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Bedbugs Widespread in Low-Income Housing, Study Finds

Posted 5 Apr 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 5, 2016 – Bedbug infestations are common in low-income apartments, and residents are often unaware of the problem, researchers report. In the study of nearly 2,400 individual low-income apartments in New Jersey, more than one in 10 were found to have bedbugs. And buildings with high tenant turnover had more infestations, researchers said. This type of research is vital for controlling bedbug infestations because it "can be used to target our education and bedbug prevention efforts to the most vulnerable communities," said study author Changlu Wang, of Rutgers University. Wang's team examined individual residences in 43 low-income apartment buildings in the state. The investigators found that the overall rate of bedbug infestation was 12 percent, but varied from building to building. According to the findings: Half of residents with bedbug infestations were unaware of ... Read more

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Average U.S. Home Harbors About 100 Types of Insects, Other Critters

Posted 19 Jan 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 19, 2016 – Even if you think you live alone, you may not: A new study finds that the average American shares his or her home with over 100 different species of insects and other "arthropods." Arthropods are invertebrates with exoskeletons – segmented bodies and jointed limbs, and include insects, spiders, centipedes and mites. A team led by Matt Bertone, an entomologist at North Carolina State University, went room-to-room in 50 freestanding houses within 30 miles of Raleigh, N.C. The researchers found that, overall, nearly 600 different kinds of arthropods were found across the various homes. On average, any one home had about 100 different types of arthropods, the researchers said, and only five of the 554 rooms sampled contained no arthropods. "We think our homes are sterile environments, but they're not," Bertone said in a university news release. "We share our space ... Read more

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Insecticide-Laced Underwear No Match for Lice

Posted 4 Dec 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2013 – Insecticide-treated underwear won't wipe out lice infestations in homeless shelters, according to a new study. The strategy initially showed some success, but the lice soon developed resistance to the chemical, the researchers said. Body lice can spread through direct contact and shared clothing and bedding, and the problem is worsened by overcrowded conditions. The study, which was published online Dec. 4 in the journal JAMA Dermatology, examined the impact of giving homeless people underwear treated with the insecticide permethrin. Forty participants were given new underwear treated with the insecticide and 33 others received untreated underwear. They were checked 14 and 45 days later. On day 14, the researchers found that 11 of the 40 people given treated underwear were free of body lice, compared with three of the 33 who received untreated underwear. This ... Read more

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Bedbug Remedy Based on Kidney Bean Leaves?

Posted 10 Apr 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, April 10 – A centuries-old bedbug remedy has scientists full of beans – kidney beans to be precise. The bean leaves used to trap bedbugs hundreds of years ago in southeastern Europe may offer a model for a non-toxic, modern-day treatment, say U.S. researchers. The biting nocturnal insects have invaded U.S. homes, hotels, schools, hospitals and more in recent years, causing widespread itching, burning and psychological distress. "Plants exhibit extraordinary abilities to entrap insects," the study's lead author, Catherine Loudon, an entomologist at the University of California, Irvine, said in a university news release. "Modern scientific techniques let us fabricate materials at a microscopic level, with the potential to 'not let the bedbugs bite' without pesticides." Microscopic hairs on kidney bean leaves stab the insects, effectively trapping them, the researchers ... Read more

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'Bombs' Ineffective Against Bedbugs, Experts Say

Posted 4 Jun 2012 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 4 – Bad news for folks suffering from bedbug infestation: New research shows that bug bombs are ineffective against these blood-sucking pests. The insect control products, also called foggers, have been sold for decades for use against a wide variety of household insects. This study provides the first scientific evidence that bug bombs should not be recommended for use against bedbugs, a growing problem in many cities. Ohio State University researchers evaluated the effects of three different fogger brands on five different bedbug populations. The foggers had little, if any, effect on the insects. The study was published June 3 in the Journal of Economic Entomology. "There has always been this perception and feedback from the pest-management industry that over-the-counter foggers are not effective against bedbugs and might make matters worse. But up until now there has ... Read more

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Head, Body Lice Are Genetically Very Similar

Posted 12 Apr 2012 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, April 12 – Genetic evidence suggests that head and body lice are the same species, a new study says. The finding is significant because body lice transmit deadly bacterial diseases while head lice do not, the researchers explained. The researchers compared the number and sequences of all the protein-coding genes expressed at each life-cycle stage of head and body lice and found that the two organisms were very similar. "The differences in their sequences were so minor that if we didn't know they were separate groups, we would have considered them the same species," study leader Barry Pittendrigh, an entomology professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, said in a university news release. "As body lice transmit diseases and head lice don't, this system provides a unique opportunity to understand subtle changes that allow body lice to transmit human diseases," ... Read more

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Bed Bug Insecticides Causing Sickness, CDC Warns

Posted 22 Sep 2011 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 22 – Bed bug infestations are bad enough, but a new report finds that more than 100 Americans have become sickened from exposure to the insecticides used to eliminate the pests. The cases happened across seven states, researchers said, and bed bug insecticide exposure may have even contributed to one death. "The majority of cases involved misuse," said report co-author Dr. Geoffrey Calvert, a medical officer at the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Although the issue is not yet a major public health problem, he did offer one key recommendation for folks battling bed bugs. "If you can't control bed bugs with non-chemical means, such as washing and vacuuming, that means it's probably going to be difficult to eradicate them, and we would recommend that people enlist the services of a pest control operator," Calvert said. The findings are published ... Read more

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Genome for Human Body Lice Unlocked

Posted 21 Jun 2010 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 21 – Scientists who sequenced the genome of human body lice say their research will help improve understanding about the blood-sucking parasite's biology and evolution, and potentially lead to better control methods. Body lice, which live in clothing and can spread bacterial diseases, thrive during economic downturns, wars and other crises that force people to live in unsanitary conditions. The multi-center team of researchers found that the body louse, which is closely related to the head louse, has the smallest known genome of any insect. This likely reflects its somewhat protected habitat and predictable diet, said University of Illinois entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh. "The ecology of lice is very, very simple. It either lives in your hair or on your clothing, and it has one type of meal, and that's blood. So most of the genes that are responsible for sensing or ... Read more

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