usually feed at night, often on people asleep in bed and unaware of the insects biting them.

Life Cycle:

A few bed bugs can become a large infestation quickly. One female bed bug may produce up to 500 offspring during its lifetime, and three generations can live per year.

Imagine how many bed bugs you’d have in a year if just one reproductive pair finds its way into your home. As with any pest, knowing its life cycle will help you eliminate it. Bed bugs undergo incomplete metamorphosis.

Egg The female lays her eggs, usually in clusters of less than 50. She uses a sticky substance to glue her eggs to rough surfaces. Eggs hatch in 1-2 weeks. Nymph The nymph must consume a bloodmeal before it can molt. It molts 5 times to reach adulthood. In warmer temperatures, the nymph stage may last just 3 weeks; in cooler temperatures, nymphs may take many months to mature. Adult Adult bed bugs live about 10 months, though some may live substantially longer.

Special Adaptations and Defenses:

Bed bugs locate their warm-blooded hosts by detecting exhaled carbon dioxide. The hungry pests can also sense warmth and moisture from the bodies of potential victims.

Once the bed bug pierces the skin of a human or other host, it injects salivary fluid to prevent blood from clotting as it drinks. This fluid may cause an itchy, allergic reaction on the skin of the victim.

Habitat:

Bed bugs hide in the folds, crevices, and seams of upholstered furniture and mattresses. They depend on humans, pets, or other animals for their food, so a suitable host must be available for regular bloodmeals.

Once these pests find a meal ticket, they move in for good.

Range:

Cimex lectularius lives in temperate climates, especially in the north. Bed bugs infestations are on the rise in North America, Europe, and Central Asia.

bed louse, mahogany flat, redcoat, wall louse

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Check rooms thoroughly to avoid bringing bed bugs home from … – WRAL.com

Posted: at 8:40 am

Raleigh, N.C. Bed Bugs are no joke, and getting rid of them can be expensive. To avoid a horror story, take some simple steps when checking into a hotel.

First, put your luggage in the bathroom as soon as you enter the hotel room.

“Bed bugs prefer anything dark and creviced that they can hide in like bedding, seams of fabric, furniture, even inside walls so the bathroom is usually a safe zone while you search the room for signs of critters,” Dan DiClerico said.

Check the sheets, mattress and box spring for any signs of bed bugs.

Look for dark, rust colored spots and exoskeletons, which are the casings the bugs leave behind. Look at the head of the bed and in, around and behind the headboard.

Be sure to check under the mattress as well.

“If you find any signs of bed bugs alert the manager immediately and ask for a new room in a different part of the hotel. Infestations can spread from wall to wall,” DiClerico said.

It’s a good idea to keep your luggage and clothes off the floor, on a hard surface or luggage rack, clear of any potential bed bug zones.

And when you get home, throw all of your clothes into a hot dryer for 30 minutes. The heat will kill any bugs. It is also suggested to store your empty luggage in your basement, garage or a hot attic.

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Penn State scientists develop new remedy for bedbugs | WJAC – WJAC Johnstown

Posted: at 8:40 am

Bedbugs can be an enormous problem for homeowners and hotels. (WJAC)

UNIVERSITY PARK – Bedbugs can be an enormous problem for homeowners and hotels, because when there’s an infestation present, it’s not always easy to see.

They’re good at hiding and even if someone’s sleeping with hundreds of them at night, it’s possible to have no idea.

Nina Jenkins, a senior research associate for the Penn State entomology department, is the head of the bedbug research team.

“It’s everyone’s worst nightmare to know that you have introduced bedbugs into your home.” said Jenkins. “You can have quite the infestation without even realizing it because only 50 percent of the population reacts to the bedbug bites.”

Getting rid of them is hard because like other insects, bedbugs are developing a resistance to chemicals used for pest control.

“Most of the off-the-shelf products are not very effective despite what they say.”

Jenkins new bio-pesticide, known as “Aprehend,” has squashed that problem.

Unlike other products, the spray is made from fungus, making it almost impossible for anything to become resistant to it. Once the bug comes in contact with the bio-pesticide, the chemical penetrates its body, killing the host, and any other bug that comes in contact with one that’s infected.

They hope to have “Aprehend” available for commercial use by the end of the year.

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Depressed Minnesota mom who killed baby gets prison for manslaughter – INFORUM

Posted: March 25, 2017 at 10:41 pm

Bakst spoke at a sentencing hearing held for the childs mother, Shwe Htoo.

Mothers are encouraged to sing and coo to their infants, she continued.

Instead, this defendant fed her child a bottle of poison, let him suffer for hours, and then smothered him to death, Bakst said.

The Karen woman was suffering from major depression with possible psychotic features, post-traumatic stress disorder and postpartum depression when she made the decision Nov. 17, 2015, to fill her infants bottle with a mixture of sleeping pills, sugar and a substance used to kill bedbugs. She also drank some of the mixture, intending to kill herself along with her child.

Despite her unstable mental health, Bakst said medical experts who evaluated Htoo determined the 23-year-old was coherent enough to know what she did that day.

When the poison failed, Htoo smothered her son to death with her hands. Then she placed him in a baby carrier, put the seat in her husbands car and, not knowing how to drive, attempted to kill herself by driving the car into a light pole on Midway Parkway in St. Paul.

She made those decisions despite other available options, Bakst continued, such as calling 911 or dropping her son off at the police station, a hospital or the Cathedral of St. Paul.

There is one person in any childs life that is supposed to protect you and that is the mother, Bakst said. This mother killed her child.

Several of Htoos family members, including her husband and Michael Kyaw Htoos father, attended the sentencing, where she was sentenced to 15 years in prison on one count of first-degree manslaughter.

Htoos husband had been away at work during the incident.

The sentence was an upward durational departure due to aggravating factors in the case, including the boys young age and defenselessness.

One family member collapsed into her lap and shook during the proceedings.

A charge of second-degree murder previously facing Htoo was dismissed as part of the agreement reached between the prosecution and the defense after Htoo pleaded guilty in February to causing her sons death.

Htoo also cried during the hearing but declined to speak despite urging from her defense attorney, Barbara Deneen.

She sobbed on the witness stand in February when she entered her guilty plea and had to relay through an interpreter what she did.

Deneen reminded the courtroom Wednesday about the challenges Htoo had faced in her life before Judge Judith Tilsen delivered her sentence. She witnessed her parents taken away by the army in what is now Myanmar when she was just 5 years old, Deneen said.

She also watched villages burned and people shot before escaping to a refugee camp in Thailand when she was 12, according to a memorandum filed by the defense.

She came to the United States in 2014 through a lottery system one year before her son was born.

She described to medical professionals the depression she felt in the lead-up to her sons death. She also spoke of challenges in her marriage.

She has struggled and faced horrors none of us could imagine in this courtroom, Deneen said.

Police discovered Htoo at the scene of her car accident near Como Avenue and Midway Parkway about 11 a.m. Nov. 18, 2015.

She was taken to Regions Hospital for treatment of her injuries and mental health condition.

While there, she plastered the walls of her hospital room with pictures and testaments of love for her son. Her court proceedings were delayed as she was initially found mentally incompetent.

Shes experienced feelings of remorse and loss since her sons death, court documents say.

In a letter she sent to Tilsen before sentencing, Htoo asked the judge for forgiveness.

Thats not my place to do, Tilsen told her Wednesday. You will have to learn to forgive yourself and to ask for forgiveness from your family.

IF YOU NEED HELP

the Minnesota Department of Health offers information about postpartum depression online.

In case of an emergency or crisis, call 911 or Crisis Connection at 866-379-6363, TTY 612-379-6377, or text LIFE to 61222 (available in many rural areas). Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK.

Pregnancy Postpartum Support Minnesota provides resources and information at ppsupportmn.org or by calling or texting 612-787-7776.

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Depressed Minnesota mom who killed baby gets prison for manslaughter – INFORUM

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MN mom with history of mental illness gets prison for killing baby – INFORUM

Posted: at 8:41 am

Bakst spoke at a sentencing hearing held for the childs mother, Shwe Htoo.

Mothers are encouraged to sing and coo to their infants, she continued.

Instead, this defendant fed her child a bottle of poison, let him suffer for hours, and then smothered him to death, Bakst said.

The Karen woman was suffering from major depression with possible psychotic features, post-traumatic stress disorder and postpartum depression when she made the decision Nov. 17, 2015, to fill her infants bottle with a mixture of sleeping pills, sugar and a substance used to kill bedbugs. She also drank some of the mixture, intending to kill herself along with her child.

Despite her unstable mental health, Bakst said medical experts who evaluated Htoo determined the 23-year-old was coherent enough to know what she did that day.

When the poison failed, Htoo smothered her son to death with her hands. Then she placed him in a baby carrier, put the seat in her husbands car and, not knowing how to drive, attempted to kill herself by driving the car into a light pole on Midway Parkway in St. Paul.

She made those decisions despite other available options, Bakst continued, such as calling 911 or dropping her son off at the police station, a hospital or the Cathedral of St. Paul.

There is one person in any childs life that is supposed to protect you and that is the mother, Bakst said. This mother killed her child.

Several of Htoos family members, including her husband and Michael Kyaw Htoos father, attended the sentencing, where she was sentenced to 15 years in prison on one count of first-degree manslaughter.

Htoos husband had been away at work during the incident.

The sentence was an upward durational departure due to aggravating factors in the case, including the boys young age and defenselessness.

One family member collapsed into her lap and shook during the proceedings.

A charge of second-degree murder previously facing Htoo was dismissed as part of the agreement reached between the prosecution and the defense after Htoo pleaded guilty in February to causing her sons death.

Htoo also cried during the hearing but declined to speak despite urging from her defense attorney, Barbara Deneen.

She sobbed on the witness stand in February when she entered her guilty plea and had to relay through an interpreter what she did.

Deneen reminded the courtroom Wednesday about the challenges Htoo had faced in her life before Judge Judith Tilsen delivered her sentence. She witnessed her parents taken away by the army in what is now Myanmar when she was just 5 years old, Deneen said.

She also watched villages burned and people shot before escaping to a refugee camp in Thailand when she was 12, according to a memorandum filed by the defense.

She came to the United States in 2014 through a lottery system one year before her son was born.

She described to medical professionals the depression she felt in the lead-up to her sons death. She also spoke of challenges in her marriage.

She has struggled and faced horrors none of us could imagine in this courtroom, Deneen said.

Police discovered Htoo at the scene of her car accident near Como Avenue and Midway Parkway about 11 a.m. Nov. 18, 2015.

She was taken to Regions Hospital for treatment of her injuries and mental health condition.

While there, she plastered the walls of her hospital room with pictures and testaments of love for her son. Her court proceedings were delayed as she was initially found mentally incompetent.

Shes experienced feelings of remorse and loss since her sons death, court documents say.

In a letter she sent to Tilsen before sentencing, Htoo asked the judge for forgiveness.

Thats not my place to do, Tilsen told her Wednesday. You will have to learn to forgive yourself and to ask for forgiveness from your family.

IF YOU NEED HELP

the Minnesota Department of Health offers information about postpartum depression online.

In case of an emergency or crisis, call 911 or Crisis Connection at 866-379-6363, TTY 612-379-6377, or text LIFE to 61222 (available in many rural areas). Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK.

Pregnancy Postpartum Support Minnesota provides resources and information at ppsupportmn.org or by calling or texting 612-787-7776.

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Bed-bug chemical nets importer probation – Chicago Tribune

Posted: at 8:40 am

A Dyer man who used illegal pesticides to quell a bed bug problem at two Indiana hotels he operated has been spared jail time.

Dipen Patel, 34, who pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), was sentenced to a year of probation, with 60 days of that served under location monitoring or home detention, according to court records.

Between February 2014 and January 2015, Patel supplied his housekeeping staff at the Knights Inn in Michigan City and at the Super 8 Motel in Howe with a commercial pesticide called DOOM, which he had transported in his luggage from India, according to the federal indictment.

DOOM contains Dichlorvos, a chemical nerve agent found in outdoor pesticides in India. Federal authorities say Patel’s failure to disclose a pesticide containing Dichlorvos upon his return was a violation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Border Patrol regulations.

In February 2015, the Indiana state chemist performed an inspection of both motels. Twenty-nine rooms at Knights Inn, which Patel owns, and 27 rooms at the Super 8 motel, where he is the manager, tested positive for Dichlorvos, court records stated.

Federal authorities alleged Patel instructed housekeeping staff to mix DOOM with water and apply it to carpeting, bedding and mattresses to rid the rooms of bed bugs.

Local health officials condemned the rooms at both motels, and ordered Patel to replace bedding and mattresses and decontaminate all affected surfaces at his own cost.

Jim Masters is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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MN mom with history of mental illness gets prison for poisoning baby – INFORUM

Posted: March 24, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Bakst spoke at a sentencing hearing held for the childs mother, Shwe Htoo.

Mothers are encouraged to sing and coo to their infants, she continued.

Instead, this defendant fed her child a bottle of poison, let him suffer for hours, and then smothered him to death, Bakst said.

The Karen woman was suffering from major depression with possible psychotic features, post-traumatic stress disorder and postpartum depression when she made the decision Nov. 17, 2015, to fill her infants bottle with a mixture of sleeping pills, sugar and a substance used to kill bedbugs. She also drank some of the mixture, intending to kill herself along with her child.

Despite her unstable mental health, Bakst said medical experts who evaluated Htoo determined the 23-year-old was coherent enough to know what she did that day.

When the poison failed, Htoo smothered her son to death with her hands. Then she placed him in a baby carrier, put the seat in her husbands car and, not knowing how to drive, attempted to kill herself by driving the car into a light pole on Midway Parkway in St. Paul.

She made those decisions despite other available options, Bakst continued, such as calling 911 or dropping her son off at the police station, a hospital or the Cathedral of St. Paul.

There is one person in any childs life that is supposed to protect you and that is the mother, Bakst said. This mother killed her child.

Several of Htoos family members, including her husband and Michael Kyaw Htoos father, attended the sentencing, where she was sentenced to 15 years in prison on one count of first-degree manslaughter.

Htoos husband had been away at work during the incident.

The sentence was an upward durational departure due to aggravating factors in the case, including the boys young age and defenselessness.

One family member collapsed into her lap and shook during the proceedings.

A charge of second-degree murder previously facing Htoo was dismissed as part of the agreement reached between the prosecution and the defense after Htoo pleaded guilty in February to causing her sons death.

Htoo also cried during the hearing but declined to speak despite urging from her defense attorney, Barbara Deneen.

She sobbed on the witness stand in February when she entered her guilty plea and had to relay through an interpreter what she did.

Deneen reminded the courtroom Wednesday about the challenges Htoo had faced in her life before Judge Judith Tilsen delivered her sentence. She witnessed her parents taken away by the army in what is now Myanmar when she was just 5 years old, Deneen said.

She also watched villages burned and people shot before escaping to a refugee camp in Thailand when she was 12, according to a memorandum filed by the defense.

She came to the United States in 2014 through a lottery system one year before her son was born.

She described to medical professionals the depression she felt in the lead-up to her sons death. She also spoke of challenges in her marriage.

She has struggled and faced horrors none of us could imagine in this courtroom, Deneen said.

Police discovered Htoo at the scene of her car accident near Como Avenue and Midway Parkway about 11 a.m. Nov. 18, 2015.

She was taken to Regions Hospital for treatment of her injuries and mental health condition.

While there, she plastered the walls of her hospital room with pictures and testaments of love for her son. Her court proceedings were delayed as she was initially found mentally incompetent.

Shes experienced feelings of remorse and loss since her sons death, court documents say.

In a letter she sent to Tilsen before sentencing, Htoo asked the judge for forgiveness.

Thats not my place to do, Tilsen told her Wednesday. You will have to learn to forgive yourself and to ask for forgiveness from your family.

IF YOU NEED HELP

the Minnesota Department of Health offers information about postpartum depression online.

In case of an emergency or crisis, call 911 or Crisis Connection at 866-379-6363, TTY 612-379-6377, or text LIFE to 61222 (available in many rural areas). Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK.

Pregnancy Postpartum Support Minnesota provides resources and information at ppsupportmn.org or by calling or texting 612-787-7776.

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New research may beat back bedbug epidemic – Phys.org – Phys.Org

Posted: March 23, 2017 at 8:47 pm

March 23, 2017 by Justin Mcdaniel The researchers discovered that they only needed to expose a small percentage of a bedbug population to their new fungal-based biopesticide to achieve nearly 100 percent infection. Credit: Giovani Bellicanta

A new biopesticide developed by Penn State scientists has the potential to turn the bedbug control market on its ear, thanks to a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem taking root at Penn State that’s helping to push crucial discoveries out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.

After decades out of sight and mind, bedbugs have crawled back into our homes, checked in as unwanted guests in our hotels, and infested our psyches, gaining a nightmarish foothold in a modern world that many thought was free and clear from this pest from the past.

Largely forgotten but certainly not gone, bedbugs have made an aggressive resurgence over the past two decades. As evidence of their proliferation, a 2015 survey from the National Pest Management Association revealed that 99.6 percent of pest controllers reported having treated for bedbugs in the past year, compared to 25 percent of respondents just 15 years earlier. In that same survey, 68 percent of professionals pointed to bedbugs as being the most difficult pest they encounter.

According to Nina Jenkins, a senior research associate in the Department of Entomology at Penn State, one of the main reasons why bedbugs are so difficult to control is because the bugs’ secretive ways make it hard for traditional chemical pesticides to reach them.

Rather than rely on traditional means, Jenkins and a team of Penn State researchers have developed a naturally derived pesticide that uses the bugs’ vexing tendencies to humankind’s advantage.

A problematic pest

“Bedbugs are extremely difficult to target directly,” Jenkins said. “They’re hiding in little cracks and crevices. Often, people leave the infestation for a long time before they even report it, so it becomes such a huge problem that dealing with it is a major operation. It involves collecting all of your clothing and laundering everything, keeping in it plastic bags, and reducing all of your clutter, so that a pest controller can actually apply the chemicals to the areas where the bedbugs may be.

“You’re not going to target all of them, but the hope is that somehow they’ll come into contact with these chemical products and go on to die.”

Chemical pesticides require direct, long-term exposure to be lethal, a tall task given bedbugs’ tendency to congregate in places that are challenging to access, such as behind baseboards and wallpaper, inside furniture cracks and seams, under carpeting, and amongst household clutter. This necessitates multiple chemical applications over a period of weeks, as well as thorough preparation work to clean and de-clutter the infested space, to kill all of the bedbugs.

“It’s only the pest managers that really insist on all of the preparation work being done properly, and by diligently doing these repeated applications, that they’re able to bring the pests under control,” Jenkins said. “Those pest controllers who don’t implement these strategies and are just spraying in a cluttered house, maybe only once, have no hope of actually bringing those infestations under control.”

Heat can also be an effective bedbug killer. Heat treatments require massive heaters to rapidly heat a room to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and then holding the temperature at that level for three hours. It is an efficient, albeit costly, solution, but works best in smaller spaces, such as hotel rooms, where the heatand the bugscan be contained. However, it is difficult in a large home or in an old property to bring all areas up to the correct temperature.

Just as bedbugs can run from the heat, they also have proven to be extremely efficient at adapting to the chemicals that pest professionals spray their way, as insecticide resistance among bedbugs is a mounting problem.

“It’s just what insects do, they find ways to adapt,” Jenkins said. “Once you have a mutation for one chemical, often there’s cross-resistance to other chemicals. So, it’s a growing concern. That’s not to say that all bedbugs out there are resistant, and there are products that still are able to control even resistant bedbugs, but that won’t be the case forever.”

Turning the tables

Jenkins and Matt Thomas, professor and Huck Scholar in ecological entomology at Penn State, have been working on the creation of biopesticides for more than 30 years. Both were part of a multinational team that developed a bioinsecticide coined Green Muscle that utilizes a fungal disease formulated in oil to control locusts and grasshoppers in Africa.

The success of Green Muscle under field conditions in Africa, as well as a sister product, Green Guard, in Australia, led Jenkins and Thomas to take their knowledge about formulating fungal biopesticides and apply it to other targets, finding that the technique works for controlling mosquitos and flies.

“Then we had a student in the entomology department, Alexis Barbarin, who wanted to see whether this technology would also work on bedbugs,” said Jenkins. “We did very straightforward experiments to see whether it would work, and for bedbugs it worked the best of any pest we had ever tried. They died more quickly than the mosquitos and the flies with the same dose.”

In the study, the research team, comprised of Jenkins, Thomas, Barbarin and colleague Ed Rajotte, professor of entomology at Penn State, exposed groups of bedbugs to a formulation containing Beauveria bassiana, a natural and indigenous fungus that causes disease in insects but is harmless to humans. The researchers found that exposure to the biopesticide caused the bedbugs to become infected and die within four to seven days.

The fungus is a particulate, so when bedbugs walk across a sprayed surface, they pick up the spores like wet feet in sand. Once covered in the spores, the bugs spread them around by grooming themselves, and within 20 hours of exposure, the spores germinate and colonize the body.

Of critical importance, the researchers also discovered that they needed to expose only a small percentage of the population to the fungus to achieve nearly 100 percent infection, as the exposed bedbugs returned to their hiding places and physically transferred the spores to the others.

The result was startling, Jenkins said. Rather than needing to spray the bugs directly, the researchers found that they only needed to strategically spray the biopesticide on those surfaces where they knew bedbugs would turn up, such as the perimeter of a box spring. And Mother Natureand the bedbugs’ own natural tendencieswould take care of the rest.

“Bedbugs are obligate blood feedersthey can’t develop without blood,” Jenkins said. “So if you can create a strategic barrier using our fungal sprayby spraying around a box spring or bedframewhere you know the bedbugs will have to cross that barrier in search of a meal, then they will pick up the fungus spores and go on to die.”

Bringing research to market

The biopesticide developed by the research team now goes by the name Aprehend, and it could become one of the earliest success stories spawned by the University’s Invent Penn State initiative.

Realizing they might have a commercially viable product on their hands, the team worked with Penn State’s Office of Technology Management to file a patent on their discovery. But rather than license the technology, Jenkins wanted to be the one to bring it to market. Now she and business partner Giovani Bellicanta, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Entomology, are doing just that, with help from Penn State’s network of entrepreneurial resources.

“We were really lucky because Invent Penn State came along at just the right time,” Jenkins said. “We’ve been able to tap into all of these amazing resources, and just the general atmosphere and attitude within the University toward helping entrepreneurs and promoting entrepreneurship has helped carry us to this point.”

Those resources have included grant fundingsuch as a $50,000 grant from the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Research Applications for Innovation (RAIN) program that helped to cover regulatory costs associated with registering Aprehend with the Environmental Protection Agencyas well as legal aid in the form of contract assistance from Penn State Law’s Entrepreneurship Assistance Clinic.

But perhaps the biggest boon has been the knowledge gained from participating in a pair of business “boot camps” offered by the Ben Franklin TechCelerator @State College, which counts Penn State among its local partners. In addition to winning a $10,000 prize at the end of the second course, Jenkins and Bellicanta were challenged to think critically about their product, walking away not only with valuable startup funding, but also with a viable business model for their new company, ConidioTec.

“The TechCelerator approach is so much more than a business management course, it’s oriented toward people who think logically,” said Jenkins. “It’s about strategies for defining what your product actually is. What is your value proposition for your product? How is it going to make money? It may be really clever technology, but what is the route to market?”

Through the TechCelerator process, Jenkins and Bellicanta realized a key element of their business plan: While existing products and services in the bedbug control market only work after an infestation has been discovered, Aprehend opens up a new, untapped market for bedbug prevention.

“Because the Aprehend spray lasts and will do its job for a period of three months, it can be used as a quarterly preventative treatment in hotels,” Jenkins said. “We can’t prevent bedbugs from coming in, but if we can maximize the chances of bedbugs crossing a sprayed barrier on their way to or from their hideout, we can prevent an infestation from establishing.”

Jenkins said the goal is to have Aprehend on the market and in the hands of professional pest controllers sometime in 2017. The product could change the way bedbugs are managed both in the United States and beyond.

Explore further: Biopesticide could defeat insecticide resistance in bedbugs

A fungal biopesticide that shows promise for the control of bed bugs is highly effective even against bed-bug populations that are insecticide resistant, according to research conducted by scientists at Penn State and North …

(HealthDay)There’s more reason for Floridians to check their sofas and mattresses: Tropical bedbugs have been confirmed in the state for the first time in at least 60 years, scientists report.

(HealthDay)Death, taxes … and bedbugs? Infestations of bedbugs are on the rise in the United States and elsewhere, and while people are “bedbug magnets,” the tiny pests are hard to detect, an expert says.

(HealthDay)Bedbug infestations are on the rise, but savvy travelers know how to stop the pests from spoiling holiday trips.

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have discovered the shed skins of bedbugs retain the “obnoxious sweetness” smell often associated with the pests, a finding that could potentially be used to combat infestations …

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A team spanning Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, Texas Children’s Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has developed a new way to sequence genomes, which can assemble the genome of an organism, …

Australian National University biologists have found the first evidence of mass extinction of Australian animals caused by a dramatic drop in global temperatures 35 million years ago.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have identified cell surface markers specific for the very earliest stem cells in the human embryo. These cells are thought to possess great potential for replacing damaged tissue but …

A group of scientists in Israel and Germany, led by Prof. Sebastian Kadener from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have discovered a protein-encoding function for circular RNA. This kind of RNA molecule is highly active …

The parasite that causes deadly sleeping sickness has its own biological clock that makes it more vulnerable to medications during the afternoon, according to international research that may help improve treatments for one …

(Phys.org)A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Hong Kong and mainland China has isolated a change in a single nucleotide that is responsible for allowing the H7N9 flu virus to replicate in both …

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Biopesticide could defeat insecticide resistance in bedbugs | Penn … – Penn State News

Posted: at 8:47 pm

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. A fungal biopesticide that shows promise for the control of bed bugs is highly effective even against bedbug populations that are insecticide resistant, according to research conducted by scientists at Penn State and North Carolina State universities.

The study suggests that Aprehend, a mycoinsecticide developed at Penn State, likely will provide an important new tool for managing bedbug infestations, which have surged in recent years.

“Bedbugs were all but eradicated from the United States and other industrialized nations after World War II, likely due to the use of DDT and other broad-spectrum insecticides,” said study co-author Nina Jenkins, senior research associate in entomology, College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State. “But in the last few decades, they have re-emerged globally as an important public-health pest.”

The researchers noted that pyrethroid insecticides are a mainstay of bedbug control, but there is compelling evidence that many bedbug populations have developed resistance. In addition, this resistance may lead to cross-resistance to other classes of insecticides.

“In fact, high levels of resistance to four neonicotinoids recently were detected in field populations of bedbugs,” Jenkins said.

Alternative control measures vary in complexity, cost and efficacy, explained the researchers, who reported their results online in Pesticide Management Science. For instance, the use of high temperatures to kill bedbugs can be effective and has increased in popularity in the last decade. But the cost can be prohibitive, ranging from $500 to $1,000 per room. Other available methods often do not provide satisfactory control.

The need for a solution to the resurgence of this pest led Jenkins and colleagues at Penn State to look at entomopathogenic fungi, which have demonstrated effectiveness against other public-health pests, such as malaria vectors, cockroaches and house flies. Researchers also have shown fungal pathogens to be effective against insecticide-resistant mosquitoes.

The result was the development of Aprehend, a patent-pending compound based on Beauveria bassiana, a natural fungus that causes disease in insects. Previous studies have shown that the formulation can be applied as a long-lasting barrier treatment. Bedbugs that cross the barrier acquire fungal spores and go on to spread these among insects that remain in their harborages, resulting in greater than 95 percent mortality within a week.

“The goal of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of this product on an insecticide-susceptible lab strain of bedbug, and compare that to its effect on three field-collected strains known to be resistant to insecticides,” Jenkins said. “We also compared mortality of these four bedbug strains after exposure to either a commercial pyrethroid insecticide or Aprehend.”

Nina Jenkins, senior research associate in entomology, inspects bedbugs in a container. Jenkins led the development of a bedbug biopesticide that overcomes insecticide resistance.

Image: Michael Houtz, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences

To perform the experiments, researchers applied the fungal-based Aprehend to a quilt fabric commonly used by manufacturers of bed box springs. They similarly applied a deltamethrin-based, commercial insecticide at both high and low concentrations to the same type of fabric. Treated fabric was allowed to dry before bed bugs briefly were exposed to it. The researchers exposed a control group of bedbugs to fabric sprayed with water.

The results demonstrated that Aprehend was equally effective against all four strains of bedbug including those with insecticide resistance achieving mortality rates from 95.5 percent to 99 percent within 14 days.

The nonresistant bedbugs exposed to fabric treated with chemical insecticide sustained similarly high mortality rates. However, only 16 percent to 40 percent mortality was reached among the field-collected, resistant strains of bedbugs 14 days after exposure.

“In two of these resistant strains, survivorship after insecticide treatment was not significantly different from the control group,” Jenkins said.

Perhaps the most important finding of the study, according to the researchers, is that bedbug resistance to pyrethroid insecticides does not confer cross-resistance to infection by B. bassiana.

“B. bassiana has a unique mode of action with no known resistance or cross-resistance in bedbugs, and it is highly effective on pyrethroid-resistant bedbugs, making it an excellent candidate for use in bedbug management,” said Jenkins, who has formed a company, ConidioTec, to commercialize Aprehend. “In addition, the tendency of bedbugs to aggregate is likely to increase the dissemination of the fungus within the harborage and enhance overall population control.”

Other researchers on the project were Giovani Bellicanta, postdoctoral scholar in entomology, Penn State; Alexis Barbarin and Coby Schal, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology and W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology, North Carolina State University; and Jason Osborne, Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University.

This work was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a Research Applications for Innovation grant from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology award.

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Biopesticide could defeat insecticide resistance in bedbugs | Penn … – Penn State News

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