Are bed bugs worse than we thought?

Written By: Dr. Mike Merchant, Urban Entomologist and Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Bed bugs are trouble. They drink our blood. They soil our homes with their feces and cast skins. They keep us awake at night and add stress to our already stressed out lives. And they’re revolting to most people.

Until now, if there was one positive thing that could be said about bed bugs, it might be that they haven’t been found to carry communicable disease. The impact of bed bugs seemed mainly to come down to sleepless nights and the economic sting of pest control expenses. Continue reading

Classes at IPM House in 2018

Just a short note to let you know about upcoming training opportunities at the IPM Experience House. In case you haven’t heard about us, the IPM House is a hands-on training venue at the Texas A&M AgriLife Center in Dallas.  We are offering some excellent opportunities for learning in 2018.

Registration is open for the next three classes, and dates are happening soon, so check them out: Continue reading

Bed Bug Histamines Are Substantial, Persistent in Infested Homes

From NC State News

New research findings could turn perceptions of the already despised bed bug from nuisance pest into medically important threat. A study from North Carolina State University shows that histamine levels are substantially higher in homes infested by bed bugs than in pest-free homes, and that these histamine levels persist for months – even if the bed bugs have been eliminated from the home.

NC State post-doctoral researcher Zachary DeVries and colleagues from NC State and the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services conducted a Raleigh-based study to compare histamine levels in homes with and without bed bug infestation. The researchers also evaluated the extent to which treatment and time affect those histamine levels. Continue reading

International IPM Symposium – Opening Keynote Speaker Announced

Human health pests like ticks, cockroaches and bed bugs will prominently be featured during the 9th International Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Symposium, March 19-22, 2018 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland USA. Those who register by February 19 will pay a reduced price.

Opening Keynote Speaker

Dr. Dini M. Miller, internationally recognized expert in the area of urban pest management, opens the symposium with a keynote address on Monday, March 19 at 5:00 PM. Miller specializes in bed bug and German cockroach biology, behavior, and control and is Professor, Virginia Tech University, and Urban Pest Management Specialist, State of Virginia. Continue reading

Think the cold winter will kill off ticks? Think again

In the New York Times

Some creepy facts: A cockroach can live about a month with its head cut off. In its 300 million or so years on this planet, its relatives have survived an asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs, an ice age and an atom bomb.

These vile pests the color of excrement reproduce all year and know where to find warm places to hide. So that “bomb cyclone” of a cold spell that froze much of the United States? It’s like nothing for the roaches — or most other creepy-crawly pests.

Yes, it’s been cold, really cold — but you survived. Don’t think your worst nightmares didn’t. Continue reading

IPM keeps food on our table–at a price we can afford

I read a blog article today written by one of the Southwest Farm Press editors, resolving to eat more doughnuts in 2018. The editor, Shelley Huguley, discussed how one of America’s favorite treats was in jeopardy because of a pest insect that attacks sugarcane, the sugarcane borer. Although I didn’t come up with the idea to discuss the idea of pest management in terms of the products that we love, I know a great idea when I see one, so I decided to take her idea and run with it to talk about our own contributions to America’s products.

Keeping products in our homes is just one of the benefits for good pest management. With so many insects and diseases that can adapt to a single pest management technique, such as a particular pesticide, scientists have to get creative to make sure farmers and others who need to manage pests can do it at a cost that won’t break America’s banks. Continue reading

Entomologists to holiday travelers: Don’t let the bedbugs bite

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists say a few simple practices can help holiday travelers deal with bedbug infestations and avoid spreading the pest.

“All it takes is one traveler with bedbugs in their luggage to stay at a hotel and that hotel can become infested,” said Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist in Dallas. “Unless the problem is noticed and dealt with right away, the next hotel visitor may end up bitten or bringing home some unwanted hitchhikers.” Continue reading